Check all necessary documents (including health insurance and passport) in advance.
If your kid has to take medications regularly, it is better to take them with you.
Most medications are allowed into the Russian Federation, and only some require a prescription. You should find out beforehand if your medication is on this list. It is advisable to know (or take note of) the names of the active ingredients in your medication, so that in force majeure such medication or at least its equivalent can be purchased at a pharmacy. It is not worthwhile to stuff your first-aid kit with antipyretics, analgesics and disinfectants at an industrial scale. You will be able to purchase all of these medications in Russia in any city pharmacy if necessary.
Pharmacies in large cities are open from 9 AM to 8 PM, and there are also 24 hour stores. You will not be left without a bandage or paracetamol. Even in smaller cities you will surely find a . In villages the situation with pharmacies is quite frustrating; it is advisable to take everything with you as a backup.
If your child falls ill, call your insurance company, and they will instruct you on what to do next. In case of emergency, dial 112 to call an ambulance.
Remember that Russia is a large country, and climate conditions in different regions vary substantially. If you are going on a trip, carefully study the weather forecast for the city (or cities) where you want to go, and pack your suitcase accordingly. But remember, the weather can change dramatically, so in summer it is worthwhile to bring along a light jacket or a raincoat, and to have a light sweater available. In winter the same light sweater can save your child from overheating if the temperature suddenly changes from -20 to +1 degrees centigrade. A warm winter jacket is absolutely necessary. When it is necessary, things like underpants, socks and t-shirts can be purchased in any large supermarket; you will find warm clothes in clothing stores, shopping centers, and supermarkets as mentioned above.
Remember that you can buy whatever you need in large cities without a problem, but if you decided to go to a remote location in some Oblast, it is better to take most important things with you.
When you look for a hotel, choose the one that is family-friendly; take note of possible discounts and special offers for guests with kids. There are hotels that will offer an additional bed in your room for an extra fee; some hotels offer free accommodation for kids under 16, and so on. Try to find a hotel that is as close as possible to the city’s center (or attractions that you would like to visit). Your child will be less tired.
Most restaurants and cafes have plenty of simple dishes familiar to your child, and fast food chain selections are only slightly different (with small adjustment to local tastes and preferences).
If your kid is still a baby and is formula fed, you should bring the formula with you, since stores may not have the one that your baby is accustomed to.
Save on tickets
Museums. If a museum doesn’t set a special price for foreigners, take a closer look at the price list. There are special offers for kids in many museums and free entrance for children under a certain age.
Train fares are the same both for Russians and foreigners; there are discounts for children up to 10 years old. A 5-year-old can travel with you free of charge, if he or she does not occupy a separate seat. But if you don’t like the idea of your offspring fidgeting on your knees during the journey, you can buy the mentioned children’s ticket (about 50% off the full price). It is best to acquire tickets in the ticket office. You can also buy tickets at railway stations or via the Internet, but it is easier to get a discount by buying tickets in the ticket offices.
In trains (including a long-distance "Lastochka") you will need a children's ticket for a child of 5-7 years (25-50% of the total cost), the full fare will be charged for tickets for kids over 7 years old. You will not be able to buy the children’s ticket at a ticket machine. You will need to show your kid in person to an unfriendly woman at the ticket window. If the cashier has doubts regarding the kid’s age, she can ask you to show the kid’s birth certificate or passport to attest to your claim.
You will need to pay the full fare for a child over 7 years old to use surface transport, while this is free for kids under 7 years old. You don’t need to pay for your stroller either.
Traveling with a baby. Nuances.
The best options for traveling with babies are a baby sling or a backpack kangaroo. Your hands are free, and your baby is always with you.
But if your baby weighs a little more than 3-4 kg, carrying him or her all day long can be a bit of a challenge, and there may be problems with having a stroller. Unfortunately, while the surface transport systems in most cities are adapted to the needs of the passengers with babies, in the metro you may face the following difficulties:
• Most stations are not equipped with an elevator; you will have to go down the escalator with a stroller, so take your baby out of it first. If you travel alone with you baby and you happen to have only one pair of hands for some reason, ask the people around you for help. Without question there will be somebody ready to hold your stroller while you carry your baby. It will sound more or less like this: "Pomoghite mne pozhaluysta» (Help me please!) or for those who are a little slower to catch on: «Pomoghite mne pozhaluysta podnyat '(spustit') kolyasku» (Please help me take the stroller downstairs (upstairs).
Most of the transitions between the lines are escalators or ordinary staircases. You will use the same technique there. Once you have estimated the stroller’s weight, play the part of the victim and plead for help, if people don’t offer their help first.
A huge number of passengers is a problem typical not only on the metro, but on any public transportation system during peak hours. You should avoid travelling with kids of any age from 8 to 11 AM and 6 to 10 PM.
If you need to change your baby's diaper, in most museums, exhibitions, and trade centers, as well as in railway stations there are special rooms for the purpose, and some cafes and restaurants have begun to mount changing tables in their women's restrooms. If you happened across a Children's Clinic (building with a blue sign plate like this, often surrounded by a fence, then confidently walk inside. There are plenty of changing tables. Despite all of the information above, finding a place to change diapers still remains a problem. Sometimes there is nothing left to do but to find the most suitable surface, finally change the diaper, and not give a damn.
Diapers, pacifiers, wet wipes, disposable sheets, baby formulas and bottles can be purchased in pharmacies, supermarkets and shopping centers. They will be more expensive in pharmacies.
In general, a baby of up to eight months is the best and quietest companion. Older children give you more headaches. But, as we know, there is no such thing as an unsolvable problem, while a journey to another country is a great gift for your kid.
Travel with kids! Such journeys will be a lot of fun and will be remembered for a lifetime!