How to carry Cash and Other Travel Questions
I read on this site that you need cash in Russia. Do you have any tips on finer points?
It's a bit unnerving for me due to lack of experience, and knowing I have a lot of cash on me in Russia for the first time.
So; Do you recommend any particulars, like a given pocket to use? Do you just use a wallet for example or are you using a method and other item for secure carrying of the cash?
Also do you feel I may raise any unwanted attention if I only have a carry on bag, and no suitcase? It crossed my mind and I do not wish for anyone to dump out or go thru my carry on. As it will be packed tight.
Any idea what I may expect? Especially thru customs and clearing myself smoothly in and thru Moscow, and continuing airports? I have not left my own state in ten years, and have never been farther than Canada from N.C.
Thanks as I'm a newbie on travel completely. And she and I may leave Stavropol and vacation in Romania for 2-3 days. If we do I have to clear back into Russia x 2 in 1 trip.
Things have changed a little since I first wrote that you need to pay for everything with cash. The last several times I was there a lot more places took credit cards. But the advice still holds. EVERY place takes cash, and there is no currency conversion fee as there is when you use a credit card.
THAT BEING SAID, you still need to bring cash. During travel (i.e. from U.S. to Russia) I always carried all my cash in one of those under-the-garment pouches.
Google "Lewis N. Clark RFID Waist Stash". I would link to a site, but if I did the link address could change and break the link. It looks like a flat version of a fanny pack. You wear it inside the waistband of your pants. During the trip I put all my cash there except for that which I would need to spend during the trip.
ALSO, in order to simplify customs, make sure to not bring so much that you will need to return with more than $3000 (you can bring in more than $3000, just make sure that by the time you are leaving it's down to $3000 or under). Customs agents can stop you and ask to see your cash, and if it's over $3000 it could become complicated. No one ever asked to see my cash for my two trips to Russia, but I have been searched TWICE in Ukraine (both times I was cleared).
Once in Russia/Ukraine I always left my money (except for what I needed each day) in my hotel/apartment (well hidden). Of course you could still carry it in your under-garment pouch if you didn't feel like you could find a safe place to leave it.
I don't think the lack of a checked bag would arouse attention, but airport security and/or customs randomly search carry on bags. Just do your best to pack in a way that would best enable you to repack if needed. I don't know any way to minimize chances of a search.
I don't know for sure this really makes a difference, but one thing I've always done is to place the most "interesting" things (things that customs and/or security would most want to see) right on top such that it is the first thing they see if they open the bag.