1) Im checking in a bag. Russia lady in my city said make sure not to exceed 40 lbs or they will charge you steep fees at EVERY connection of flight. With this said, I was going to carry on more. Now in America, I can get away with my big buffle bag. I mean big. Its larger than most gym bags. Maybe 36 inches long. I never have problems with it traveling in America but what about to Russia? Are they going to not allow it? I dont want to find myself halfway to Europe and having to dump half my stuff.
2) I have roughly $300USD converted to Rubles. I was told that Visa works fine in Russia and Kiev. However, knowing my luck it wont. I was thinking of taking maybe $700USD in travelers checks in case it doesnt work. My hotels are paid for ahead of time. I will be staying Sat to Tues am in Russia then flying to Kiev leaving Thurs am.
3) Russia. I have my visa and my invitation paperwork. Do I need to carry both with me at all time or just the Visa once I check into the hotel?
4) I was told be at the airport 2 hrs before the flight. The Flight to kiev from Russia is at 10am on a Tues morning and the flight back to America is 9am on a Thurs morning. Do you think the airport will be busy enough at that time to warrant a 2 hr pre flight arrival?
5) What to expect for taxi drives in Ufa, Russia and Kiev? I will have a female with me in Ufa so she can negotiate but Im on my own in Kiev.
5) Lastly, Im staying at hotel Slavutich in Kiev. Please dont tell me i chose a dive....
ndfb: Forget travellers cheques. Almost impossible to get rid of them. Visa or Master card is the way to go. Remember you must use the "Credit" function to withdraw cash even when you are using a debit card linked to your bank account. I'd suggest you take a couple of hundred $USD in cash and take two cards. There is ATM's (Bankomats) everywhere.
Ufa: You'll be fine if you have someone negotiating for you. It's a fair hike from the airport to the city. Pretty drive actually. You will disembark on the tarmac and be loaded on a bus to go to the terminal (all of about 200 yards), don't get on the wrong bus (I did.......twice, and wasn't well received..!!!). One takes you to the international and one to the domestic.
Carry all your paperwork with you, but once you have your visa in your passport, other than the check card which they will give you on arrival, it is technically all you need to carry in Russia. You still need to have your visa registered within 3 days in Russia. Most hotels in UFA can do or arrange that for you.
20KG or 44LB is check in bag limit on most flights. Some will be strict and some won't. I wouldn't push it. Big carry on bags can be a problem. Again, I wouldn't push your luck.
I just got back from Russia and Kiev and had no problems with one large standard sized suitcase of 49# weight. Once it is checked here in the States to your final destination it will never be weighed again. I would suggest to use the hotel laundry service and carry fewer clothes if you feel intimidated.
Forget travelers check nobody wants them over there. Best bet is two visa cards and $1000 USD cash. Don’t worry Visa is accepted everywhere. Don't forget to call your card issuer and tell them you are going to be using the card in Russia and Ukraine because their fraud departments will most likely shut the card off if they do not know you are in Europe. Use the Visa cards everywhere and keep your cash as emergency backup funds.
Travelling to and from Ufa you most likely will transit through Moscow. If this is your case then post again and I'll tell you the headaches of this fiasco.
Have your girl write your Kiev destination airport on a piece of paper and show this to the taxi driver and remember to always cut the price by 20 to 30%. Stick to your guns and they will change their minds and re-negotiate whey they see you walking away to talk to another taxi driver.
When you are in Kiev you must at least “one time “ go to the "River Boat" you will be floored by the exquisite beauty of the part time hookers that frequent this club. Don't be alarmed I would say 40% of the good looking girls in Kiev "supplement" their income by using prostitution.
Good luck and remember to always... Live Life With Passion!
Actually, since you will be in Russia 4 days including a weekend, you don't have to register your visa. I was there from a Thursday to Monday and didn't register.
My duffle bag is bigger than yours and I have not run to any problems with weight yet unless you are putting something other than clothes.
Travelers checks are a waste, more trouble than they are worth.
Just carry your visa with proof of stay (stamp).
Arrange your taxi in kiev airport ahead. My friend stayed at Slavutich hotel and he said it was fine. There is driver at that hotel that my friend knows fairly well.
Ok ty very much all. Now my response: If I take US cash, will the local banks give a decent exchange? I was told by a woman that travels internationally quite a bit that foreign banks dont want the US dollar unless it is perfectly clean and new bills and when they do exchange, its never as good as doing it in the US.
Obviously Rouble and Ukrainian dollar is different. So I dont want too much of either. Since no one wants to use travelers Cheques, I guess I will bring cash although, damn, carrying cash isnt fun.
Exchange at banks or hotels? Airport is probably worst exchange rate correct?
ndfd you are not talking about much money so I wouldnt worry too much about the exchange rate. I got a good rate from a guy standing in the street.
Yes you should take brand new notes. They dont want anything with even a crease it. This always amused me because surely if the notes are counterfit, they are more likely to be brand new.
ndfd, you will find playing with cash is a pain,, i did,, why go to a bank and get f88ked around because they think somethings wrong with it,, do take a few thou but only for total backup, with no pen marks:).
if you are worried about your visa card,, get a travelex card,,, cash passport i think they are called, from any international airport,,,
they give you two cards, you can load up almost any amount of cash on them, both cards have different pin numbers that work on same account, you can even set your exchange rate if you really that worried it, but really i found these just great in russia, money machines everywhere. never had a problem with any machine other then some ukraine machines having no money in them,,, the banks are crap to deal with, time wasters..
carry your passport with you and also that stupid little paper they give you at the airport "russia".
if you want to go back to russia it may pay to register in those 3 days.
In Kiev there are money changers every 5 meters along the main streets. You get best exchange on your visa card which is accepted by about 80% of ATMs. When using credit card in restaurants ask if they take cards even if they have sign saying they do.
Always arrive 2 hrs before flight. City to airport in Kiev is about 40 min but if there is an accident it can be an hour or more.
From airport dont pay more than 200 grivna. If you are good negotiator you can get it for 150. Ignore the tout until you get the price you want. There are ATMs at boryspil dont u money exchange there its a ripoff.