Q: Peter, we will be traveling to Russia this summer. What is the best way to handle currency exchange in Russia? We have been advised to carry a great deal of cash, and we would prefer not to.
Rural Hall, N.C.
A: There are plenty of ATMs in Russia, including at the airport. You'll need to have some rubles with you when you travel in Russia, but just enough for backup in case something goes wrong upon arrival. In general, ATMs are a good choice. As a rule of thumb, remember that teller machines in airports and hotels often tack on additional fees.
You may also want to carry some dollars or euros with you. Many Russians prefer to save and use these currencies since the ruble tends to be unstable. That's why you'll see many shops displaying prices in dollars and euros alongside the price in rubles. You can always do a quick calculation, decide which currency is the cheapest, and pay accordingly.
Credit cards are growing in popularity but are not ubiquitous. You may not find too many places that accept them outside of major hotels and restaurants in large cities.