Traveling to Russia? Ask Me Anything!

André Fernandes
Jun 8, 2018

I'm André, originally from Brazil.  Until now, I have visted Russia twice and got fascinated by its rich culture, history and people I met there. 

There is a whole world operating in Russian language, still unknown properly due to the language barrier and I'm available for answer any question you may have about traveling to Russia.

After two visits to Russia, I decided to implement an idea of visual travel guide starting by the Russia Visual Travel Guide.

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Do you need any vaccinations to visit Russia? Is there anything else worth bearing in mind before visiting?
Jun 15, 9:43AM EDT1

As far as I know, no vaccination is required for Russia. I can't affirm with 100% of certainty since requirements usually vary based on political agreements, as well as visa - vary from one nationality to another.

Before visit Russia, be sure of the visa available for your purpose of travel and what are the requirements. If you don't need visa, awesome. 

Jun 15, 6:50PM EDT0
What currency should one take on-board trains in Russia, and along the Trans-Siberian railway?
Jun 14, 6:36AM EDT1


Once in Russia, carry Russian rubles for your shops and payments in cash. In small towns and around train station, it tends to be only in cash.

US dollars and euro are the currencies to take for exchange. Make sure the bills are in good state, otherwise banks and exchange offices will refuse.

Jun 14, 9:42AM EDT0
How do you plan to expand your user base in 2018 to attract more travellers to Russia?
Jun 14, 3:39AM EDT0

Hi Sarojain,

In addition to sell the first travel guides about Russia, I want to grow the audience of my blog. 

The posts are written in English, Portuguese and Spanish; so I want to expand the audience along the markets where these languages are spoken.

By now, I'm focusing on contents. Why people should come to my blog if there's no content? My next step is collaboration and partnerships around travel contents and tips.

Jun 14, 9:38AM EDT0
What are the places that one should avoid visiting in Russia and why?
Jun 13, 7:04PM EDT1


I don't have any proper answer for your question. Do you mean overstimated places or dodgy places to avoid?

Jun 13, 8:08PM EDT0
Where is the best/safest place to exchange money in Moscow?
Jun 11, 8:57AM EDT1


I've have always exchanged money on banks and on exchange offices. Your bills need to be in a good state, otherwise they normally don't accept to exchange.

I've never felt unsafe in Russia, I recommend to exchange money during the day in central areas. Taking the precautions as everywhere else in the world - pickpockets, avoid dodgy areas, watch out belongings - it's totally fine.

Jun 11, 9:33AM EDT0
How much time should a person plan for a trip to Russia?
Jun 11, 2:09AM EDT1

Hi Kristen,

How long for Russia? It depends on what cities you visit and how you move around the country, since Russia is huge.

If you visit only Moscow and Saint Petersburg, 1 week is more than enough. But if you consider going by train to Siberia, for example, you need more time.

From Moscow to any city in Siberia by train, it tends to take 30 hours and longer. When planning your trips by train, check on the Russian Railways website, they have an English version and you can see the length of the routes.

Jun 11, 9:26AM EDT0
How long should a first traveler spend on Saint Petersburg?
Jun 11, 1:25AM EDT1


I recommend at least 3-4 days for Saint Petersburg, since it's a beautiful city with many things to see and do. 

Jun 11, 9:22AM EDT0
How much work does entail writing a travel guide? What are the most grueling issues you have faced so far?
Jun 11, 12:03AM EDT1


There's a lot of work on writing a travel guide: planning the contents, research, writing and reviewing. 

The grueling issues on this guide have been on adpating to different ebook platforms and printing requirements. I should have paid attention before starting to write and talk with the designer.

Jun 11, 9:19AM EDT0
While visiting Russia, do you recommend to do a tour guide or should you do solo sightseeing?
Jun 10, 9:20PM EDT1


I did both solo sightseeing and tour guide. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are free tours on daily basis. There lots of tours available, depending on your preferences.

Tours are interesitng to get knowledge about history and on curiosities you want to know about.

Jun 10, 9:41PM EDT0
Where are you currently living?
Jun 10, 6:59AM EDT0

I'm around South America for a while.

Jun 10, 3:01PM EDT0

Is it possible to live a simple life in Russia, spending just 20 dollars a day?

Jun 10, 3:04AM EDT1


If you visit for a short time without the need to pay for accommodation, you can manage with 20 dollars a day going out cheap like a student and cooking your food.

However, you need more cash if you consider going to theaters, museums, visit other cities, etc.  The cost of living in Russia is more expensive than other countries in Eastern Europe.

Jun 10, 3:00PM EDT0
What were the best dishes you tried when you were in Russia?
Jun 10, 1:55AM EDT1

Hi MARIA1028,

I like the horse meat I tried in Kazan, as well as the chak-chak. The soups I tried were also good, as wells the stroganoff, also common in Brazil but more sauced.

Jun 10, 2:57PM EDT0
What feature about the Russian culture fascinated you the most and why?
Jun 9, 10:06PM EDT1


A feature I like about the Russian culture is the music, which also helps me to get familiar with the Russian language.

Jun 9, 10:16PM EDT0
Are you currently developing any more visual travel guides about other countries?
Jun 9, 4:14PM EDT1

Hi ANGIE2514,

I'm starting the draft of 2 other possible guides and a book based on my travel experiences.

I want to do more travel guides, but as lesson learned from this one about Russia, I'll be more patient with all the work required to make a travel guide.

Jun 9, 4:48PM EDT0
Have you visited any other countries that you enjoyed as much as Russia?
Jun 9, 1:06PM EDT0


I've visited 26 countries, living in 6 of them. My favorites countries are Israel and Portugal.

Jun 9, 4:47PM EDT0
Do you collaborate with other tour companies or do you like to run it solo with your own set of personalized itineraries?
Jun 8, 6:28PM EDT1


On the travel guide I wrote and on contents on my blog, did by my own. Until now, it's been something for independent travelers, to make their trips easier.

However, I'm open for collaborations on travel industry and I'm constantly looking for.

Jun 8, 6:57PM EDT0
What is your observation of current ecotourism-related policies there, are they supportive of small and grassroots ecotourism outfits in Russia?
Jun 8, 5:05PM EDT0


About ecotourism in Russia, I don't know and I can't give you any insightful answer. 

Jun 8, 5:15PM EDT0
What is current favourite place in Russia and why?
Jun 8, 1:50AM EDT1


I like big cities with many things going on, so Moscow surprised me a lot, Lots of museums, events and all the options you can imagine.

Saint Petersburg I also like, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Jun 8, 8:56AM EDT0
Do you think tourism need more focus in Russia? If so, what do you think needs to be done to promote it better?
Jun 8, 12:54AM EDT0


I think now it's time to promote beyond Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Both cities are known destinations and concentrate the incoming tourism in Russia.

Meanwhile, the promotion of other regions is concentrated in the Trans-Siberian Railway. 

Big events like football World Cup can ignite a better promotion, if used properly. Otherwise, it can be a big loss in terms of taxes and public budget spent for "white elephants", as it happened in Brazil.

Language barrier also complicates. As long as you advance Eastwards in Russia, the lower the number of English speakers.

Jun 8, 8:54AM EDT0
In your About Me section on your site, you have mentioned that you are writing a book about your travel experiences. Have you thought about the name of the book? Will it be more like a travel guide or a diary?
May 30, 5:20PM EDT1


By my drafts until now, it's likely to be a diary based on my trips, adventures and curious stories combined with what could be useful for other travelers. I'm thinking to develop on the style of the Chuck Thompson, like his book "To hellholes and back". 

I don't have any idea for name yet. Let's see what will happen, I still need to develop more the draft.

May 30, 8:50PM EDT0
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