Traveling to Russia isn’t all that dangerous, but you might want to be aware of some things that no foreigner should ever do in the capital of this country. Here are five of some of the most important pieces of advice we can give you.
Don’t take unregistered cabs
In general, it’s unwise to get in a taxi that doesn’t seem to be registered. When they see you’re a stranger, taxi drivers will usually ask you to pay more. Whether you have the money to pay for it or not, you shouldn’t accept that.
Instead, get an Uber. Although you might wait longer for one, it’s certainly worth it. You can also ask someone that knows some Russian to call you a taxi, and that way, it’s safer. Even more important, don’t take a taxi from the ones waiting right outside the airport. Just walk past them and ignore their “cheap” fares and new cars.
Don’t go out alone without knowing Cyrillic
One major aspect that tourists need to consider when visiting Moscow is knowing Cyrillic or at least understanding the alphabet. Fortunately, learning it is a lot easier than it first seems and it will certainly be rewarding.
Although Moscow tries to be friendly to English speakers by introducing more and more signs in English, you will need to learn how to read their alphabet so you can have a clue of what’s going on around you. Bring a friend that knows some Russian with you or at least try to learn enough so you can read all the names of the stations where you want to get off.
Probably one of the most important things to avoid, whether you’re just visiting Moscow or you’re a local, is to question the authorities. Everyone that has a bit of power, from the person that lets you into a club to the immigration officer, will exercise his or her authority without question.
If they tell you to do something, especially the police, although it might not be correct or you might think otherwise, it is advisable to do as they say, or you will face more serious consequences. Going against what they say is, unfortunately, useless.
You shouldn’t assume it’s always cold
Russia is not as cold as you might think. Moscow at least. You should always find out how the time will be there before leaving your home, and while in Moscow, also check the weather for each day.
Russians are used to this, and you should get accustomed to it, too – the weather there can change quite quickly. One day, you might need to wear a fur coat to protect you from the blizzard and on the next one, you might need to wear sunglasses because it’s too bright outside.
Depending on what period of the year you’re going there, keep in mind that there are four seasons in Moscow and each of them is quite different. Summers can get very hot, so make sure you pack some thin clothes with you.
Don’t go out for nightlife too early
Americans tend to have the problem that they go out too early, expecting the clubs to be full of people. And that doesn’t really happen in Moscow until midnight. You can begin your evening with a dinner around 9 PM and then you will have plenty of time to ease your way into the night.
There are some places that serve as restaurants during the day and clubs at night. So you won’t even have to change the location. Between 10 PM and 12 AM is the worst time to go out because nobody really turns up in the clubs at that time. The real party starts around 2 AM, so Moscow works pretty much like Spain in this aspect.
Nightlife can go on until the sun goes up in the morning. But you should know that wherever you go, whatever club you choose, you should be dressed as well as possible. Some clubs won’t even accept you in if you’re not in your best attire.