Moscow Travel Tips
Hello my Reader and welcome to my Moscow Travel Tips page. Here is some information you should keep in mind when you travel to Moscow, Russua.
Moscow is not the easiest place to be a tourist, my friend. So be prepared! If you don't take a few precautions it can be a miserable experience. Here are some travel tips from Your Moscow Russia Travel Guide. Be aware and have a nice trip!
If you don't carry drugs, billions of dollars or weapons with you, you do NOT need to complete the ‘Customs and Currency Declaration Statement’
upon arrival or departure. Don’t worry about even if your cabin crew gives you this form. Just collect your luggage and simply go to the GREEN (nothing to declare) channel
. But don’t forget to fill out the MIGRATION CARD. If you are carrying valuables then you must fill in the customs declaration and have it stamped. Take the RED (to declare) queue
in this case. You can bring in up to US$3,000 in cash without declaring it. If you have between US$3,000 and US$10,000, you have to declare it. Anything resembling art should be cleared in advance of departure at the Rosokhrankultura (Russian Cultural Security Department), Ul. Malaya Morskaya 17, Open Mon - Fri 11:00 - 17:00. It’s illegal to take out Icons or paintings which are more than 100 years old. Same for printed material. If it’s more than 100 years old, it’s not going anywhere. If it was published between 1903 and 1953, you will need an ‘expert’s report,’ either from the Rosokhrankultura or an accredited shop. If you go to the Rosokhrankultura, take the sales receipt of the item you are getting checked with you, along with your passport or the passport of the person who will take it out of the country. Here is the Rosokhrankultura website
, but it is in Russian.
HOW TO FILL OUT RUSSIAN MIGRATION CARD
Migration card has two parts “А” and “Б”. Foreign nationals are requested to fill both parts of the Migration Card and present it to the Border Control Officer along with their passports or other travel documents.
You should fill out Migration Card really clearly, without blots or corrections by pen in Russian or English block letters according to your travel documents strictly in the relevant blanks.
You should use mark “X” to indicate your sex in the relevant boxes. And again, please be advice that according to legislation in force foreign nationals entering the territory of the Russian Federation must register in the local registration office with in 3 working days upon arrival or within 1 day in case of staying at a hotel or other organization rendering accommodation service.
I have to keep your part “Б” of the yours Migration Card during the period of your stay in the territory of the Russia Federation and submit it to the Border Control Officer while passing departure passport control procedure.
LOST LUGGAGE Before you leave… please take some advices from Your Moscow Russia Travel Guide:
At the Moscow airport
- Book a direct or nonstop flight to Russia, if they are available. Nonstop flights to Russia will minimize the chance of losing bags.
- Choose an airline that has a good baggage record. For US traveler I want recommend to compare airlines online at Aviation consumer protection and enforcement website
- Pack your carry-on wisely three so that you can live out of it for several days (medications, a change of clothes, toiletries).
- Remove all your old luggage tags to avoid any confusions
- Label your suitcases well. Please remember that lack of ID tags is why luggage ends up in somewhere else instead of in Moscow, Russia:).
- Don’t check-in late, otherwise your bags might not make it onto the plane to Moscow, Russia in time for takeoff.
- Make sure that the desk agent places your destination Moscow tag on your suitcase.
- Hang on your baggage claim ticket. It is often attached to your boarding pass, which many people leave on the plane – big mistake!
- Be at the carousel when bags are off-loaded.
- If your bad is lost or delayed, file a report immediately at the airport and get a copy.
I have learned from my personal experience – try fly with carry-on luggage if it’s possible. The airlines have not found a way to lose that….. Yet….
TRAVEL WITH COMFORT
A few tips on how to stay well during your flight to Russia and after it
How to ease jetlag
- Deep breathing. Put your hand flat just below your diaphragm, with the thumbs pushing into the sternum. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale for 10 seconds.
- A good sitting posture. Try to be sitting straight with your shoulders relaxed, don’t cross your legs and try to spread your weight evenly over the chair.
- Shoulder circles. Raise your shoulders up and then rotate them backwards and down as if you were drawing a circle. Repeat this exercise 6 times.
- ”Drawing leg”. Lift the right leg and draw a circle in the air with your foot. Repeat this 10 times in each direction and then do the same with the other leg.
- ”A footballer’s warm-up”. Put your right foot on its toes and hold, counting to five. Then relax and rest the foot on its heel for a count of five. Repeat with your left foot.
- Choose a daytime flight to Russia. Those, who do not try to gain an extra day for rest or business by choosing a night flight feel and do better.
- Do not take sleeping pills. They thicken blood, which can be dangerous in flight when movement is restricted
- Sleep a little immediately after your flight. A half-hour nap will help you synchronize your biorhythmic cycle.
- Make your flight comfortable. Don’t forget an inflatable pillow, earplugs and blind fold. It is better for you to loosen your shoelaces or take your shoes off.
- Drink plenty of water and as little alcohol as possible. Dry cabin air can cause dehydration. Alcohol also dehydrates the body and aggravates the jetleg.
- Don’t overeat before flight. You had better abstain from eating before the flight and, if possible, on board the plane. Instead, eat soon after landing.
- Don’t neglect to take medications containing melatonin. This hormone synchronizing biorhythms makes you sleep better or removes drowsiness. Consult your physician to achieve better results.
If you're traveling outside the months of May to September you're going to need winter clothing. If you're going in the middle of winter you're going to need a lot winter close really! Leaving your hotel without a hat, scarf, gloves and warm, waterproof shoes is foolish. I would have in my luggage extra set of warm close. Trust me on this one, I’m from there!
Unfortunately Moscow and Russia are not friendly to disabled people. However some hotels do cater for them. But generally high curbs and steps are the rule. The public transport system unfortunately lacks accessibility for disabled people. Also, travelers with visual and/or hearing difficulties please be careful – Moscow drivers are no gentlemen.
I would say that Moscow is no more dangerous than your average European city. To avoid harassment use common sense - don’t flaunt your valuables, always carry your documents (or copies), avoid speaking your own language loudly and don’t walk the streets if you're very drunk. I recommend storing documents and extra money in safekeeping facilities. Carry a copy of your passport with you. Avoid any situation involving narcotics and empty streets. Don’t walk alone at night and pay attention in crowded areas. If you run into trouble, it's best to phone your consulate.
Sadly, people with black, Arab or Asian skin have to be more care in Moscow, Russia. Particularly at night. Undesirable elements of Russian society include skinheads with narrow minded views, which they like to show with their fists. It is a shame, because their parents and grandparents fought against fascism and racism during WWII, and during the Communist era students from African and Asian countries were always welcome. Skinheads operate mainly in the outskirts of the city, so it’s best not to walk alone there after dark.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS IN MOSCOW
01 – Rescue Service
02 – Police
03 – Ambulance
09 – Free Moscow City Inquiry Office
+7 (495) 622 2085 – Moscow subway lost and found office
One of the good things about Moscow, Russia is that it is never difficult to find a place to get food or drink. Even in the middle of the night! If you see the 24-sign (or 25-sign) it means this place is open around the clock!
Customer service is relatively new to Russia. Service culture in Moscow, Russia is changing. There are plenty of places where the staff are friendly and helpful. Tipping isn't expected in bars, but it is the norm in top-notch restaurants. Usually ten percent is average, but it's up to you. Don't feel pressure to tip if the service is atrocious. Pay attention to bill because some restaurants automatically add on a 10% service-charge.
Queuing is an unavoidable part of travel to Moscow, Russia. Don't expect the person at the cashier to move any faster just because there's a queue stretching out the door and round the corner. There’s always a line. This fact won’t stop the cashiers from taking their tea breaks.
PEDESTRIANS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY
Moscow drivers are your biggest danger, so cross the road carefully. They drive wherever they want. On the street, on the curb, on the sidewalk . . . over you. This is no joke. If you get hit by a car, you may be blamed for walking in front of a moving vehicle. Even if you are walking on the sidewalk, cars may drive right up next to you if they are being inconvenienced by stopped traffic.
DON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER
I recommend you to stick to bottled water. If you must drink from the tap, give it a good boil first. The same passes for most other Russian cities. My advice is stick to boiled or bottled water.
Plans available through Travel Guard can provide you with coverage for unexpected medical expenses while on a trip.
Difficult to find public toilet that’s free? If the portable lavatory doesn’t appeal to you, try McDonald's and random hotels and cafés are your best option. Otherwise, look for the Russian letters ‘Ж’ (women’s) and ‘M’ (men’s). Never leave home without your own stash of toilet paper! There is a national toilet-paper shortage - hence the bits of cut-up newspaper and old romance novels next to some toilets.
Russian smoke like there is no tomorrow. According to recent research, smoking figures have more than doubled since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In spite of that there are some non-smoking places in Moscow such as Coffee Bean. You can no longer smoke in train carriage; there are designed smoking sections at the end of train carriage. On the other hand, Moscow can be a haven for the persecuted smoker:)..
Questions?.. Comments?.. If there is anything about Moscow that you need to know and you couldn’t find on my Moscow Russia Travel Guide, please send it via the contact form. It will be my pleasure to help you.
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