I'm going to China over the summer but I want to stop in Russia for a small visit. What's the cheapest way(I don't mind slower) to get from New York to anywhere in Russia then to Harbin, China? I don't mind by air or land. And how much more expensive would it be compared to if I fly directly to Beijing and then to Harbin?
It will be cheaper if you fly than if you went by train (the Trans-Siberian or the Trans-Mongolian).
Fares between New York and Moscow are very reasonable. And flights between Moscow and Beijing or Harbin aren't bad as well. You could do the multi-destination flights for around $1,000, more or less.
Do you already possess visas to Russia and China? If not, you'll have to add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your trip. Getting the Russian one requires you to go through some extra steps; and those steps will cost. If you need to, apply for a three-year multiple-entry Russia visa; and a 10-year multiple-entry China visa.
Suggest you use kayak.com, skyscanner.com or google/flights and play around with the routes.
I took the Trans-Mongolian from Beijing to Moscow last year; and the train was mostly empty. The conductors told me that few people take it nowadays because it's cheaper and less time consuming to fly. The rail ticket cost about $700 for a hard sleeper. The journey took six days and five nights. To compare, it's possible to get a one-way ticket (Air China) from Moscow to Beijing for $209 in June. I thought about it last year (Aeroflot had a comparable fare), but I've wanted to travel on the Trans-Mongolian for years.
If you're interested in the Trans-Mongolian, it's easy to book using the Pasadena, Calif., office of China International Travel Service, the giant Chinese travel agency based in Beijing.
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Feb-2016, at 15:51 by berner256 ]