Things to Know Before Traveling to Russia

As the largest country in the world, Russia encompasses a diverse range of environments and people. It has a complicated history of monarchy and totalitarianism, rich natural resources, extremes of wealth and poverty, and is now transitioning from a Communist state to the global economy. It is a vast country that includes world-class cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, vast territories in the Arctic north, and grain farms that rival those in Kansas. It also has some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Europe, and a mind-blowing array of cultural experiences from ballet to cabaret.

It is also a very different culture from America in that it is more collectivist, and Russians tend to trust others slowly and carefully. This can be frustrating if you are used to an American-style fast pace of interactions, and it is helpful to remember that it takes a while for most Russians to get comfortable around strangers. In addition, personal space is not respected as much in Russia, so don’t be surprised if someone stands right next to you while you talk!

Learning a few phrases of Russian is a must for any visit to Russia. English is not spoken very often, and many signs, maps, and timetables are written in Cyrillic. Taking the time to learn the alphabet on your flight and a few key words will make you feel much more at home when traveling in Russia.

The food in Russia is fantastic. You will find a wide variety of restaurants and cafes with delicious meals at reasonable prices. Many of these restaurants are open all day and are a great place to grab a quick lunch, coffee, or tea. The best way to enjoy a meal is with a family or friends, so don’t be afraid to try new things and share!

If you are planning on visiting more remote regions of the country, it is important to have a good understanding of the language and weather conditions. You will likely be traveling in a region far from the moderating influence of oceans, so the climate is typically dry and hot in summer and cold and brutal in winter. Getting to know these regional differences in advance will help you plan for any potential issues and have an overall more enjoyable trip!

It is also a great idea to learn about the national holidays in Russia ahead of time. This will allow you to better understand how the country operates and give you a chance to celebrate with locals for their national holidays! Russia is a very patriotic country, and the citizens have a lot of days off work every year. This is a great opportunity to explore all of the amazing sites in Russia and relax with your loved ones. The national holidays include National Unity Day, Russia Day, Victory Day, and more. So if you are planning on working in Russia, be sure to take advantage of the extra vacation!