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Tips for Backpacking Through Russia

Tips for Backpacking Through Russia

By on August 21, 2018 in Kamexplore

Russia is the largest country on the planet. It spans for more than 6 million square miles and 11 times zones. Traveling in this country is a once in a lifetime experience that is definitely worth trying. Cost of living here is not high at all which means you won’t be required to go overboard. Backpacking is a great choice if you want to travel through the country, but there are some things you should know.

Visa Invitation

Getting a visa in Russia is quite hard and you will often need an invitation from a Russian in order to get one. If you intend to stay at a hotel, they will usually obtain one for you, but another great choice is to enroll as a volunteer at an NGO and they will manage all the paperwork for you. There is always the option of making an online friend there that will help you with this – but this can be a bit hazardous if the person isn’t trustworthy. You must be very careful with the date and time written on the invitation letter; don’t even stay an hour more than the deadline as this is illegal and you run the risk of being thrown in jail.

Budget and Preparation

Prepare a budget of about $20 a day and make sure that you exchange your money to rubles. Euros and dollars are illegal in Russia, so you will not be able to use them. Hotel accommodation can be as cheap as 10-20$ per night and there are other ways to get a good night’s sleep. A great method is to do couch surfing; there are many Russians that are happy to offer a couch for you and they tend to be very friendly.

Be careful with the food and drinks. Many remote areas have public drinking fountains, but visitors are encouraged to buy bottled water as checks for contamination at fountains are not common. There are fantastic places to eat but, again, choose your restaurants carefully. If you see that it looks shady or dirty or there are not many people inside, it is better to walk away and find somewhere else.

Travel

The easiest way to travel around Russia is by train, and the tickets are notoriously cheap. The night train with a sleeping wagon can be as low as 3$. This is a brilliant way to get a good night sleep and to travel long distances at the same time – think Agatha Christie’s orient express but on a shoestring. Booking a ticket in advance can save you quite a bit of money but, if you are in a rush, it is better to book on a Tuesday because there are national discounts.

You can also get off the train mid-way through the trip and your ticket will be still valid for another 10 days!

Russia has lots of museums and art exhibitions on offer that are free on certain days of the week. In the large cities buying a city pass grants you access to all the museums, saving you money.

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