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Russia

Getting there & away

Travel documents

Tickets

Good deals on tickets can be found online and with discount agencies. Use the fares quoted in this book as a guide only. They are approximate and based on the rates advertised by agencies and online at the time of research. Quoted airfares do not necessarily constitute a recommendation for the carrier.

There are many websites specifically aimed at selling flights; sometimes these fares are cheap, but often they’re no cheaper than those sold at a standard travel agency, and occasionally they’re way too expensive. However, it’s certainly a convenient way of researching flights from the comfort of your own home or office. Many large travel agencies also have websites, but not all of them allow you to look up fares and schedules.

Websites worth checking:

www.cheapflights.com Really does post some of the cheapest flights but get in early to get the bargains.

www.dialaflight.com Offers worldwide flights out of Europe and the UK.

www.expedia.com A good site for checking worldwide flight prices.

www.kayak.com Great search engine for flight deals with links through to its selections.

www.lastminute.com This site deals mainly in European flights, but does have worldwide flights, mostly package returns.

www.statravel.com STA Travel’s US website. There are also UK and Australian sites (www.statravel.co.uk and www.statravel.com.au).

www.tch-fly.de/en/index.doo German agency Transport Clearing House can pull up flights with Air Berlin and Niki, with connection onwards with Russian airlines Transaero, Ural, Siberian Airlines, Krasair, Domodevskie Avia, Vladivostok Air, Samara Air, Sky Express, Polet, UTAir and Azal.

www.travel.com.au A good site for Australians to find cheap flights.

To bid for last-minute tickets online try Skyauction (www.skyauction.com). Priceline (www.priceline.com) aims to match the ticket price to your budget. Another cheap option is an air courier ticket but it does carry restrictions: for more information check out organisations such as Courier Association (www.aircourier.org) or the International Association of Air Travel Couriers (IAATC; www.cour ier.org).

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Land

Bus

From Baltiiskaya metro station in St Petersburg, Eurolines (449 8370; ul Shkapina 10; Baltiiskaya) runs buses to Tallinn (R550, five per day) and Rīga (R500, daily). From Moscow – considering distances – it’s far better to take the train to neighbouring countries.

Car & motorcycle

We do not recommend driving in Russia. Public transport is very good, and Russian driving is aggressive and road rules complex in both Moscow and St Petersburg. However, if you do drive in Russia, you must have a valid International Driving Permit, your passport and insurance documentation for your vehicle.

Train

Moscow is connected very regularly with Helsinki, Tallinn, Rīga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Minsk, Kyiv, Chişinău and Budapest. It is the centre of the Russian rail network, and trains also serve the Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia and China from here. The overnight trains between St Petersburg and Moscow run daily and tickets start at around R500.

From St Petersburg, trains serve Helsinki, Rīga, Vilnius, Kaliningrad, Kyiv, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Budapest. There is currently no train service to Tallinn. For up-to-date schedules, see Your Train – CIS Railway Table (www.poezda.net). Tickets can be bought in advance from a selection of providers including www.realrussia.co.uk/trains/tickets

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Entering the destination

Entering The Country

Bordering 13 countries and with flights and even boats to many more around the world, there’s no shortage of options for getting to and from Russia.

Unless you have a transit visa, you can enter the country on a one-way ticket (even if your visa is only good for one day, it’s unlikely anyone will ask to see your outgoing ticket), so you have a great deal of flexibility once inside Russia to determine the best way of getting out again.

THINGS CHANGE...

The information here is particularly vulnerable to change. Check directly with the airline or a travel agent to make sure you understand how a fare (and ticket you may buy) works and be aware of the security requirements for international travel. Shop carefully. The details given in this chapter should be regarded as pointers and are not a substitute for your own careful, up-to-date research.

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Air

Airports & Airlines

Moscow's Sheremetyevo-2 (airport code SVO; tel: 495-232 6565; www.sheremetyevo-airport.ru) and the much more congenial Domodedovo airport code DME; tel: 495-933 6666; www.domodedovo.ru) airports host the bulk of Russia’s international flights. There are also many daily international services to St Petersburg’s Pulkovo-2 (airport code LED; tel: 812-704 3444; www.pulkovoairport.ru/eng) airport.

However, you don’t necessarily have to fly into either Moscow or St Petersburg – plenty of other cities have direct international connections, including Arkhangelsk (airport code ARH), Irkutsk (airport code IKT), Kazan (airport code KZN), Khabarovsk (airport code HNV), Krasnodar (airport code KRR), Kavkazskiye Mineralnye Vody (airport code MRV), Murmansk (airport code MMK), Nizhny Novgorod (airport code GOJ), Novosibirsk (airport code OVB), Perm (airport code PEE), Vladivostok (airport code VVO), Yekaterinburg (airport code SVX) and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (airport code UUS).

Airlines flying into Russia include the following. Phone numbers are given for the Moscow office, where applicable.

Aeroflot Russian International Airlines (airline code SU; 495-223 5555; www.aeroflot.ru/eng; hub Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow)

Air China (airline code CA; 495-292 3387; www.china-airlines.com/en/index.htm; hub Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing)

Air France (airline code AF; 495-937 3839; www.airfrance.com; hub Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris)

Alitalia (airline code AZ; 495-967 0110; www.alitalia.com; hub Malpensa Airport, Milan)

Austrian Airlines (airline code OS; 495-995 0995; www.aua.com; hub Vienna International Airport, Vienna)

Belavia (airline code B2; 017-210 4100; www.belavia.by; hub Minsk Airport, Belarus)

bmi (airline code BD; 0870-607 0555 in UK; www.flybmi.com; hub London Heathrow, London)

British Airways (airline code BA; 495-363 2525; www.britishairways.com; hub London Heathrow, London)

CSA (Czech Airlines; airline code OK; 495-973 1847, 978 1745; www.czechairlines.com; hub Prague)

Delta Air Lines (airline code DL; 800-700 0990; www.delta.com; hub Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta)

El Al Israel Airlines (airline code LY; 495-232 1017; www.elal.co.il; hub Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv)

Finnair (airline code AY; 495-933 0056; www.finnair.com; hub Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Helsinki)

Japan Airlines (airline code JL; 495-730 3070; www.jal.co.jp/en; hub Narita Airport, Tokyo)

KD Avia (airline code KD;495-641 1074; www.kdavia.eu; hub Khrabrovo Airport, Kalininingrad)

KLM (airline code KL; 495-258 3600; www.klm.com; hub Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam)

Korean Air (airline code KE; 495-725 2727; www.koreanair.com; hub Incheon International Airport, Seoul)

Kuban Airlines (airline code GW; 861-219 1146; www.alk.ru, in Russian; hub Krasnodar)

LOT Polish Airlines (airline code LO; 800-5082 5082; www.lot.com; hub Fredrick Chopin Airport, Warsaw)

Lufthansa (airline code LH; 495-980 9999; www.lufthansa.com; hub Frankfurt International Airport, Frankfurt)

MIAT Mongolian Airlines (airline code OM; 495-241 0754 in Moscow, %976-11-379 935 in Ulaan Baatar; www.miat.com; hub Ulaan Baatar)

Rossiya (airline code FV; 495-995 2025; eng.pulkovo.ru/en; hub Pulkovo International Airport, St Petersburg)

S7 Airlines(airline code S7; 495-777 9999 in Moscow, %383-298 9090 in Novosibirsk; www.s7.ru; hub Novosibirsk)

SAS (airline code SK; 495-775 4747; www.flysas.com; hub Copenhagen Airport, Copenhagen)

Singapore Airlines (airline code SQ; 495-775 3087; www.singaporeair.com; hub Changi Airport, Singapore)

Swiss International Airlines (airline code LX; 495-937 7767; www.swiss.com; hub Zurich Airport, Zurich)

Thai Airways International (airline code TG; 495-647 1082; www.thaiair.com; hub Bangkok International Airport)

Transaero Airlines (airline code UN; 495-788 8080; www.transaero.com; hub Sheremetyevo-2 Airport, Moscow)

Turkish Airlines (airline code TK; 495-980 5202; www.thy.com; hub Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul)

Ural Airlines (airline code U6; 343-345 3645 in Yekaterinburg; www.uralairlines.ru; hub Yekaterinburg)

U Tair (airline code UTA; 3452-492 462 in Tyumen; www.utair.ru; hub Noyabrsk)

Vim Airlines (airline code NN; 8-800-700 0757, 495-783 0088; www.vim-avia.com, in Russian; hub Domodedovo, Moscow)

Vladivostok Air (airline code XF; 495-626 8888 in Moscow, 4232-307 000 in Vladivostok; www.vladivostokavia.ru; hub Vladivostok)

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