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currency in St. Pete

After reading the forum on ATMs in Russia...would it be wise to get Rubles before we go?

Posted by
1605 posts

We didn't. .We just got cash from the ATM at the airport. We also used credit cards for our hotel. We had no trouble with either.

Posted by
6410 posts

yes; since you are now concerned it is wise to get Rubles before you go so you do not have to worry about that and just enjoy the trip; why risk putting your debit card in an ATM there. think of the little extra cost as insurance from what could happen if you use an ATM. But I would have no problem using a credit card which is not linked to your bank account.

Posted by
321 posts

Well, if you do believe that walking around with a sizeable wad of foreign cash in a foreign city is a good idea (I don't), then go for it.

The "little extra cost" stemming from withdrawing foreign cash in your local bank may actually be quite considerable.

In my experience, carrying large amounts of cash in urban Russia is simply unnecessary (unless you go to Crimea, which is another story).

Posted by
23 posts

Just to add a few details:
We will be arriving by boat, so not sure if there are atms at the port.
We will be in a group of about 20 fellow travelers.
US Bank only charges $17.00 for as much foreign currency you need.
There will be two of us, so $ are divided equally between us.
My main purchase (if I can find them) will be the stacking Babuska dolls.
First trip to Russia

Thank you for your replies.
Any other pearls of wisdom are welcome.

Barbara

Posted by
16757 posts

What you pay is not limited to the $17 fee. There's also likely to be a significant difference between the exchange rate you are given and the official exchange rate. That difference can be 5% or more.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you. I will make sure to take the days exchange rates when I visit the bank.

Posted by
6144 posts

They're formally called matryoshka dolls
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matryoshka_doll
I can't imagine you'll have problems finding them.

I personally wouldn't bother getting rubles ahead of time. There are ATMs all over the world, just make sure your bank knows where you're going and they have no issue with withdrawals in Russia.

Posted by
1605 posts

How long will you be in St. Petersburg? Will you be responsible for any meals? Are you planning to buy souvenir nesting dolls (ours cost less than $5 a set) or fancier ones? They can run $100 or more.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you for the correction.

We will be in St.Pete 2 days and will probably have to buy lunch +souveniers
I'm thinking with the current exchange rate a few hundred US dolllars worth of rubles will do, don't you think?

Posted by
2933 posts

With two days , a few hundred in USD might be a bit much , assuming you have notified your credit card provider in advance , your credit card will work just fine . I used mine all the time in St Petersburg and encountered no difficulty

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you all for your input. I appreciate it all.
Always a little nervous traveling to a new country, not knowing what to expect.
The forums are very helpful.