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Trans-Siberian Railway

Contents

The Trans-Siberian Railway (Russian: Транссиби́рская магистраль trahns-sigh-BEER-skuh-yuh mah-gee-STRAHL’ or Трансси́б trahns-SEEB), or Transsib is the name given to the three rail routes that traverse Siberia from Moscow.

  • The Trans-Siberian proper goes from Moscow to the Pacific terminus of Vladivostok.
  • The Trans-Mongolian goes from Moscow to Beijing, China via Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • The Trans-Manchurian travels through Siberia and Manchuria to Beijing.
  • See also: BAM, Baikal-Amur Mainline

The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. It was built between 1891 and 1916 to connect Moscow with the Far-East city of Vladivostok. En route it passes through the cities of Perm, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Chita and Khabarovsk.

Prepare [ edit ]

Packing the following items is recommended for any lengthy journey on the Trans-Siberian railway

  • Pocket knife For slicing up bread and vegetables you can buy from the sellers at major stops
  • Cutlery Instant noodles, or its Russian version — instant potatoes, become essential snacks for most travelers, since each carriage is equipped with boiling water from the Samovar, unfortunately they often come without the usual plastic fork or spoon.
  • Perfumed wet tissues/baby wipes/wet wipes These little things can do wonders for your personal hygiene.
  • Head lamp On these long journeys (through 8 time zones), it often turns out that Einstein indeed was right — time does become relative. So bring a headlamp for reading when others want to slumber.
  • Flip-flops or other slip on footwear, for your days on the train
  • Deck of cards or other easily explained games are great for socializing with your fellow travelers, and making the long hours spent on the train immensely more enjoyable. Bring a deck of 5 Crowns for this is a favorite in Russia. If you are a chess player, by all means bring a little chess set — the game is really very popular in Russia.
  • Pictures of your home, country and family and a phrasebook with a conversation section (Lonely Planet’s phrasebook is a good one) can work surprisingly well, since you’ll have nothing but time to overcome the language gap. Many Russians tend to be curious about foreigners once the initial suspicion dies down, since they don’t normally meet many — even these days. Recommended: make a list of vocabulary and study it in the train!
  • Itinerary There are many ways to «make Trans-Siberian», think carefully which cities you want to make stops in depending on your passions and interests. Explore Russia[1] gives support in planning a route, suggests places to visit and can help with booking tickets and accommodation.
  • Laptop PC, e-book reader, etc. Electronic gadgets are really an option for entertainment when there is nobody to make a good company with. Be sure to also take an extender with surge protection in order to charge your equipment conveniently and safely from the car wall outlets (they are

220V 50Hz). Note that the sockets are originally designed for electric shavers, so the overall load should not exceed

100W. If you find the outlets de-energized, it almost always means that the circuit is just switched off. Don’t be afra >Get in [ edit ]

The three termini of the Trans-Siberian are Moscow, Beijing and Vladivostok. There’s also a weekly connection from Moscow to Pyongyang.

Moscow can be reached by train from anywhere in Europe. Fares from London (one-way) start at around £200. Eurolines operates the European coach system, and fares from London start from around £60. Aeroflot is the principal airline operating into and out of Moscow. Extending the Trans-Siberian experience is possible by travelling on the Paris-Moscow service, a direct Russian train from Paris to Moscow via Germany, Poland and Belarus or Nice-Moscow via Monaco, Italy, Austria and East Czech Republic.

Ferries run throughout the year between Vladivostok and Fushiki, Japan. The trip takes about two days. Arrangements can be made through Business Intour Service, who have offices in Tokyo and Vladivostok.

Ferries also run from Sokcho[2] and Donghae[3], South Korea to Vladivostok. Aeroflot serves Vladivostok, amongst others.

Beijing is served by numerous international airlines. It can also be reached by train from as far south as Lhasa (Tibet) or Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), but there are no rail connections to Thailand, Myanmar or India.

Visa information [ edit ]

Most travelers will need visas for all three countries except if you are going to Vladivostok or Sakhalin by Trans Siberian route without visiting any other countries apart Russia, e.g. by the main Trans-Siberian line or BAM.

China and Mongolia are fairly straightforward. The best way to obtain a visa is through your own embassy or consulate or in Hong Kong. Visas for British citizens cost £30. However, Mongolian visas can easily be obtained from the Mongolian consulate in Irkutsk (Russia), and Chinese visas in Ulaanbaatar. (Note: For the moment it is recommended to apply for Chinese visas in Mongolia, due to no regulations.) US and Brazilian citizens (90 days) as well as Israeli and Canadian citizens (30 days) do not need Mongolian visas.

Russia is more problematic. Invitations are generally required for issuing a visa. Practice shows you can get it from online services such as Russian-visas. Tourist visa gives you up to 30 days in the country. Business visa is a choice for people who want to spend up to 90 days, however, it might be more complicated to arrange. US citizens can get a 3-year, multiple entry visa. Israelis and Brazilians do not need Russian visas (90 days).

Every foreign tourist has to get registration for stays in one place of more than 7 working days (9 days with weekend). Hotels provide it for free most of the time, some hostels will do it for an extra charge. Apparently any Russian can register you in his/her house at the post office for a small fee. If you stay less than 7 working days you don’t have to register legally. In any case, it is advised to keep all your tickets with you.

However, Russian transit visas issued in Beijing, Shenyang or Harbin last 10 days and require no invitation. This would be enough time to make the trip with no stops along the way and spend a couple of days in Moscow. The Beijing consulate is open from 9:00 to 11:00 but remember that many Chinese nationals are also trying to acquire visas with you, so show up early. The Shenyang consulate is open from 9:00-12:00 for visa services drop-off and 15:00-16:00 for pickup, and is far less crowded or strict than Beijing. The cost varies for each nationality, but Americans can expect to pay $250 for same-day service or $150 for the five-day service. Upon arrival in Moscow you have four nights valid on your transit visa, which allows for one or two nights in Moscow, an overnight train and one or two nights in St. Petersburg respectively, but you must be across the border before midnight on the final day of your visa.

There are many exits from St. Petersburg, including buses to Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Kiev and various other places in Europe, but be wary that nearly all nationalities need a transit visa (or tourist visa) for Belarus (see here if unsure) so be sure to be prepared with a visa if your plans take you through Belarus. An exception is the once weekly ferry from St. Petersburg to Lübeck (Germany). See: [4]. It is a great way to leave (or to start your journey to Russia).

It is generally assumed that border police stationed at bus routes that exit the country are less likely to make a fuss versus the police on trains. A Russian transit visa cannot be extended under any circumstances. If you arrive from Beijing, you can register your visa after arriving in Moscow. If you have a 10 day Transit Visa and do not stay in one place (go to Saint Petersburg) you do not have to register your visa, though it is recommended that you register your visa, if possible, within three days of entry into Russia.

Unfortunately, if you encounter police officers they might not have the same opinion and you could be faced with a «fine». Have your ticket ready as proof that you were unable to register sooner and keep all receipts from hotels and/or hostels from places where you have not registered.

Tickets [ edit ]

The Russian train system is different from European systems. Order your tickets as soon as possible especially from July to September and around New Year. The train tickets are bought for fixed dates and all the stops must be planned in advance. If you have a ticket from Moscow to Vladivostok and step off the train in Irkutsk, you can’t use your ticket for a next train going to Vladivostok. If your stop is not planned in advance and not revealed in your tickets, your ticket will be canceled and you’ll get stuck in Irkutsk. It’s somewhat similar to a plane going from New York to Moscow with a connection in Amsterdam – if you decide to go out in Amsterdam and lose your flight you can’t use your ticket for a next flight to Moscow. — Actually: you buy separate tickets for every trip (for example: Moscow — Irkutsk. Then Irkutsk — Ulan Ude. Then Ulan Ude — . ). (The rules state that a passenger is actually allowed to make one stop on his journey (for no additional charge), but this requires a little paperwork while on the train and will be difficult to arrange with the attendant without knowledge of Russian.)

There are several ways of buying tickets for the trip. You can purchase them from a travel agent in your own country, a travel agent in the country from which you will start the journey or turn up and buy tickets yourself – or you use the online booking system of Russian Railways [5]. The first option is safe, but most expensive, the third the cheapest but riskiest – and the last is easy and the cheapest. Popular trains can be sold out well in advance, particularly in peak season. For some trains in peak seasons there is no public sale, these tickets are only sold to certified travel agencies.

Russian tickets, also to Mongolia and China, at Russian fares are sold via Russian Railways (see above) and in English via Transsib GmbH [https:transsibirische.wordpress.com], more expensive by agencies like VisitRussia [6] or others (Transsib Reisen St. Petersburg [7]).

Normally it is said to be possible to buy the tickets in any Russian station, not necessarily one on the route of the train. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have a common ticketing network, so it is possible to buy a ticket for a Russian train in those two countries (eg. Brest), and it will probably be even cheaper than in Moscow. The difference occurs for several reasons, including whether additional insurance is present or not. All tickets include a small mandatory insurance, but cashiers will try to sell you additional insurance (150-200 RUB) by default. Selling it by default is prohibited and you always have the option to opt-in or opt-out: just say bez strakhovkee (без страховки, without the insurance) or so strakhovkoy (со страховкой, with the insurance). The ticket itself is issued on two layers of orange paper, insurance (if included) is a pink/green paper of the same size.

If you live in Germany you can buy tickets for Russian trains at any «Bahn»-Counter (German Railways).

The problem is that some Russian trains are sold out weeks before departures.

In some stations in Russia, there are still special windows for selling tickets only for foreigners, but the price of tickets should now be the same for foreigners and local people.

Tickets are normally individual, with name and passport number written on them, so you may need to show passports for all travelers when you pay (although a passport photocopy usually is enough). Also, if you plan to buy tickets on more than one occasion, it may be useful to keep handy a piece of paper with the travelers names written in the Cyrillic alphabet instead of transcribing them each time.

In Beijing, you must buy tickets in person from a hotel travel agency near Beijing’s main train station.

Tickets online [ edit ]

Tickets can be purchased online, but you have to receive a paper ticket at the station anyway. You cannot board a train with just a printed copy of your order confirmation. For some trains and classes you might be able to «check in» online (at the time of purchase), which means the conductor will have a list with your name on it, so you won’t need a ticket — you just show your passport.

Arrive to your station of departure at least 180 minutes in advance (queues may be extremely long) and go to the same cash desks where you would normally buy tickets. Hand over your passport and order confirmation (or just the order number). The cashier will issue you a paper ticket for no additional fee.

Besides this, railway stations in Moscow and other bigger cities, have self-check-in counters where you have to enter your order number and surname, and the ticket will be printed automatically.

Buying tickets at the official Russian Railways website is very good and easy to use and a lot cheaper than through an agency because there will be no processing fee. However, not all foreign credit cards are accepted. You can also select the railway car and your seat/place. Tickets within CIS countries are also available. However, tickets to China and Mongolia cannot be bought online.

Station numbers [ edit ]

Station numbers are used internally in the Russian railway computer system, but they are usually printed on the tickets as well. Knowing them may help when making the reservation in smaller stations (you could bring this page and use it for pointing), or when buying the tickets abroad.

  • I would like to buy a ticket — Ya hachu kupit bilyet — Я хочу купить билет

From — iz — из To — vf — в

  • One, two, three persons — adeen, dva, tree chelavyeka — один, два, три человека
  • Today — sevodnya — сегодня
  • Tomorrow — zaftra — завтра
  • Monday — panedyelnik — понедельник
  • Tuesday — ftornik — вторник
  • Wednesday — sreda — среда
  • Thursday — chetvyerk — четверг
  • Friday — pyatnitsa — пятница
  • Saturday — subota — суббота
  • Sunday — vaskresyene — воскресенье
  • Leaving at — vy-ezd — выезд

Morning — ootram — утром Noon — dnyom — днем Evening — vyecherom — вечером

  • Carriage class — vagon — вагон

Platzkart (3rd) — platskart — плацкарт Kupe (2nd) — kupe — купе SV (1st) — es ve — СВ

  • Could I have. — mne pozhaluista. — мне, пожалуйста.

upper berth — vyerhnyuyu polku — верхнюю полку lower berth — nizhnyuyu polku — нижнюю полку

  • Passport number — nomer pasporta — номер паспорта

Stations are listed in order from west to east

List of major stations listed in order from west to east

  • 2058000 Kaliningrad (Калининград)
  • 2004000 St Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург)

2004001 St Petersburg — Glavnyi Station (Санкт-Петербург (Главный вокзал)) 2004004 St Petersburg — Finliandskii Station (Санкт-Петербург (Финляндский вокзал))

  • 2000000 Moscow (Москва)

2000002 Moscow — Yaroslavskij Station (Москва (Ярославский Вокзал)) 2000003 Moscow — Kazanskij Station (Москва (Казанский Вокзал)) 2000006 Moscow — Bieloruskij Station (Москва (Белорусский Вокзал))

  • 2060001 Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород) — often listed as Gorki (Горький)
  • 2060500 Kazan (Казань) — on the South route of Trans-Siberian, several trains use this way
  • 2060600 Kirov (Киров)
  • 2030400 Perm (Пермь)
  • 2030000 Ekaterinburg (Екатеринбу́рг) — often listed as Sverdlovsk (Свердловск)
  • 2044700 Omsk (Омск)
  • 2044001 Novosibirsk (Новосибирск)
  • 2028170 Tomsk (Томск) — not exactly on Trans-Siberian, but on one of the short lines connected with the main route
  • 2038001 Krasnoyarsk (Красноярск)
  • 2054052 Severobaikalsk (Северобайкальск) — one of the main stations on Baikal-Amur Mainline, running parallel to Trans-Siberian in the Eastern Siberia and Russian Far-East
  • 2054001 Irkutsk (Иркутск)
  • 2054785 Ulan Ude (Улан-Удэ)
  • 2034001 Khabarovsk (Хабаровск)
  • 2034130 Vladivostok (Владивосток)

Fares [ edit ]

Unfortunately between Russia, China and Mongolia respectively there are no platzkart couchettes but only sleeping cars (Russian Kupe is similar to an European 1st class couchette, however classified and priced like a sleeper). To avoid extremely high fares go to Ulan Ude and take the daily bus up from there to Ulaanbaatar, about $25.

Avoid ticket scalpers in Ulaanbaatar in all circumstances, they charge you $500 or more for the international train to Peking. Take a local train instead for $15 to the Chinese border at Zamin Uud.

Buying tickets at affordable fares is possible if you get them in Russia. Beware of ticket scalpers especially in Germany charging you triple and more.

Fares are widely variable but not difficult to predict exactly provided you understand the Russian booking system with 42 different seasons / year plus 7 different categories of trains. Fares for Russian trains are subject to a lot of seasonal changes, with mark-up for high season being up to 60%. The prices also change with the quality of the trains. Low numbered trains (001, 008, etc) sometimes are more expensive and more comfortable. High numbered trains (032, 133, etc) can be less expensive and less comfortable. Rough ideas would be:

  • Moscow-Vladiwostok or vv. soft sleeper $873 in peak seasons and $695 in low seasons from Transsib Reisen GmbH St. Petersburg. You must book until day 50 before departure in all circumstances because a new demand-related fares’ system has been introduced on 03-01-13. Moscow-Beijing or Vladivostok same company soft sleeper $775 and hard sleeper $531. [8] in English. [9] in German.
  • Beijing–Moscow about $897 (soft sleeper) / $665 (hard sleeper) (2nd class) from China Travel Service (CITS) in Beijing
  • Travelling the opposite direction, Moscow to Beijing, can be considerably cheaper, depending on the season.
  • St Petersburg–Kazan about $150 (2nd class, one way)
  • Kazan–Ekaterinburg about $90 (2nd class, one way)
  • Ekaterinburg–Novosibirsk about $125 (2nd class, one way)
  • Novosibirsk–Irkutsk about $150 (2nd class, one way)
  • Irkutsk–Vladivostok about $260 (2nd class, one way)

Reports show that the government has raised prices recently. Prices will be cheaper if you deal directly with them instead of resale agents, but that rules out English help and visa sponsorship, so be confident in your Russian if you deal directly with the government agency.

Timetables [ edit ]

The Trans-Siberian trains have varied schedules: some trains are daily while some go on even dates, some on odd dates and some trains depart only on a couple of days during a week. There are also passing-by trains (проходящие поезда), which are actually legs of longer train itineraries.For example, a Ekaterinburg–Irkutsk leg of a Moscow–Vladivostok train. In this case, not only schedules but also availability are affected: such tickets become available for sale 72 hours before departure.

Russian Railways has all Russian train schedules, as well as some of the international trains departing from Russian destinations (such as Moscow–Beijing train). Only actual availability is shown, which is released 45 days prior to departure for all Russian trains except for the passing-by ones and 30 days for most international trains. You will need to use alternate spellings for some destinations. Beijing is called Pekin, Moscow is Moskva, Saint Petersburg is Sankt-Peterburg, Yekaterinburg is Ekaterinburg or Sverdlovsk (old name of the city), Ulan Ude is Ulan-ude, Ulaanbaatar is Ulan-Bator, Almaty is Alma-Ata, and Khabarovsk is Habarovsk.

  • Russian Railways International Ticket Office (495) 266-8300 (Russian)

Other good options for doing your own planning includes the Deutsche Bahn travelplanner. It’s available in many languages including English, French, and Spanish. It has less transliteration issues that the Russian websites, but it includes only the limited firmeny «fast» trains. Another good option is the Poezda railway table (search Google) one of few online scheduling tools in English that doesn’t try to sell you tickets, and it has a nice simple interface to boot.

Buy [ edit ] [ add listing ]

Coming from Beijing or Harbin, the last stop in China is Manzhouli. The food being sold there is quite expensive, but many Russians stock up on provisions (i.e. spirits and beer). Be aware that you can take a maximum of five beers (Harbin Beer, 0.3l) per person into Russia or you will have to pay a penalty (read: bakshish) to the customs. Get rid of all your Chinese Yuan here as they become virtually worthless once abroad, unless you want to take them as a souvenir. There are a couple of black market money changers in front of the station that change renminbi to rubles at ripoff rates. To get rubles, you have plenty of time on the Russian side of the border (Zhabaikalsk). Walk to the ATM located at the bank in town. Allow 30 minutes to go and come back. The train stops for several hours while the carriages are being changed, so you can do some shopping at the local food supermarkets (bread, cheese, etc.).

Coming from Beijing via Mongolia into Russia there are still the same rip-off exchange touts, but most if not all platform vendors in Mongolia and Russia take U.S. dollars or euros. However, they take only bills (or notes), so know the exchange rate and buy a lot if you are using a five euro note. Always ask the attendant how much time is available before you rush off into a station to find a Bankomat (ATM) because the train will not wait for you. If you are not spending time in Mongolia, avoid acquiring Mongolian tögrög. They are worthless virtually everywhere else, and the export of tögrög is technically forbidden. Therefore, spend dollars or euro, but get rubles immediately because Russian vendors are more likely to fabricate exchange rates than Mongolian or Chinese platform vendors.

Eat [ edit ] [ add listing ]

On the Moscow–Vladivostok route) the train stops for 20–30 minutes every 3–4 hours. Everybody can get out of the train, and there are always people on the platform that offer a variety of fresh food (eggs, fish, cheese, bread, fruits, meat or cheese in a cake) and often some drinks for passengers. Prices are low; only Russian rubles are accepted. A highlight is the smoked fish (Omul) being sold on the shore of Lake Baikal (Station: Slyudyanka, a quick stop, so be fast). Some of the larger stations will have food marts with snacks but it is difficult to get alcohol within train stations or at the kiosks on the platform.

Many of the trains have dining cars (with extremely overpriced food and drinks), although if you do not speak any Russian, ordering the food will be an experience, to say the least. Food and drinks are also sold in kiosks at the platforms, but normally twice as expensive. To get a reasonable price, wait for a station with a 20–30 minutes stop, and just exit the train station, there is usually a plenty of kiosks or small shops just outside, offering a wider choice.

Since there is a samovar (hot water dispenser) in every carriage, your best bet is to have a stack of dried noodle soups and Nescafe ready. Just bring your own cup. The carriage attendants (Provodnitsa, Provodnik if male) will often have cold drinks, snacks, and even freeze-dried meals available for sale at slightly inflated prices.

Drink [ edit ] [ add listing ]

In every train car there is a pot with boiling water available for making hot drinks (bring your own tea, but the water is free). Carriage attendants also sell tea and coffee, and it’s usually possible to buy soft drinks and beer in the restaurant carriage to bring back to your carriage.

It’s worth having a basic phrasebook as attendants are unlikely to speak English and the drinks provided won’t come with milk or sugar unless you specifically ask for them.

Sleep [ edit ] [ add listing ]

All tickets for long journey trains are for sleeping places. Trains between Moscow and St. Petersburg have seating places. Most trains in Russia have 3 classes of cabins to choose from;

  • First class (SV) is the most comfortable but is also the cost of the journey compared with a kupe. Each cabin consists of two sofas flanking each side of the compartment, which convert into beds for sleeping. On some trains such as the Trans-Mongolian, the first class compartments has private bathrooms. Service on the first class actually somewhat resembles the service you would expect in Europe and North America, which is worth considering since Russian railways are notoriously bureaucratic and not very service minded, to say the least.
  • Second class (Kupe) somewhat compares to the standard on Western European sleeper trains, although with the Russian sense of knickknack decoration. These carriages are compartmentalized, with each compartment holding 4 beds. The lower right bed is 5 cm smaller than the others. One thing of note when buying tickets for second class, is that you will have to share the two lower bunks during the day. There is one shared bathroom on each carriage, that is locked during stops at stations. Kupe is a good compromise between relative comfort, and the ability to meet and mingle with the Russians, a situation where they are notably more open minded than what is usual in Russia.
  • Third class (Platzkart) bears some resemblance to the hard sleeper class on Chinese trains: many travelers find this class to be much better than its reputation. These carriages are in an open layout with two lower and two upper berths, and small, narrow corridor and another two berths that are located on the opposite side below and above the window. There is little in the way of privacy here, but women travelers might prefer this option, or they may get stuck with three men and a closed door. The provodnitizas, or carriage attendants, are notorious for running the place as a boot camp. On the other hand, it is a taste of real Russia, and the price is usually 40–50 percent lower than kupe.

Note that sometimes there is no shower in the train even in the first class on K19 (Trans-Manchurian). You can have an Asian-style hot shower, though, if you bring along 2 jars. Fill one up at the hot water dispenser, go to the washroom and mix the water you get there in the second one.

Stay safe [ edit ]

The journey on the Moscow-Vladivostok route seems to be very safe, especially if you travel in groups of four (or multiples); then you will get a separate four-bed cabin (Of course, this applies only to kupe seats). Every train car has one or two staff (provodniks/provodnitsas) that check tickets, do cleaning, take care of boiling water, etc.

Cabins can be locked from the inside with two locks. One can be opened from outside with a special key, the other cannot be opened from outside, and when locked allows the door to open a bit.

Work and Travel USA in English

You must be between 18 and 23 years old; program fee from $1250; earning from $7.25 an hour; program dates 15th of May till 15th of September; Language – intermediate English; to be a full-time university student

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We offer an amusement park jobs, jobs at the restaurants, hotels, swimming pools, shops, national parks etc. You decide where and what kind of job you would like to do – this is what makes us different from other agencies.

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Conditions of the Work and travel USA program

Work and Travel USA is an international student exchange program, founded by the U.S. State Department. Russian students have been participating in this program for over than 20 years now. Put all doubts aside and start your adventure now together with your friends! Student Agency is an official partner of several program sponsors, which is why we can offer the best placements for Work and Travel.

As for official information: Work and Travel USA starts May 15th and ends September 15th. It means that you may travel to America any day in May – June and come back in August — September. It only depends on your preferences and your university’s approval.

Basing on the Certificate of the Eligibility for Exchange Program (DS-2020 form) program participants are issued a J-1 visa, which allows them to legally work in the U.S. for up to 4 months. One month upon the job end date is granted for traveling. But nothing keeps you from going for mini-trips at weekends, you just have to buy a bus ticket, rent a car or find a good company of locals – and you’re good to go!

Students usually work on seasonal customer service jobs in resort towns: restaurants, hotels, shops, amusement and entertainment parks and national parks and sanctuaries. The job must be seasonal – this is the main condition of the program. Work and Travel students normally earn as much as their American colleagues – from $7.25 to $12 an hour. Accommodation is usually provided by an employer or program sponsor, it can be free of charge sometimes (for example, in a hotel if it’s a workplace), but the customary charge is $40-$150 per week (everyone understands that the price for a place to live in LA with Hollywood view and to live in small town won’t be the same)

How to become a Work and Travel USA participant?

  • Full-time university student
  • Between 18 and 23 years old at the time of departure to USA
  • Studying English

…. you can become a participant of Work and Travel program!

Enrollment starts in September and ends in March. But it’s better to hurry up – the program’s price increases by the end of the enrollment period, besides, the best job offers are always taken first. So, to avoid the rush with documents, while attempting to improve your English, hustle with exams at your university and to get the best job in USA – apply as soon as possible.

Step 1. Registration.

Students fill out the registration form, you can do it on-line on our website or at our office in Kaliningrad. If you live outside of Kaliningrad you can apply on-line, we work with students all over the country!

Step 2. Consultation.

You have an interview with us in the office or via Skype, Viber. We answer all your questions, check your English language level and tell you what documents you need to provide and what to do next.

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Begging from October you start a job search – with our help or by yourself. If we are helping you with a job search we provide you an access to our database of the vacancies with a detailed description of every job. You apply for the jobs you like and have an interview after. After receiving your job offer and paying the second program fee, sponsor starts the process of work permit – DS-2020 form.

Step 4. J1 Visa application.

As soon as you have a work permit we start to help you with application for US visa. We prepare you for an interview and schedule the date of an interview with the US embassy (interviews start in March and ends in June).

Step 5. Departure

After your visa has been approved you pay the rest fee of the program. We book a convenient flight from Russia to US and hold an orientation meeting where you learn a lot of interesting and useful information about your trip.

Work and Travel USA: how much does it cost?

Work and Travel program fee depends on what kind of the program you choose and when you start your application for the program. It could be with job placement and housing as well as flight tickets, could be without. You need to keep in mind that together with the program fee you will pay visa fee, trip to the US embassy and you need to get from New York airport to you job placement (the most expensive flights are from New York to West coast and to Alaska).

Our agency has formulated 4 options of the program, so you can choose the one that fits you most:

ECO

PREMIUM

SELF

ALL INCLUSIVE

We provide you with the program, but you search for a job yourself. Also, you book your plane tickets yourself.

The price includes job placement. But you book plane tickets yourself.

You find a job by yourself, but we provide round-trip air tickets.

Everything is included in price (job placement with housing and air tickets)

1.“Eco” – we provide you with the program, but you search for a job yourself or your friends help you to find one. Also, you book your plane tickets yourself or with our help. This option is mostly for “experienced” participants who have traveled before.

2.“Self” — participants find a job themselves, but we provide them with round-trip air tickets. This way you don’t have to worry about increasing tickets prices.

3.“Premium” — the price includes job placement which you choose from our vacancies list. But you book plane tickets yourself.

4.“All Inclusive” — everything is included in price (job placement with housing and air tickets). It’s a perfect option if you are traveling for the first time and you want to have everything set for you, cares and troubles-free.

What is included in the program fees?

  • All paper work for Work and Travel program
  • Round-trip air ticket to New York for SELF and All-Inclusive programs
  • Job search for Premium and All-Inclusive programs
  • Application for US visa and preparation for an interview in the US embassy
  • Help and consultation during your stay in the US

Where you can work during Work and Travel program:

“I don’t have any experience! What American company is going to hire me? And why do they need ф student labor force? For sure because they what to save money!” Not even close! You will be working in hospitality business: restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, shops, swimming pools. The job and your rate depend on your skills and your English level. Usually students earn from $7.5 up to $12 an hour and you will be paid an overtime if you work more than 40 hours per week.

We offer you to choose a job and you will know in advance what job you have.

Many students have 2 or 3 jobs to save up money and go travelling in September. To visit Las Vegas, San Francisco, Jamaica and Hawaii – everything is real. You friends are going to be so jealous.

Minimum requirements for housekeepers, kitchen help – where you won’t be communicating most of your time with costumers. As soon as you improve your English and get used to English speaking environment, you can be promoted. Take your English very seriously if you would like to get a job working with people as a lifeguard, waiter etc.

Work and Travel students usually work at the following positions:

Work in hotels

Working in a hotel is one of the most popular types of jobs on Work and Travel USA. This is due to the fact that this type of employment offers a great variety of vacancies for students with poor command (pre-intermediate) of English. Usually hotels hire people for positions of housekeepers (that means cleaning the rooms), but there are also other different jobs. Hotel often offer rotating positions that combine several duties (for example cleaning rooms and working as a porter at the same time). If you have a good command of English you can work on a reception or front desk.

Jobs in a hotel:

  • Housekeeper
  • Laundry assistant
  • Area Worker
  • Maintenance

Work at a restaurant/café/bistro

Working at a restaurant might be tiresome, but the advantages are free meals (or a discount for meals in a restaurant) and good tips. Also, you communicate with a lot of people every day, so it’s a great chance to improve your English! If you don’t feel very confident about your language, but really like working with food, you may choose a position of kitchen helper or a dishwasher, they are simple and not overwhelmingly-communicated. Types of restaurants are very different: from big exquisite restaurants to fast food cafes. The best thing about this type of work is that there are thousands of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes all over the USA that need personnel all the time.

  • Dishwasher
  • Cook assistant / line cook
  • Cashier
  • Kitchen worker
  • Busser / food runner
  • Crew member
  • Server, waiter/waitress
  • Hostess

Usually employers are not ready to hire students and provide such jobs as a waiter or hostess without having a personal interview. You can start from a busser or waiter assistant, where you will be cleaning and help to serve tables. If you are hardworking person and you show your motivation you can be promoted and receive a good tip. These jobs are usually suitable for girls with previous restaurant experience and good command of English.

Work at amusement parks

There are lots of various amusement parks in the USA (for example Disney World, Six Flags etc.) and thematic parks where students from different countries are hired for summer. Mostly working in parks means working as ride operators, ice-cream and pop-corn sellers, territory cleaners, and cashiers in gift shops. One of the advantages of working in amusement parks is to use all the attractions for free! This also means that happy mood will surround you all day long and you’ll get lots of positive emotions. One of the responsibilities of the amusement park operators is to provide safety for guests and this means that you’ll socialize with them quite often and that’s why there is no possibility to work there not knowing the language well enough.

  • ride operator
  • salesman (sweets, souvenirs)
  • territory cleaner/ area worker
Work in National Parks

Every year national parks in the U.S.A. hire stuff for summer time because it’s the busiest season of the year. Most parks are in the western part of the country, far from big cities, which means that there is not a lot going on around, all the nightlife is in cities. On the other hand, this also saves a lot of money for your vacation! Also working at the national parks gives you an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and see the most beautiful places of America. Your main duties there will be cleaning the areas, kitchen help, assisting waiters, selling souvenirs and other.

The most popular national parks in America are Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Sequoia, Glacier, Zion, Grand Teton Please visit this website for more information www.us-national-parks.net.

Working as a lifeguard in a swimming pool

Some of you might not want to go to America just to clean rooms or make burgers. If you are physically fit, a good swimmer a you speak good English – the lifeguard job is just for you!

The job of a lifeguard is to provide safety for all pool visitors. You need to have a good command of English and be able to swim 300 m (without a set time limit)
Before you start work, you will have to take a swimming and giving first aid tests to get an American Red Cross Certificate. Student agency is an authorized recruiter for High Sierra Pools company that employs lifeguards and has work locations all around the east coast area. We arrange the lifeguard training and swimming tests and in Kaliningrad, so you will be fully prepared for the trip.

We advice to start searching for a job as soon as possible. There are thousands of other J-1 students looking for a summer job, and chances to leave behind your competitors in finding a good place are lower and lower every day.

However, please remember that the job that you eventually find, must comply with the program rules. There are certain types of jobs that are prohibited for Work and Travel USA participants:

  1. Work at factories, manufacturing plants, construction sites – any hard-physical work;
  2. Work at traveling fairs;
  3. Any jobs with a commission payment only;
  4. Work at private houses: as a gardener, nanny, driver etc.;
  5. Any commercial transportation service;
  6. Any jobs with physical contacts with clients (tattoo and beauty salons, SPA);
  7. Any jobs which can influence on reputation of the program (“adult” types of entertainment clubs);
  8. Any night time jobs;
  9. Any jobs where you need a different type of visa (summer camps program or internships)

There are following job limits in the big cities:

  • The job should be seasonable
  • Employer must prove the need to hire students and not locals
  • Accommodation is provided with a reasonable rate

Questions Work and Travel USA

  • About the job
  • ABOUT THE PROGRAM
  • About USA
  • Documents
  • What are the job placements?
    You will be working in hospitality business: restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, shops, swimming pools. Most of the Work and Travel students working in small resort towns. Here you can see “the participants map” from last year:

    How much money I can earn?
    Usually students earn from $7.5 up to $12 an hour and you will be paid an overtime (1,5 of normal rate) if you work more than 40 hours per week.

    Can I find a second job?
    Yes, upon your arrival you can find a second job, only if you can manage working there and on your first job. Don’t forget to get a permit from your sponsor. Many students have 2 or 3 jobs to save up money and go travelling in September. If I am searching for a

    job myself, can I work in the office for example and not in the hospitality business?
    Unfortunately, no. Certain rules of the program are drafted by the US Department of State. It has to season job, and to meet the following criteria: safety (you can’t work at factories, manufacturing plants, construction sites, “adult” types of entertainment clubs, during night time); guaranteed wage (you can’t work with a commission payment only; any commercial transportation service), not overlap with other exchange programs (you can’t work as a baby-sitter because this is an au-pair program, you can’t work in an office because you need an intern visa). We will explain all the rules during your application process.

    For are the program dates?
    Work and Travel USA starts May 15th and ends September 15th. It means that you may travel to America any day in May – June and come back in August — September. It only depends on your preferences and your university’s approval.

    How well I need to speak English?
    You need to be able to start a conversation in the shop or café, to find your way to the job placement and to take care of the daily matters in the US.

    How much money do I spend for the program and what are the ways of paying?
    Work and Travel program fee depends on what kind of the program you choose and when you start your application for the program. It could be with job placement and housing as well as flight tickets, could be without. The total program expenses together with a program fee, visa fee, medical insurance, trip to the US embassy and flights from New York airport to your job placement is $2000-$2500 (the most expensive flights are from New York to West coast and to Alaska).

    Can I go together with my friends?
    Sure! Your friends can be even from a different city.

    Is this program only for a student?
    Yes, you need to be a full-time university student. If you are not student anymore we can offer you a variety of programs. Please visit our website for more information www.student-agency.ru

    Where I am going to live?
    Most (not all of them) of the employers provide an accommodation. Usually it’s a rental apartment, houses, rooms in a hotel or motel, student houses or even trailers. The price depends on conditions and location. Usually is from $60 up to $120 per week from a person.

    What I am going to eat?
    Well this you need to decide! If you are working at the restaurant or fast-food probably you can get a free meal at work. If not – on your way to a supermarket to get some supplies! Would be useful to learn in advance how to cook.

    How do I get to my job placement?
    We can help you to plan your trip but you need to get there by yourself. You can take a train, bus or plane.

    Will I have an internet access?
    Usually yes. Not – only if it’s remote part of the US but there is always a wi-fi to connect anywhere. Besides, you can buy a sim-card and to use a mobile internet.

    What to do if I fall sick?
    You will have a medical insurance during all your stay in the US. You can consult a doctor if you need.

    What documents do I need to participate in the program?
    International passport, university certificate, photo for US visa (colorful, resolution of 600×600 pixel). We will help with the rest.

    What visa I need to apply for?
    Every participant of an exchange program needs to get a J-1 visa. Based on your work permit and DS-2020 form you apply for a visa. We will help you with all visa application process.

    What if I want to find a job myself and get a visa without agency help?
    Unfortunately, no. Only program sponsors approved by the US Department of State can fill in a DS 2020 form, that you’ll need for your visa.

    What is a Job Offer?
    It’s your contract with an employer.

Russia Travel Guide — Russia Travel Notes

Travel Notes: Europe: Russia Travel Notes

Russia, or the Russian Federation as it’s officially known, is by far the largest country in the world — covering more than one ninth of the Earth’s land area.

Russia Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Russia.

Countries neighbouring Russia are: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Korea and Alaska, USA; across the Bering Straight.

Weather in Europe:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Europe.

On Arbatskaya, the main pedestrian street in Moscow, the red flag is a tourist commodity worthy of currency, along with other Lenin memorabilia and former soviet uniforms, Russian dolls, tin-badges and revolution-era cameras.

Turn back the clock with this piece of Soviet Memorabilia.

This original Soviet clock can only be purchased in the Sovietski Store.

From Russia With Love:
The thawing of attitude saw people of St. Petersburg and Moscow take to the streets; Lenin statues fell and individual traders sprouted up like new shoots in the spring.

Embassies in Moscow

British Embassy in Moscow:
Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya 10, 121099 Moscow, Russia.

East Russia Travel:
This site has been designed to educate, inform and promote Eco, cultural and other tourism opportunities in Eastern Russia.

New Russia:
Official Site of the Russian National Tourist Office. This is a beautifully presented site, and very easy to navigate; who needs frames? There is an enlightening history section, and of course the mythical Trans Siberian Railway routes.

Trans-Siberian Handbook:
The must-have guide for travellers contemplating travelling overland through Russia by train.

Getting a Russian Visa

Russian Visas:
All foreign nationals are required to have entry visas to travel to the Russian Federation. You can easily obtain your entry visas for Russia and the CIS online, from the comfort of your own home.

If you are transiting through Moscow Sheremetyevo airport, you may also purchase a visa at the airport, to visit Red Square and The Kremlim while you wait for your connecting flight. And believe me, there can be some very long waits.

If you’re staying in Russia for more than 3 days, you’ll need to register your visa through your hotel or sponsor.

For those travelling to a number of Russian cities, all points of entry and all itinerary stops in Russia need to be printed on the visa. It’s also a good idea to make photocopies of your passport and visa and carry them with you at all times.

Travellers who wish to stay in Russia for more than 3 months need to have an HIV test, to prove that they don’t carry the virus. The HIV certificate needs to be in Russian and English and valid for 3 months from the date of medical examination.

Travel Advice to Russia:
The British Government’s advice for British citizens planning to visit Russia.

Russian Customs Regulations

You need to fill out a customs declaration upon arrival in Russia with the amount of currency brought into the country declared and all valuable items listed (including your cell phone). Make sure that the declaration is officially stamped by customs officers on entry, to prevent difficulties in taking currency and valuables out.

Russian Consulates:
Listings of Russian Consulates around the world.

Russian Phrasebook:
You’re in Russia. Chances are you’ll have to stand in line at least once. With this book in hand, this potentially dreary experience could become a social event. Talk politics, meet the love of your life or simply ask where the toilets are.

Russia Today:
English-language news channel based in Moscow.

Russian Visa Guide:
It is possible to arrange your own Russian visa. In practice, however, most travellers choose to hire a professional visa travel agency to do the groundwork. For an extra $30-$70, agencies will prepare, proof-read, and submit your paperwork to a consulate on your behalf and mail your passport along with Russian visa back.

Russian Folk Show

Enjoy an exotic Russian folk show in the former Ballroom of the Nikolayevsky Palace. Featuring the best folk companies in St. Petersburg with delicious Russian appetisers served in the intermission.

St Petersburg Hostel:
More Youth Hostels are appearing as budget travel takes off — when we first went to Russia, you had to pre-book your itinerary through Intourist to receive vouchers for dollar hungry hotels.

The State Hermitage Museum occupies six magnificent buildings situated along the embankment of the River Neva, right in the heart of St. Petersburg.

The Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century.

One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg was founded by Catherine the Great, in 1764, and has been open to the public since 1852.

Although badly damaged by fire in 1837, the original plans from architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli were used for the reconstruction of this grand state entrance.

The Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace leads up to the exhibition rooms.

Pulkovo/Rossiya

Passengers travelling through St. Petersburg, on Rossiya flights, get a free hotel stay if their connecting flight is the following day or they have more than a six hour wait.

Pulkovo Airport:
Pulkovo airport has two air terminals: Pulkovo-1 for domestic and charter flights; and Pulkovo-2 for international flights.

Park Inn Pulkovskaya Hotel:
The hotel is situated close to the Moskovskaya metro station, in one of the most beautiful St. Petersburg districts. Only 10 minutes, free shuttles can also whisk you into the city within 20 minutes. The hotel is especially convenient for guests planning to visit the famous royal estates: Peterhof, Pushkin, Pavlovsk and the residence of the Russian President — Constantinovsky Palace.

Rossiya Airlines:
The regional airline of St Petersburg operates charter flights to some 86 cities abroad and 35 cities within Russia.

Tit For Tat Diplomacy

The British Consulate in St Petersburg was shut down by Russia on 17th March, 2020; in retaliation for Britain’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, after a nerve agent attack in Salisbury, suspected to have been curried out under Russian orders.

Russia and the UK:
News relating to the special relationship between Russia and the United Kingdom.

The Republic of Karelia

Known as ‘the country of lakes’ Karelia is located along Russia’s border with Finland.

Petrozavodsk, the capital city of Karelia, can be reached by overnight train from Saint Petersburg; leaving around 10pm and arriving in Petrozavodsk around 7am.

Hotels in Petrozavodsk:
Compare hotel prices for popular hotels in Petrozavodsk.

Karelia Tourism:
The Tourist Information Centre of Karelia is located at Kuibysheva Street 5, in Petrozavodsk.

Official Karelia:
The republic consists of 16 metropolitan regions and two urban districts, with 808 inhabited localities.

Regions of Karelia

Belomorsky, Kalevalsky, Kemsky, Kondopozhsky, Kostomuksha, Lahdenpohsky, Louhsky, Medvezhegorsky, Muezersky, Olonetsky, Petrozavodsk, Pitkyarantsky, Prionezhsky, Pryazhinsky, Pudozhsky, Segezhsky, Sortavala, Suojarvsky.

The Ural Mountains are stuffed with gems and precious stones.

You can buy fantastic handmade jewellery and souvenirs in Ekaterinberg: malachite, garnet, turquoise and jasper made into colourful, sparkling rings, necklaces, key chains and jewellery boxes.

Ekaterinberg

About Ekaterinburg:
Ekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city, administrative centre of Sverdlovsk oblast and the capital of the Urals.

Ekaterinburg History:
Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg), the capital city of the Urals, was founded in 1723 by Tzar Peter the Great (and named after his wife, Catherine). The city witnessed the death of monarchy in Russia, as it was in Ekaterinburg that the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II and his family was assassinated; in Ipatiev house by the Bolsheviks on July 16, 1918.

When Josef Stalin ruled the Soviet Union, Ekaterinburg became the largest passing point for the so called political criminals, who were sent to develop the lands of Siberia and the Far East; the inhuman work was another name for a death sentence.

There are many outstanding historical monuments in the area. Maybe take a one-day tour to Verkhoturje — a truly amazing village not far from Ekaterinburg, where you can see the most beautiful churches in Russia and listen to stunning legends about the famous ancient monastery.

Ural Airlines:
Located at Sputnikov str., 6 in Ekaterinburg.
Tel: +7 /3432/ 242-850, 266-789
Fax: +7 /3432/ 266-416
Information phone +7 /3432/ 268-845.

US Consulate in Ekaterinburg:
American visitors to Russia can find out about citizen services and the region; Russian travellers to America can learn about visa services; U.S. businessmen can access reports on trade and investment, and Russian students and journalists can read the latest U.S. policy statements on events around the world.

Driving Across Siberia — Vladivostok to Moscow

The 10,000 kilometre road journey is probably best taken from west to east, as the most arduous part of the journey is undertaken first and the vehicle’s resale value is higher in Moscow.

Belgorod

Visit Belgorod — the Golden Gate of Southern Russia — to find old Orthodox cathedrals, cloisters, and buildings that witnessed the steps of Peter the Great and other Russian historical figures. View the unique Russian landscapes and memorials commemorating historical events from the ancient ages to the biggest tank battle that took place near the village of Prokhorovka, in 1943.

All-Russia Travel Services:
Grint-Hospitality is licensed by the Russian authority to provide international travel services and is officially registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist with the processing of visa formalities.

Discover the wonders of Lake Baikal in the Republic of Buryatia, on the Russian-Mongolian border.

Insider Tour:
Escorted tours around Saint Petersburg and its suburbs. Also offer tours and shore excursions for cruise ship tourists.

Cruising The Baltics:
Enjoy a cruise of Russia, the Baltic States and Scandinavia.

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