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Old 06-23-2010, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 11,100,284 times
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I'd like some ideas and/or suggestions about what to take to Russia. Only going for 8 days - 4 in St. Pete and 4 in Moscow so I'll be taking a mix of clothes, basically a couple of pairs of sneakers and just regular personal items.

I'm not sure about what kind of adapter or converter or transformer I might need for the cell phone, the camera battery, my IPod and little odds & ends.

Do you know what I need and do you have ideas about what else I should not forget to take?

I really would like to know what to bring back too!
I've been looking at lacquered boxes and those very colorful scarfs, the matryoshkas.....anything else that's real typical and would be a great souvenir?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:08 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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You don't need a converter, just an adapter. You can buy those anywhere. I forgot mine last time I was traveling to Poland and purchased it for $3 at the airport, they always have them in stock. Target and Amazon also have them. Your cell phone, camera, laptop, iPod, etc. all have a built in converter, no need for an additional one.

Bring tons of cash, Moscow is very expensive. In fact, I think it's the most expensive European city to visit!

Matryoshkas are very popular in Eastern Europe, Russia particularly. You'll find them all over the place. Painted wooden Easter eggs are also very popular there. I get a postcard and local currency from every single country I visit, though with most European nations switching to the Euro, it's not so fun anymore! There are a ton of markets, similar to US flea markets, all over the place and they're usually the best place to purchase souvenirs. Have a fun trip!
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:50 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,654 posts, read 7,350,359 times
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From Russia bring back cheap cigarettes (you can sell them here at a huge profit), vodka--Russki Standart platinum is best and not available in the US, and cheap marketplace souvenirs.

No to the flowerdy scarves. They are archaic in Russia, and no one in the US will want them either--useless. Avoid the cheap crappy Russian amber jewelry like the plague. All of it absolute junk. Avoid all Russian jewelry made of 'silver', it's junk too.

Americans love the Fabrage egg knockoff pendants. Cheap in Russia and expensive everywhere else. They are beautiful. Buy them.

Matrushka dolls (the wooden nesting dolls) are wildly popular everywhere and available in Russia from cheap to expensive and in every imaginable color and kind. Buy them.

Any kind of painted wooden Russian chotchke are great. Carvings, boxes, statues, hair ornaments, key chains, napkin rings, whatever. Russians are gifted wood carvers and painters. This stuff is cheap and beautiful. Buy them.

In St. Petersburg, Lomonosov china, without a doubt. The factory is in St. Pete and there is a factory seconds outlet there, and you can find pieces on the street cheaply. Gorgeous china and crazy expensive outside of Russia.
Lomonosov china - Google Search

The paper mache laquer boxes are....meh. Beautiful, but fantastically overpriced even in Russia. A good one of small dimension is hard to find for anything under $100.00 USD (3,000 rubles). Not worth the money and an easy ripoff. Nevermind.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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My son has been to Russia two times at this time of year. The weather was unseasonably warm both times, you might keep that in mind. Of course, you might take some items that reflect your culture to share with someone from Russia, if you are going to be meeting some families or something. One thin that I read in the literature was that you shouldn't smile and grin at Russians when meeting them. They consider a person to be stupid if they are smiling all the time. How about that? Go to the opera too.
Have a good time.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 11,100,284 times
Reputation: 6942
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK802 View Post
You don't need a converter, just an adapter. You can buy those anywhere. I forgot mine last time I was traveling to Poland and purchased it for $3 at the airport, they always have them in stock. Target and Amazon also have them. Your cell phone, camera, laptop, iPod, etc. all have a built in converter, no need for an additional one.

Bring tons of cash, Moscow is very expensive. In fact, I think it's the most expensive European city to visit!

Matryoshkas are very popular in Eastern Europe, Russia particularly. You'll find them all over the place. Painted wooden Easter eggs are also very popular there. I get a postcard and local currency from every single country I visit, though with most European nations switching to the Euro, it's not so fun anymore! There are a ton of markets, similar to US flea markets, all over the place and they're usually the best place to purchase souvenirs. Have a fun trip!
Thanks Mak! I was worried about all my stuff going dead, especially the camera battery. I had forgotten about the eggs!
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:28 AM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 11,100,284 times
Reputation: 6942
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinynot View Post
My son has been to Russia two times at this time of year. The weather was unseasonably warm both times, you might keep that in mind. Of course, you might take some items that reflect your culture to share with someone from Russia, if you are going to be meeting some families or something. One thin that I read in the literature was that you shouldn't smile and grin at Russians when meeting them. They consider a person to be stupid if they are smiling all the time. How about that? Go to the opera too.
Have a good time.
I think I read something about that too somewhere. It's going to be hard to keep a straight face! I'm used to always smiling. It's a universal language. I guess I can look mad too without trying too hard.

I have been watching the weather forecasts on line. I think tomorrow was going to be 89 in St. Pete. That's very high. Hope it cools down a bit. I am taking "layers" but would hate to be carrying extra packaging when I'm moving around.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 11,100,284 times
Reputation: 6942
Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
From Russia bring back cheap cigarettes (you can sell them here at a huge profit), vodka--Russki Standart platinum is best and not available in the US, and cheap marketplace souvenirs.

No to the flowerdy scarves. They are archaic in Russia, and no one in the US will want them either--useless. Avoid the cheap crappy Russian amber jewelry like the plague. All of it absolute junk. Avoid all Russian jewelry made of 'silver', it's junk too.

Americans love the Fabrage egg knockoff pendants. Cheap in Russia and expensive everywhere else. They are beautiful. Buy them.

Matrushka dolls (the wooden nesting dolls) are wildly popular everywhere and available in Russia from cheap to expensive and in every imaginable color and kind. Buy them.

Any kind of painted wooden Russian chotchke are great. Carvings, boxes, statues, hair ornaments, key chains, napkin rings, whatever. Russians are gifted wood carvers and painters. This stuff is cheap and beautiful. Buy them.

In St. Petersburg, Lomonosov china, without a doubt. The factory is in St. Pete and there is a factory seconds outlet there, and you can find pieces on the street cheaply. Gorgeous china and crazy expensive outside of Russia.
Lomonosov china - Google Search

The paper mache laquer boxes are....meh. Beautiful, but fantastically overpriced even in Russia. A good one of small dimension is hard to find for anything under $100.00 USD (3,000 rubles). Not worth the money and an easy ripoff. Nevermind.
I made notes! What great ideas. I've read their vodka is the best but I didn't know what brand/kind to get. I don't really drink but I will "taste test" it and want to bring some home. Not sure how much customs will let me bring in.
Would you buy a whole set of china for say 8? or just maybe decorative pieces? Do they ship it home for you?
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,843 posts, read 55,009,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vpcats View Post
Not sure how much customs will let me bring in.
HowStuffWorks "How the U.S. Customs Service Works"
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 11,100,284 times
Reputation: 6942
Quote:
Originally Posted by sierraAZ View Post
Thanks Sierra. That was very helpful. I better drink all my vodka over there because it looks like I can't bring that much back.

I thought the exemption was higher but I am more used to coming back from the Caribbean. Europe's is pretty low. I'll have to stick to the flea market finds.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:12 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,654 posts, read 7,350,359 times
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You can bring back to the US duty free, 2 litres of liquor. Most vodka bottles in Russia will be a 1/2 litre, so that equals 4 bottles. If you exceed the duty free limit you still only have to pay the federal tax (not state tax) on anything in excess of the two litres. Federal tax is cheap.

Buy this: Russki Standart 'platinum'. Best vodka evah.

Sets of anything in Russia is usually a set of 6. Eight would be unusual.

I would advise you to avoid shipping ANYTHING home from Russia. If you bought something large-ish like a tea set of Lomonosov, Buy an extra little suitcase there to bring it home on the plane with you, or box it there and bring it home with you on the plane, paying the extra bag charge--whatever it is. This will be much much cheaper than shipping it, and it will be guaranteed to arrive in the US. Individuals shipping anything from Russia to anywhere else is a gamble as to whether or not you will ever see it again. Take_everything_home_with_you.

In both Moscow and St. Petersburg at the airport leaving for the US your luggage will be gone through with a fine tooth comb by the airline (if it is a direct Russia-to-US flight.) Anything packed will be unpacked. Everything will be examined. Not for customs tax purposes but just for 'security' and general harassment. So if you do have a box of china or something, be sure to bring along to the airport extra box tape, as you will have to unpack and repack everything at the departure gate.
Attached Thumbnails
Going to Russia.  What should I take, what do I bring back?-russkystandartbottles.jpg  

Last edited by azoria; 06-24-2010 at 09:28 PM..
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