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Old 07-06-2007, 09:05 AM   #1
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Default Russian Visas

First let me apologize for posting this on the 24hour board (once again I have procrastinated a little too long) but I need to get my visa done.

I am planning on traveling to Russia the first part of August. I was planning on using a visa service but have a few questions.

1. Can anyone recommend a good visa service? – It is preferable if they have offices in Moscow or St. Petersburg just in case I lose my visa or I need visa support.

2. Do I need to know the exact dates for my entry/exit or can I just put a date range in? – I am an experienced traveler and I am not used to making reservations in advance. I like the wandering and uncertainty.

3. I like hostels but I am too old (31) and snore too loudly to stay in a dorm room does anyone know of good hostels in Moscow and St. Petersburg with private rooms?

Some more details just in case: I am a US passport holder. I plan to enter Russia from Estonia and St. Petersburg will be my first stop. I plan on flying out of Moscow to Germany.

Any help is much appreciated,
Ryan
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:48 PM   #2
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as far as i know the visa people don't tend to like the whole 'wandering and uncertainty' attitude. We were like that all through europe but for russia we booked a tour with 'on the go' tours. They got the visa invitation and all that sort of thing organised for us and we just had to send the paperwork off to the embassy. If you don't go with an organised group, yes you do need to know the exact dates for your entry and exit. They are pretty strict about visas over there. there are a few HI hostels in St petersburg but that's all I saw. I know it's fun to be spontaneous but i wouldn't completely dismiss the idea of a tour - the one we did was fairly cheap and didn't include airfares, so you were free to enter and exit any way you wanted (we used a cheap overnight bus, certainly no luxury travel but it did the job!). It started in st petersburg and then we took and overnight train (quickly named 'the party train') to moscow and finished up there. There's a bit of sightseeing to do with the group but a lot of the stuff is optional add-ons so you can choose not to do these and have a free day. The group is generally young and our tour leader was only 25 and excellent at her job. We had heaps of fun and and it was a lifesaver for us as it's pretty damn hard to find your way around by yourself without the language, especially when its a completely different alphabet as well! most guidebook maps are written with the english alphabet, and street signs are in cyrillic! it also makes the whole visa thing really easy. the website of the tour we did is http://www.onthegotours.com.au/Vodka-Shot-new-itinerary
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips!
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