Author Topic: Travel to Russia  - Exeter International  (Read 158300 times)

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Travel to Russia  - Exeter International
« on: December 27, 2004, 01:40:56 PM »
We interviewed Greg Tepper at Exeter International, specialists in arranging travel to Russia.

1. How has travel to Russia changed over the last few years?   Is it easier
or more difficult?
It is just about the same as far as ease or difficulty, but there are many more options for the traveler now. Better hotels, restaurants and services arrive all the time. The visa process is slightly more complex, but still not a real obstacle.  Still, you should not expect Russia to be an easy place to get around- few signs are in English and people ont eh street do not generally speak English- so almost all travelers to Russia are part of a group tour or have private car, driver and guide meeting them upon arrival.

2.  What about visas Ė are they required and how do you get one.
Yes a visa is required, but the process is not hard. You can get a visa processed as fast as the same day ($300 per visa), but for the best price, you will need at least three to four weeks for processing ($100 per visa). You can find instructions on the Russian Consulateís website. You will also need an official ďinvitationĒ from a tour operator.

3.  What are the advantages/disadvantages of traveling with a group?
If you usually like to travel in a group, then you should do this in Russia too. If you usually prefer to travel independently, I highly recommend that you make arrangements to have a private guide meet you upon arrival and have your itinerary laid out before you go. You will also need a private car and driver at least part of the time. Donít arrive and try to ďwing itĒ in Russia- it is NOT recommended and you will have lots of stress (at a minimum!). A tour operator an make all these arrangements for you, including processing your visa.

4.  How difficult is it to travel as an individual in Russia?
See above.

5.  The members of our Forum are interested in seeing palaces and buildings
associated with the last Tsar and his family.  Many of these are located in
Tsarskoe Selo.  Is it possible to set up individual travel to these sites
and stay in Tsarskoe Selo?
Absolutely! Just ask your tour operator to plan this itinerary for you. Many palaces and museums have odd closing times (sometimes every Tuesday and the last Friday of each month! Each museum has a schedule like this and it is confusing). You wonít want to stay in Tsarskoe Selo since there are few restaurants out there and the couple that are there are very touristy. You can get to Tsarskoe Selo in 50 minutes or less from central St. Petersburg which has lots of hotels and many good restaurants.

6.  Have you been to the Alexander Palace and can you tell us how you found
the palace itself and how is it is faring as a tourist destination?
Alexander Palace is just beginning as a museum (opened only a few years ago), as only a few rooms have been restored to their original condition. Most rooms are more like a memorial to the Imperial family and how they lived in this space (ie. lots of pictures of what each room looked like and a few articles from the original room). The palace is not overrun by tourists like the other palaces Ė ie. Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk, so it is always a pleasant museum to visit.

7.  Is it possible to travel to the Crimea and visit Livadia?
Absolutely! You can take a cruise that goes into the Black Sea or better yet, fly to Simferopol from Kiev, Moscow or Istanbul (on Turkish Airlines, which is an excellent airline). You will need a visa if you fly in and your tour operator can help you with this. The best place to stay in Yalta is the Hotel Oreanda- a good Ukrainian-French joint venture hotel. You will want a private car, driver and guide here.

8.  What final advice would you give to Romanov enthusiasts who would like
to travel to Russia?
Do your research, know what you are most interested in and find a good tour company to help you plan your trip and make all the travel arrangements. There is so much to see and do in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Crimea, that you will feel rushed no matter how much time you give yourself- so try to devote more time rather than less (no less than four or five days in each city).

--
Greg Tepper
Exeter International
Greg@exeterinternational.com  

25 Davis Blvd.,Tampa, FL 33606 USA
Web Site:  www.exeterinternational.com
Tel: 800-633-1008 / 813-251-5355
Fax: 813-251-6685
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Sunny

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 03:26:35 PM »
Many thanks to Greg, for the helpful information...and to Bob and Rob, for facilitating it.

Sunny

Offline missmoldavite

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2005, 04:19:05 PM »
Yes, thanks again! ;)
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Offline tobik

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2005, 02:41:07 PM »
To give the flip side of the coin it might be worth adding that despite some difficulties, independent travel to Russia is very possible even for those who don't speak Russian.  It may not be the taste of some people, but if you are even mildly adventurous you should not be put off this type of travelling.  It's not too difficult (all the hostels and hotels will help) to travel to the palaces, museums etc using local transport in Pete, and in Moscow the metro will take you just about everywhere you want to go.

The plus side of to independent travelling is that it is a huge amount cheaper than hiring a private guide car etc.  You can literally just get a visa and hop on a flight.

Visa-wise there are a lot of decent companies who'll organise a tourist visa invitation in a day for twenty bucks or so, which you can then take to the embassy to apply for a visa.

The most important thing is to take a decent guidebook - the easiest for Russia as a country is the Lonely Planet, though the best and most informative city guides to Moscow and Petersburg are the Rough Guide ones.  Eyewitness is ok if you like looking at pictures but not much depth to it - good for a short trip.

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2005, 10:46:53 AM »
Greg,
Can you tell me if there are any restrictions for people who would like to travel to Russia?  My father was in the U.S. Army, he said there were restrictions that would not allow him to travel to Russia.  He thought that these rules would apply to myself as well.  Have you ever heard of this?  
I thank you in advance.
Jennifer

Alixz

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2006, 10:41:55 PM »
Jennifer  I know from personal experience that there have in the past been restrictions on travelling for people who work for the military or the US Government.

My dad worked in the US Space program and in the early 70's I was restriced from travelling to any Communist countries.  It was probably a "kidnapping" worry about the families of government workers such as there is in Arab countries today.

My dad passed away a long time ago and Russia is no longer communist, but I have not applied for a passport renewal and don't know if there would be any restriction on me now.

It is worth checking into, though, because I lived with it for a number of years and one never knows what our government is requiring these days.

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2006, 03:24:12 PM »
Many thanks for the information; I enjoy being on your mailing list!

Offline Mazukov

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Re: Travel to Russia  - Exeter International
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2006, 05:31:05 AM »
I hope to see Russia sometime in the next 12 months, i'm of Russian decent. My great grandparents came here from St Petersburg in 1911 my greatgrand dad took a job with the Ford Motor co.Under instructions from the imperal court to learn the assembly line functions. he was due back in russia after the outbreak of the first world war. and was unable to come back home. when red october came he stayed in US. he had always wanted to go back home. I do have have the name of the street and where his home was within the city. hopefully my wife and I will be there intime for spring 07

Offline Belochka

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2006, 08:09:48 PM »
Quote
I hope to see Russia sometime in the next 12 months, i'm of Russian decent. My great grandparents came here from St Petersburg in 1911 my greatgrand dad took a job with the Ford Motor co.Under instructions from the imperal court to learn the assembly line functions. he was due back in russia after the outbreak of the first world war. and was unable to come back home. when red october came he stayed in US. he had always wanted to go back home. I do have have the name of the street and where his home was within the city. hopefully my wife and I will be there intime for spring 07

Hi Mazukov,

Your family story is very interesting. Many families felt trapped when the Upheaval erupted. However I do understand that one's home will always be just that, no matter which divide will separate them.

I do hope that you and your wife will have the opportunity to visit and walk down the street where your ancestors did.

I did exactly the same when I was in St. P and shall do the same again in July. It will always be the first place I walk to ...

[ch1052][ch1072][ch1088][ch1075][ch1072][ch1088][ch1080][ch1090][ch1072] † :)


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2006, 08:04:16 PM »
I am planning on traveling to Russia about 2 months after my highschool graduation, seeing as I am planning on majoring in Russian History in college I figured it would be a good expirence, and I was wondering if I would have any difficulties getting a visa since I would still be three months shy of my 18th birthday, I'm still not sure as to whom I will be traveling with but there is a good chance that they too will be 17 going on 18 and even if they are 18 they will not be my legal guardian....
~Chelsea~

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2006, 11:53:14 PM »
Quote
I am planning on traveling to Russia about 2 months after my highschool graduation, seeing as I am planning on majoring in Russian History in college I figured it would be a good expirence, and I was wondering if I would have any difficulties getting a visa since I would still be three months shy of my 18th birthday, I'm still not sure as to whom I will be traveling with but there is a good chance that they too will be 17 going on 18 and even if they are 18 they will not be my legal guardian....

Hi Chelsea,

May I recommend that you address these concerns with your country's Foreign Affairs Department first.

All the best,

Margarita
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Re: Travel to Russia  - Exeter International
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2006, 09:06:46 PM »
We put in for our visas yesterday, and will be heading out 5 October to the 25th 2006 And we will be staying at the Grand Hotel Europe, for transportation  we will use the train. As for speaking my wife is fluent and I can get by but Iím not fluent Iím sort of a balada So itís a long  wait, Iím ready now.

Offline GD Alexandra

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2006, 03:19:33 PM »
I've got a question: my uncle, aunt & cousins went to St Petersburg a couple of years ago and he told us that when he arrived to the hotel, they charged him with 100% in taxes, plus what he had to pay for the reservation of the rooms. Is this true? or it depends on the hotel you're staying?

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Re: Travel to Russia  - Exeter International
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2006, 07:58:36 AM »
Iím really not sure. I had to pay fees up front, my reservations flight feeís  our flight will leave Logan on the 5th  then to Heathrow, from there we will head to Helsinki then to St Pet. Iím taking dollars with me, my plan is to use dollars unless I need rubles which Iíll convert at the hotel exchange. Iíll take visa and MasterCard as a back up.

Also taking three cameraís with me two digital on film for I plan on taking as many snaps as I can. coworker  of my wife has a sister that lives in St. Petersburg,who has offered to cart us around when we whish to travel outside of the city.so this should broaden our travel plans this lady attends the university and is majoring in Russian history so our traveling about with her should prove to be healthy for both of us. Of course Iíll pay her which is something that hasnít come up yet nor was it a stipulation on her carting us around. When she heard that we both my wife and I our history buffs of imperial Russia she came right out with the offer to her sister. To which Iím most grateful.

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Re: Travel to Russia †- Exeter International
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2006, 04:30:32 AM »
GDA- I do not know what hotel your relatives stayed in, but I have used 4 different hotels on my various visits over the past year and have not been charged anything extra for taxes or fees.  This is all included in the room price.
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