Russia, Changes

There’s always the risk when you provide information that it will change.  And that has happened.  And it’s good news.  I think.

Yesterday I reported on the difficulties of booking Russia if you’re a United States  resident/citizen.  Today the New York Times reports,  “…looser restriction under a new visa agreement that the two countries reached this month.”  Now travelers can stay for up to 6 months on a tourist visa.  Visas now last for 3 years.  The new visa costs $180, saving money.

The changes also eliminate the irritating requirement that traveler to Russia get an official, formal invitation.  Sort of.  That’s really good news. Apparently, now we can book hotels online without fear and frustration. However, the new procedure, according to the NYT, “still mandates that travelers provide a voucher from a tour operator or letter from a hosting party….”   Huh?  What will that involve?  To be continued….

The rest of the information I provided yesterday still applies.  And recent Russia visitor Sue sent us some more info that might help if you’re heading to Russia:

7.  if you use them, pack wash clothes.  They’re ordinarily not provided by hotels.

8.  if you like soap bars larger than a business card, pack them too.

9.  This one really surprised me….in public places like museums, even The Hermitage, don’t flush toilet paper.  A basket is provided for used toilet paper (!!!).  Sue recommends packing & taking a roll with you.

10. if you’re traveling in cold weather months and check your coat, which can be done safely, it needs to have a hanger inside the collar.  According to Sue, Russian coats seem to come with built-in hangers, but she had to sew a piece of ribbon inside hers so it could be hung on a hook.

11.  If you’re inside a church and decide to take photos, there’s probably a fee for that privilege.  Like in other Eastern European countries, the staff in museums, cathedrals, etc  watches you carefully while often pretending not to.  If the church requires a fee for taking pictures, and most do, pre-pay  to avoid berating & embarrassment.

12.  “Expect to see lots of beggars, particularly near subways.”  Where in the world is that not true?

Hank

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About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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