Given Russia’s extraordinary size, diverse landscape and climate, presenting packing lists for this country will need to be broken down on many levels. For a large part, the ultimate female packing list to Russia (in summer) will rely on the destinations within Russia, as well as the activities one plans to pursue.
For this packing list, we will assume that you are the typical female traveler doing some sightseeing in the major cities and then perhaps taking the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian train across the country. There will be no visit to Siberia involved in this packing list.
The area around St. Petersburg is quite northerly and therefore has a cooler temperature in the summer, just reaching an average high in the 70s (Fahrenheit). Nights here will be in the 50s, so it will feel chilly. Moscow also has cool summer weather with average highs around the 70s with a bit more precipitation than at other times of the year.
1 Tank top – For the mid-day heat.
2 T-shirts – Casual and great for layering.
2 Long-sleeve shirts – One t-shirt, one nicer. Great for layering.
1 Fleece vest – Perfect for keeping the core warm on chilly nights.
1 Skirt – Or, an infinity skirt or dress.
1 Convertible pants – Can be shorts or pants, or sometimes capris.
1 Yoga pants – Can be worn when sleeping, on train or when exercising.
1 Leggings – Can be worn for warmth under skirt or pants.
5-6 Undies – Have you tried the Exofficio?
2-3 Bras – 1 Sport for more active days.
5-6 socks – This depends on the shoes you plan to wear. 3 pairs work for when planning to wear Chacos most of the time.
Swimsuit – For diving into Lake Baikal.
Pack towel – A condensed form of a towel that’s great for travel.
Sarong – Can be used for swimsuit wrap or as a decorative scarf.
Walking shoes – You’ll stick out sorely in Russia where women love high heels, but your feet won’t hurt at least.
Chacos – Great for walking long distances.
Shower flip flops – For the grimy showers.
(High heels – If you want to fit in.)
Read more about choosing the right shoes for your RTW >>
Shampoo/Conditioner – Travel-sized bottles work best.
Soap – I usually start off with a half-bar of soap.
Toothbrush/Paste – A fold-up toothbrush is great.
Deodorant – Avoid aerosols.
Razor – One with multiple blades works well for the ladies.
Make-up or Beauty cream – This varies by traveler.
Sunblock – Even just a small travel tube is better than none.
Brush – A collapsible, foldable kind is best.
Hair ties – Can be used to tie greasy hair back while on the train, or to close food packages and more.
Washing items – Detergent, clothes line, sink plug for hand-washing on the road.
Diva cup – Or your preferred form of menstrual cup.
Condoms – You never know.
Motion-sickness pills – Gravol is great for sleep and sickness involved with travel.
Prescriptions – These vary by traveler.
Protection from Elements:
Sleep sack – Great for sleeping in grimy hostel beds or when using bedding on the train.
Rain gear – Either a pocket-sized umbrella or a poncho.
Sunglasses – It may not be sweltering hot, but it may be sunny.
Ziplock bags – For toiletries, food and other small bits.
Waterproof bags – Great for electronics or documents you want to stay dry.
Laptop: If you can handle being without it, then that’s probably better… but it does make life more interesting.
IPhone – Topped up with female travel apps.
Chargers – So important.
Adapter – A universal adapter would be a smart move.
Money belt – For storing important things under your clothes.
Padlock – For hostel lockers, etc.
Guide book – They’re helpful especially in places like Russia where asking for help is difficult.
Language book – To translate and learn some basic phrases when necessary.
Novel – For entertainment.
Pens/Paper – For notes, etc.
Passport – Obviously with a visa inside.
Every traveler and every trip is different, so the ultimate female travel packing list to Russia will also vary. If you are a more luxurious traveler, perhaps you are staying in Russian apartment rentals instead of hostels or hotels and wouldn’t need to have the sleep sack, the hand-washing laundry kit, or even the padlock. There is just so much to consider.
When it comes to money, some US dollars, along with a debit card and a credit card work for me. I also like to carry a few travelers checks with me just in case. Put these items in your money belt (and don’t access that in public!).
For travelers looking to go out and experience the nightlife in Moscow or St. Petersburg, some different clothing would make you blend in better (and even get in the club to begin with). The Russian women are known to dress with short skirts and tight tops, along with high heels, so you can do that there if you please. However, there are still places where you’d be better off going inconspicuously.
What else would you recommend for a backpacker’s trip to Russia?
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