Dangers & Annoyances
Is it dangerous? The simple answer is – no. Well, not unless you go wandering off into undergrowth for too long, bring back a few Soviet-era souvenirs from Pripyat, or feast on forest berries and mushrooms (all activities strictly forbidden, by the way). By all accounts you are exposed to twice the amount of radiation on a trans-Atlantic flight than you are during an entire day at Chornobyl and, somewhat ironically, radiation levels are actually higher on maydan Nezalezhnosti, from where some tours depart, than in most of the exclusion zone! If you're worried about radiation, hire a Geiger counter from your tour agency.
Agencies should provide transfers to the exclusion zone, transport around it, an English-speaking guide, and the necessary permits and insurance as a minimum. Some charge extra for lunch and most will rent you a Geiger counter for US$6 to US$10 a day. Recommended companies for Chornobyl trips:
SoloEast Travel Long-running and very reliable Kyiv-based operator with a sensible online-booking and credit-card payment scheme. They also offer comfortable accommodation in a woody cottage (www.chernobylhotel.com) just outside the exclusion zone.
Go2Chernobyl Responsive and responsible operator; has some of the best prices.
Chornobyl Tour Broad set of tours up to seven days' duration. Online booking and payment.
New Logic Large, professionally run agency; has been in the business awhile; service less personalised.
Tour2Chernobyl Popular agency with online booking facility.