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Ultimate Female Travel Packing List for Russia in Summer

russia

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.

Clothing:

1 Tank topFor the mid-day heat.
2 T-shirtsCasual and great for layering.
2 Long-sleeve shirts One t-shirt, one nicer. Great for layering.
1 Fleece vestPerfect for keeping the core warm on chilly nights.
1 SkirtOr, an infinity skirt or dress.
1 Convertible pantsCan be shorts or pants, or sometimes capris.
1 Yoga pantsCan be worn when sleeping, on train or when exercising.
1 LeggingsCan be worn for warmth under skirt or pants.
5-6 UndiesHave you tried the Exofficio?
2-3 Bras1 Sport for more active days.
5-6 socksThis depends on the shoes you plan to wear. 3 pairs work for when planning to wear Chacos most of the time.

SwimsuitFor diving into Lake Baikal.
Pack towelA condensed form of a towel that’s great for travel.
SarongCan be used for swimsuit wrap or as a decorative scarf.

Shoes:

Walking shoesYou’ll stick out sorely in Russia where women love high heels, but your feet won’t hurt at least.
ChacosGreat for walking long distances.
Shower flip flopsFor the grimy showers.
(High heels – If you want to fit in.)

Read more about choosing the right shoes for your RTW >>

Toiletries:

Shampoo/ConditionerTravel-sized bottles work best.
SoapI usually start off with a half-bar of soap.
Toothbrush/Paste A fold-up toothbrush is great.
DeodorantAvoid aerosols.
RazorOne with multiple blades works well for the ladies.
Make-up or Beauty creamThis varies by traveler.
SunblockEven just a small travel tube is better than none.
BrushA collapsible, foldable kind is best.
Hair tiesCan be used to tie greasy hair back while on the train, or to close food packages and more.
Washing itemsDetergent, clothes line, sink plug for hand-washing on the road.
Diva cupOr your preferred form of menstrual cup.
CondomsYou never know.
Motion-sickness pillsGravol is great for sleep and sickness involved with travel.
PrescriptionsThese vary by traveler.

female backpacker

Protection from Elements:

Sleep sackGreat for sleeping in grimy hostel beds or when using bedding on the train.
Rain gearEither a pocket-sized umbrella or a poncho.
SunglassesIt may not be sweltering hot, but it may be sunny.
Ziplock bagsFor toiletries, food and other small bits.
Waterproof bagsGreat for electronics or documents you want to stay dry.

Tech Gear:

Laptop: If you can handle being without it, then that’s probably better… but it does make life more interesting.
IPhoneTopped up with female travel apps.
ChargersSo important.
AdapterA universal adapter would be a smart move.

Security:
Money beltFor storing important things under your clothes.
PadlockFor hostel lockers, etc.

Other:

Guide bookThey’re helpful especially in places like Russia where asking for help is difficult.
Language book To translate and learn some basic phrases when necessary.
NovelFor entertainment.
Pens/PaperFor notes, etc.
PassportObviously 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?

Are you an expert? Would you like to write up an essential female travel packing list for a certain part of the world? Contact me.

Photo credit: 1, 2.

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Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm producing episodes of The UnPacking List or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Anna says

    Hi, I’m going to be in Russia this August – September for about three weeks, riding the Trans Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. I’m just wondering what type of bag you used while traveling, a backpack or rolling suitcase? I’m traveling with my grandfather, so it’s more slow travel, staying in hotels and traveling in the First Class train cars. Right now, I have my eye on a large Kipling rolling duffle, b/c it rolls and has a shoulder strap (you’d think more rolling duffles would have shoulder straps, but they don’t!). I’m also considering a backpack, which could be more useful than a rolling duffle for future trips, but I just wanted to know what you recommend for use on the trains. Thanks!

    • Brooke says

      Hi Anna, It depends on how much stuff you bring. WIth your grandfather it is probably best to pack carry-on sized rolling luggage. Pack light! Getting on and off the train will be a small pain. Also you’ll need to be able to store your luggage in your room, underneath the bench, etc.

      I used the Ebags Motherlode Weekender Convertible backpack and was fine.

  2. Natasha says

    I went to Russia last summer, and lived in Eastern Europe for a year before that. Personally, I think that this list is a little heavy on the “preparing for chilly weather” side and doesn’t pay enough attention to the fact that Russians are a rather formal bunch. You will stick out wearing zip-off pants, a wind breaker, a fleece vest, etc.

    When I went, keep in mind that I only stayed in the western side and didn’t do any extended travel on buses or trains, I brought two maxi dresses that became outfit staples. I could easily toss on a sweater or slide leggings underneath when it got colder, even wear runners underneath for the days that I was walking 12+hours, all the while being appropriately dressed for churches, fancier restaurants and an impromptu ballet.

    Another important addition to the list would be a pashmina scarf. It works great as a shawl when things get a little chillier at dusk, in my opinion better so than a sarong, and is key for visiting Orthodox churches where women are expected to cover their heads.

    When I went, there were days where I could hardly stand myself under endless sun and stifling heat, and others that I battled wind and rain. Some days saw both sides of the weather spectrum intermittently. Be prepared for quick chances in the weather.

    • Brooke says

      Hi Natasha,

      Thanks for your feedback! I do agree that Russians and Eastern Europeans are pretty formal. I taught English in Ukraine and went across Russia last summer, so yes, if you plan to blend in in the cities a more formal attire is great. If doing a train trip or heading to places a bit more remote for a few days here and there then I think packing light and having durable gear (for all seasons) is more the target. We went from near 0 at Lake Baikal to 30C in Irkutsk in just a couple hours! Crazy change!

  3. anastassia says

    Ok as a russian myself who travels there from the uk every year ill give you some real things that you should take and things you should bear in mind.
    First of all this article is totally exaggerating how much russian women wear heels. Its not the 90’s people have moved on. Most young or youngish women wear gladiator sandals and other flat/low heeled shoes in the summer unless theyre out on a date or going to a night club. So you dont need heels to ‘fit in’. Secondly the weather in moscow and st petersburg can get pretty damn hot in the summer so pack breathable clothes a portable fan sunglasses and a sunhat. I totally agree that a pashmina is a far more sensible choice than a sarong for a cover up! Unless youre young do NOT wear shorts in cities you will get funny looks and may not be allowed in certain resturants and places of interest. Bring a mosquito repellant as there are loads of nasty blood suckers around. If you bring a bikini make it preferably dark as the lakes are often quite muddy (not dirty just very natural lol). Russians in big cities are NOT formal at all especially the younger people. But yes, among older people you may stand out if youre not formal. Bring a raincoat! The weather there is less predictable than in the UK! I would also advise you to carry hand sanitizer, your passport and documents and ofcourse toilet paper at all times!!! Make sureyou carry all that in a secure zip bag and by no means wear a rucksack unless it has an industrial strength padlock!!! Never leave your items unattended try not to get into trouble as Russian authorities are not known for their hospitality or merciful nature. Other than that have fun and enjpy your trip!

  4. Samantha says

    Irkutsk/Lake Baikal IS SIBERIA. Please don’t perpetuate the stereotype of “Siberia” as an epithet to mean frozen wasteland. Also, this list is great for someone who isn’t ashamed to be seen and treated as a tourist. Real Russian young women, however, are normally very fashionable and although their fashion sense can be pretty different from the US (sometimes it seems like trends are 5-10 years behind), people do not do low key or “bumming it” outfits outside the home.
    I agree, a pashmina scarf is super essential. Also, people just do not wear shorts very often.
    YES BRING TISSUES to use as emergency toilet paper…or prepare for some wild stories.

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