Moscow

Hello, I will be traveling to Moscow in a few weeks and I was wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions with regards to currency. Is it best to use my Visa card for transactions? Should I get rubles prior to leaving the US? I see a lot of mention of using ATM's. Silly question, but will they not all be in Russian?
Also, does anyone have an idea of about how much per day I should plan to spend? We will be there for 5 days. Any help would be much appreciated!

Posted by Frances
San Diego
591 posts

When I was in Russia, I used ATM machines to get cash. I saw ATMs almost everywhere in the larger cities. I just made sure I had enough to last me on the days I was in the smaller villages. The ATM machines had the option of showing the display in English It was an American flag icon on some machines, and an British flag on other machines. I had no problems I am a budget traveler, and don't buy a lot of souvenirs. I planned about $30 per day and that was plenty for metro tickets, lunch, dinners at small cafes, admission to some sites. I did see that many places displayed the Visa and Mastercard symbols
on their store and cafe windows. So they accepted credit cards too.

Posted by James
Frisco
1801 posts

Frances, I admire you. Moscow is one of the world's most expensive cities. We spent 2 to 3 times that a few years back .... In January.

Posted by Jerry
Madison, WI, US
72 posts

Hi Renee - When I travel to Europe and the US for that matter I try to not use my credit card. I pay for everything in cash. I use only ATMs at banks and where I've seen someone else get money out of before me. Just returned from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro.....all machines have an English option. As for the money part....keep in mind you my never be back. Spend your money on entrance fees, walking tours, and such. The food costs can vary widely. Many of my favorite food experiences while traveling to Europe have been with street food vendors.....

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

Renee, have a great trip. im planning to go there next year so please post your findings. happy trails.

Posted by LaRae
spokane
472 posts

Oh yes please let us know how your trip goes. When in Europe I use ATMs or bring cash and always wear a money belt. I try not to use my cc card. My cc card does not cover fraud in foreign countries so I try not to use it. Have a great trip.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Doesn't cover foreign fraud??? What is it, a Piggly Wiggly card tied to S&H Green Stamps ? Surely you're no trying to use a Winn-Dixie card internationally?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1469 posts

You can use your Visa card in hotels and better restaurants, also in some stores. You don't have to get rubles prior to leaving US. ATMs are plentiful and also in the airports. They have English language option. How much to spend? Moscow is a surprisingly expensive city, especially hotels and restaurants. Public transport is cheap. Museums etc. are reasonable. Foreigners pay more than locals. Everybody's spending pattern is different. Try how long $100 (about three thousand rubles) will last and second time withdraw accordingly. Signs in Metro and elsewhere are only in Russian. Very little English spoken despite it being mandatory language in schools. It would be wise to hire a guide if you don't speak and read Russian. Also learn some cyrillic alphabet so you can travel independently by Metro.

Posted by Mary
Vancouver, WA
46 posts

We were in Moscow a month ago. A guide for one day (so very worth every dollar) and rest of trip managed fairly well on our own except for Metro. Getting to Metro station was no problem. The problem was in figuring which direction you need to go as everything is in Cyrillic and none of our maps showed the stations in Cyrillic. The prior posting has good advice. We asked for help by pointing to our Metro map and then indicate which side of the platform we needed to use. We quickly learned to ask someone under age of 25. Help was much more forthcoming from someone young.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

Following up on Mary's reply, if you are going to Moscow and will not have a tour guide for every minute of your time there (i.e., will be doing any touring on your own), you should learn the Cyrillic alphabet. It's not too hard; I used the book Teach Yourself The Cyrillic Alphabet, which broke it down into letters that are the same as English, letters that look the same but are pronounced differently, etc. Once you know the alphabet, you can navigate the Metro by the first few letters of each stop; you don't have to know the whole name or how to pronounce it (although, of course, that helps too). I just saw the date of Renee's original post, so she's probably already taken her trip, but this may help someone else.