Those who have never been to Russia, are inclined to judge it from movies. I have seen some American movies about Russians! :-)) They have nothing to do with reality! Nevertheless, you may be scared with “Russian mafia", lack of development, instability. In reality Moscow is one of the most expensive cities of the world, equally with London, New York and Tokyo.
The word combination “Russian mafia" became obsolete long ago. Now Russia is governed by oligarchs – those, who in their time managed to buy oil, gas, etc. at cheap price. As you can see, it presents no danger for ordinary tourists, it is a matter of politics. And in general to be in Russia now is no less and no more dangerous than in any European town. But as everywhere tourists should know some measures of safety, since they, as a rule, have big sums of money with them.
You should have cash enough to pay for taxi, dinner and night in a hotel. Even if you must be met and taken to the hotel where you have already reserved the room! Because you might face different circumstances and you must be ready to this.
Attention! The newer you notes the better! So pick them out carefully before the trip. There mustn’t be any ink or fat spots and small holes on them. They mustn’t be worn or slightly torn. Such notes can be exchanged only in the State bank at a lower rate.
Currency exchanges are large in number and everywhere. At the railway stations, airports and hotels the exchange rate is always less profitable. If you can pay the driver with currency, do so and exchange other money in the city.
On June 2004 the official exchange rate of dollar is: 1 dollar to 29.0218 rubles, euro – 35.0264.
2. Credit cards.
It is very convenient to carry money on a plastic card. In this case you avoid the problem of pickpockets. However you face the problem of providing safety to money on your account: danger increases if you check your account by Internet, or use cash dispensers and enter your key-code. What should you do to save your money?
- Before departure open a card special for travel. Put there the sum necessary for the trip. In this way you will not only save your basic money, but will not exceed the limits of planned budget. :)
- It is better to open a credit card, not debit. In case some payment is made from your card without your knowledge, you will be able to return money only from your credit card.
- Keep basic sums of money on the account, which has nothing to do with Internet. Check it only after coming back to your country.
- Always have the bank contacts with you. Write them somewhere, don’t rely on the information written on your plastic card. If you lose the plastic card, you will lose all the telephone numbers of the bank.
Following these simple rules, you can protect yourself from computer thieves.
3. Sending money.
However there is one more original way allowing you to avoid cash dispensers, customs and pickpockets at the railway stations. Just send money to yourself through some money transfer system like Western Union. (We gave detailed information about these systems in the previous newsletter). To do this, transfer money on your name to the city where you are planning the trip. You can make some transfers, so that not to carry a big sum of money with you but get it when necessary. If you are planning the trip to several towns, you can make transfers on your name to each town. In case some transferred money is left unused you can return it after coming back to your country.
4. Travel checks.
This way is popular in the world, but in Russia not so many banks have this service. That’s why carrying money in travel checks, don’t count fully on them, it is better to combine different ways.
Remember in Russia you CAN’T pay checks or in other ways, except rubles and plastic cards. You may pay dollars or euro to private persons (for instance taxi driver) if they agree, but in all official places it is forbidden.
So, follow these simple rules preparing for your trip. Have a nice journey!
I am 28 years old Russian female, working in dating field for almost 7 years and my specialty is dating articles for ChanceForlove Russian Dating Services