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Old 11.07.2011, 11:36
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Traveling to Russia - how do we get currency?

So I have searched the forum about obtaining foreign currency, but need a little more advice.....

We will be traveling from St Petersburg to Budapest at the end of August. Because of the nature of the trip we will be needing to take a chunk of cash.

EFers seem to recommend getting the money out from an ATM when we arrive in Russia......but given that we would need a large quantity at once, I am not sure this is wise (want to avoid one of those situations were there is no discreet way of accessing your moneybelt!!), and prefer to look as little like a clueless tourist as possible. We are seasoned travellers, but have never had to worry about getting our hands on any other currency since we have been living on this side of the world.

So, does anyone know the situation on arrival at St Petersburg Airport and how one might go about getting cash - or whether we might be able to obtain some before we go??

Any other tips for the trip welcome.

Thanks!!
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:12
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Re: Traveling to Russia - how do we get currency?

I did the exchange CHF-RUB at Geneva Airport before boarding and than found lots of small exchange offices around St. Petersburg with same or near same (slightly better, or it appeared to me) rate as the one at GVA.

There are lots of ATMs in bank's lobbies (just like in CH) so you'd be OK to withdraw money. Or exchanging EUR or CHF there too. I did the exchange EUR-RUB and CHF-RUB there plus withdrawn with VISA, I remember the exchange was exacly or almost the same, but never checked the fees for the VISA withdrawal.

Obviously not as safe as CH but no need to worry, don't show huge amounts of money on the street and don't wear too colorful shirts/clothes, you will be the only one there

Learn few words to ask questions or tell yes or no as you will find that almost nobody speaks English (even at airports, customs officers, passport control). Take a dictionary if you want to eat in traditional restaurants.

Leningrad is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been, enjoy your trip.
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:25
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Re: Traveling to Russia - how do we get currency?

Thanks so much V__!! (looks like the "Thanks" button is disabled on these off-topic threads)

Great advice, and exactly the info I was looking for
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:07
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Re: Traveling to Russia - how do we get currency?

Glad I could help!

I just went through the exchange bills from GVA and some exchange office on Nevsky Prospekt and apart the 5 CHF fee at GVA I can't see any difference in the rate. So, if you feel more secure to get RUB in CH you will pay 5 CHF more per transaction, the rate seems to be exactly the same (same, as it is fluctuating every day in marginal numbers).

If you want to buy some Russian spirits get them either in a supermarket or at the airport lounge/duty free and not on Aeroflot planes, they are much more expensive.

And don't forget to be careful when crossing the street, if it is green for pedestrians doesn't really mean you can go without looking on both sides!
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