Add to favorite
 
123
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS
russian visa


Russian Markets 6 Shopping Tips for Foreigners
October 26, 2012 13:20


Boris Kustodiev, Russian Fair (1906)

by Daniela Baker

Shopping in Russia may be a whole different ballgame from shopping in other areas of the world. The people of Russia are, like most of the rest of the world, addicted to many name brands. They’ll drop lots of money when they shop for high-quality clothes, and they all like to stay on top of the latest fashions.

But as a foreigner, you may not be shopping in Russia for a great pair of jeans. You can probably buy those cheaper at home. Instead, you’re probably looking for Russian-themed souvenirs, or maybe you’re just checking out the local store for lunch. Whether you’re shopping at the open market or at a brick-and-mortar store, your experience in Russia may be a little different that you’re used to. Here’s what you should know:

1. Be prepared for the shopping procedures
Interestingly enough, you shop from behind a counter in many, many stores in Russia – even grocery stores and book stores. If you’re used to being able to pick up and examine wares firsthand before you buy, you might have to let go of that expectation in many Russian stores. Instead, you decide what you want, and the person behind the counter will get it for you. Then, you’ll pay a cashier separately for the things you bought. This is fairly common in small and large stores in Russia, though Americanized restaurants and stores will operate much like the ones you’re used to.

2. Bring your own bags
At almost all stores and markets in Russia, you’re expected to bring your own bags. So get a few canvas bags to take grocery or souvenir shopping with you, or you may have to walk away with very full hands. If you didn’t bring any bags with you, you can probably buy some from the local market.

3. Avoid the tourist market 

The local yarmarka may be authentic – unless it’s in a very touristy area of town. If you’re in a touristy area, you’ll find lots of typical Russian items – fur hats and nesting dolls and whatnot – for ridiculously high prices. These wares are usually much lower quality than what you’ll find at regular stores, as well. But some of the yarmarkas are actually quite authentic, and they can be a good place to find a bargain, since the vendors compete against one another to win customers.

4. Be ready to search 
If you’re looking for something specific in a Russian store, you may not find it where you’d expect. Though department stores are a little more predictable, some of the smaller local stores will change out their wares often. One Russian visitor commented that the local butcher had all beef one day and all pork the next. So you should either be content to buy what’s already there, or be ready to search for while for something specific that you might want.

5. Follow the locals 
The best way to get good deals on traditional Russian wares, particularly things like vodka, is to follow the locals. You can always ask where the locals go for this or that particular item, and then take their advice. Stores frequented by locals rather than tourists are more likely to have genuine items for sale that are also more affordable.

6. Look at specific stores for the real thing 

There are plenty of places to shop in Russia where you can probably find better souvenirs than you’ll get at the so-called tourist market. For instance, you can check out factory stores – production line stores that sell to the general public – art salons, and military supply stores to find genuine, affordable souvenirs from your time in Russia. The popular travel site Lonely Planet suggest checking out Moscow’s Ministerstvo Podarkov, a network of artists’ cooperatives where you can find excellent handmade items with a particularly Russian flare.

As far as money goes, most stores and even some smaller vendors will take credit cards for payment (check out this comparison table for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees -- be sure you alert your credit card company to the fact that you’ll be shopping in Russia), and they will all take rubles, the local currency.

When shopping in Russia, you may have to overcome a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how and where to spend money for the best souvenirs to take home. But, again, don’t be afraid to talk to locals. They’re often the best resources to help you figure out where to get exactly what you want.

Daniela Baker


Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: shopping in Russia Russian markets and fairs Russia Travel Tips guest authors  

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Train Tours from St. Petersburg Primorye: Zov Tigra (Call of the Tiger) National Park Equestrian Tourism in Russia Nature Wonders of the Murmansk Region Russian North: Lake Onega









Comment on our site


RSS   twitter      submit



TAGS:
Russian Cinema  Rhinoceroses  Russian scientists  Krasnoyarsk Krai  Artemy Lebedev  CSKA Moscow   Murmansk Region  Amursk  International space station  Sberbank of Russia  Cinemas in Russia  Nathan Altman  Museums of Russia  Claimation  St. Petersburg  airport transfer in Russia  Tram Monument  Vandalism  Arts and Crafts  Boris Nemtsov  Alexander Griboyedov  Buzz Barometer  Life Saving  Russia 360  domestication of animals  Cossacs  wine producers in Russia  Russian tourism  accident  Yekaterinburg Transfer  Russian sports  Russian science  Exhibitions in Moscow  Moscow planetarium  Pussy Riot  SPIEF  Russian National Parks  Theatre Festivals  Tourism Tax  Concerts in Saint Petersburg  Astashov  Russian economy  Russia Travel Tips  Moscow  Moscow Theatres  economic crisis  Russian business  Gennady Rozhdestvensky  Crimea  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia 


Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites