Create an itinerary with as few connections as possible. Make sure each connection is reasonably short. This will reduce the total travel time to Russia.
Get comfortable in your airline seat. Grab a few airline pillows . . . I use one on each side of my hips to soften the chair. You may want one or two more for your back, neck and/or head. Bring an inflatable pillow with you . . . these are usually larger then the airline pillows and are good for leaning your head against the window.
If you have difficulty sleeping sitting up try using an inflatable neck pillow that can support your head and keep you from getting a sore neck. Some aircraft have adjustable head rests to support your head. Bring an eye mask or dark sunglasses to block out the sun light and cabin lights to help you to sleep.
Bring ear plugs or a noise canceling headphones with you to block out aircraft noise and irritating conversations.
Bring your own headphones to enjoy the onboard entertainment (music and movies). The aircraft used on your shorter segments may not have entertainment so you may want to bring your own CD or Cassette player to enjoy.
Try to sit as close to the front of the plane as possible on the segment that lands in Russia. When everyone exits the plane they will proceed to line up for immigrations and customs. The farther back you sit on the plane the longer the line you will have to wait in. It can take an hour or more to get through the lines if you are in the back. This is a long wait for you and your lady if she is waiting for you on the other side. It may be worth getting a more forward seat even if you don’t get your favorite seat.
If your lady is going to meet you at the airport then bring a change of clothes, small towel and a simple toiletry kit in your carry on luggage. Include at least the following: toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss, hair brush or comb, wash cloth and soap, razor blade and shaving cream, antiperspirant and eye drops. Plan to use all the contents of your toiletry kit before you arrive in Russia. Either freshen up in the airport while waiting for your last flight segment to Russia or do so in the lavatory while in flight. If you are lucky you can find a public shower to use in the connecting airport if you have enough time to use it (this is why you should bring your own towel).
If you are connecting in Europe your may be able to use the airline’s exclusive travel lounge in the airport. Check with the airline before your departure to see if your ticket will grant you access to the lounge. They may even have a shower facility for you to use. Take advantage of this to clean up and groom yourself before your arrival in Russia.
You might prefer to rent a facility that provides a kitchen and separate sitting room away from the bedroom. If you are an experience business traveler you are probably aware of hotel chains that offer suite style rooms for added comfort and space. These types of hotel accommodations are not going to be easy to find or afford in Russia. If you like the idea of having extra space then it is best to rent an apartment in the city or cities you are visiting. Daily rentals are easily available and can be located on-line or through a local broker. Try asking your lady if she can help you in finding a suitable apartment.
Some Russian hotels are actually converted apartment buildings. Each unit is a one, two or three room apartment. These conversions can be done with Russian or European style furnishings and might include such amenities as a microwave, large television, video cassette recorder, clothes washing machine and thick upholstered furniture. When choosing a hotel or apartment ask if it is furnished in a Russian or Western style. The Western style may cost more but it will be more comfortable and convenient.
When selecting an apartment specify the number of bedrooms you want. Most apartments built during the Soviet period are simple in design. They share common features such as: a small kitchen which will include the dining table, unventilated toilet room, large bath tub with a hand shower, radiant heat pipes
The location of your lodging can be a major consideration so make sure you have a clear understanding of where your lodging is located in city. You may have to refer to a map to determine where it is relative to the city center, metro stations, points of interest and your lady’s location. A map will not be able to tell you about the safety and surrounding environment of your lodging so it is advisable to get a recommendation from someone or have your lady check it out for you. If she doesn’t like it then certainly you won’t either. You can obtain a personal recommendation from someone who has been to the property by posting a question on a discussion group or searching the archives for previous postings on the subject.
If you do choose to stay in a hotel you should be aware that some hotels will not allow you to bring guests to your room. This could be a serious impediment to intimacy with your lady so you should verify if this restriction will exist in the hotel you are considering.
For security reasons it is best to dress similar to a local Russian man. You can confirm this idea with the person you are visiting by asking them how Russian men dress in their city.
You will probably find yourself doing a lot more foot travel than you are used to. Plan accordingly and bring comfortable shoes preferably dark in color. If you are traveling during the wet and cold times of year bring waterproof boots that will protect your feet when you walk through muddy puddles (they are hard to avoid in Russia).
It is customary to wear slippers in a Russian house and not the same shoes you wear on the street. Be prepared to remove your shoes when visiting a private home. Make sure your socks are clean and neat since they will be seen. If you have a favorite pair of slippers at home you may want to bring them with you if you are staying at a private home for an extended period otherwise a pair will be provide to you.
Bring layers of different clothing to guard against cold weather. You can wear as many as four layers on your torso (undershirt, shirt, sweater, jacket) and two on your lower body (long underwear and pants). Be prepared for cold and wet weather even if traveling during the summer months.
If you will have access to a kitchen you can purchase all your food once you get to Russia. You will find food plentiful and it will cost about the same as you are used to. You will see more European and Russian brands than you will American brands. If you have personal favorites that you can’t live without then you should consider bringing them with you if you want. Consider bringing enough easy to pack food to take care of your needs for a day or two until you get yourself organized in your new location. Consider packing some easy to carry snack items with you in case you get hungry during your trans-oceanic journey or local excursions in Russia. Plan this out carefully or else you may be tempted to carry a full suitcase of food.