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Russian Prices versus Non-Russian Prices
There is clearly a two-tiered price system in Russia. Some of it is official. Some of it is unofficial. There is a lower price for Russians and another higher price for non-Russians, or foreigners, usually double or more the Russian price.
You will see this official two tiered price structure in museums and other national monuments. The two prices will be clearly marked Ė Russian citizens and foreigners.
If you speak Russian, or are with someone who speaks fluent Russian, you can get tickets at the lower price. However, there are docents throughout the museums looking for violators.
Also, if you want to take photographs or videos in the museums, you must pay extra.
In taxis or other places where services are offered, you will get a lower rate if you speak Russian. Your girl can probably negotiate a lower rate for you, but it will still be higher than the localís rate because they know you are a Westerner and can afford to pay more.
Bring an electricity converter with you to use with your electric items. Electricity in Russia uses 220 volts rather than 110 volts in North America. A three-pronged plug and a two pin thin European plug are common in Russia.
Your electricity conversion kit should consist of two parts: an electricity converter and a series of plug fittings. You need both. Donít get cheap with this. Buy a good set.
Think about how expensive it is to replace your portable computer or other appliances if they get damaged.
Russians donít wear shoes in the house due to inclement weather and dirty roads. You may be offered slippers when you get in the house. You can also bring your own if you want. Take your shoes off under any condition. Itís custom.
The Russian economy is a cash economy.
Except in some western hotels, credit cards are not common. Bring enough cash to make it through your entire trip.
Make sure all your bills are the new currency and not the old. Make sure there are no marks on the bills. Otherwise, they may not be accepted.
Carry lots of small bills. Twenties, tens, fives, and ones. Most places, except hotels and banks, do not have change for one hundred dollar bills and may not accept them.
In most CIS countries, it is against the law to use foreign currency to make payments to locals. However, US currency is widely accepted and desirable by locals.
Do not flash dollars in front of officials or make payments to others in dollars in front of them. Count your money in private. Put the cash in a hat or bag and hand it to them inconspicuously. Of course, the rule against paying in dollars is conveniently overlooked when officials are on the receiving end of the transaction.
About the Author: John has been married to a Russian women for over five years. He has travelled the path from finding her, to traveling to Russia, to bring his wife to America, and adjusting to married life. He will show you step by step how to do this yourself.