I have planned a summer holiday with my family to Moscow and St Petersburg. The itinerary is as follows:
Thursday 30-Jun-15 Departure to Moscow
Friday 01-Jul-15 Moscow
Saturday 02-Jul-15 Moscow
Sunday 03-Jul-15 Moscow
Monday 04-Jul-15 Moscow
Tuesday 05-Jul-15 Departure to St Petersburg by Red Arrow Express
Wednesday 06-Jul-15 St Petersburg
Thursday 07-Jul-15 St Petersburg
Friday 08-Jul-15 St Petersburg
Saturday 09-Jul-15 St Petersburg
Sunday 10-Jul-15 St Petersburg
Monday 11-Jul-15 Departure to Moscow by Red Arrow Express
Tuesday 12-Jul-15 Departure to Mumbai
I get 5 full days in Moscow (the first day we will be a bit tired so will take it easy). Then the overnight sleeper train to St Petersburg - 6 days at St Petersburg, overnight train back to Moscow, go directly to the airport, and fly back home. Please critique the itinerary mentioned above. The intention is clearly to sight-see at a leisurely pace, eat local food, have a good time in general.
Will I need the services of a local tour guides or can one get by by using Lonely Planet Travel guides? This is the first time I am visiting a country where not only is language a problem, but even the alphabets used are different, which means one cannot simply match names mentioned in a guide book with those on name plates and get by. As I understand, not many signboards are in English.
Any recommendations on budget tour guides? The larger ones are expensive, one quote I received was for USD 1200 for a 3 day tour of St Petersburg, for 3 adults, all tickets included (no meals) with about 7 - 8 hour of sightseeing each day.
Look forward to hearing from you all.