As you all already know the 2018 FIFA World Cup would be taking place in Russia. In such events that occur every four years people tend to attend them without taking into consideration the cost for their accommodation, their flights and other very important aspects of their trip. Their excitement and anxiety to watch the best players and international teams of the world does not allow them to get prepared well ahead, for this reason I’ve managed to gather some information (tips) that will ensure your visit to Russia to be safe and memorable. Enroll to your country’s government travel advisory where travel warnings are published for possible tensions and anti-Western sentiment in Russia ahead of the World Cup. You have to monitor the situation closely and keep up to date with news and travel alerts. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid protests and commenting on the political situation in general. Russia Visa Requirements & World Cup FAN ID – When you will be traveling to various cities in Russia, you must always carry your passport as police will conduct random checks. Since you will be travelling for the World Cup your FAN ID is not just your entry into game venues, it’s also your visa into Russia. All travelers with FAN IDs can use it to enter and exit Russia on multiple occasions, along with other valid identification recognized by Russian authorities. The FAN ID is valid for 10 days prior to the start of the first World Cup match and 10 days after the final World Cup match. In case you plan to stay for more than that, you will need to apply for a visa. Money in Russia – The local currency in Russia is the Ruble (RUB), it’s illegal to pay for general transactions in Russia using any other cash but the Ruble. Buy Rubles before you travel to Russia as you will be getting a better rate anyway. If you’re planning to exchange once you get to Russia, you should only use US dollars or euros, and only change at reputable foreign exchange outlets located in hotels or banks. Don’t change money via street vendors as it’s illegal. Public transport is free for all spectators for the World Cup carrying a FAN ID. Most Russian cities have a number of transport options, with bigger urban centers like Moscow and St Petersburg also having a metro. Public transport in the major Russian cities is easy to use, cheap and runs frequently. Always use a licensed taxi rather than walking alone where possible especially at night. Discrimination & Racism in Russia – Russia has an issue with discrimination and racism especially if you are LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) and/or are of Asian or African descent. There have been cases of violence towards LGBTI people including torture and murder. Despite this, Moscow and St Petersburg have a lively gay and lesbian scene. Asian and African visitors have reported instances of harassment and assault, mostly carried out by neo-Nazi types. Despite this, there are many expat Asians and Africans living, working and studying in Russia. Russian Petty Crime & Scams – Petty criminals can be found in Russia as well therefore, keep your valuables close to you at all times and be aware of your surroundings especially in crowds and while on public transport. Be cautious of authorities asking to see your papers or ID. There are criminals who’ll pose as police in an attempt to extort money from you while holding your items in exchange to ransom. Always ask for identification before handing over anything. Digital Safety
- Identity theft and fraud are common crimes against travelers, keep your information and devices safe from nosy eyes and hackers:
- Make sure all your devices have the latest software and security updates. Turn off any file sharing.
- Avoid using public WiFi where possible. Avoid accessing online banking on public WiFi.
- Turn off the WiFi signal to your phone when not in use; same appl
- ies with Bluetooth.
- Make sure your device has its tracking app on and the wipe all data setting on as well. In the event it gets stolen, you may be able to see where it is and erase everything from it
- Use strong passwords and/or biometric (fingerprint) protect your devices. Saves a thief gaining instant access to your information.
- Act like a SPY and get a ‘burner’ phone you don’t care about with you, that way if it is stolen your information is safe on your main phone back home.