The most popular service for buying plane tickets in Russia is Aviasales. This is a travel metasearch platform that compares flights from various sources to suggest you the cheapest one. Showing you numerous options for set dates, complex routes included, the platform doesn’t sell anything itself, but redirects you to the websites of various airlines or travel agencies.
A life hack: once you’ve chosen the flight that fits you best, don’t follow links from the platform but head straight to the airline’s website and buy your ticket there. This way, you’ll save some money and make sure your purchase is made straight from the source.
For your convenience, local airlines offer online check-in 24 hours before takeoff, but you have to look carefully for terms that may differ from one company to another. For example, the Russian ultra-low-cost airline Pobeda provides this service for a fee, so it’s up to you what to save – time or money.
Train tickets are available on the website of Russian Railways, the largest company in Russia, or via their mobile app. Either one allows you to fill in your profile and payment details so the next purchases will take less time. Tickets for long-distance trains have assigned seats and don't need to be printed – a passport is enough for the cabin crew to let you in. Tickets for suburban trains can be acquired with a student discount – learn more in this article.
Bus tickets to different destinations can be found in one place, too. The online service busfor aggregates the relevant data, and, unlike Aviasales, allows built-in purchases. When traveling from St. Petersburg, always pay attention to the departure point: although the majority of carriers start their route from the main bus terminal, some prefer to pick up passengers near metro stations.
While Booking and Airbnb are currently out of service in Russia, here are some alternatives for booking accommodation of all kind that are available in English:
One of the key platforms for booking hotels and hostels in Russia is Ostrovok.ru. The interface is quite similar to Booking.com: there are similar functions, filters, and payment options. It also integrates reviews from TripAdvisor.
To rent a room, flat, or house for a short period, visit sutochno.ru. The website offers fast booking options (you don’t have to wait for the landlord to confirm your booking) and a 24/7 support service.
Navigating the city
A basic yet informative tool for expanding your knowledge about a location is a map, like Yandex Maps. With just this one app, you’ll learn more about the public transport system, see key sights marked on the map, and make use of their special selections of museums and natural and cultural landmarks of any chosen town. For a more detailed investigation, check the location’s page on Wikimapia, a geographic online encyclopedia project.
And, of course, our editorial team has some of the top recommendations. Follow the Travel Tips tag to find our travel stories about the legendary and lesser-known landmarks of over 20 Russian towns.