Responsible Travel in Russia: Tips and Tricks

Responsible Travel in Russia: Tips and Tricks

Responsible travel is considered the most enjoyable way to travel because it brings you closer to local people and their culture, and gives you a chance to experience the authenticity of the destination. At the same time, by travelling consciously, you will maximise the benefits of tourism by contributing to local communities’ economic and social development and environment preservation. Does it sound like worth trying? 🙂

What does responsible travel in Russia mean in practice:

BEFORE YOU GO
  • From the moment of planning your trip, open your mind to other cultures and tradition. Not only will it enrich your travel experience but you will also be more gladly welcomed by the local people.

  • Research on the destination you are travelling to. Russia is the biggest country in the world and definitely one of the most diverse ones, taking into consideration climate, nature, nations, languages, customs or even time zones.

  • Travel lightly and leave any excess packaging at home. It’s tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but do you really need items like the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush? It consumes space in your baggage and creates extra trash.

  • Consider reducing your footprint. You can do it by taking fewer but longer holidays, avoiding transfer flights and whenever possible, choosing transportation options which have minimal impact on the environment.

  • Learn a few words in Russian. It shows a willingness and effort that locals will appreciate.

DURING YOUR STAY
  • Remember that you are a guest in someone else’s country. Respect local people, law, culture and environmental resources. Keep in mind that faces, places and life style will be different in Moscow and in the far East, and so your behaviour should be adjusted.

  • Choose your accommodation wisely. Ask for lodges that have strong social and environmental practices. Pick locally-owned hostels and hotels or try to book a room in a private Russian house.

  • Hire local guides. People who actually live in the destination you are going to, have most accurate local knowledge and will share with you the most authentic and interesting stories about the place you are visiting.

  • Buy local products, helping to keep traditions alive and provide vital income to the local community. Bargaining for goods in Russia is not always an appropriate behaviour but if the price is negotiable, pay a fair wage.

  • Eat locally. You will experience regional cuisine, gain insight into the culture of the area and in the same time, you will support the local economy.

  • Tipping is a tricky issue, but as a general rule, tip when you are satisfied with the service. Before spending your money, better ask your guide for advice, especially that tipping rules in big Russian cities differ from the ones in remote areas.

  • Use public transport. Not only does it help reduce emissions, you are also more likely to come away with a much more interesting story to tell your friends when you arrive home. Because of Russia’s size, travelling inside the country plays a significant role. Taking typical Russian means of transportation, like overnight trains, elektrichkas and marshrutkas is a perfect opportunity to interact with locals and learn a lot about local culture!

  • Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or threaten endangered species. Do not take natural keepsakes, such as pieces of rocks, stones or indigenous flowers, when spending time outdoors.

  • Leave no trace. Avoid disturbing wildlife and damaging their natural habitats. Stick to designated tracks and trails. Don’t litter.

  • Use precious resources sparingly. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Use water and electricity as efficiently as possible. Turn off air conditioning when you leave the room, don’t expect your towels to be washed after one usage, try using reusable water containers and rechargeable batteries.

  • Be aware of people’s sensitivity to being photographed. Russians appreciate their privacy, so always ask first before taking a picture of them or their property.

  • Dress properly, bearing in mind local sensibilities, particularly when visiting a church or a mosque. Respect sacred and holy places.

  • Act as an example. Demonstrate responsible behaviour to other travellers who might be less informed than you.

  • Cultivate the habit of listening and observing and ask questions instead of making judgements. Make the most of small interactions with local people, on the street, in a shop and any other daily situation.

  • Smile. Your smile will always be welcomed and it’s the easiest way to lighten any situation and make new friends. Relax and enjoy your time in Russia!

AFTER YOU GO BACK HOME
  • Don’t keep your memories to yourself. Share pictures and experiences with your family and friends. Distribute tips on how they can travel responsibly, bringing positive impact to the environment and local communities.

  • Keep your promises. Send pictures and write to people you promised to contact. Such gestures mean a world to many people.

  • Explore more and consider giving back. If there is any issue or region that attracted your attention, try to stay involved and explore it more. Think about supporting local NGOs or conservation efforts.

  • Feedback – tell your operator and other service providers how they did and what can they do better. We at ExploRussia are striving to improve our performance, so your opinion is vital in helping us act on the issues and operate in a sustainable way.

Practice these tips during your responsible travel in Russia. Choose a trip from the existing tours or ask us to design atour tailored to your individual expectations.

ExploRussia wishes you extraordinary travel experiences!

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