Monday, October 12, 2015

Costs of Russian Trips

I was trying to add up the costs of my various trips to Russia, and am convinced that the country is now as cheap as it has ever been, at least for foreign tourists. Even with the cost (and annoyance) of visas and invitations, my latest trip came in at around $2700 U.S. for 14 days, or less than $200 per day.

That included interntional air fare, one fare on the high speed Sapsan train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, tours, accommodations, meals, taxi fares and a few small purchases. In the U.S. or Western Europe, it is easy to spend $200 just for a hotel room for one night.

My previous trip in 2011 was longer, three weeks, and included travel to Siberia. However, because it included two weeks or home hosting the cost was very reasonable also, in the range of $3300 or so, with $2,000 of that just for air fare.

In 2007 I travelled to Moscow for just over a week, and because costs were very high at that time spent about $160 per night for a hotel room quite far from the city centre. Another voyage in 2005 to St. Petersburg for about two weeks with an added few days in Finland cost well over $3000 because of the fee for a writing program in St. Petersburg.

Earlier trips included a press trip in 1991 at minimal cost to me, and a student tour back in the Brezhnev era. The student tour lasted just a week and included both St. Petersburg and Moscow and some cultural highlights--the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Red Army Chorus and a big, elegant New Year's dinner at the now defunct Roosiya Hotel, all for just $200, with air fare from Switzerland. If you factor in inflation, $200 then was probably equivalent to about $2000 now, so it wasn't the bargain it seemed at the time.

Below, some of the cascading fountains at Peterhof, Peter the Great's Palace on the Gulf of Finland.


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