Travelling to Russia? Wondering what to take with you? Then here are some suggestions. Needless to say, it depends to a large extent where you’re going, and when, but hopefully you’ll find the following information useful…
A good windproof jacket (in summer, a light one; in winter, a down jacket). Russian weather can be cold, wet and windy, even in summer, so it’s no wonder the Russian fur coat is so popular.
1 or 2 sweaters offering varying degrees of warmth. Multilayering is the secret here, giving you the flexibility to match what you wear to the outside temperature. Even in the summer, it’s worth taking a thin sweater: summer nights are cool, even after a hot day.
Good-quality, comfortable and ideally waterproof footwear. Distances in Russian cities can be quite considerable, and with so much to see, walking still remains one of the best ways to explore your surroundings.
Scarf, hat and gloves in winter, head gear in summer. In winter, a warm hat will help you avoid catching a chill in severe cold weather, with a scarf to protect your throat. In summer, the sun can shine all day, and given the small amount of shade on city streets, you need to protect yourself from sunstroke with a cap or summer hat.
Nice clothes for the theatre, expensive restaurants or night clubs. In Russia, people tend to dress smartly when going out, and night clubs often take you based on what you’re wearing.
Phrase book, dictionary or special phone translator-app. Most signs are in Russian only, and foreign languages are only spoken by the local population in big cities, so it’s best to take a pocket phrase book and dictionary with you.
A scarf to cover your head in church (for women). When entering a Russian church, a woman should have her head covered and be modestly dressed. The scarf should be big enough to completely cover the hair on your head and back.
Umbrella or raincoat (except in winter).
Belt pouch for your money. Generally speaking, cash is king in Russia, so you should make sure it’s kept safe.
Insect repellent (summer). Midges can be a headache in many parts of the country. Insect repellent is especially important when travelling to Siberia.
Sun remedies (summer). Despite Russia being considered a cold country, in summer, in the big cities of the Central region and the south, it gets very hot – up to 35 degrees Celsius. It’s best not to burn!
Adapter sockets. Russian sockets are European, with 2 round holes, though in some places you’ll still find old versions with two narrower holes. You can buy the required adapter before travelling, or if you need one on arrival in Russia, try a hardware store.
Wet wipes. In summer, they can be used to freshen face and hands in the heat, while in autumn, you can use them to quickly remove spray from trousers.
Of course, these are just the basics, but hopefully they’ll be of some help in drawing up your list of essentials for your next trip to Russia!