Tips for Travelling

Let’s face it, over the years travelling has become more of a hassle. Many people use this as an excuse to not travel. Do not be one of these people! Travelling is a wonderful experience, but you need to know your stuff before you leave. So here, I’m going to give you a few tips on travelling overseas for all you first time fliers and even some veterans. To give a hypothetical situation, I’ll say we’re travelling to Russia. Why? Because I’m the one writing this and I can do that.

This is what most people hate. Flying is so complicated now due to all the security, it sometimes might not seem worth the effort. The easy solution to this hassle is the pack smart. Pack the essentials such as clothes and buy other things when you arrive such as shampoo and soap.

Something you must do: Sleep on the plane! No matter how tired you are, you must sleep or you will be exhausted when you arrive. In the case of Moscow, Russia, they are eight hours ahead of us, so if you travel from this location (Pittsburgh, PA) you will be tired and disoriented when you arrive. Trust me on this one.

If nothing else, know the money system! In most of Europe, the Euro is used as currency. However, since we are metaphorically travelling to Russia, we’re going to use the Russian Ruble. One US Dollar is equal to about 29 Russian Rubles. Not to mention the Kopek, One Hundred of which equals one Russian Ruble. One of my teachers went to London and tipped a guy with this coin that had a gold dot in the center; he thought it was about the equivalent of a quarter so he put down about a dozen or so. Turns out they were worth five dollars each, so he lost about fifty dollars. True story, know your money.
However, you can just use traveler’s checks or a MasterCard. Whatever floats your boat.
Lodging + Cuisine
This is mainly preference, so you have to do a lot of your own research. Just know that living in a four star hotel and eating out every night will cost a lot. However, you can manage. Since we are in Moscow, we want to stay close to the Red Square, a great center of Moscow. So, for only $146 or 5,500 Rubles a night, the Danilovskaya Hotel is a great place to stay and is also a two minute drive from Red Square. Now what about eating out? I suggest the Bosco Cafe, located just inside the Red Square. With each dish at around $17 or 500 Rubles, you can have a fantastic vacation, and keep some money in your wallet. And after all, isn’t that why you’re reading this?

Anything Else?
So, should you know anything else before leaving on your amazing vacation? Probably, but you won’t go research it right now, so I’ll provide some lovely, Russian related, examples.

Take smiling in America for example. We do it because we’re happy or we find something funny. However, in Russia, if you smiled at someone on the street, they would think you’re stupid and foolish. This could also be why people see Russian’s as cold and stoic. Smiles in Russia are given as approval, and therefore not commonly given. I smile a lot, so I would find this difficult. Other various examples include the thumbs up in America as being a sign of “Good Job” while in Russia it is the equivalent of the middle finger here.

Essentially, don’t point or gesture towards a Russian unless you know what you’re doing.

Another thing is language. As Americans, we’re lucky in the sense that most European countries speak English to some degree. However, in Russia, only about 5% of the people or about six million speak English fluently, and nine million speak broken English. However, you should not be intimidated as more than half of the signs in Moscow are in English, and many Russians take it as a compliment if you at least attempt to speak their language.

So now you know some things about travelling, or at least about travelling to Russia. If you ever get the chance, you need to travel. You should do your own research about the country you would like to travel to, as these are just some bare facts. I hope this article has helped in some way, and may have increased your view of Mother Russia!

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