ONCE I GOT THERE, HOW DO I GET AROUND?
Russia is the largest country in the world, and as a result, inter-city travel can eat up a lot of your time while there. Here’s some advice for how to make the most of your trip to Russia:
WHY NOT FLY?
If you’re traveling to multiple cities that are far apart and you have limited time, flying is probably your best bet. In-country flights in Russia tend to be pretty cheap, and we recommend Aeroflot as a safe and reliable airline, one of Europe’s top 10 airlines, according to a 2017 report.
Russia has an extremely reliable system of overnight passenger trains that crisscross the country. Most of the places you want to go in Russia, you can get to by train. If you’re not going very far (like from St. Petersburg to Moscow, for example), then an overnight train can be a great option. You don’t waste valuable sightseeing time by traveling, since you’re doing your traveling overnight as you sleep. Also, Russian trains are a unique cultural experience. Don’t be surprised if your Russian bunk-mate invites you to have tea with them or to share their breakfast.
Taxis are readily available and affordable in Russia. You can flag a taxi on the side of a road or use an app like Uber or Yandex (the Russian equivalent of Uber). Most drivers will not speak English though, and there is no guarantee that the driver will drive safely or have seatbelts in his car. As a result, we recommend booking your taxi travel through a tour company that can ensure you have a safe driver with a reliable car (you can even specifically request a driver who speaks English).
If you want to truly travel like the “natives”, you could take a local bus. This is by far the cheapest way to travel, but also the slowest and least comfortable (i.e. no AC in the summer). If you decide to go by bus, have a Russian friend or a tour company help you figure out the bus schedule and location, as they can be pretty confusing for foreigners.
Overall, there are multiple options for travel in Russia. Public transportation is readily available and well-developed, which makes Russia a wonderful place to tour.