Russia Travel Guide - Bound for Russia
What you need to know about traveling to Russia to meet your date.
A time will come when both you and your date in Russia decide that it's right for you to meet each other. Every couple is different, so there's no way of predicting when you'll both feel comfortable with taking this step. Of course, you can invite your bride to visit you, but the reality is that you are in a much better position to travel. It's often difficult for a single Russian lady to obtain a visa, especially to the United States (virtually impossible), and paying a “friend at the embassy” to help her out simply doesn't work. Besides, traveling to Russia either on business or leisure is a wonderful experience and you should make the most of the opportunity before you familiarize yourself with your bride's culture. Remember there's a purpose to your visit.
There are plenty of things you'll want to know in advance of your trip though, and plenty of tips you might like to have at your fingertips that will guide you through your travel.
First Things First
The principle purpose of your trip is to meet the woman with whom you've been corresponding and had enough time to get to know. The key thing is to make sure that you plan your trip with her approval and involvement to the extent that you can know that she is happy. You have to make sure that she wants to meet you, and that she can see you on the dates you are proposing to travel. More than this, you'll probably be glad that you made sure to visit when she could set aside some time to spend with you. Make sure you are both ready to meet in person by talking about it over the phone. More likely than not, you'll both be very enthused!
Travel to Russia - The Nitty-Gritty...
When you start to plan your visit, it's important to find a reputable travel agent. You shouldn't opt for a package trip, which is usually very inflexible. Nor should you be tempted to use a dating agency to make your travel arrangements, since they usually don't specialize in travel services and may not provide the best quality and prices. Find a professional travel agency to make arrangements particular to you. Remember, as if you were on a business trip, you want to be an independent traveler as much as possible on this trip. You want to retain flexibility, not only to get to know your date, but to adapt and change your plans as needed.
Visas... How to Get Them
Unless you are from one of the countries of Former Soviet Union you are likely to require a visa to travel to Russia. Usually obtaining a one month tourist visa is very straightforward. You can apply directly at the Russian Embassy nearest to where you live and should make your application several months in advance, to allow sufficient time for processing. It is also a good idea to contact them by phone beforehand so that they can guide you through the process. Alternatively, have your travel agent make the visa arrangements for you; www.gotorussia.net is reputedly one of the better online travel agents for Russian travel, recommended by many Americans who have traveled to Russia.
Surviving Russian 101
Invest in a guidebook to Russia, as this will be a great source of local knowledge. Your safety and comfort is a top priority. Russia may not be as dangerous and criminal, as is widely believed; but, as in any foreign country, you should do everything with extra caution, particularly because you do not speak the language well.
You should write down the address of your hotel, the name of the airport you're using, and the address of your Russian bride. If you can't work out the letters, or you're not absolutely sure, ask the clerk at your hotel to help you transcribe the place names into the Cyrillic; at the very least you can show people the name of the place you're looking for if you get lost.
You should also pick up a few Russian phrases, if you haven't already from talking to your bride. The most useful ones are “Gdeh?”, where; “Skolkah?”, how much; “Spasibah”, thank you; and “Pozchaluh-stah, you're welcome.
At some point during your trip, you'll probably want to spend time in one or other of the major Russian cities, like Moscow, St. Petersburg or Kazan, before traveling to your bride's locality for the meeting. Don't forget to enjoy being a tourist and visit some of the spectacular tourist sites in these places.
If possible, take a friend or relative with you on your adventure. If you have children, you may want them to accompany you to meet you future spouse. This will relieve some of the tension and anxiety you may experience, but it will also demonstrate to your bride that you are serious about commitment.
At Last We Meet
When you finally get together with your date, you should observe a couple of rules. First, you should arrange your meetings in a public place, like a public park or a restaurant in a downtown area; staying in the tourist area is just a good precautionary measure for tourists in any country. You can ask a clerk at the hotel to mark several good restaurants and public places on a map.
Your first meeting is very important. You're sure to be nervous and excited, so get plenty of rest after your flight. You'll feel more confident and positive. Remember also that your appearance and presentation are very important, so don't wear shorts and an old t-shirt with trainers. Russian ladies prefer a more formal style so try out your best suit; use cologne and buy flowers. You'll be all set.
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