All prices are generally quoted in rubles. Currency can be freely converted at banks, hotels or kiosks. Traveler's checks are hard to cash. Credit cards are accepted in most places that work with foreign tourists. Some may turn down American Express. Visa and MasterCard are known, hence - more widely honored. ATM machines are widely available in major cities, but note: they do not have letters on the key pad, so if your PIN includes letters, do remember them as digits!
Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50 Hz. The plug is round two-pin thin European standard.
Despite the recent rapid improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure, telephoning in Russia can be difficult and expensive. Best bet is to use the phone at your hotel or use calling cards sold widely in kiosks. Use of calling card require a touch-tone phone (not a touch-tone service).
Tokens or calling cards are required for street pay phones, which can be purchased at newsstands, in some stores, and many kiosks.
Internet access is usually provided by the hotel or you could visit Internet Cafe in the City to check your email. Hotels or Internet Cafe will provide telephone or network adapters for your laptop computer.
Prices on Internet access may vary and usually run at about US$1.00 per hour.
Time is GMT +3 for both Moscow & St. Petersburg.
Remember to bring any medications you may need. Check with your health insurer before you depart to ascertain your coverage in the event of emergency. Many insurance providers offer specialized riders which can cover emergency evacuation. We do recommend buying a travel insurance.
Water quality varies widely in Russia. Your best bet is to drink and brush your teeth only with bottled water which is widely available in supermarkets. Be careful to avoid ice and raw foods and vegetables.
Crime situation has considerably improved in Russia over the past few years. Moscow and St. Petersburg are a lot safer than many American cities. Precautions include not flaunting valuables, or walking alone at night through city outskirts or parks.
In Russia, taxi fees are usually negotiated with the driver ahead of time. Do not use gypsy cabs or accept rides in cabs that already have a rider. We shall be glad to provide you with airport transfers by our company car.
Tipping is increasingly expected at restaurants. Tip 10-15% depending on service. It is typical to round up the amount due to the next round figure