Experience is the best teacher. We gathered tips from a number of people who visited the FSU that can help make your trip there a little easier. A few things that can make your trip easier and more fun:
Stay Safe and Comfortable
Let your bank know about your itinerary beforehand. Otherwise, they might freeze your credit or debit cards due to suspicious activity.
Make several copies of your passport, ID, itinerary and any other documents. Upload a copy to a program like DropBox and also give copies to your emergency contacts.
When you are out and about and see an opportunity to use a restroom, take advantage of it. There are not a lot of public restrooms, and there are fees to use many of them. Keep a small packet of toilet paper with you, as many public restrooms will not have any.
If the doors on the Metro are closing, keep clear. They do not have the safety measures that train doors in the US do, and will close even if someone is blocking them.
Be Aware of Cultural Differences
When you are in a church or other holy place, never put your hands in your pockets. It is considered disrespectful.
Also, modesty is required in churches. If you are traveling during warm weather, make sure that you are wearing long pants on days you visit churches.
Don’t be surprised if strangers don’t smile at you. While Americans tend to smile a lot, Russians are more reserved in this manner.
Make a Good Impression with Good Etiquette
Take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. You will be offered slippers to wear. (Occasionally, a host will tell you it’s unnecessary; however, you should always at least begin removing your footwear, as leaving shoes on is at the host’s preference.)
Hospitality is incredibly important in the FSU. Your host will almost always offer you food or drink. It is incredibly rude not to accept. Always leave behind a small portion of food so that your host knows that she has provided graciously for her guest.
Bring small gifts when visiting people. Chocolates, pastries and liquor are all good gifts to bring at dinner.
Flowers should always be given in an odd number. Even numbers are for funerals.