What are the best currency exchange tips in Russia ?
The Russian currency is the ruble (R). A ruble divides into 100 kopecks. Its currency code is RUB.
You can easily exchange US dollars at banks and currency exchange, which are everywhere in St. Petersburg. However for other currencies (euros, Swiss francs, British pounds …) the exchange rates are less favorable.
These currency exchange places are open every day, sometimes even 24/24. In Moscow, they are spotted with their flashing signs that display the day's exchange rate.
Exchange rates are quite similar, but do compare different currency exchange. Also expect a commission, either directly or as a percentage, or also in the form of a less advantageous exchange rate.
Attention, the displayed rate is often slightly less good once inside. This exchange rate is valid if you exchange a certain amount, usually significant. Avoid exchanging in the metro. In any case, consider recounting your tickets. Some currency exchange offices accept Swiss francs and Canadian dollars. Watch out for old or damaged banknotes: they may be refused. Avoid exchanging currencies at the airport, where the rates are not interesting.
You can also easily withdraw cash with a Visa or MasterCard payment card at ATMs that can be found everywhere. However, the withdrawal fees are quite high, so avoid multiplying withdrawals.
Regarding payment cards, they are also accepted at most hotels (except hostels and cheap hotels), restaurants, and also more and more often in shops.
Avoid selling/buying on the blackmarket, even if the proposals may seem enticing, scams being frequent. Banks are open from 9:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, while some currency exchange offices remain open until 7 pm even on Saturdays.
Upon arrival, all cash must be indicated on the customs declaration.
Taxes and service are normally included in the prices of hotels and restaurants. It is customary to leave a tip to hotel luggage holders, restaurant waiters and taxi drivers.