Getting into Russia can be a complex process, so always seek official information from a Russian Embassy (to the UK rusemb.org.uk) or your home government travel bureau.
Generally speaking former Soviet nations and several Latin American and Asian nations do not need a visa, but certainly all Western nations will require a visa.
Official Europe wide rail passes can be obtained through Rail Europe
More details are to come in this section, but you can read about general advice regarding Getting Around When You Get There
Russia has a wide variety of hostels and you should never have any problem finding one.
The average price of a hostel is 600 to 1200 RUB (€10-20) a night.
All hostels in Russia will provide linen and bathroom facilities. Usually there will be cooking and internet facilities as well as common and laundry rooms.
Food And Health
The standard of food safety and hygiene is questionable in some places. Use your instincts; if the place looks dirty, don't eat there; if your food isn't piping hot, don't eat it. There are many places to eat out cheaply, if you do not wish to cook.
Water is generally not safe to drink - always buy bottled or boil.
Medical facilities are good, but make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
Some countries (such as The UK) have reciprocal health care agreements, find out more from your government travel bureau.
Always contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Visit here for Recommended Vaccinations and read here for more about Travelling Health In General
Weather & Time To Go
Russia is generally a cold country, so try to visit in the summer months. Most inhabited zones of European Russia have a continental climate, so summers are warm. Year round temperatures for 65% of Russia do not rise above zero, but most of these areas are uninhabited.
Internet and wifi is widespread and accessible in most hostels. Local pay-as-you-go SIM cards for your mobile phone and international calling cards are cheaply available.
Dangers And Considerations
Travel to some areas of Russia is advised against, so check with your government travel bureau.
You must carry your original passport at all times.
Thieves, pickpockets and scam artists commonly operate in tourist areas and on public transport networks and stations. Pickpockets often work in gangs, some distracting you while the others go into your bags, so be alert and try not to get distracted around tourist attractions and cash points. Avoid openly carrying expensive items, or anything that might easily identify you as a tourist.
Racially motivated attacks can occur in Russia, if you are of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent you should take extra care.
If caught in possession of even small quantities of drugs, you should expect imprisonment.
Photographing any military establishment or site of strategic importance (including airports) is banned.
Protests are common, you should avoid all public gatherings and mass demonstrations, as they can sometimes turn violent.
It is illegal to pay directly for general transactions with dollars or Euros.
Seek specialist advice if travelling to wild or Arctic regions.
Dangers constantly change. Always check with your foreign office (British Foreign Office webpage) or travel advice bureau for the latest information regarding your destinations safety.
Avoid topics involving politics, foreign relations, WW2 and the Soviet Union.
Homosexuality is legal in Russia, but there is still a degree of intolerance among some sections of the population.
Smiling at a stranger may make them self-conscious.
It is polite to share food on public transport.
Russian's are proud of their language, so try to learn key words and the phrase "do you speak English?" - they may ignore you if you ask them in English, even if they do speak it.
You May Also Like To Read
10 Reasons To Go To Eastern Europe
The cost of food and drink will barely dent your budget, and bus and rail transport is incredibly cheap.
Recommended For Further Information
Europe On A Shoestring: Lonely Planet
If you are heading to multiple destinations in Europe I highly recommend picking up a copy of Lonely Planet's; Europe On A Shoestring. It provides the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, what hidden discoveries await you, where to stay, and how to optimise your budget for an extended continental trip...
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