The following information is provided to assist those traveling to Russia for long or short terms and on a tight budget. You may use this to find your own housing solution or you may contact SRAS about our Research Travel Packages.
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Accommodation in Russia
With focus on Moscow and St. Petersburg
Look for Price, Location, and Registration!
Those looking to travel to Russia on a budget will find that creativity and early planning can get you far in the world's largest country. Keep in mind, however, that your housing solution must not only be affordable, but should also include registering your visa.
- University Dormitories
- Long-Term Apartment Rentals
- Short-Term Apartment and Room Rentals
University Dormitories are only available to students enrolled with the university and in Russia on a student visa. This usually entails enrolling for a minimum of 10-12 hours per week of classes. SRAS can help arrange this as part of its Research Travel Packages. The price difference between renting an apartment and renting a dormitory room, even with the added cost of tution, is often negligible. However, for those who will not value the courses, this is really not an option. If you do not attended your courses, the university is legally obligated to expel you, which means your visa will be cancelled your will be evicted from the dormitory.
Long-Term Apartment Rentals, while not cheap, do offer the best value for long-term stays. There are numerous pitfalls to watch out for, however, with this option, so it's a good idea to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a renter by reading this article on the subject.
- Search yourself with Yandex Reality or Cian.ru, which are only in Russian and, because posting is free there, have many that are actually from brokers. However, it can be worth it to find those from actual owners, as you can save the 100% broker fee that is standard in Russia – although you will likely still have to pay first and last month's rent.
- Find a broker (and save time by spending cash) by looking at the real estate sections of the St. Petersburg Times or the Moscow Times. Or check out any number of real estate agents.
- If you are open to finding a roommate or a shared apartment, RedTape.ru and Expat.ru can be excellent sources for finding roommates that speak English.
- For a real-life experience of hunting for apartments abroad, see this recounts by SRAS students and alumni in Moscow or Warsaw.
Short-Term Apartment and Room Rentals are also known as "serviced apartments" and are competitive with hotels, especially if you are traveling with others and can share the costs. They are also more likely to have free Internet and calls! A couple such services we would recomend include MoscowSuites.ru and ApartmentsMoscow.com. You can also chose to try to go directly through small, private owners. Cheap-Moscow.com, for instance, is run by a man who calls himself "Uncle Pasha" and can help you find accommodation and almost anything else you might need in Moscow. Past users of his services report that he has a bizarre and sometimes caustic sense of humor, but that he is remarkably resourceful. In St. Petersburg, IntrobyIrina.com is run a lady who specializes in finding sublets and private apartments for rent direct from the owner. Airbnb also offers several listings from Russians looking to rent rooms or full apartments to short-term guests. SabbaticalHomes.com specializes in apartment swaps and rentals by and to accademics and has listings for some Russian locations. Lastly, social networking can also be used to find roommate arrangements on such sites as Expat.ru, Redtape.ru or Couchsurfing.org. As always, you should be careful about who you chose to room with – and make sure that your housing solution will be able to register you.
Homestays for long or short term stays can be arranged through Host Families Association (HOFA), which has contacts in 60 cities throughout Russia and the CIS. Those selecting one of our Research Travel Packages can request SRAS assistance in locating a homestay. Costs vary by location, but generally range from $30-45 per night and includes breakfast and usually access to kitchen and laundry facilities.
Hostels: Hostels in Moscow and St. Petersburg cost $25-35 per night for dormitory-style rooms. Prices are lower in other cities. Some include breakfast, others don't. Some also have a couple of twin or single rooms available. We have included links for hostels that have their own website. To book others you can go through one of the many online portals such as HostelWorld.com, which offers a fairly extensive selection of Russian hostels.
Hotels: The hotel industry in Russia is still underdeveloped and, in general, overpriced, even in smaller towns and cities where you would think the competition for the few tourists and travelers would be a bit tighter. However, there are hotels available in many locations. We recommend hotels for very short trips and for when you need something a bit more spur-of-the-moment. You might check out TripAdvisor's extensive list of hotels and reviews in English.
Find Out More!
History of Russian Holidays
Internships in Russia
Health and Safety in Russia
The SRAS Newsletter
The SRAS Library on Russia
Journal for Students
More Free Resources!
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