What to Pack For Your Business Trip to Russia

Traveling to Russia involves a high level of planning and preparation, even if you’re only swinging through Moscow for a weekend conference.  What you bring with you can mean the difference between a successful business trip and a highly frustrating waste of time.  Here are some must-haves for your suitcase as you prepare to travel to one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

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The right visa.  Rules and border control in Russia are constantly changing, so never assume that you’ll be able to get in on a tourist visa, especially if you’re American.  Speak with your sponsors and host company to ensure that all your paperwork is in order and you won’t be stopped in Moscow customs.

Cash.  Take a safe amount of rubles with you.  If you’re traveling to Moscow or St. Petersburg, things can get expensive and many places don’t accept western credit cards.  Bank machines can be scarce and charge exorbitant fees.  Plus, it’s always good to have extra cash on hand in case you need to bribe someone.

A mobile phone with roaming.  The last thing you want to do is show up at the airport and be unable to contact anybody.  While airport officials at Domodedovo or Sheremetyevo International Airport will offer you as much help as they can, your best bet is to directly contact your hotel or host company if you get lost.

Appropriate clothing.  The weather in Russia gets very extreme depending on the time of the year.  If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to bring a heavy coat and well-insulated boots, as well as a change of clothes—the streets in Moscow tend to get very slushy, and cars will think nothing of drenching you in a wave of ice-water and mud.  In the summer, temperatures can get very hot so bring a lightweight suit and breathable change of clothes.

Image 10A gift for your host.  Russia has a very strong culture of gift-giving, and whether you’re staying at a hotel or in someone’s home, it’s likely you’ll find yourself surprised by a very thoughtful welcoming gift.  Make sure you have something in return.  Books are always appreciated, as are cultural mementos or special foods from your country.

Business cards.  They’re essential in Russian business dealings, and you’ll find yourself exchanging them with everyone—to be caught without them will be deemed unprofessional.  Try to have a set made with your English details on one side and a translation in Cyrillic on the other.

Camera.  No matter where in Russia you find yourself and for how long, you’re bound to run into some amazing sights and experiences –the Kremlin, Red Square, and Mount Elbrus for starters. Take a camera to preserve them for posterity.

A Russian-English dictionary.  Without a doubt, having a dictionary will improve your time spent both in the boardroom and sightseeing.  In addition to personal benefit, it improves diplomacy if you can demonstrate that you can speak some of your colleagues’ native tongue.  Send us an inquiry about lessons, or check out our free online Russian language level test and see how good your Russian is.

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