Are several years I woul like to visit main cities of Russia by car (starting from Italy), but every time I renounce to do a similar trip, because on the Net I read only things that discourage to go in Russia!
For example problems for the Visa, problems for the car, problems for accomodations (including a very expensive cost for them in particular in Moscow), problems in Russia border-line for declare how many Euro-cents you have when you
go-in Russia, and how many Euro-cents you have when you leave the Russia, the Visa must be registered within 3 working days after you go-in Russia, and if you forget to register it you can have serious problem, to obtain Visa it's necessary to have already reserved an expensive hotel, if you have in the car a gps you must declare it in border.line (and it's necessary to be autorized from electronic equipment ministery), restrictions in moving in russian territory, etc. etc. etc. etc............!
But when in Italy I see some Russian car evidentely with tourists on board, I ask to my-self: Russian people that come in Italy with own car, found the same restrictions and problem??
Can some one give me some indications to eliminate someone of above problems, or give me some advice?
I'm going to phone one of my friends in Russia to ask them about this however I do not think that this should be as difficult as it appears. Russia has many written rules but these rules are actually very lax, and easy to get round. The expensive hotel thing isnt true for the Visa. I know it says that on the rules but what you can get is a voucher which basically lets you stay anywhere you want. This is just a rather strange rule that is not enforced at all. In order to get the voucher you need to go through a travel agent I think. But it should not be too difficult. How long are you planning to stay in Russia for? A tourist visa is 30 days only. Extending a visa is tricky once youre in the country, and they don't like foreigners staying a long time 'for no reason' (travel is not considered a reason). Do you speak russian? You will find Russia very difficult to navigate if you do not speak russian. Outside Moscow and Petersburg they speak very little english, and even within these cities its difficult to get by only in english. Moscow IS very very expensive unfortunately. There is not anything you can really do to avoid that. The only thing I can suggest is to look up what is going on in moscow and go at a time when there isnt anything happening as this is when it wil be cheapest. Russia does not do discounts for foreigners or cheap rates. If you are a tourist you pay extortionate prices, end of. The declaration of money is also true but this is not too much of a problem as the amount of euros/roubles you can carry in with you is high. This is only at border control though, this does not happen at the airport. I do not think that taking a car across the border should be too much of a problem but be aware that everyone will know it is a foreign car and it is likely that people will try and break into it. Have you thought about renting a car in russia? It will actually be safer and probably a lot easier. I am not sure about GPS, very few people have GPS in russia so i would not be surprised. Again it might be easier to rent a car and take the gps in your luggage if you can. You would not have to declare it this way. I do not remember what your other questions were but i hope this helps. Rebekah
Visa registering- just stay one night in some cheap hotel and they will take ur passport when you check in and return it the next day. you do HAVE to do this it is not optional but it is not difficult either. Im not aware of any restrctions on travel but as russians have 2 pasports, an external and an internal one, it is possible. I have traveled a bit between various cities west of the urals and never had a problem so i doubt it should pose one to you. I dont recommend going east of the urals, its tough weather and there is not much to see to be honest. Vast empty plains of snow. Not good ddriving conditions. Thats one thing you should be mindful of in russia, the roads outside major cities are AWFUL. some are no more than mud. they are very badly maintained and it is HARD to drive between some cities. It is best to buy a road map in russia which tells you which roads are usable and which ones arent, western maps dont usually provide that information and it could save you a lot of hassle.. I hope this helps. You should try and travel russia, it IS an amazing fantastic beautiful country but it is challenging. Rebekah
I know very little about travelling by car through Russia, except to say that it is generally more difficult than using a train. Traffic in the cities can be terrible, and the roads are famously bad beyond the city limits. I don't think that you will need an expensive hotel to get an invitation. Any travel agency can do that for you for far less money than a Moscow hotel. Accomodations need not be terribly expensive if you know where to look. Here is a list of hostels in Moscow - http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/russia/moscow/. As long as you are careful about what you eat and where, you can spend little on food. If you're ok with low-budget living, then bread, cheese, and sausage (kolbasa) are fairly cheap - about 200rr/$8- and may last you for more than one day. There are some resonably priced, Russian themed chain restaurants - like Yolki-Palki and Matryoshka that offer a taste of Russian food without necessarily costing a fortune. Anyway, I hope you are willing to give Russia a try. Good luck!
Thanks for replies!
Them can be very useful to clear my ideas and convictions about Russia.
If someone can give me some info about REAL home / private / family accomodation In Moscow and/or S.Petersburg province, it is welcome!
Also direct and recent experiences in go in/ move in Russia by car, are welcome.
I lived in Russia for many years and only returned there a few weeks back for the first time in almost ten years. The place has really changed (as if you didn't know). Firstly you can buy your visa invitation on the internet for about $20 and then present that at the Russian Embassy in your home country.
If you are staying longer than three working days in Russia you need to register at the OVIR office - the internet company who sells you the visa can give you the information as to where this can be done.
When you enter the country you fill in a Declaration Form which includes all your belongings (and don't forget to incluce your car). When you leave ideally you should have less cash than when you entered, but in many years of passing through borders I've only been checked once, (on the train to Finland as it happens), but then again I've always had less money leaving than when I came in.
As for hostels they're few and far between. I would opt for private stay in someone's house. You'll get a real experience for small money, and they nearly always speak really good English in my experience.
If you have any specific questions you can PM me.
Have a great trip, I think you'll really enjoy it.
hi there, not sure if youve gone to russia already but waytorussia.com is a really helpful, not for profit website. they explain pretty much all the issues and take care of your visa. they also list cheap apartments in many russian cities. you have probably looked at it already, but just in case you havent give it a look!
i used to stay in Moscow for long time. i can tell you one thing. accommodation anyway will be expensive. i met some guys who was in film industry and place where they was staying Mosfilm hotel was really cheap (around 30 euro per night). Check it out - i dont remember name of the hotel now, but it's not necessary to be an actor to live there. But it's just accommodation, not hotel with stars.
i rent appartments trough some russians in the center of Moscow (one bedroom and small living room) and payed around 700 euro per month (everyone told me that i was extremelly lucky)