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09-08-2012, 06:06 AM
  #8
Mr Writer
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Country: Canada
Posts: 4,192
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Well, the best advice I can give you for a January trip and how best to get there and best bang for your travel dollar...

You are travelling in the off-season, so that's a bonus right there. Because you are a rookie, I'd suggest a better base for your Russian winter adventure would be St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is a much smaller city and a lot less chaotic, a little cheaper and easier to navigate than is Moscow. Moscow is just a whirling mess of people and if they're not going a 120 kms an hour, they're stuck in grid-lock and usually not in a good mood. After a few days you can venture down to Moscow on the train once you get your whits about you and you know which way is up in Russia.

I'd suggest a 3 game game hockey tour if you are indeed a hockey mad fan... St. Petersburg to Yaroslavl and then on to Moscow. I'd suggest you try making a few friends in those cities via social media before departure, but as I said, meeting new people in Russia is always easy, go to any cafe, restaurant, wherever, striking up a conversation with locals is never difficult. But try and learn some words of Russian as much as possible.

A friend of mine in St. Petersburg manages a small hotel in the center of city. Very nice place, a little upscale, a little on the expensive side, maybe not in your budget. I'll pm you the website. They'll arrange an official invitation for you once you book a room. Once you receive the invitation via email, you must fill out a visa application form which you download from the Russian embassy website or consulate. If you happen to live within driving distance of the Russian embassy or consulate, take the invitation, visa application form, your passport and passport photos to the embassy or send it via post, Fedex, UPS etc.....with a chq. for the visa, standard wait is a few days...

Once you get your visa then its off you go...

You'll have to search for cheap flights to St. Petersburg. Don't automatically assume Air Canada will get you there cheap. (if you are flying from Canada.) When I was a student travelling to Russia, usually if my destination was St. Petersburg, then I went to Helsinki, Finland and then took the train to St. Petersburg.

Anyway, you got time to plan, so if you have any questions, then let us know. Hope this helps.

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