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FIFA World Cup 2018
Russia

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Frequently Asked Questions about the World Cup in Russia

We understand that the trip of a lifetime can often take a lot of planning and financial outlay. At Bucket List Events, our goal is to make your trip to Russia for the 2018 World Cup as seamless as possible. If you’re ready to start planning your bucket list trip, here is everything you need to know about us, about traveling in Russia, and about the World Cup:

Preparing for Russia:

Do I need a visa to enter Russia?

Typically, yes. American passport holders are required to have a valid visa for entry into Russia. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that visa-free entry will be permitted for those with tickets to the matches.

If you don’t plan to attend any matches but still want to be in Russia during the World Cup, application for single and multiple entry tourist visas is a straightforward process. This procedure can be handled at most passport and visa agencies in the U.S., or at a Russian Consulate or Embassy. Expedited visa processing typically takes just two or three days, and regular processing takes about a week. You can choose to apply for a single or multiple entry visa.

Are there many English speakers in Russia? Is it hard to get around without knowing Russian? What’s up with the Cyrillic alphabet?

While English is the most commonly studied foreign language in Russia, it can be difficult to get by in Russia on English alone. Compared with Western Europe, your chances of encountering English-speaking locals is considerably low.

Larger cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg are more accustomed to western tourists and tend to employ English-speakers in positions that require a lot of interaction with tourists. However your typical Russian cashier, cab driver, or server won’t speak any English.

Something else to keep in mind is that Russia uses the Cyrillic alphabet. While you may be able to Google-Translate your way across Western Europe, this becomes considerably harder in Russia when you can’t read or pronounce any text. If you’re interested, it could be hugely helpful to take a brief crash course on how to read the Cyrillic alphabet. That way you can at least sound out Metro stations, street signs, and menu items. Here is a great resource for familiarizing yourself with Cyrillic: http://www.russianforeveryone.com/RufeA/Lessons/Introduction/Alphabet/Alphabet.htm

But if language learning just isn’t your thing, don’t fear! Russia is expecting one million tourists from all over the globe for the World Cup. There will be plenty of resources and guides to help visitors during this time. You can expect that all official venues will be outfitted with multi-lingual signage and that many businesses that are hoping to take advantage of the influx of tourists will also adopt multi-lingual menus and resources. Plus, translation services are included as part of your Bucket List Events travel package.

Do many places in Russia accept credit or debit cards? How should I exchange money?

While credit cards aren’t used quite so widely in Russia as they are used in the U.S., you will find that almost every chain retailer or restaurant accepts cards, and many other businesses do as well. This is especially true in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi. American Express, Master Card, and Visa are the most commonly accepted forms of credit or debit payment.

You should expect to pay in cash for taxis, at street vendors, and for entry to museums and other cultural sites. Luckily, Russia is well-outfitted with ATMs. You will get the same exchange rate at an ATM as you would at an official money changer, so this may be your best bet if you’d prefer not to bring cash into the country.

Something to keep in mind is that you should always try to pay in exact change. Since individual rubles carry very little worth in comparison to the dollar, you really do not want to end up with a pocketful of kopeks. Many cashiers will take advantage of tourists trying to break a large bill by unloading all their small change. Nothing is more annoying than attempting to pay for a 70r sandwich with a 1000r bill and ending up with hundreds of rubles in coinage. Be conscientious of the bills you have, and try to use whatever small change you have whenever possible.

Is Wifi widely available in Russia?

Russia is pretty well connected to the web. In 2014 Moscow became the first city in the world to offer free public wifi on all their metro trains. The restaurant and shopping districts of Russian cities will typically offer a selection of businesses that offer free wifi to their clients. You’ll find that American chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks will be present throughout Russia, and these are generally great places to connect your phone to wifi.

It is also possible to purchase pocket wifi packs – thumb-drive sized tabs that you can put into the USB port of your laptop to get access to the internet. These drives are available for purchase at most cell service kiosks and offer a variety of packages good for long or short time use.

Is Russia safe?

On the whole, Russia is a safe country to travel in. While busy tourist attractions may be feeding grounds for pick pockets, travelers shouldn’t feel the need to be any more diligent than they would otherwise be while traveling in an American or Western European city.

A central difference between Russia and Western Europe is that Russia’s unofficial, underground, and black market economies are more visible part of everyday life. A good example of this are the “gypsy cabs,” normal drivers who can be hailed for rides and charge less than official taxi services. While it may be tempting for tourists to partake, this could get you into trouble, especially if you don’t speak Russian and are unfamiliar with the area. We recommend that visitors employ official channels at every opportunity during their time in Russia.

If you are worried about the political climate in Russia, we recommend reading mote about the situation on our blog.

What will the weather be like?

Russia may have a reputation for being really cold in the winter, but summers are generally really lovely. Northern cities like St. Petersburg will be bright for nearly 20 hours a day, which also makes the nights feel safer. After such a long dark winter, Russians live for the summer and you’ll see everyone taking advantage of the warm weather and sunshine by being outdoors as much as possible

You should expect the weather to range from lows in the mid-50s at night to highs in the 80s during the day.

How should I dress? What should I pack?

Aside from the colors of your favorite team, you should also bring some nice clothes for going out. Russians, the women especially, like to get dressed up to go out in public. If you want to fit in and look the part during a night out, make sure you bring clothes for the occasion. Otherwise, keep in mind that central air is uncommon in Russia, so don’t expect to be able to cool off too much in doors. Bringing a rain jacket is also a good idea. Especially in the country side and more rural areas, mosquitoes can be quite aggressive during the summer months. You can purchase bug spray in Russia as well, but if you have a favorite brand be sure to pack some.

What are public restrooms like in Russia?

Clean toilet facilities are not as widely available in Russia as they are in the U.S. or in Western Europe. You should carry tissue paper on you at all times because most public restrooms do not provide this. You can also expect that many public toilets are of the squat variety, so visitors with knee and back problems should be extra diligent to use hotel facilities before heading out for the day. Just as with free wifi, chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks generally have nice bathrooms.

Do I need to tip in Russia?

Tipping is not as customary in Russia as it is in the U.S., but it is always appreciated by service people. Russians will generally leave some of their extra change, perhaps 5% of the bill, if service was good.

About Bucket List Events

What is Bucket List Events?

We are an international tour operating service. We put our staff on the ground at the events you want to attend so that they can organize your stay, lead tours, and be of assistance to you however possible. Our employees scout the scene prior to the event so that they are well prepared for your arrival.

What’s your story?

We were founded by former athletes and led our first tour to the Athens Summer games in 2004. We are based out of Austin, Texas and take frequent trips all around the world monthly, scouting out new locations.

At Bucket List Events, we’re about passion and hospitality. Our experience in the worlds of sports and travel is what sets us apart from the rest. We hire amazing people who love travel to ensure that your Bucket List experiences are truly unforgettable.

Are there any reviews on your company or testimonials?

Yes! Here is a list of our testimonials from past travelers. We can also put you in contact with past travelers to hear firsthand about their experiences.

What does Bucket List Events offer that I couldn’t get on my own?

Bucket List Events procurement pros wheel and deal on your behalf to ensure that you get the absolute best hotel at the absolute best price.

About our Event Packages

What is included in the packages?

Your Bucket List Events Russian World Cup package includes your choice of a three, four, or five star hotel. We will also take care of your travel arrangements to and from the hotel. Your trip will include a Russian welcome dinner, daily breakfast, and access to exclusive BLE happy hours and parties. We will also assist you with translation services and in the procurement of tickets for the events. In St. Petersburg and Moscow, we will also arrange special guided tours of the cities.

When should I reserve my spot for the 2018 World Cup?

With an expected 1,000,000 tourists to visit Russia during the World Cup. The price per room night skyrocketed during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and thousands of fans resorted to camping, sleeping on the beach, or traveling hours each day to the stadiums. Avoid all the stress by reserving your spot now.

What are the benefits of reserving now?

Booking now guarantees that you will have a place to stay, and it locks in your rates. As time goes on, match ticket and trip prices will go up, but your rates will be locked in if you book your trip now. The price of the package also includes a discount for ordering now that won’t be available later.

Do you provide airplane flights as part of the packages?

We do not provide flights as part of our packages. Since our guests come from all over the world, we find that it is best to let you select the best flight arrangements for your party. Once you’ve touched down in a Russian airport, however, we will be the first to greet you. We’ll take care of everything else!

When should I book airfare?

Generally, for large events, flight prices don’t follow the average pricing fluctuations. You should book as far ahead as possible. For the 2018 World Cup, we recommend booking at least several months out, ideally a year ahead of time.

How does transportation from the airport work?

We will have a team to greet you at the airport and transport you to the hotel. Our staff will get your flight itinerary ahead of time to make sure your arrival is seamless.

What hotel will I be staying in?

We have a selection of excellent hotels in most of the cities that will be hosting matches. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, you’ll have a choice of 3, 4, or 5 stars. Selection may be more limited in some of the smaller cities, but we guarantee the quality of service. As the event gets nearer, more specific details about accommodations will become available.

How do I trust that the hotel is good?

We have personally send staff to hotels in Russia to inspect and reserve each room. We booked hotels in Rio for the 2014 World Cup and for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Our staff can provide more detailed assurance over the phone as well.

How are the hotels chosen?

Each hotel Bucket List Events selects goes through a 20-point inspection by our Russia Team to ensure each location will provide the quintessential “Bucket List Events” experience. We note everything from how clean the floors are to the surrounding neighborhoods and restaurants. Our goal is to secure the best hotels at the best price so that we can offer an experience that is both affordable and unforgettable.

Where can I get tickets to the matches?

Everyone is already talking about hard to find tickets for the World Cup Matches. Tickets will only be available through FIFA’s official ticketing outlet, and while the games are scheduled at this point it is still unclear which teams are playing when. Always a tricky subject, Bucket List Events will try to steer you in the right direction through these murky waters. Please continue to visit this page as we will have updates.

 

 

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All of our tips and information for World Cup 2018 packages:

World Cup Russia 2018

I think the tour organization was extremely good and I got more benefits than I expected. Wish I had stayed longer. The tour staff was terrific. Thanks for a wonderful time.

Doris E., 2014 World Cup Soccer Client

I wanted to send you a quick email to thank all of you guys there at Bucket List Events for everything you did for Freddy and I. Everything leading up to the game to the trip into the Amazon, the people, the food, the games - I don't think we could have had a better time! Genuinely i can't thank you enough - the trip was beyond our expectations! I'm sure we'll be seeing you guys again!

Joey B.