Adoption Travel to Russia

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The Trip

The first thing you will quickly realize upon arrival in the country of adoption is that the living conditions in most regions are lower than you are used to in the United States. (In some areas, you'll find they are quite a bit lower.) If you have spent some time in the third world or in other Eastern European countries, you should be able to adjust fairly easily, if not, you might be in for some culture shock. But don't worry, anyone can adjust to life in Russia, just keep an open mind and attitude, and you'll be amazed at how simple it is to feel comfortable there. One of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for a trip to Russia is to think of it like a camping trip, all the facilities will be less comfortable and sometimes downright primitive, but nevertheless, it's a great adventure.

Packing

When packing, it's probably best to keep the image of the camping trip in mind rather than an image of a fancy European vacation. You'll find that your survival gear will be much more important to you than your new outfits. When packing clothes, it's best to pack lightly to leave room for more important things. Lay out everything you plan to pack and then put half of it back in the closet, since most people inevitably pack more clothes than they need. Throw in a small bottle of detergent and a flat drain stopper, so you can wash clothes in the sink. Make sure the clothes and shoes you choose are comfortable. You may do a lot of walking. If you choose mix and match clothes, you can make a lot more outfits without taking up too much space. Try not to overpack.

The weather in the areas you may be traveling to is comparable to the Midwest or North East of the United States.

Survival Gear

Suggested Bags and Belts:
money belt to be worn under clothes (for credit cards and excess financial essentials) waistpack to be worn outside clothes (this is safer than a pocketbook or backpack, keep whatever money or extras you need just for that day in here). Suitcase with inside frame that can be tilted and pulled on two wheels (easiest for getting through airports). Make sure your suitcase can be locked! Bring one carry on bag.

Health:
more than enough prescription medicine (in case you stay longer than planned) toiletries (everything you use on an everyday basis without too much excess, don't forget fem. hygiene products.)

Over-the-counter medicines:
One way to pack for this is to go to your drugstore, go down the aisle and buy one or more of everything you think you may need for the trip. That way you usually don't forget anything. For example:

* 1 cold and flu medicine

* 1 diarrhea medicine

* 1 bottle of Tylenol

* 1 packet of vitamin C drops

* etc.

Buy more than one of anything which might be more useful to you. Having your own little drugstore in your suitcase will at least make you feel mentally secure and prepared even if you never use any of it. While in the country of adoption be careful not to drink any water which is not boiled first.

Box of handywipes:
The living conditions in some regions can be very unsanitary, especially bathrooms. Try to wash your hands as much as possible to prevent infection. A lot of times washing your hands may not be an option, so it's good to keep handywipes in your waistpack.

Packets of pocket Kleenex:
Unfortunately a lot of public bathrooms don't have toilet paper even though you often have to pay to use the facilities, so it's good to keep these on hand.

Non-perishable food:
Sometimes you might find that you're in such a hurry that you may miss a meal, or you may just be too tired to go out and get something, or you may just simply be sick of native food. Packing some energy bars or granola bars or other non-perishable foods may help in those situations.

electric converter (only if necessary for low voltage devices).

Note: it will probably be easier to buy a hairdryer in Moscow when you arrive than to use a converter, converters can be dangerous especially with hairdryers, so a hairdryer may be the one exception to wait and buy when you get there.

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