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Flights and travel visa for 5 nights in St Petersburg

We are planning an extended trip through Europe for the fall of 2018 from the US. Our orientation to Russia is based on two devotions. In 1989 my husband took a college baseball team to the Georgian Republic, by way of Moscow, to teach and train Russian athletes, former track and field stars, in preparation for the next Olympics. I have studied and love Russian literature. While we are stretching our budget, we are dedicating out treasure and time to experiencing St Petersburg together. We are probably going to begin our journey in the British Isles and then will make our way east from the north of France, Brussels and Germany. Thus far, our research suggests we fly rather than train to St Petersburg, a round trip from Berlin. Delta.com offered no flights. When I Googled flights from various large cities, Baltic Air listed some options. Berlin appeared to be most cost efficient (looked at London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam). Is that departure city and airlines our best bet, or can you suggest other efficient ways to make this dream a reality?
Reviewing the forum, it seems the necessary special visa application ranges from $50-$165, and it is either a difficult, complex process or a snap. We live in Spokane Washington. How far in advance should we begin the process and how much should we budget? This trip will be our final hurrah overseas, and we are thinking we will plan for 4-5 nights of our 2 month long journey in this magnificent city .

Posted by
1605 posts

Be aware that with Air Baltic you need to pay extra for all luggage beyond a small carry on ( e.g., (backpack, purse). We have used Berlin Airlines and S7and were pleased with both. As far as the visa applies, I think you can't apply more than 60 days in advance. We used the consulate in Seattle which was helpful in answering questions and reviewing our applications. We also applied for a 3 year visa and glad we did. We used the visa support people that an old Rick's book on St. Petersburg recommended. It was only $20 per letter of support (that you need to apply for the visa). You might want to call the Rick Steves travel store to see if they have a name/email for someone who does visa support letters now. I know many hotells will also do a letter, but they charge a fee, even if you don't stay there. We've ended up going to St. Petersburg and Moscow twice. We really like traveling in Russia. Thank god for frequent flyer miles!

Posted by
5700 posts

We live in Chicago and have to run our visa application through the Wash DC consulate. People who cannot easily get to the regional office that handles visas have to pay a considerable fee to have them processed on top of the fee for the visa itself which was about $160 as I recall. It was almost another $100 for the mailing and processing; if you can drop off and pick up it is less. The cost of a single entry or 3 year visa was the same so we got a 3 year visa last year when we visited St. Petersburg for 9 nights and here I am in Moscow at the moment for 3 days and will be river boating to St. Petersburg for 7 nights and then spending another 5 in St. Petersburg.

If you live in Spokane your consulate is Seattle and you can do it in person or pay more to do it by mail.

Posted by
8 posts

First off, the fall of 2018 should be a perfect time to visit Russia (after the World Cup ends prices will go down).

Flights to Russia from Germany are not that expensive and you have a lot of different options. I don't know what preferences you have and what is your exact budget, but as an option instead of flying straight to St. Petersburg you can fly to Estonia (Tallin) and from there get to St. Petersburg: https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Saint-Petersburg/Tallinn.

You'll get a chance to see another country on the way, plus Tallin is a very cute town. To fly to Tallin you can for dirt cheap by low cost Ryanair from Bremen or Dusseldorf.

Your most expense will probably be the flight back home to Spokane and I would suggest you planning your trip around that flight. Get that flight home first depends on the cheaper/better day and then go from there with planning your travel in Europe. It would be my suggestion if you are on tight budget.

Let me know if you have any questions, you can reach me here if you want.