travel tips ► FOREIGNER PRICES
Double Pricing System
In Soviet times, there used to be different prices for foreigners and locals all over the place. For plane and train tickets, hotel rooms, theater tickets, boat trips, museum entrance fees, etc. It was really annoying. The Russians were paying 5 dollars for a plane ticket and the foreigners were paying $100. Today, most of this system has crumbled. Hotel, air and train tickets are currently the same price whether you are a foreigner or a local. However, the system is still in place for the majority of museums and theaters. Foreigners should expect to pay much more for these entrance fees vs. locals. For a very good theater performance, the local price might be equivalent to $12 for a good ticket while the foreigner price could be $80. You can try to cheat the system and pay local prices by having Russian friends purchase the tickets for you and then by keeping your mouth shut when you enter the theater or museum. However, the babushka ticket police are becoming more vigilant and are really getting good at spotting foreigners. If they do so, they will throw you out of the place or demand that you pay the foreigner price. So, if you feel worried about this, it is best to purchase the official foreigner ticket. This is especially true for the very best and most popular theaters and museums (Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Hermitage, etc.). But, you could also have some fun playing Russian and sneaking in incognito! If you have a special document that states that you study or permanently live in Russia, you should be able to get the local price.