Hey folks. It's Zarkey again.. Remmeber, the young lad?
So I've been thinking of bringing $7,000 with me. I know in Odessa the woman who has a kid will treat me well. I like her, but, my reasons for not having a relationship with her are noted somewhere.... She said she will be my friend. Thank You!!
I've been thinking of Moldova, Belarus, Russia (Other than MOSCOW). Just something appeals to me about Russian women. The brown hair cute face, so natural. Different than Ukrainian.
So If I'm in Kiev in a cheap flat. what's the best way to get to Kharkov? I was thinking by train. Can I take a train from Kharkov to Russia? What about Moldova? I'm so obsessed with my adventure you'd think Universal Pictures were going to make a movie into it.
I think $7000 is good for a few months? BTW, I will want a visa since I'm staying more than 3 months.
You can take train or bus from Kiev, bus is faster. And of course you can take a train from Kharkov to any destination in Russia. $7000 is enough for a few months unless you are going spending spree. There is a service calculating the budget and reducing the expences for such trips. I can give you the contacts if you want.
I dont understand anyone carrying around that amount of money!!
Use some sense and use a cash card. First time in Kiev, 2 men tried to rob me. DONT carry around more money than you have to!!!!
Simple as that....
If you carry more than a few hundred dollars at a time with you, count your blessings if you don't become a target (and maybe never return).
I spent two months in Russia once and rarely had dollars with me. Instead I used my debit card on a local ATM every time I needed money.
In terms of traveling internally, train is more convenient, but make sure that you have somebody who knows the language to buy the tickets for you. Otherwise you may get very uncomfortable seats/cars. If the train trip is longer than 12 hours, plan on flying. That includes any two cities, even in different countries.
By the way, I would not cross country borders by train.
" I'm so obsessed with my adventure you'd think Universal Pictures were going to make a movie into it."
Maybe they can call it "Zarkey's Last Stand" and if you come out alive( or not).....you can become famous!!!
It is not easy to get around in ukraine or cross borders into russia without some experience or some knowledge of russian, unless you are flying. Best to have someone/company make some of the arrangements for you. I concur with FSU about crossing border on train( usually in mid of night)can be dangerous. If you are in Odessa, there is a bus that can get you in Chisinau in 5 hours for ~$15 but make sure you cross the border in Palanca.
zarkey - open a couple savings accounts with a debit card attached, keep only a few thou in each one. much safer than cash, and if it gets pirated - possibility - then you only lose a small amount, and have the other - do you have someone back home who can deposit money for you if you need it? many will tell you carrying a lot of cash is risky because it is. no matter how much you try to 'fit in' and act like a local, they will know.
If so the flight is very cheap. My advice is to take a week long trip with a friend. Stay at one of the hostels near independence square and get your feet wet. Only then consider what is next for your adventures.
Trains are the way to go. Though, I can't say I miss the latrines!
Do you speak any Russian?
Getting a Ukrainian visa will be a super bitch. You are mad to consider getting a visa if you do not need it. Hop to another country and re-enter if you really need to stay longer than the maximum allowed.
I never had a problem with crime even though I put myself into some stupid situations after drinking but I have a horse shoe up my ass and for the first month I had a local with me. It is not a big deal but every one of the other western guys I met at hostels were stopped and shaken down by police at least once. I can't say that I look like a local or fit in. I walked by a lot of cops but was never harassed. Even locals do get stopped in the centre of Kiev and recently drinking in public became illegal again. Of course it doesn't matter that the police do not have the legal authority to stop a citizen without cause and ask for documents in Ukraine.
Banking fees are terrible but you need to take at least two credit cards with you and only a sensible amount of cash. In six months of traveling in Romania, Hungary and Ukraine and only meeting women with questionable morals I didn't have any trouble, but bad things do happen. Bad things don't just happen to tourists, they also happen to locals.
I met one guy from Portugal who traveled into Transnistria and then on to Ukraine but he certainly wasn't risking $7000 and he was a hippy who looked like a beggar! Maybe even worse off than the locals!
I would advise planning your trip to Russia (for which you will require a visa) separately and flying in and out of St.Peters-burg or Moscow.
It differs from consulate to consulate but in Toronto the Russians want to know entry and exit points, flight numbers and dates, plus proof of accommodation arrangements. As far as I know there is no way you will be able to get a three month tourist visa for Russia if you are from Europe. You would have to get a business visa, which isn't a problem, it just costs more money.
If you have someone back home, it would be better if they send it to you Western Union. It can cost as little as $5.99 for up to a thousand or maybe more. An ATM withdrawal will cost around $5.00 and most ATM's will give you only $200 - $300. (I forgot how much). That is before your bank fees of around $2.00. One person here said there are one or two ATM's in the middle of Kiev that will give you more, but I haven't found them and I wouldn't look for them.
Also, if you remember your ATM password by the letters of the keypad, start remembering them by numbers or remember the letters that correspond to the numbers. Their keypads only have numbers, not letters.
Next day delivery. It can take up to 48 hours, but just send it early. The next least expensive one is Walmart Moneygram for about $8.89. I used Western Union last just about a week ago. I sent them money for Christmas instead of sending them Christmas gifts. (January 6, not December 25)
Look through that website for a link for other plans or look at another Western Union website other than what you are talking about. I found that plan from their website. Everytime I go to their branches, I have to tell them several times and they themselves have to find it in their website.
Sorry. There maybe a $500 limit on that plan. I never send more than $100 or $200 at a time. I don't know. That still is a little better than ATM.
Correct me if I'm wrong, again faulty memory. The ATM's only give 500 grivnia. That's less than $100. At $7.00 a transaction, that can add up.
I remember my first ATM transaction on one of my visits. Although I intended to, I forgot to memorize the numbers on the keypad. My first attempt failed. I remembered my PIN number only by letters. My first attempt failed. It says so in cyrillic. I don't understand cyrillic, so I don't exactly know if it failed or a faulty ATM.
Let's see.. I had no pen or paper to illustrate, so I used my fingers. Let's see 1 is blank, 2 is abc, 3 def.... My second attempt failed. If the third attempt fails, the ATM will no longer work for me and perhaps, my bank will shut me down until I call them in the US. The third one worked.
This is a simple thing, but it can be frustrating. Remember your PIN number by numbers.
Those weren't foreign transaction fees. Those were fees for using another ATM other than the bank's. Those fees are applicable also to ATM's in the US. Your bank doesn't charge those fees? If so which bank is that? I have BofA. I like them for their bill paying feature. They can pay many bills in one or two days without fees.
yes, good suggestion, change banks. Mine does not charge me a penny for using it abroad, (such banks are unusual I know)and the exchange rate when I later check on my bank statements is usually marginally better then it would be than if I was actually changing cash whilst over there.
Im sure I have been able to withdraw up to 1000 Hrivnas at a time in the past, though as I am sure any Ukraine travellers will know, the ATM's can be temperamental. Yes, of course its a good idea always to have a back-up card that you can use in case the primary one gets lost or stolen. I have to reiterate, anyone who goes wandering around any country with big pots of money stuffed in their pockets practically deserves to get bashed over the head!!
I would suggest that if you are going to take $7000 - take it all in ones.
Then find a strip club ...
There is a difference in how much you 'take' and how much you budget. You can decide that 7K is an amount you are comfortable with losing, er ah investing? Remember that probably 80% of the time it will just be you. Unless of course you find someone to shack up with right away. Then it will become just a vacation - a memorable for sure. If you are truly seeking a partner for life then maybe give some thought to baron's advice before you go.
But there is always the being there and meeting aspect of it. You never know.