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Money in Russia

Im going to Russia in October. I have some Russian rubles but can i use US dollars? If i would have no problem using US money, i would being in some $1's, $5's and 10's. Would i have any problem with this. Thanks for your help.

Tom Cleveland, Ohio US

Posted by
19 posts

Yes, some say they will not accept us dollars in Russia.

Posted by
19 posts

Yes Norma, it was a serious question. Im sorry that it offended you. I will never post another question on this site again. Please forgive me.

Sorry Tom

Posted by
9106 posts

During by brief stay in St Petersburg the only foreign currency merchants, and taxi drivers would accept was Euros. Of course there are lots of currency exchange places in the city center that will gladly accept US Dollars if you need to exchange into rubles. They are unlikely to accept smaller bills; twenty and hundred dollars bills are preferred. ATMs are available as well.

Posted by
32238 posts

Tom,

I don't know how current this information is, but you might want to have a look at This Website as it provides a good overview. I'm considering taking Rick's tour to St. Petersburg in future, so it's been a useful source of reference.

I'm not sure I agree with the suggestion to use Traveler's Cheques, as they're somewhat a "relic of the past". However, in Russia it may be an option???

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
12040 posts

Any merchant who accepts US dollars likely sets the price at a fantastic mark-up. The same general advice applies in Russia as in the rest of Europe- get the currency from an ATM when you arrive. I've never had much trouble finding an ATM in Russia, even far off the usual tourist path.

Posted by
898 posts

I was in St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2009. I did not encounter any merchants/stores who advertised that they accept currencies other than Russian Rubles. If they did, I suspect you would get a terrible exchange rate. There were numerous Citibank offices and ATMs on Nevsky prospect and I had no problems withdrawing money from these ATMs.

Posted by
162 posts

There are many ATM machines. I was in Russia 4 years ago and had no problem getting rubles. Yes, some merchants will take US dollars but I expect at lousy rates of exchange. And my experience outside of the Euro zone but still within Europe, euros are used quite eagerly.

You can use your credit card as well at hotels, some restaurants and some shops.

I even got some rubles before I left from a currency exhange in Helsinki, just so I would have some rubles before I entered. But I didn't need to, because ATM machines are everywhere.

Posted by
668 posts

I was in St. Petersburg in June off a ship. 8 of us had arranged a private tour and I was the only one with Rubles. I exchanged $$ for rubles for several fellow travellers as the places we were at only took rubles.

Tom - not sure what prompted the first response, but do not let one bad post put you off. Most of us here are happy to contribute (and solicit) knowledge that we have.

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, Iain, I'll tell you what prompted the first response. I am the culprit. I was astonished that in this day and age, there are still some people who have a problem using "foreign" money when in a foreign country and would really prefer to use the familiar US dollar. However, I seem to have been the only respondent who found this bizarre. Next time I am in Cleveland I will try to use Canadian dollars.

Posted by
606 posts

"Norma: I seem to have been the only respondent who found this bizarre."

I also found it out of the ordinary, but withheld comment.

Posted by
8293 posts

Patrick, I guess I should try that, withholding comment, I mean.

Posted by
162 posts

I always use the local currency, but there are countries around the world where you might use US dollars or Euros.

In St Petersburg, some of the people selling gifts and other trinkets don't expect the cruise boat crowd to get Rubles, so they accept US dollars or Euros quite readily.
In Dubrovnik, you can spend euros in many places.
When I arrived in Sarajevo by bus from Belgrade this year, I didn't have have local Bosnian currency yet. The taxi driver didn't even quote a price in Bosnian convertable marks, he asked for euros, which I had.
In Africa, many countries are eager for US dollars or euros, but this is because their own currencies are so weak and devalue by the second. I tried to use local currency during my trip to Africa, but I took US dollars as a back-up because the ATM machines in many places in Africa are unreliable.

But when you spend dollars or euros in these countries your exchange rate will be poor, you will almost always spend more than if you were to use the local currency.

Parenthetically, while in Africa last year, many vendors didn't want our money, but our clothes and shoes, because if we give them money to pay for things they still can't buy good clothes or shoes because these are not available in Africa. I left my hiking boots and cargo pants when I left on my last day. Other people in the group left socks and shirts.

Posted by
668 posts

Patrick & Norma:

My response was based on Tom's reluctance to continue looking for answers in this forum which I found sad since all of us know it can provide a wealth of information. Wile many of us travel extensively, we must be aware that there are first time posters who do not have the experience we have, and treat their questions seriously. "There is no such thing as a stupid question if you do not know the answer". Believe me, my wife will attest to the fact that I am far from being a sensitive, compassionate person, but I was upset at Tom being turned off by your response, Norma.

Posted by
8293 posts

Ah, well, "you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din".