Using USD in Russia

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<p>We&#39;ve been told to take lots of dollar bills to Russia for tipping.&nbsp; Some have even suggested $400.&nbsp; I can&#39;t even imagine taking that many one-dollar bills.&nbsp; The stack would be enormous.&nbsp; Has anyone done&nbsp; .&nbsp; I&#39;m thinking about 50 one-dollar bills for a two-week vacation.</p>

If you are on a Viking Cruise, there will be a tip box at the conclusion of the trip where you can anonymously put in whatever you feel is adequate.  It will be split among the entire crew.  You may want to tip your guide, driver, bedroom stewardess, or a good waiter/waitress with some  extra money.  You can even charge your tips on the final bill.  I wouldn't take anything smaller than a $10.  $20, $50, $100 are all okay for the tip box.   We just returned from a 12 day Viking cruise in Ukraine and never had need of $1, $5 bills.  You won't be tipping on a daily basis...just at the end of the trip.   When we took a cruise to Russia in 2011, we also used ATMs in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

When I travel, I usually take about 50 one-dollar bills to cover miscellaneous tips, even during US transit, and for purchase of small items if I lack -- or don't need -- local currency.  As for our time in Russia which also was a Viking Cruise, I used US$ for tips in envelopes with personal notes for our tour guides and put ship tips on my credit card.  When not with the group, I used my VISA card for larger purchases, i.e. meals.   I still needed some local currency for small items, such as post cards and ice cream, and even toilets.  Also, local currency and occasionally smaller US$ denominations were useful when bargaining prices with some vendors.   Beware of pickpockets!   One member of our group was pickpocketed in St. Petersburg and lost all her credit cards and cash.   Be vigilent, but enjoy your visit!

Why on earth would you tip in USD when Russia has a perfectly good currency of its own? If you are not on a cruise you should be using ATMs to get local currency for anything you don't put on a credit card. If you're on a cruise I'm sure the ship will make tipping very easy for you.