but if yet what's up everybody I hope you guys have enjoyed the rush of travel series I wanted to add just one more video in order to give you guys some details some background and some travel logistics to help you if you ever wanted to travel to Russia yourself and after a month of traveling across the country I can say without reservation I would highly recommend it and I'll preface this video like I do with my other travel guide resources and that is by telling you that all the information and details and perspectives that I'll share with you are based entirely on my own first-hand experiences and encounters we didn't see the entire country there's parts of the north south east and west and in the middle that I've still yet to discover and we'll talk about hopefully accomplishing that and future trips later on in the video and truthfully Russia is perhaps the country I knew least about before visiting for the first time what's the name of this show Courtney what's the name of this is epic ANCA is epic ANCA what's the name of this one Maria I get it typically I don't do a ton of research before I arrive to a new place I love having that authentic first-hand experiences and the lessons that you learn from being there and speaking with the locals so I go in on purpose with a blank slate but Russia was on a whole nother level embarrassingly enough my knowledge of Russia before this trip came from the media came from movies it came from documentaries and I'm happy to say now that it completely blew me away [Music] [Music] first my first quick tip is actually the sponsor of this video and that is Norton VPN whenever I'm traveling whether it's on the trans-siberian railroad or in a hostel somewhere in st.
Petersburg I always use a VPN to protect myself against any cyber criminals basically if you're using public Wi-Fi even if it's password protected you still want to use a VPN this is in Russia this is at my home in San Diego anywhere I use a VPN when I'm out in public and Norton is very simple to use on your laptop or cell phone basically you just go in to your cell phone's app store you go ahead and download Norton VPN and when it's all downloaded you simply turn on VPN and you are then protected from cyber criminals a very smart thing to do when you're traveling in Russia or anywhere in the world for that matter so big thank you to Norton VPN for watching my back while I'm on the road as well as sponsoring this video all right let's keep moving [Music] and that leads us right into the expectations versus the reality of travelling in Russia as I mentioned at the beginning of this video my knowledge of this place before arriving was very limited so the only thing I had to go on was just these terrible misconceptions based on the news based on movies I thought the skies were going to be grey and people were going to be trying to hack my internet all the time and everyone was gonna be drinking vodka and shooting guns and it's a terrible misconception I mean the cities were young and vibrant with incredible architecture smiling faces people dancing sunny skies and cobblestone streets and really good food much better food than I thought and everyone the vast majority of Russian citizens are far beyond what we paint them in the media they're regular people who want the same things as we do we want love and security and comfort and if I could give you one thing to take away from this video in this series as a whole that is more often than not a people of a country are not defined by the politics by the stereotypes by the media in which it is portrayed we met wonderful people along the way and friends that I'll have for a lifetime we did it now let's go back to the beginning and talk about how I got into Russia in the first place with the visa process and this is specifically for American citizens just because this is what I know best there's more information that I'll leave in the video description right below so that you guys can check out how to get a rush of visa for your country but the caveat is for a Russian visa you need an invitation into the country but that isn't as hard as you might think any tour operator or visa agency can provide this for you for example spoilt robot the company that we went with with y RL they were the ones who invited us we had forms that we can give to our visa agency in order to get processed to get the Russian visa and once you have the invitation from the tour operator or visa agency if you want to go independently then you have two options you physically go into a consulate a Russian consulate and go through the paperwork or two you can go with that same visa agency to have them apply for the visa for you and that's actually what I did here in California what's up guys big day today Oh baby go on into this unsuspecting office building in hopes of getting my rush of Iza so I applied paid a little bit extra money and had the visa agency go through all the paperwork for me you get that your invitation from the tour operator or they get an invitation for you and then you send off all of your information to be processed by the Russian consulate now a side note to this I actually needed my passport to travel to Shikoku Japan during the time frame on which I was applying for the visa so when you apply for a visa remotely you have to send your passport in so they can put the visa directly in your passport and for me I needed that passport so I actually applied for a second passport but you can actually as an American citizen you can hold two passports in special situations and this was one of them so I got a second passport mailed to me [Music] then sent the first Passport off to get processed by the Russian consulate to get my visa and then got that back while I was traveling in Japan with my second passport it's a process but once you get that nailed down it's very easy and as far as physically getting into the country I originally arrived in Moscow and then transferred to st.
Petersburg and I had no problems it was a breeze like I was getting into any other country as long as you have your visa your passports up-to-date and you have proof of exit you should have no problems I made it I'm officially in Russia I've no idea what to expect this is day one in Russia let's go explore alright next up is a popular question from you guys on Instagram and that is group vs.
individual travel and while I would usually say solo travel is the way to go and it's what I've been doing for the past 10 years in this situation in this country I would actually recommend group travel and let me tell you why it has nothing to do with the safety of traveling throughout Russia but everything to do with the ability to communicate with local people which is my primary reason for traveling and why I love travel as it is is the ability to converse with locals and gain information and perspectives and thankfully for us we had yara with us the entire trip and he was able to translate and communicate to people and we could hold deeper conversations along the journey with locals in every area around the country now if you just want to go through the motions across the country and travel and see the sights and eat the food you will have no problem but the truth is for us being able to communicate on a local level is paramount so it really depends on what you want and if you want to have a deeper understanding and a deeper connection you'll need a translator for the most part now that doesn't mean you have to do a big tour a big group trip like we did with zwei Atropa you could hire a translator for the day and Moscow or st.
Petersburg and they can take you around but to have someone who knows the language when English speaking is very limited it is very highly recommended and that leads us directly into the big question which is is Russia safe to travel – and let me tell you very directly very straightforward based on my own experience absolutely yes we had zero incidents over the course of 25 days if you want to know how safe Russia is mike is walking in downtown kazan right now with his camera and his cell phone and i have my big camera just out in the open so his Russia's safe this is day five and it has been it's been very safe Mike would you agree Russia safe to travel no it's just so far nobody trying to harass us rob us scam us we felt very safe granted we were a group of four large Caucasian men traveling with one person who spoke Russian so you have to take that with a grain of salt but at the same time throughout the country we met a ton of people couples young people older people that were traveling on their own especially in between Moscow and st.
Petersburg and then uh lon Oh Dada Vladivostok those were perhaps the most popular tourist areas that we came across but truly across the country we met other travelers who were on their own and we saw no safety issues throughout our trip I mean besides of course self-inflicted safety issues like walking through tall grass during vipera season on your way out to an old army barracks besides that I felt very safe throughout the trip we were very careful with our valuables especially in hostels and on the train and we always stayed together at night and if you do just these two things I guarantee you can avoid 80% of issues while you're traveling not just in Russia but anywhere in the world now I will say we did not meet many solo foreign female travelers outside the big cities of st.
Petersburg and Moscow while we're traveling not a whole lot on the train especially through the oral mountains in Siberia now based on the information we were given by locals and also our first hand I think it's very safe to travel in Russia as a female but especially on the trains in these confined spaces and these remote areas like we were in I would be extra cautious and I would always bring someone with you or at least have someone around who speaks Russian and that's even for me as a grown adult male I also think for females it's even more important to have someone who speaks a local language around or that you trust so you can get yourself out of difficult situations if they arise now on a side note people on Instagram asked me this as well and that is are there many people of color in Russia and do they discriminate against different races and to be very honest with you I didn't see many there wasn't many african-americans at any point along the trip we did not see a ton of diversity in regards to people of color other than when we got to the Far East and we saw more Mongolian people more Asian descendants of that nature but very rarely did I see African Americans or people of color so be aware of that I'm not going to say that they're racist or not racist based on that information because we simply did not see many so if you are a person of color or from a different race and you want to travel in Russia just understand that you will definitely stand out and in regards to the LGBT community let me just say Russia is still a very conservative country and perhaps st.
Petersburg is the most progressive place for the LGBT community which is interesting considering it is the cultural and historical capital of the country so just be aware of those things as well and another frequent question that I received throughout this series is are Russian people friendly to foreigners and tourists and to be very honest the people that we met casually in passing so in restaurants or on the street or any simple conversation that we tried to have they were not incredibly friendly right off the bat I wouldn't put them in the same category as Filipinos who are the most friendly outgoing people that I've met while traveling but I would put them in more of a category like Argentines which can be a little bit closed off and they stay amongst themselves until you've earned their trust essentially and I completely respect this now of course younger people probably thirty years and younger were very curious to what we were doing there and we had great conversations with people that we met in passing who were younger it was more of older people that were a little bit reserved about what we were doing luckily yarrow with local translation could get into conversations and that would open them up and once they were open it was amazing it just took some time for them to warm up but once they did they were very open and curious about what we were doing they asked questions they didn't discriminate that I was from America or Canada or Spain or wherever else we were from and especially me being from the US everybody had lots of questions and it wasn't judgmental questions not in the sense where I'd go to Germany or the UK and sometimes like oh you're American it was real honest genuine curiosity about my opinions and views on the world and really what I thought about Russia and as far as the people that we did know or spend more time with that yarrow set us up with along the way from our contacts in Kazan to our camping buddies all the way into Buryatia and everybody in between it was so warming so friendly so inviting and thankfully because of yarrow and be able to translate we were able to develop real relationships and for the people that spoke English it was instant and we had such an amazing time with these down-to-earth genuinely amazing people so to answer the question I would say it just takes a little time to earn trust and respect and once they feel comfortable they will open up and it is well worth it they're incredible people and if you can learn a few Russian words along the way like spasibo or but if yet or even the lie and finale something that just shows that you're making an effort it goes a long way and this is new cool good good good good good good this is blood sausage and this is Miata this is Miata this is our first course now a side note to this when you are saying cheers in Russian you do not say nostrovia nobody in russia says nostrovia I don't know where I got that it came from a movie or something but I'm sorry nostrovia is not used we were told later that could be Polish and there's other words that you can use instead of nostrovia to say cheers and russian so don't say that what do I say nostrovia no I think you can say have a nice meal okay but yet my patita react room well I'm gonna have to work on that one for Yas nama Appetit that now let's talk about the costs and financial details of traveling through Russia and generally speaking I would put it on par or a little bit less than traveling throughout Canada a little bit less expensive than traveling through the United States right now the Russian ruble is sixty three to one US dollar and of course as always big cities like Moscow and st.
Petersburg will always be more expensive to give you an idea a hotel room in Moscow right now is about 90 US dollars on average a hostel is about 20 US dollars on average the average lunch in Moscow is about five to seven US dollars and the average dinner is about twenty US dollars and the average cost of a beer in Moscow is about five US dollars and as far as train ticket pricing for one leg let's say from Moscow to Kazan the cost for first classes between 80 and 90 US dollars second class thirty five to forty five dollars and third class about twenty five US dollars that's for one leg let's say from Moscow to Kazan but the prices go up the closer it gets just like airline flights and if you try to book last minute they often sell out so be aware of that and then just like in most countries around the world and big cities credit and debit cards are easily accepted but if you get to smaller villages the outskirts of the cities you'll want to start carrying more cash and in regards to purchasing train tickets the cheapest place to do it is a site called RZ d dot r u– or you can book it directly through your tour operator like SOI Atropa whoo all right those are the big topics that I wanted to cover in this video if you guys have any additional questions leave them in the comments of this video of myself or local Russians watching this with more information we'll be happy to help you I guarantee it if not send me a DM on Instagram or send me an email I'm happy to help and if I can't answer your question I send them directly to Yara of sway Atropa and he helps me with everything and before I sign out I want to finish with one quick rapid-fire round of questions and this is what I like to do at the end of each Travel Guide video questions from you guys on Instagram I have them written down here and I'll just run through them to finish off this Russia Travel Guide number one where would I live if I lived in Russia and my answer is Kazan I love that city the people are beautiful it's very close to the nature the city itself seems warm and welcoming very cool spot that's where I live the second question is what's a must-try food in Russia for me it was borscht and boosie's honestly Russian food was so much better than I expected in my opinion it's one of the most underrated food destinations that I've been to and the third question is what is your least favorite food from Russia and that is definitely the groundhog I know this isn't a Russian dish but man that groundhog that was that was tough next question my favorite hike and that was definitely the stole bean National Park absolutely beautiful and the final rapid-fire question st.
Petersburg first Moscow this was tough I almost wasn't going to answer this because it's very hard I love both of these cities they were incredible I guess I would give this slight edge to st.
Petersburg just because the history the culture the architecture I loved going through the different canals so I'd give the edge st.
Petersburg but you really can't go wrong with either of these Moscow is also an incredible city but that is if you guys have any other questions about Russia please leave them in the comments below if you liked the video if it was helpful give it a thumbs up as always subscribe hit that notifications bell thank you guys so much make sure you stay tuned for season 2 of travel deeper Russia coming very soon alright see you guys.