The official language is Russian, but English, French and German are also spoken.

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Russia’s official currency is the ruble, which breaks down into 100 kopeks. Large hotels and places catering to foreign tourists usually accept credit cards. You can change money at hotels, banks and currency exchange booths. If you need to take traveler’s checks, bring them in US dollars or euros, but they will be difficult and expensive to cash. Major cities have plenty of ATMs, and it’s hard to find rubles outside of the country. Change your cash when you arrive.

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Russia’s international country code is 7. To call another country from Russia, dial 810 followed by the appropriate country code. You can make local and international calls from public phones, which take phone cards that can be purchased at post offices and newspaper kiosks. The street phones will be much cheaper than phone booths in major hotels and airports. Most major cities and towns have Internet cafes.

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Restaurants often add a service charge to the bill; otherwise you should tip 10 percent. The same goes for hotels in large cities. It’s common to tip in bars and nightclubs.

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Some parts of Russia, like Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and the eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krai are very volatile. Travelers should not venture to these areas, and should learn about the latest security updates before traveling. Moscow and North Caucasus have a high risk of domestic terrorism.

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It’s a good idea to get vaccinated for typhoid fever, tetanus-diphtheria and hepatitis A. Carry medications for travelers’ diarrhea and use only bottled or treated water for drinking and brushing teeth. Medical facilities have low standards and you will want full health insurance coverage, should you need care.

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Russia’s electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz and uses round, two-pinned plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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