Costs To Buy Train Tickets On The Trans Siberian

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How To Buy trans Siberian train tickets

We feel it is very important to let people know there can be huge mark-ups on train tickets if you buy them through agents. Obviously if you are using a third person to buy train tickets on your behalf you would expect to pay that agent a commission. We don't have any objection to that at all. What we take offence at are the huge commissions some businesses are charging for their services. Unless you have costed out the tickets yourself you don't know if you are getting ripped off or not.

 

Buying train tickets via an agency

We have used an agent to buy the tickets for us for the very first leg of our journey i.e. from Vladivostok to Ulan Ude. We were concerned that big travel groups would be on the same train as us, starting their own journeys across Russia. We think not many American groups travel in the direction we are going, which is east to west. However there are travel groups from Australia and Japan that use that route on a regular basis. We didn't want to risk trying to buy our tickets when we arrived in Vladivostok only to find the train was already booked out by tour groups. We want to travel on the Rossiya train and it leaves Vladivostok every other day. If we miss the train we want then it will delay our travel plans by two days right from the word go.

We have contacted many ticket agents for quotes on this particular leg of our journey. We have only asked for prices on first class travel without extras such as meals. This is called Lux class. These are the quotes converted back into Australian dollars, cheapest first and dearest last:

The official Russian Government Railway site, www.rzd.ru $562
Visit Russia, www.visitrussia.com, also known as Russian Train www.russiantrain.com $612
Real Russia, www.realrussia.co.uk $662
Go To Russia, www.gotorussia.com also known as Trains Russia www.trainsrussia.com $755
Legend Tour, www.legendtour.ru $772
Ostwest, www.ostwest.com $805
Travel All Russia, www.travelallrussia.com also known as www.russiantrains.com $810
All-Russia Travel Service, www.rusrailtravel.ru $825
Rail Plus Australasia, www.raileurop.com.au also known as www.railplus.com.au $2043 per person + the rail only booking fee of $85

 

As far as we are aware you cannot book a train ticket through the official government railway website unless you have a Russian credit card. So option number one was ruled out.

Visit Russia offered a very good price but we eventually opted for Real Russia because of the exceptional service we received there from Alla.

 

Getting the train tickets delivered to a travel agency for collection

Some train tickets can be issued as e-tickets and some cannot. We still haven't fathomed out why. Unfortunately the particular tickets we are buying from Real Russia cannot. Consequently we are paying an arm and a leg ($150) to get those tickets couriered to us in Australia. We could have had them sent, for a considerably cheaper amount, to a travel agency in Vladivostok. Our worry was that we may not be able to collect those tickets from the travel agency prior to it closing on Friday afternoon. Remember our flight is due in to Vladivostok mid afternoon on the Friday. The travel agency is not open on Saturdays. We didn't want to trust anyone else to take them from the agency to our hotel. Too much chance of it all going pear shaped in our opinion. We could have ended up with no tickets at all.

So, when you order your tickets see if they can be issued as e-tickets as it may save you a lot of money. But bear in mind that you cannot get on the train with your e-ticket. You have to get it changed into a proper ticket at the station before you board the train.

 

Next page - Last minute worries about our epic Russian holiday

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Our trip in the order it happened:


Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

HostelWorld.Com
Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.