The first step to understanding Russian is to learn simple Russian phrases and words.

Russian phrases

While this language may seem daunting to learn, we have tips for you. Teaching English in Russia is an increasingly popular job among travelers. What better way to have an adventure and live outside of your home country for a season? Russia is an exciting and diverse country to visit. Its language offers nothing less. And the good news is that flights into Europe aren't all as expensive as you would think. They are actually pretty affordable.

What is your reason for visiting Russia? Perhaps you have always wanted to visit a big European city like Moscow or ride the Trans-Siberian Railway. Whatever your reason for visiting may be, one thing remains true. You will need to know some Russian phrases to get around. When you are traveling, it is important to know at least a little bit of the native language. After all, it is not only helpful in your communication but it is also a sign of respect. 

Here’s the good news. When you are traveling, you don’t need to know it all. At the risk of sounding like the ultimate millennial, there’s an app for that. Russian translator apps are critical to have.

Patience is Key

To have a profound understanding of any language, you need to understand the basics. Frustrating as it may be, trying to take big leaps will not lead you into greater knowledge. You’ll need to be patient. After all, learning a new language is a lengthy process. Small and steady steps will lead you to success.

With the right apps, you can learn phrases with ease on the spot. Russian dictionary apps are helpful for looking up the meaning and spelling of individual words. Whatever your travel plans may be, this article will help you get started on Russian phrases as you prepare for your trip. Keeping a travel journal is good practice. There's an app for that too.

Why Learn Russian Phrases for Travel?

Russian phrases - travel

Here’s the big question. Why should you learn Russian phrases for your travels? As we mentioned earlier besides being a sign of respect, you will have an easier time getting around and connecting with the locals. When you are trying to find your way to your hotel, check in, or order a meal at a restaurant, knowing a little bit of the language helps more than you may think.

In addition, some Russians don’t speak English. Rather than relying solely on your apps and hand gestures, knowing the key Russian phrases will save you time, frustration, and confusion.

As a general rule of thumb, even if someone speaks a little English, it’s more polite to try and speak Russian to them first. Assuming everyone will speak your language is unrealistic. Trying to speak the language to locals is much more likely to make them comfortable around you and want to help you out. Knowing key phrases will also help you find the authentic places where the locals hang out. And isn’t this the point of travel?

How to Learn Russian Phrases

Russian phrases - How to Learn

You might be wondering where to even begin. Don’t sweat it. We have got you covered. We’ve picked out specific words and phrases that you will likely use during your travels. Start off by creating a vocabulary list and phrase list. You can use it to study on the go when you travel. For example, consider putting together a list of phrases for how to order at a restaurant. This way, you can read through your list without having to search your phone for the right phrases at the dinner table.

Study the Russian Phrases Before You Go

If you have the time, study key Russian phrases before you go. Repeat these phrases often. The more you repeat them, the easier you will be able to say them when you are traveling. Run through practice conversations, saying all of the phrases in order. This will help build confidence in your linguistic skills.

Another productive activity is to engage in listening activities. Russian flashcard apps offer a fun and easy way to pick up on words and phrases. The more you listen to the pronunciation, the faster you will be able to pick up on it. Print out your lists at home and carry them around with you. Worried about how to pronounce something? Simply look to your list. Let’s start with the basics.

Russian Phrases: Basic Expressions and Greetings

Russian phrases - Basic Expressions and Greetings

Expressions and Greetings

Good morning. – Доброе утро. (dObroye Utro)

Good afternoon. – Добрый день. (dObriy den’)

Hello (formal) – Здравствуйте (ZDRAstvuyte)

Hello (informal) – Привет (priVET)

How are you? – Как дела? (kak deLA?)

I’m fine, thank you. – Хорошо, спасибо. (haraSHO, spaSIbo)

Good evening. – Добрый вечер. (dObriy VEcher)

I’m OK, thank you. – Неплохо, спасибо. (nePLOho, spaSIbo)

What’s your (formal/informal) name? – Как вас/тебя зовут? (kak vas/teBYA zoVUT?)

My name is… – Меня зовут… (meNYA zoVUT…)

It’s nice to meet you. – Приятно познакомиться. (priYATno poznaKOmitsa)

Goodbye. – До свидания. (do sviDAniya)

Good night. – Доброй ночи. (DObroi NOchi)

Until next time – До встречи (do VSTREchi)


Where is…? – Где …? (Gde…?) Is it far? – Это далеко? (eto daleKO?)

Go straight. – Идите прямо. (iDIte PRYAmo)

Where is the metro? – Где метро? (gde meTRO?)

Where is the bus? – Где автобус? (gde avTObus?)

Stop here, please. Остановитесь здесь, пожалуйста. (ostanoVItes’ zdes’, poZHAlusta)

A map, please. – Карту, пожалуйста. (KARtu, poZHAlusta)

Turn right. – Поверните на право. (poverNIte na PRAvo)

Turn left. – Поверните на лево. (poverNIte na LEvo)

Need to Know Russian Phrases

Please – Пожалуйста (poZHAlusta)

Thank you – Спасибо (spaSIbo)

You’re welcome. – Не за что. (ne za chto)

Yes – Да (da)

No – Нет (nyet)

Enjoy (often used instead of “you're welcome” for food) – на здоровье (na zdaROVye)

I don’t understand. – Я не понимаю. (YA ne poniMAyu)

I don’t speak Russian. – Я не говорю по-Русски. (YA ne govoryU po RUSski)

Do you speak English? – Ты говорите по-Английски? (vi govoRIte po angLIYski?)

I'm sorry. – Прошу прощения. (proSHU proSHCHEniya)

Excuse me. – Извините. (izviNIte)

Help me, please. – Помогите, пожалуйста. (pomoGIte, poZHAlusta)

Where is the bathroom? – Где туалет? (gde tuaLET?)

One ticket, please. – Один билет, пожалуйста. (oDIN biLYET, poZHAlusta)

When You Are Eating Out

Could I have the menu, please? – Можно меню, пожалуйста? (MOzhno meNU poZHAlusta?)

I will have… – Я буду… (ya BUdu…)

May I have a glass of… (water/wine/beer) – Можно мне стакан… (вина/воды/пива) (MOzhno mne staKAN… [viNA/voDI/PIv])

May I have a cup of… (tea/coffee) Можно мне чашку… (чая/кофе) (MOzhno mne CHAshku… [CHAya/KOfe])

Table for two, please. – На двоих, пожалуйста (na dvoIH, poZHAlusta)

Appetizer – Закуска (zaKUSka)

Salad – Салат (saLAt)

Soup – Суп (sup)

Chicken – Курица (KUritsa)

Beef – Говядина (goVYAdina)

Fish – Рыба (RIba)

Main course – Горячее Блюдо (goRYAchee BLUdo)

Dessert – Десерт (deSSERt)

Do you have something vegetarian? У вас есть вегетарианские блюда? (u vas est’ vegetariANskiye BLUda?)

May I have the bill, please? – Можно чек, пожалуйста? (MOzhno chek, poZHAlusta?)

Breakfast – Завтрак (ZAvtrak)

Lunch – Обед (oBED)

Dinner – Ужин (Uzhin)


How much is it? – Сколько стоит? (skol’ko STOit?)

Can I pay? – Можно заплатить? (MOzhno zaplaTIT’?)

Can I pay by credit card? – Можно заплатить кредитной карточкой? (MOzhno zaplaTIT’ kreDItnoi KARtochkoi?)

Cash – Наличные (naLICHnie)

Bookstore – Книжый магазин (KNIzhni magaZIN)

Supermarket – супермаркет (superMARket)

Bakery – Булочная (BUlochnaya)

Time Indications

Now – Сейчас (seyCHAS)

Today  – Сегодня (seGOdnya)

Tomorrow –  Завтра (ZAVtra)

Yesterday – Вчера (vcheRA)

Morning – Утро (Utro)

Afternoon – День (den’)

Evening  – Вечер (VEcher)

This afternoon – Сегодня днем (seGOdnya dnyom)

This evening – Сегодня вечером (soGOdnya VEcherom)

Prepare for Your Trip: Know the Key Russian Phrases

Russian phrases

Are we saying you have to know all of the Russian phrases and words on our list before your trip? No. But it is a good place to start.  As you prepare for your trip, try to memorize at least ten Russian phrases. Knowing how to say hello (both formally and informally), ask for directions, where the restroom is, say please and thank you, and tell someone you don’t know how to speak (that much) Russian are helpful.

When you are going to a foreign place and don’t speak the native language, it’s natural to feel a little stressed. This is why it’s so important to have words and phrases on hand that you can whip out in just in case you need to. Understanding another language is such an important part of communication and diving into culture during travel.

Define Your Goals

What do you want to accomplish through learning Russian phrases and words? Do you want to be able to read a magazine or book in Russian? Or do you want to be able to hold your own in a conversation while in Moscow? Make sure you differentiate between formal forms of addressing someone and informal ones. There will be some degree of overlap.

Embrace Russian Phrases and Understand the Culture

Visiting another country can be overwhelming. Preparing to understand the language minimizes stress during travel. But your trip doesn’t have to be one you worry about. Cultural differences make for a fun and exciting learning experience.

Depending on how frequently you travel, it is possible to become fluent in your destination country’s native language. Don’t be discouraged. With practice, perseverance, and a little bit of technology, you should be prepared. Take the necessary steps before you visit to understand the customs and be culturally sensitive.

As we mentioned earlier, to truly understand a language, you will need to do so much more than simply memorize a few words. Yes, it does help to know basic Russian phrases for when you visit. However, truly understanding Russian culture means that you need to dedicate a good deal of time to learning the language. On average, it takes 1,100 hours or 44 weeks to do so.

Another important aspect of understanding a foreign culture is to learn about its national identity and politics. This truly requires an immersive experience. But don’t worry; you’ll get there. As you learn Russian, purchase flashcards and children’s books and try watching television shows in the native language too.

Seek out conversations with people who are fluent in Russian. Motivation is key. You’ve already taken the first step to be proactive – you’re here. If you start out your linguistic journey now, think about how far you will come in six months and one year. Start out with simple steps like learning these Russian phrases. You’ll get far.

Related Article: Best Greek Phrases To Know For Your Next Trip