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    Moscow Transfer Service   What to pack.

     The days of having to bring your own bottled water and toilet paper have gone long time ago, although you may still find them useful in regional cities. Now it is possible to easily find basic food, bottled water and toiletry items in many places around Moscow. However, the following are items some tourists prefer to bring for themselves. 
    1. Bring your own toiletries and pharmaceuticals. Although there are many stores carrying western medicines, you may not be able to read the Russian or European labels. 
    2. Comfortable, waterproof and warm, (if winter) boots or shoes. It is frequently wet in Moscow from snow or rain, and you will probably walk a lot. 
    3. Umbrella. 
    4. Adapter for small appliances like hair dryers. Russia has the same 220 watt currency as Europe and electrical sockets take round two prong plugs. 
    5. Travel alarm clock. 
    6. All phone numbers and addresses you will need. 
    7. Enough cash for your entire stay. Bring clean, crisp, new bills. 
    8. Travel money holder/conceiler. Pickpocketing is not uncommon, especially in the center of town and incrowded markets. 
    9. Photocopy of passport and visa. 
    10. Warm hat, coat, clothes and gloves in winter. 
    11. Camera and film, of course. 
    12. Leave your expensive jewelry at home. You don't need to be conspicuous. 
    13. Locks for your luggage. Make sure to secure all your baggage with heavy locks. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Money

    Currency: Rouble (Rub) = 100 kopeks. Notes are in denominations of Rub 500, 100, 50, 10. Coins are in denominations of Rub 5, 2 and 1.

    50 rubles 500 rubles
    10 rubles 100 rubles
    Currency exchange: The ruble is the only legal tender. It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars. According to the Rusian law foreign currency should only be exchanged at official bureaux. Bureaux de change are numerous and easy to locate. Large shops offer their own exchange facilities. You may see many individuals there who would offer you better exchange rate. Please, be careful and under no circumstances exchange money from them. It is advisable not to change large amount of money at a time unless you really need a lot of Roubles. Exchange rate is unpredictable and may change very fast even during one day. All dollar bills must be recent and clean. The Russians are all concerned about getting stuck with an outdated bill that will no longer be honoured, even though this is also a violation of currency laws. 
    Contact us to get more info on today's best exchange rate quotes. 

    more about money...

    Moscow Transfer Service   Credit cards

      Major European and international credit cards, including American Express, Visa and Diners Club, are accepted in the larger hotels and at foreign currency shops and restaurants. 

      Some ATM'S in Moscow are now accepting EC cards together with your PIN number - if you want to get roubles. Compared to most other possibilities of getting roubles, this is a cheap (compared to credit cards) and time saving (compared to travellers cheques) method. Depending on the Russian bank that maintains the cash machine, you may be charged a 1% - 4% commission fee, on top of what your credit card charges.

    Moscow Transfer Service   Travellers Cheques 

     Are a big hassle in Russia. Very few places take them and you pay a premium to cash them. If you're not willing to go all cash, credit cards are much better. AMEX traveler's checks may be cashed at the American Express office at Sadovaya Kudrinskaya 21a in the center of town. Expect to pay a 3% commission for cashing the checks. Selected Russian banks will also cash them for a fee. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Banking hours

    0900 am - 0500 pm Monday to Friday. Some of bureaux de exchange are open 24 hours. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Public Holidays

    Jan 1 - New Year,
    Jan 7 - Russian Christmas (Orthodox), 
    Mar 8 - International women’s Day, 
    Apr 15 - Russian Orthodox Easter, 
    May 1-2 - Spring and Labour Day, 
    May 9 - Victory in Europe Day, 
    Jun 12 - Russian Independence Day, 
    Aug 22 - National Flag Day, 
    Nov 7 Constitution Day. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Calling home? 

     Calling abroad from ALL Russian hotels is a rip-off. For example, to call USA would cost you about US$ 5 per minute, Australia - US$ 8 per minute. To make sure you pay your phone bill most of the hotels require a deposit of a quite a large amount of money or your credit card information. Without it you won't be able to dial an outside line. There is a solution, however. In our office you can obtain pre-paid phone cards of a few Russian telephone companies (US$ 5, US$ 10, US$ 20, US$ 25 and US$ 50) and call from your hotel or home for as low as 25 cents a minute to the USA and Europe. All you need is a touch-tone phone. Some of the hotels in Moscow and in St.-Petersburg and almost all hotels in all other cities in Russia do not have touch-tone phones. But you still be able to use those cards if before you leave home you buy a bipper (cost about US$ 5 in the USA). With the bipper all you have to do is to dial a number shown on the card and then use the bipper to enter your access code and destination phone number. Please, contact us for more information.  

    To call USA from Moscow for as low as 13.5 cents a minute you can use Net Phone Card. Follow this link to check it out. Or just click on the Net Phone Card banner on our first (entrance) page to go there. You can also use it to call from anywhere to anywhere.

    Moscow Transfer Service   Computer equipment

     The State Customs Committee has stated that there are no restrictions on bringing laptop computers into the Russian Federation for personal use. The software, however, can be inspected upon departure; and some  equipment and software have been confiscated because of the data contained in them, or due to software encryption, which is standard in many programs. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   HIV Testing Requirement

      Any person applying for a visa for a stay of more than three months must present a certificate showing that the individual is HIV negative. The certificate must contain the applicant's passport data, proposed length of stay in Russia, blood test results for HIV infection, including date of the test, signature of the doctor conducting the test, medical examination results, diagnostic series, and seal of the hospital/medical organization. The certificate must be in both Russian and English and valid for three months from the date of medical examination and blood test. For information concerning entry, exit, and HIV requirements, travelers can contact the Russian Embassy, Consular Division, 1825 Phelps Place, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008; telephone (202) 939-8918, or the Russian consulates in New York, San Francisco or Seattle. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Medical facilites

      Medical care is usually far below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies. Access to the few quality facilities that exist in major cities usually requires cash payment at Western rates upon admission. The U.S. Embassy and consulates maintain lists of such facilities and English-speaking doctors. Many resident Americans travel to the West for virtually all of their medical needs; such travel can be very expensive, if undertaken under emergency conditions. Therefore, travelers may wish to check their insurance coverage and consider supplemental coverage for medical evacuation. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk. The cost of a medical evacuation from the Russian Far East can be as high as $50,000. It is helpful to carry a letter, in Russian, from your health care provider, describing the nature of any personal medication that you carry into Russia. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline (404) 332-4559, or via the CDC home page on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov/. 

    Bring with you all prescription drugs. Tap water is not to be drunk without first boiling. A good mosquito repellant is recommended for summer. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Areas of instability

     Travel to Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, and the areas surrounding Chechnya is extremely dangerous due to political instability and frequent kidnappings. Two U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain unaccounted for. In addition, public gatherings and demonstrations occur frequently in Russia, particularly in Moscow. Although such demonstrations are usually peaceful, travelers are urged to exercise caution when in areas where large groups are gathered. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Passports and visas

      Carry them with you at all times. When you are out walking and you see some motley looking guys with black leather caps and jackets with dark gray uniforms, these are the police. They listen for English language being spoken and they will love it if they stop you and you are without your passport and visa. If you don't have your visa and passport, they will escort you to the nearest jail and try their best at expropriating whatever funds they think they can get out of you. Usually, the fine (bribe) is $50 and there won't be anything we can do for you to get you out of it. If the cops haul you in and you do have your visa and passport, call us immediately and we will rescue you. Your visas, if registered through us, will be in perfect order. Don't pay them anything if, once again, you have your visa and passport in your possession. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Air travel

      Air travel within Russia is often unreliable, with unpredictable schedules and difficult conditions, including deterioration of the quality of service. Russian based airlines certified to operate internationally meet higher standards than domestic-only air carriers and fly to most domestic destinations. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Traffic safety and road condition

      Inclement weather and lack of routine maintenance of roads and vehicles make road conditions throughout Russia highly variable. Drivers and pedestrians should exercise extreme caution to avoid accidents, which 
    are commonplace. Many accidents involve drunk drivers. Traffic police sometimes stop motorists to extract cash "fines," and bandits occasionally prey on travelers. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Crime information

      Crime against foreigners is a problem, especially in major cities. Pickpocketings, assaults, and robberies can occur frequently and at any time or place. The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, restaurants, hotel rooms, and residences, even when locked or occupied. Groups of children are known to assault and rob foreigners on city streets or underground walkways. Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Travelers have found it safer to travel in groups organized by reputable tour agencies. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you receive a replacement for your lost or stolen U.S. passport in Russia, your exit visa must also be replaced, with assistance from your sponsor, so that the passport number written on the visa matches your new passport. This requires a Russian police report. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad. Additional information on the region can be found in the brochure "Tips for Travelers to Russia and the Newly Independent States." Both publications are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402. 

    Crime Against Foreign Businesses: Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Organized criminal groups target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money under threat of serious violence. Many Western firms hire security services which have improved their overall security, although this is no guarantee. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Over the past several years, several American business people have been attacked, kidnapped, and even killed. U.S. citizens are encouraged to report all extortion attempts to the Russian authorities and to inform consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate.In general, when staying in Moscow avoid walking through dark, unknown, deserted streets in the evening; check your pockets and purses, while walking along the crowded streets, do the same in big stores and market places. The crowded public places (i.e. close to railway terminals, Arbat, etc.) are full of Gypsies (people, mainly women, wearing pictures skirts and shawls), who may tell you your fortune by hand, playing cards, etc. Of course, not all of them are thieves or pickpockets, try to get rid of them as soon as possible. When visiting somebody don't get into lift cabin with persons you don't know. It is also advisable to have a telephone number of your tourist agency or a close friend, whom you may always call in case of need or emergency. 

    Moscow Transfer Service   Embassy location & registration

     All American citizens who reside in Russia for three months or longer are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy or at one of the U.S. consulates. Americans who will remain for shorter periods may also register and inquire about updated travel and security information. Registration allows for quicker replacement of a lost or stolen passport, as well as contact in case of emergency. 

    The U.S. Embassy is located in Moscow at Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23; phone (7)(095) 252-2451; fax (7) (095) 956-4261. After hours emergencies: phone (7-095) 956-4422. 

    U.S. consulates are located in: 
    St. Petersburg: Ulitsa Furshtadskaya 15; phone (7-812) 275-1701; fax (7-812) 110-7022. After hours emergencies: phone (7-812) 274-8692. 
    Vladivostok: Ulitsa Pushkinskaya 32, phone (7-4232) 268-458 or 300-070; fax (7-4232) 300-091. After hours emergencies: (7) (4232) 471-644 and (7) (4232) 287-290. 
    Yekaterinburg: Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor; phone (7-3432) 564-619; fax (7-3432) 564-515.

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