Car Rental for Eastern Europe - Russia or Elsewhere?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Sep 26, 2013 3:04 AM Last Post By: surfville
Jun 24, 2012 12:43 PM
Car Rental for Eastern Europe - Russia or Elsewhere?Hi All,
I'm headed to St. Petersburg this week and am thinking about car rentals and sim cards. Those of you who have direct experience on the subject, is it better to rent a car in Russia, where I'm arriving and departing from, or should I do so once I enter the EU, where I'll be spending the majority of my three week trip?
Also, same question goes for SIM cards - is it better to get one in the EU, or are Russian prepaid phone SIMs generally not considered "roaming" while in EU countries?
Thanks in advance for any info!
Jun 24, 2012 1:45 PM
1I seriously doubt that you can get a rental car in Russia and drive to the Baltics. Besides I can't imagine driving in Russia unless you read cyrillic and speak the language.
SIM cards are roaming, not just out of Russia but in each country in the Baltics. That means the card you buy in Russia will be roaming in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and if you buy a card in Estonia, then in will be roaming in the other three. These are separate countries not different states or provinces.
If you really need a SIM card, buy one in Russia, be sure to get one that can be used internationally and not just regionally, use if until it runs out of money and buy a new one in your next destination.
Edited by: everbrite
Jun 25, 2012 6:01 AM
2Personally I wouldn't recommend driving in Russia unless you can read Russian, in places like St Petersburg there's simply is no need for a car. It is of course possible to rent one and yes you can take it out of the country so long as you have the agreement of the hire company despite what you have been previously told.
Not sure why would think a Russian SIM would not be considered to be roaming when in in the EU, it of course would be and the same goes for an EU SIM in Russia. The only possible down side to a Russian SIM is if you want to add credit using a bank card it must be a Russian bank card. Whilst in Russia this isn't an issue because there are machines everywhere that allow you add credit using cash, but outside of Russia it gets more complicated.
Jun 28, 2012 2:49 AM
3I think some things need to be cleared before you take your trip.
1. There is a border between Russia and EU countries that in NOT at all like any border within the EU.
While you can hire a car in Germany and drive to Portugal and back without any problem whatsoever, crossing the border between Russia and EU countries means going through customs.
Going in a car that belongs to you is time consuming, but in a rented car...
This is actually the first time I hear of such an idea.
I am sure no company in Russia that rents cars (and it is an undeveloped market, because of high rate of car theft) will let you go far from the place where you rented it, let alone cross the state border.
Just an example: some big international car rental companies in Western Eruope will not even let you drive their cars to Eastern Europe (Poland, Bulgaria, etc) even though THEY ARE in the EU!
2. SIM cards are sold in Russia only when you show your passport, and I am not sure they will accept a foreign one.
There are illegal ways around it, but I will not publicly promote them.
By your optimism I assume you are from the US?
Jun 28, 2012 8:42 AM
4I am sure no company in Russia that rents cars (and it is an undeveloped market, because of high rate of car theft) will let you go far from the place where you rented it, let alone cross the state border
I am puzzeled as to why you make such a claim, have you been to the website of a car rental company in Russia and looked at the terms and conditions? Lets stop with the guessing games now please.
Jun 29, 2012 12:37 AM
Jun 29, 2012 12:50 AM
Read the terms and conditions of renting a car in Russia and pay particular attention to the cross boarder rental section before advising people this is not possible.
Jul 5, 2012 8:40 AM
7If your travel advice is based only on information from the web then please do not give it.
As other threads have shown, mistakes may happen, as in the question of illegality of hitchhiking in Russia.
The website of the rental company may say that crossing the border on it's cars is allowed.
That does not mean, however, that at the reception desk they will say the same.
Besides that, crossing the border takes hours, and requires a lot of paperwork, especially if you are not a Russian national.
I would strongly reccomend the topic starter to avoid this.
Jul 5, 2012 11:27 AM
8If your travel advice is based only on information from the web then please do not give it
The point is it's based on something, rather than just guessing the answers. There's four independent websites all stating the same thing, what you and the neanderthal knuckle dragger want to believe is entirely up to you, its no concern of mine.
The fact is it is possible to rent a car in Russia and take it out of country, all the necessary paperwork would be supplied by the rental company. Is it a good idea for some who's never been to Russia before?
Jul 5, 2012 11:32 AM
9Just got done driving all over the place; StP > Helsinki > Tallinn > Riga > dropping off in Vilnius tomorrow AM. I will admit that doing anything at all in Russia including just taking a poop requires a crapload of bureaucracy (will never go there gain, as a result), but had a wonderful time in Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
Jul 5, 2012 11:56 AM
Jul 7, 2012 7:02 PM
11Driving in Russia is a great fun!! i have done almost 30000 km in 2 journeys in the last year travelling from north to south of Russia twice. The problems of driving in Russia are the roads, most of the time are in bad conditions, you must be able to read the cyrillic (in St Peter not so necessary), the russian drive very bad and there is a lot of traffic in each town, especially St Peter and Moscow, but as i said before it is a great experience!! Also don't forget lot of burocracy at the border, forms to fill, long queus sometimes and you might have to deals also with corrupted police trying to take some money.
Anyway in St Petersburg the car is not necessary, I used to park it and use the pubblic transport.
Regarding a telephon card is better to buy a local Megaphon Sim, better than to use an international card. You can buy it at any Megaphon shop.
If you need more info feel free to contact me at www.facebook.com/DrivingToRussia
Oct 9, 2012 3:45 AM
12Yes, it is really difficult driving in Russia. I do not recommend to drive on their own if you do not have good driving skills too - drivers there can be crazy! If you wish to rent a car in Baltic's and driving elsewhere than EU is really hard story. As I rented a car in Vilnius (Lithuania) I asked if it's possible to go to Russia or Belorussia, they said almost all car rental companies do not allow it and you need to have the real car documents (car rental's use copies) at non EU borders. But at least if you need you can go from Baltic's to Poland or elsewhere, just ask for information and possibilities before you rent a car (the car rental's name was TRURENT.LT).
Sep 26, 2013 3:04 AM
13Its not easy but not too difficult also if you are a experience driver. The thing is if you are up to thinking about the car, like where you park it, some rules and laws on the city and if you are very familiar with the location. But if you do really require i think i have seen a few good comments on a car rental site http://www.autonvuokraus.subwi.net/ .
But be sure to have all the necessary requirements when you are to rent. Also licenses is very important and a heads up idea to the place would also be helpful.
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