Since I have spent in this country around 25 years, I know it really well and can share a tip or two about Russia.
1. Safety is the first thing that comes in mind.
Is Russia really safe in comparison to the western countries ?
Yes Russia is generally a safe place, It is as safe as the US for example.
I had been living in the US for 7 years so I can compare.
But use common sense safety rules. Like don’t go to stranger’s house if someone invited you right away for a cup of coffee, or don’t take unauthorized taxi, don’t go to some remote areas after dark and so on.
Use common sense safety rules like you would use for example in NYC, if you would come there to visit for a first time.
2. How to get around in Russia
If you fly to Russia you most likely will land in Sheremetyevo International airport in Moscow. You can travel in Moscow and in any other major Russian city by car, taxi or public transportation.
Cars and Taxi
If you are not a budget traveler, then get for yourself a car in advance for example from Hertz or get a taxi. As far as getting taxi use Google or Yandex.com Any decent taxi company will tell you in advance how much it will cost to get from point A to point A. If a Taxi company cant tell you how much it is going to cost, then don’t use it.
if you don’t have a large budget, then it is better to use public transportation. It is pretty decent in Russia and cheap in comparison to any western country (England, France, Germany and so on ). But it might get a bit confusing which bus goes where. How deal with this ?
a) You can ask locals, what bus to use. Many younger folks speak English.
b) Before coming to the country find someone over internet who would agree to help you to get around the city, many for example students will be glad to do that for the purpose of cultural exchange.
c) Use 2GIS, it is a map service that can route public transportation from point A to B. Their website 2gis.ru is fairly easy to use though it is in Russian.
3. Money exchange.
Please use only Banks, don’t exchange money with private folks in the airport, or at the railway station, it is illegal, and it is unlikely that anyone will offer you to exchange money any way.
Where to get the best exchange rate ? Use portal Banki.ru it will tell you the best exchange rate in real time in the Banks of Moscow ( The link is for Moscow, but you can switch to any city you want at their website. Use Google online translator for websites it works pretty well.
4. Where to stay ?
Hotels, motels etc, you can find easily through Google or Yandex.com. Yandex is major Russian search engine and many local hotels, motels, apartments advertise through Yandex.
If you have a tight budget, you can try to find a hostel through Yandex.com or even better try using Avito.ru ( The link is for renting a one bedroom apartment in Moscow, but you can change). Avito is major classifieds website in Russia, something like Craigslist in the US. Use online translator.
5. What cell phone company and internet to use ?
If you are in Moscow then use Megafon or Beeline. If by some reason you cant use those two the use Mts. Mts is generally a pain in the ass, the worst customer service ever.
If you are not in Moscow, then I would recommend Tele2. The easiest company to use with the cheapest rates.
All those companies provide 3G or 4G internet. So by getting their sim card you will have internet on your cell phone. Internet in Russia is one of the cheapest in Europe.
if you need wireless high speed internet for your computer, I would recommend to buy a wireless modem from Yota. Yota is the fastest, and cheapest unlimited wireless internet you can find.
Anyways, that will do it for now about Russia. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer to any of them. Please write your question in the comments section of this post.