I am going to be heading to Russia in a few months time, and am looking to get peoples thoughts on any hostel that's in a good location (central or close to the tourist attractions). I am very interested in hearing peoples experiences with visa registration through hostels when you were in Moscow and St Petersburg. So if you have been charged a lot for visa registration, got a good deal with visa registration, had a good stay in the hostel or bad stay please let me know.
Also if you know of a place in Moscow or St Petersburg which will either register my visa for my whole time in the city without me needing to stay there, or if I stay a night will register my visa for the whole time I'll be in the city, please PM with details because ideally I would rather not stay in hostels or hotels. I just don't want to have problems leaving Russia or whilst in Russia, with the corrupt police force who according to what I have read online and in travel books, love nothing more than to harrass and scam tourists fitting my profile.
So if you can help out with any part of my post please do.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
ok, i don't know much about hostels and hotels in SpB and Moscow but i can tell you my experience..
this summer my boyfriend which is spanish came to russia and the plan was 3-4 days in SpB and then 2-3 days in Moscow and then 7-10 days at my home town...so as you probably know the rules with registration are the following(i never heard about them before he came): you have to register as fast as possible within 3 days, without registration you will be charged on the border and in future probably have problems with visa, if you change location in russia you have to register once again..
so..he came to SpB and we were having a problem because it was thursday afternoon, so we could start making it only from friday and make it in one day because then there was a weekend and the problem was that on sunday-monday we wanted to move to moscow already, but we didn't want to go without any registration- moscow police is VERY strict about it
so regarding SpB- we checked many hotels, only asking if they can make a registration without room, but in each of them they refused any option except that we buy a room and stay there..so hotels are not the option..
then there on the streets and everywhere you can see many people advertising that their tourist firms will make a registration for you,we checked 2 or 3 of them, but the fastest was monday- we needed on friday and in some was quite expencive..
so finally we found one youth hostel called "all seasons" or "4 seasons"- i don't remember exactly, but you can find it in internet..there they make registration cheaper than everywhere(at least last july) and you don't need to stay there..so we made it for 20 days- i think it is exactly what you were asking for- registration for all time..besides this hostel itself i think is not bad, it is not the very centre of SpB, but there is a metro station very close to it, so no problem with going around...
unfortunately about Moscow i can say nothing, there we stayed less than 3 days and he had registration for SpB and my home town is too small that anybody would ask for it..
yes, there is an oficial way of making registration as well via service called OVIR, but people say it takes one week or so, so i don't understand it myself(don't ask! )..and this will take a lot of nerves from you
I stayed at the Hosteling International Hostel in St.Petersburg, you will find lots of good information on their website.
You have to book a ticket through them or something to get visa support though, so I went to a small hotel my travel partner was staying at and for $20 USD they registered my Visa. So it worked out in the end, a little money under the table it seems.
I also stayed at a decent hostel in Moscow, I forget the name, but the hostel in St.Petersburg is affilated with them. It isn't in a central location, but it is right near a metro station, and really the metro in Moscow is the best part!
And like mentioned above, you do need to re-register when ever you travel into a new city or district.
I did run into problems once, we entered a remote area of the mountains on the kazakstan/china/mongolia border in the Altai. We didn't register - mostly due to the fact we had no idea where to do it. On our way out, luck would have it that we were stopped by the police and checked out... they had a bit of a field day with us.
But we pleaded ignorance and we were released.
And about the police, yes they can be strict, but they are people too. People that laugh, cry, and tell jokes. If you can get them laughing then you are O.K.
Good luck with your adventure.
EDIT!! Okay I looked at the St.Pete hostel and they do visa support for guests and non-guests alike. I remember now why they couldn't help me. They only support Tourist Visa's (Which last 30-days). I needed to get a business visa because I was to be in the country for 3 months.
So if you are going for 30 days or less they can help you out.