Visa & Customs
For entering Russia you must obtain a Visa from the Russian embassy in your country. Visa regulations differ for every country. Every visitor has to fill out the customs declaration at the boarder. All valuables like cameras, jewelry , etc. have to be declared and the amount of money you carry with you has to be stated. So lots of musts and regulations. But after entering Russia you can expect a hassle free vacation.
It is not advisable to carry large sums of money with you, when entering Ukraine. Traveler checks are easy to change in most banks. Only Visa & MasterCard are generally accepted as credit cards. Be sure to have undamaged banknotes, otherwise exchange points will refuse your order. Changing money on the black market is not worth a risk. The courses are only slightly better, but the risk of getting forged money is much higher. In stores and restaurants you can only pay in the local currency. On the markets it is sometimes possible to pay with US-Dollars.
There are no special precautions to take before traveling to Russia. Renewing your general inoculation protection is not a mistake. Hospitals and health centers are mostly in terrible conditions and medical service is far from Western standards. Try avoiding them unless it is an emergency. Every medical treatment you must pay in cash. Putting together your own travel pharmacy is not necessary. Most pharmacies in Russia have a good quality selection of medicine. Making your wish understandable without knowledge of Russian is the bigger problem.
To the foreign visitor the security situation in Russia is no point of concern. Police and military are very present in most parts of the city. Generally spoken you should stick to common sense rules and always overview the situation, especially when alcohol is involved. Do not take any unofficial taxies at night, which are occupied with more people. Also watch out for theft in any crowded places like in trolley buses or on markets.
Telephone: Calling cards for international calls are available. It is also possible to call abroad from hotels and central post offices.
Dial: 8 - 10 - country code - local code (without zero) - number
Telegram: In central post offices.
Fax: Fax machines you can find in many hotels and central post offices.
Mail: Usually you buy the envelope with the stamp.
Internet : Many internet cafes with good transmission speed.
The trains are a good option for taking longer trips. Mostly with overnight trains. Always purchase the more expensive ticket for the Coupe, which you can buy in the so called "service center" at every train station. You can stop one of the numerous unofficial taxis simply by sticking out your hand. The price is to be negotiated in Ruble. In some cities so called Minibuses are another fast way of transport. If you take normal busses or trolleys more patience is required and you should not be afraid of any physical contact which is unavoidable.