The Jakarta Post
St. Basil's Cathedral in the morning autumn sun on the Red Square in Moscow. (Shutterstock/File)
Russia is often viewed as a difficult country to visit, thanks to its tough bureaucracy.
However, if you keep these tips in mind, you shouldn’t have any issues when visiting the largest country in the world.
Check visa requirements
To travel to Russia, you’ll need a visa. And you won’t just be able to go to your nearest embassy or consulate.
Before you do that, you’ll need to secure an invitation, which you can get either through the hotel you plan to stay in or through a travel agent. Once that is settled, you can use that to get your visa.
Before you leave, make sure your tetanus, hepatitis A and hepatitis B shots are updated. If you’re planning on hiking or camping while in Russia, add tick-borne encephalitis to that list as well.
Register upon arrival
Once there, you must register within three days of your arrival. You will receive an immigration form when you pass through the airport and that must go wherever your passport does. That must then be stamped at your hotel to complete the registration process.
If you stay at different hotels throughout your trip, you will need to register at all of them.
Not every place will accept credit cards, so make sure you convert your currency to the Russian ruble before you leave. Make sure they are of current issue, without rips, tears, markings or folds, to circumvent any issues.
Don’t hesitate to bring your debit card with you, as ATMs will accept debit transactions. However, they can’t always be found, so make sure you have cash.
If you need to exchange money while in Russia, make sure to have your passport on hand, as that is typically a requirement.
Don't drink the water
While it can be advisable to carry a reusable water bottle to other countries, the water in Russia is not up to the standards of sanitation as is water in the United States. So, it is recommended that you buy inexpensive bottled water and use it not only to drink but to brush your teeth as well.
Utilize public transportation
Finally, to get around don’t be afraid to use public transport in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. It’s considered inexpensive and reliable and is used by everyone.
Public transportation can get crowded though, especially during peak times. (sul/kes)