At the very beginning of your journey to Russia you need to do a few things to make it comfortable and unforgettable. Here we have a few tips how to prepare your group for a travel to Mother Russia. This article is especially useful for MICE specialists.
1. Destroy all myths about Russia
Hold a 25-30 minute meeting in the form of presentation and tear all myths about Russia to shreds in a MythBusters-like manner. Myths to be destroyed:
- It’s too cold in Russia (it’s very cold in Siberia only, where almost nobody lives, the general population lives in the European territory, in the south);
- Russians drink vodka too much (according to statistics, Russia ranks 8th after Germany, France and Luxembourg);
- Russians are unfriendly and inhospitable (type “Russians have fun” in youtube and you will see);
- It’s too dangerous in Russia (according to world robbery statistics, it’s safer in Russia than in Canada).
2. Learn a few words in Russian
Although the current generation in Russia doesn’t experience any problems regarding foreign languages, you need to learn a few phrases in Russian to communicate with elder people:
- Privet! Kak dela? (hi, how are you?)
- Vy govorite po-angliyski? (Do you speak English?)
-Skolko eto stoit? (How much is it?)
3. Do not eat in hotels
Food in hotels is very expensive and, as a rule, has nothing to do with Russian cuisine. Find a restaurant in the city centre, use, for example, Tripadvisor or Localway.
4. Moscow is not entire Russia
Most probably, Moscow will be the first destination point of your travel, but there everything is mixed up as in any other megalopolis and many things are adopted from other cultures. Visit a few provincial cities, such as Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Ekaterinburg, and you’ll see how much Russia is diverse and different.
5. Buy a local SIM card
Mobile communication in Russia is very cheap as compared to the US and Europe, you’ll have unlimited Internet across the country and about 900 minutes for local calling for $10 a month. There are three main operators - Beeline, Megafon and MTS.
6. Use only online taxi services
In Russia there are such online taxi services as UBer, Yandex Taxi and Get Taxi – prices are low, but drivers and cars are excellent. If you flag a taxi on the street, you’ll probably pay much more and will go much longer.
7. Do not use Google Maps
This service is inefficient in Russia, it’s better idea to use Yandex Maps or 2GIS – local services, which know everything about the place you are in.
8. Do not go to Saint Petersburg by plane
If you travel from Moscow to Saint Petersburg or back, make use of Sapsan high-speed train - you’ll get to the centre of one city to the centre of another city within 3,5 hours without long trips to an airport and looking for a flight. There are excellent noise insulation, comfortable chairs and free WiFi on the train.