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Traveling to World Cup in Russia 2018

Hoping to enjoy visiting Russia and world level soccer! I would appreciate any general advice about visiting Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. Also any advice specific to attending WC matches in these two cities.
I am currently searching through the posts here but could use some fresh wisdom.
I have my passport and am learning about the required visa; I have applied for tickets through the FIFA website. I have traveled to Europe on my own and also attended WC soccer before. (S. Korea)
My concerns are: Flight-departing from NC or Detroit or from city with best fare and the best arrival city;
Can I make my own hotel arrangements or go with tour/organizer? I usually stay in European hostels;
How do I travel between these cities?
Anyone familiar with how the cities are preparing for soccer attendees?
Thanks!

Posted by
4637 posts

Moscow is huge. It's easy to travel around by Metro (subway). It helps if you can read Russian alphabet (azbuka) and even more if you speak at least some Russian. English is not that helpful like in western or central Europe. The best mode of travel between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod is by train. They have few connections by superfast train (under 4 hours, the fastest under 3 hours). Airfare prices are changing, investigate through internet. Best arrival city is of course Moscow. You can make your own arrangements or with tour/organizer. I had a lot of stuff done by http://www.expresstorussia.com .

Posted by
321 posts

Hi there. I'll delete this comment tomorrow - tried to send this as a pm, not sure if it went through.

I recommend you check TripAdvisor for specifics (both their Russia forum and FIFA WC forum). Tons of relevant info there.
In the meantime -
1. Visa is not required. Your fanID is used in lieu of visa.
2. Train, definitely. I'd even go with slow overnight trains (cheaper, convenient - you're not missing out on day time). Tickets: https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en (available 90 days prior to travel date). Free trains for WC ticket holders: www.tickets.transport2018.com/free-train/schedule
3. Accommodation may become a bit of a problem (opportunistic airbnb offers are already quite unreasonable). Try to book something early.
4. As to preps - there's a lot going on. They are training a whole bunch of volunteers, rolling out English (well, Runglish) signage, ramping up security, etc. Look for blogs and posts from people that have attended Confederations Cup earlier this year - it would give you an idea of what to expect.
With Moscow and NN as your cities you kinda lucked out - people going to Saransk, for instance, are in a bit of a panic now (FIFA is very slow in releasing approved hotel rooms). Moscow will have a huge fan zone in the general Uni area. Should be fun.

See you there!

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks, great advice! I feel relieved and excited that this trip can move closer. Especially about the visa. I hope that the flight, accommodations and WC tickets all merge together. Any suggestions for budget accommodations? I know, it's a big event that will stretch organizers and visitors alike. I also generally do well booking a flight but am open to advice on saving $ and which airlines are best, thanks!

Posted by
321 posts

First thing first - get your game tickets and apply for fanID.

As to flights - given that you'd have to somehow get to a major hub (DC, NYC) first anyway, I'd shoot for a nonstop flight to Moscow, and then you're pretty much limited to Aeroflot. Aeroflot also tend to be among the cheaper ones. More options if you choose to have another connection in Europe. I've had good experiences with Aeroflot, Swiss, AirFrance/KLM, and Lufthansa, and less-than-stellar experiences with Delta, United, FinnAir, Alitalia and AeroSvit (this last one was really cheap and decent value overall, but is probably not available at this time). That said, any issues encountered were really minor (missed connections, lost luggage, non-working entertainment systems and the like), otherwise the whole flight experience is pretty uniform across the board, so price should probably be your guide.

Now, accommodation. Budget-friendliness and WC don't usually go hand in hand, but here's a couple of strategies:
I'd probably skip the usual suspects (Marriott, Hilton, Radisson, Holiday Inn, Lotte, National, Metropol, Balchug Kempinsky, and Ritz Carlton and the like :-) and start with second and even third-tier hotels and hostels to get a general idea of prices and availability (something tells me there will be issues in both departments). If you happen to find an option you like, check Google for public transit directions to the center (like Tverskaya st) and to the stadium to get a general idea of how far in the boondocks you will end up. Anything under 1 hour is generally acceptable, metro connectivity is more important than bus/tram/trolley.

No luck? Next step - there is a bunch of satellite towns that have decent commuter train connection to downtown Moscow. Some that come to mind, in no particular order: Khimki, Zelenograd; Krasnogorsk; Dolgoprudny, Lobnya; Mytischi, Balashikha; Scherbinka, Podolsk; Reutov; Ramenskoe... Please note that farther away does not necessarily mean much longer transit time - some of these places are serviced by RZD express commuters that usually run once an hour and are more expensive, but are significantly faster (for instance, for Lobnya to Savelovsky rail station it is 25 minutes vs 40 minutes, which is still faster than transiting from some areas of Moscow proper that are not blessed with good metro connectivity).

Hopefully, there will be hotels available - don't expect much from them, though - but bnb will probably be your best bet. As your last resort, check out couch surfing - again, check your options both in Moscow proper and in those satellite towns.

As to any kind of bustling life in those smaller towns - it's a hit or miss, really. In my experience, usually more of a miss. Same with restaurants - but some chains will typically be available (sushi places, coffee joints, pizza, burgers, some pubs).

It shouldn't be much of a concern, though, as you will likely spend most of your time somewhere downtown, - and only go the suburbs to get some sleep.

Hope that helps - let me know if you have specific questions.

Posted by
524 posts

We happened to be there for FIFA - which we were told that is a test run for the World Cup. others on our tour got tickets to a game. be prepared to walk long distances from the public transport to the stadium and long lines. have as much in your hand as possible before leaving - they needed to pick up tickets and almost missed the match.
There was a very festive atmosphere in both Moscow and St Pete, the volunteers were young and charming. We were with a tour anyway so cant comment on that aspect, but I would try and stay in a hotel near public transport
We took the train from Moscow to St Petersburg , very easy . As noted the public transport system in Moscow- subway is excellent. We took buses in St Petersburg and it worked well.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience. Each time I learn more from others, I'm more excited about this trip.
Of course I'm hoping for a great airfare so I am using Airfare Watchdog and Scott's Cheap Flights. But if I understand the ticketing, it's a lottery that doesn't guarantee any or all of my ticket choices? Does this mean that I wait until FIFA notifies me to book a flight? I see tickets are going through the roof! Thanks.

Posted by
1 posts

Hey mates! Does anyone else travel to Russia for the WorldCup? What is it about a FanID? I feel bit puzzled because I have already received one last year, for the Confederation Cup (also held in Russia). And I don't know now if I should order a new one or I can simply use the old one. and it still works as both a visa and a discount card, right? 'Cause last year I have been going out a lot, thanks to my fanID discount. Thank you in advance! ASAP

Posted by
321 posts

Hey,
Yes, you should get a new one, and you're kind of late to the party - the time is ticking.
Yes, the procedure is exactly the same as last year - get your tickets, then apply for FanID. The site is fan-id.ru. Given the timeframe, you will most likely get an electronic version (good for border crossing) and will have to pick up the hard copy at a distribution center while in Russia.

Not sure what you mean by discounts - I didn't get any with mine last year :-(

Posted by
2 posts

But you know about a fanID discount feature, right? It gives you discounts in bars, eateries and sights?It also can help you with your travel between the host cities! the thing is it's a free option for fanID holders!!!

Posted by
1 posts

I am also attending the world cup. I have tickets to two games in Samara , Kazan , and then just sightseeing in Moscow. If anyone wants to meet up let me know!

Posted by
111 posts

Wanted to put a note here about FanID. I had mine sent to me only to be held up at US Customs at JFK. FIFA/FanID people are telling me to use an electronic one to enter the country and then go to an issuing center to get the actual ID to enter the stadium. They are citing "technical" issues as the reason why it can't be mailed to the US even though my friend got hers in Atlanta over a week ago.