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I have to renew my US visa every year, but currently a round trip flight costs me about $1000. Is there any way to travel to Russia, and then 1-4 weeks later return, for less? I'm a Russian national, if it isn't obvious.

  • When do you plan to travel? And what budget do you have in mind? Also do you care where in Russia you will be going to? – Karlson Jun 19 '14 at 22:53
  • uhmm.. fly in the off season ? I dont know if you can renew your visa only in Russia, but if its any US embassy, you can travel to Mexico/Canada/ other neighboring countries ? – happybuddha Jun 19 '14 at 22:57
  • @happybuddha That's not normally possible for temporary visas, as you have to convince embassy staff that you have ties to the country you're applying from and that you're not going to stay indefinately. – gerrit Jun 20 '14 at 3:12
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    You should consider changing the dates of your travel. Summer is the most expensive time to fly since it's time of the summer vacations. Friends of ours flew from Moscow to New York in April and left in May for $600 the prices are the same if the dates are in September. Similarly flying midweek might be cheaper then flying Friday through Monday. – Karlson Jun 20 '14 at 13:05
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One possibility to consider is to fly into another country and then cross over to Russia by land, if time and your visa situation allows it. For example, a flight to Helsinki, Finland may sometimes be significantly cheaper than a flight to Russia, and it's easy enough to cross into St Petersburg from there. Consider Latvia and Estonia as well.

Another idea is to use a European budget airline that flies to Russia (e.g. fly into the UK, then easyJet flight to Moscow)

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One of the best ways to save money on a route you flow consistently is to sign up with the airline (or airline alliance) and accrue miles. This will get you a lot of money off on your flights, or extra baggage or class upgrades. However you do have to fly frequently.

I can also recommend finding a travel agent and frequently working with them, as they can take care of the miles and get you great deals you won't find on expedia or so.

Other than that, there are rumors around when the best time to buy your airline tickets are, but basically flying is simply just expensive.

I don't think there are other ways to get there besides flying, if that is what you meant by your question.

  • There is a possibility to hop a freighter going to Europe and another ship going to SPb. And suggestion of using Frequent Flyer programs requires some spending power or frequent flying. – Karlson Jun 19 '14 at 22:59
  • OP Suggested she may need to travel once a year to Russia to renew her visa. – Eichhörnchen Jun 19 '14 at 23:16
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    So how many years would it take to get a free flight or an upgraded flight? Besides that miles do expire. – Karlson Jun 19 '14 at 23:19
  • I don't know what airline they're using, it depends. Some airlines will also offer discounts, Aeroflot will require 52,000 miles for an award ticket from LAX to Moscow, but some airlines offer discounts or maybe an option to fly to another nearby airport for free where a connecting flight back to the US is cheaper. I have none of this information from the OP so I can't be any more detailed. – Eichhörnchen Jun 19 '14 at 23:29

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