What To Know Before You Go To
Russia


  • About Russia

  • How to prepare for your Pilgrimage

    Thank you for your desire and readiness to visit these places of grace and prayer. May the Almighty God, through the intercession of our Heavenly Mother, reward you for all the efforts you undertake to come!

    206 Tours would like your Spiritual Journey to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. It is important to note that 206 Tours pilgrimages are packed full of spiritual activities and sightseeing. We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping. This is because our desire is to offer you the most comprehensive pilgrimage possible. However, all tours/activities are optional, and if you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire (of course, no refund can be issued for any aspects of the tour which you choose not to participate in). Simple advise the tour escort the night before of your alternate plans not to join the next day in the group activities. The amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout our tours. You will encounter hills, mountains, unpaved streets, cobblestone streets, etc. Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are up to such physical activities prior to registering. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely to read them carefully.

    A couple of weeks before your pilgrimage, one should begin preparing physically as well as spiritually:

    1. If not accustomed to physical activity begin walking “briskly” 1-2 times a day; build up to 2-3 miles with no discomfort.
    2. If possible attend daily Mass or attempt to spend quiet time in church during lunch or after work.
    3. Pray for Jesus and His Blessed Mother to open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, their words laid on your heart, etc.
    4. Begin praying the rosary daily (Learn How to Pray the Rosary ) or at least the Apostle’s Creed, 7 Our Father’s, 7 Hail Mary’s & 7 Glory Be’s as Our Lady has requested; this takes about 5-7 minutes.
  • General Info About Your Documents, Flights, Arrival & Travel

    Please visit www.tsa.gov for the most up to date travel restrictions

    New security procedures

    All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller. All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items. Visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for complete details.

    Exemptions:

     

    Inbound International Flights:

    You may carry duty-free liquids in secure, tamper-evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:

    • The duty-free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
    • The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
    • The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.

    *Liquids more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml not in a secure, tamper-evident bag must be packed in checked baggage.

    Electronic Airline Ticket

    Your ticket is an electronic ticket (“e-ticket”).
    When checking into the airport, provide your passport and your e-ticket confirmation to provide to the check-in agent or Kiosk.

    Passports and Visas

    Passports and Visas: All U.S. citizens must travel with a valid passport to enter Russia. Your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months upon your scheduled return date to the USA. If you have not yet obtained your passport, or just noticed that it will not be valid months after your return, URGENTLY contact your local passport office and apply for an expedited passport/-or passport renewal.

    US citizens are REQUIRED to obtain a tourist VISA prior to traveling to Russia More information can be found here: www.russianembassy.org/Embassy_eng/Consulate/tourist_visa.html
    For those who hold a passport from a foreign country, please be advised that it is the passenger’s responsibility to reconfirm if any visas are required. Below please find embassy information on the country you will be visiting.

    Moscow:  Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
    Moscow 121099, Russian Federation Tel: +7 (495) 728-5000, fax: 728-5090

    St Petersburg: 15 Ulitsa Furshtatskaya
    St. Petersburg 191028, Russia Tel: +7 (812) 331-2600, fax: +7 (812) 331-2852

    Code-Share Flights

    Many airlines are in special agreements, to share aircrafts in order to ensure the best routing for their passengers. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (i.e. United), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (i.e. Lufthansa). Carefully review your airline itinerary to determine which airline is operating your departure flight to ensure check-in for your flight at the correct carrier. When your flight is operated by another carrier your itinerary will state “Flight Operated by (name Airline).

    Airport Check-In

    Please use the following recommendation for check-in prior to your scheduled departure time. Check-in at least:

    • 2 hours prior to Domestic flight
    • 3 hours prior to International flight

    You must personally check in your own luggage at the airline counter. Advise the check-in agent of your final destination to ensure that your luggage will be checked all the way through. This will eliminate you having to claim your luggage and have to recheck in once again during a possible flight connection (s).

    Airline Connections

    The Airlines determine the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another. We are subject to the availability of the airlines carrier we work with and must ensure that all participants have reservations to arrive / departure similar times for the group transfers to/from the airport.

    Airline Tickets:

    Airlines now require that we provide electronic tickets (a.k.a. “e-tickets”) in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your flight itinerary which was provided with your final documents and passport to the agent. The airline agent will then check you in for your flight, check your luggage, and provide you with a boarding pass for your flights. In the very rare occurrence where an e-ticket cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form. Please note that paper tickets must be present in order to check-in, and or board the plane.

    Flight Delays & Arrival Transfers

    If you missed your flight, forgot your passport or if you are re-routed you most likely will miss your group transfer from the airport to your hotel. How to proceed in such circumstances?

    • You may take a taxi at your own expense to your hotel.
    • You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.

    You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.

    Health Precautions:

    You may consult with your health care provider before traveling. For the latest overseas travel health information contact: The Center for Disease Control call 1-877-394-8747 or visit www.cdc.gov. For medical information contact: The U.S. Public Health service 1-301-443-2403. In order to prevent “Montezuma’s Revenge”, avoid tap water, including ice cubes. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case.

    No inoculations are necessary for travel to Russia from the US.

    Arrival Procedure (In Russia)

    After disembarking from the plane you will clear immigration, and proceed to the baggage claim to locate your luggage. You will exit the baggage claim through customs into the “arrivals hall/ lounge.” Look for the 206 Tours representative who will be holding a sign with your name and/or “206 Tours.” You will be transferred to your hotel where you will meet your guide and the rest of your group. Please remember to look for the sign!

    When you get off the plane, you will go through Customs, and then proceed to the Baggage Claim area to pick up your luggage. When you exit the Baggage Claim area into the Arrival’s Hall, you will be greeted by a 206 Tours Representative holding a sign which reads “206 Tours”. From there, you will be transferred to your hotel where you will check-in and have time to refresh before meeting the rest of your group later in the day.

    Remember to look for the “206 Tours” Sign!

    TIP:
    Make sure to wear your 206 tours Lanyard and Nametag – as well as your 206 Tours Bag. Your Guide has a copy of your flight times – so they will be looking for you as well. Wearing these will make it easier for them to spot you as well.

    Lost Luggage

    If your luggage is missing, proceed to the Baggage Office in the Airport Terminal to complete a “Missing Luggage Form”, which will include a description of your luggage. Please make sure to save all paperwork and tracking information given to you by the Airlines. Upon locating your baggage, the airlines will bring your luggage to your Hotel. It is important that you provide them with the correct address and dates that you will be at your hotels (noted in your Final Instruction Booklet.) You may also provide the phone number of your Guide, also noted in the Final Instruction Booklet. If your baggage is delayed for over 24 hours, and you purchased insurance, you may submit a claim upon your return to the US (only applicable to passengers that purchased Travel insurance through 206 Tours).

    How to Overcome Jet Lag?

    Traveling through a time zone may take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet Lag” is the phrase used to describe it. It varies, depending on who you are, but here are some suggestions:
    – Begin Fresh: Pack two (2) days before departure, get to bed on time.
    – Hydrate: Drink more water than normal to avoid dehydration on the flight.
    – Sleep on the Plane: It is hard sleeping while sitting up, but try to.
    – Think in Local Time: Reset watch/phone when you get on plane, think of that time zone.
    – Stay Busy: Once you arrive, keep active and get sleep that night. Pacing is key.
    – Eat Fresh: Veggies, Fruits, and Coffee will keep you awake. Heavy, greasy, high carb filled meal make you tired – better to have that at night for dinner.
    – Exercise: Take a 20 minute walk in the morning, stretch before the plane, walk around on the plane. Moving gets your blood flowing – tells your body “Wake up!”

    On the day of the Departure:
    • Get out of bed earlier than usual on the day of departure
    • Drink a lot of water to compensate for the dehydration on long flights
    • Shortly after your evening meal on your flight, set your watch to the local time
    • Try to rest and/or sleep as soon as possible on your flight
    On the day of Arrival:
    • Unpack, relax, and make sure to eat an early dinner
    • Try to go to bed around 10:00 PM (this will help overcome jet-lag, and adjust to the time difference)

     

    Baggage Regulations

    Bringing Liquids in your Carry-on Bags
    For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov

    3 – 1 – 1 Liquids Rule for your Carry-on Bags

      Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be:

    • 3.4 OZ bottle or less
    • 1 Quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
    • 1 Bag per passenger screened on its own

    Be prepared; each time the TSA must search a carry-on to locate liquids it slows down the line. Practicing 3 – 1 – 1 will ensure a sufficient checkpoint experience.

    Remember, you can put liquids of any size in your checked baggage.
    Important to note about the 3-1-1 Rule…
    Larger containers that are partially-full are not allowed, Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top, such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.

    Larger fluids permitted, reasonable quantities exceeding 3 OZ are allowed of the following:

    • Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants and toddlers
    • All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including eye drops and saline solution for medical purposes
    • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition (a doctor’s note is required)
    • Items used to augment the body for medical/cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras containing gels, or other liquids
    • Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items, such as medicines, used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions

    Declare the above items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening. Any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. If you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport, the above rules will be applied

    Baggage Regulations
    For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov

    Personal Items Carry-on Checked
    All Make-up – You are allowed to carry any liquid/gel/cream makeup item provided that the container is up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. *mascara, chapstick, lip gloss, etc are all considered liquids. Yes Yes
    Safety Razors – includes disposable razors Yes Yes
    Saline solution – You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. Volumes greater must be declared to the Security Officer. Yes Yes
    Tweezers & Scissors – plastic or metal with blunt tips or metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches in length. Yes Yes
    Shampoos & Conditioners – must be in 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes
    Toothpaste – 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes
    Umbrellas– allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes
    Walking Canes – allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes
    Electronics Carry-on Checked
    Camcorders & Camera Equipment – the checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you pack undeveloped film in your carry-on baggage. Yes Yes
    Laptop Computers, Mobile Phones, Pagers, PDA Yes Yes
    Food & Drinks Carry-on Checked
    Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in containers LARGER than 3 oz. No Yes
    Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size bag Yes Yes
    Beverages – purchased after security screening Yes Yes
    Medications, baby formula/food, breast milk, & juice – allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 oz and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint Yes Yes
    Canned or jarred goods – such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes
    Cheese – in pressurized containers (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes
    Duty-free alcohol and other items (some restrictions apply) Yes Yes
  • Currency & Money

    Currency

    The The Rouble (RUB) is the currency of Russia., though the US dollar is widely accepted. For most current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com.

    FreeCurrencyRates.com
    Money

    WHERE CAN I FIND CURRENCY INFO AND CURRENT EXCHANGE RATES?
    Visit www.xe.com for the most current exchange rates. This is the “Pure” exchange rate, meaning bank exchange fees are not included.

    TIP:
    Check the up-to-date exchange rates before you leave for your pilgrimage and before you exchange currency.

    WHERE CAN I EXCHANGE MY MONEY FOR FOREIGN CURRENCY?
     A currency exchange. You can find one at most Airports, and along most major boulevards in Europe. There will be a small fee for the exchange
     Your Bank. To get the best rate, exchange US dollars at your local bank before you leave.
     Withdraw currency during your trip. A practical, cost-effective, option is to use your ATM card or Debit Card to withdraw local currency while you’re abroad. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM, but there will be high fees.

    TIP:
    Utilize your Credit Card, as the exchange rate and fees are comparative to taking out currency. Almost all shops accept Major Credit Cards. If you need an ATM – your Guides will advise you where they are.

    HOW DO I AVOID HAVING MY CREDIT CARD FROM BEING SUSPENDED?
    Before you leave, let your local bank and credit card companies know you’ll be traveling abroad. Otherwise, they may block your account due to international transactions.

    CAN I USE CREDIT CARDS? WILL THERE BE ATMS AVAILABLE?
    We highly recommend using your credit card when you travel abroad. Credit cards offer convenience, security (you can cancel them if they are lost), and reasonable exchange rates.

    Visa and MasterCard are the best options since they can be used in most stores. American Express and Discover are not widely accepted in Europe.

    ATMs are just about everywhere and are accessible 24 hours a day. They are very similar to ATMs in the United States, and most of them offer English as a language option. Ask your Guide, any time, and they will be happy to point you in the direction of one. (Find out your daily withdrawal limit beforehand.)

    credit cards

    How much money should I bring with me?

    This is hard to say, as it varies person to person. Keep in mind of the “Inclusions” on your Pilgrimage – which leaves Snacks and Gift Shopping. We recommend you bring E100 per person, and keep E50 on you with the other E50 in your Checked Bag (if you need it.) You may want to bring more if you plan to purchase souvenirs – again, you can always use your Credit Card.

    Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!

    ATM Machines (In Russia)

    ATM machines (distributeurs /guichets automatiques) can be found at most bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports, shopping centers, etc. and are accessible 24 hrs/day. Most banks charge a commission when you withdraw money, especially if it is from the network of another bank. You should ask your bank for information about where you can use your card and what commissions are charged for withdrawing money. Note: You need a four-digit personal identification number, or PIN (six digits won’t work), to use ATMs in Russia. If you have a six-digit code, you have to get a new one for your trip. Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank’s ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank before you go.  You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time.

    U.S. Customs (In Russia)

    U.S. citizens who have been in Europe for more than two days may return to the United States with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For those who wish to bring more home with them, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It’s a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the United States. For details visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel.

    Value Added Tax (VAT) (In Russia)

    There is 18% value added tax on most goods and services in Russia. At retail stores, this tax is always already included in the price. Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.

    Tips

    Tips are an important part of earnings for your guides and bus drivers. Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we recommend that you bring the money and place in tip envelopes (included in your final documents package) as follows:

    Tour Escort in Russia – EUR 8 per person per day

    guide tips

    Bus Driver in Russia – EUR 4 per person per day

    bus-driver tips

    Spiritual Director/ Your Priest - Gift or donation to the Spiritual Director is at your own discretion.

    In Russia:
    Tip envelopes are enclosed for your convenience. Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15% service charge in their prices. If a meal or service has been particularly good, leaving another $2 or $3 (60-90 RUB) is customary, as is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill if you pay in cash. If service is not included a 15% tip is appropriate. In hotels, tip porters is included of $3 for each bag and chambermaids. If you are using a Taxi, drivers should be given 10-15% of the metered fare. Tip hairdressers 10%, assistant 5%. Small tips are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers and museum tour guide. When and if your group has a completely free day(s) and escort sees them only for a couple of hours or during the dinner time, then it is really at your discretion what amount you should tip them. As normally most clients calculate a total amount of tip for escort for total days serviced – when, escort does less hours it normally compensates the days with longer hours, which often happens when escorts are touring.

  • Luggage & What to Pack

    Luggage

    HOW MUCH LUGGAGE CAN I BRING?

    Your Pilgrimage includes one (1) piece of Checked Luggage, and one (1) Carry-On Luggage.

    WHAT IS CHECKED LUGGAGE?

    This is the luggage that you pack all of your clothes and belongings in. When you arrive at the airport, this is what you check-in and it is stored underneath the plane. If you need to purchase a NEW bag, most are designed with these measurements in mind. Your focus should be on the weight limit – 50 lbs.

    Tip:

    If you cannot pick it up, it is too heavy!

    WHAT IS CARRY ON LUGGAGE?

    The Carry-On bag lets you access your belongings in-flight, and must be able to fit in an overhead bin. Airlines are strict about size of carry-on luggage, and if overweight, can be subject to unpleasant fees.

    Tip:

    We recommend you utilize your 206 Tours Bag, which meets the measurements. It will also make it easier for Guides/Drivers to spot you in the Arrival’s Hall

    carry on luggage

    SHOULD I HAVE LUGGAGE LOCKS?

    The more secure your personal items are, the better! TSA suggests you lock your luggage before you embark, and when you are flying home. TSA screens all checked, and carry-on, baggage, before it is permitted to be brought onboard. You can purchase regular locks for your bags, however, if they are “screened”, those locks can be cut. There are TSA Recognized Locks – which allow TSA Officials to use tools for opening and re-locking your baggage.

    lock

    LUGGAGE ALLOWANCES:
    Size for Checked Bags:
    Length + Width + Height = 158cm./62in.
    Economy Class: One (1) Checked Bag at 23kg. / 50lbs.
    Business Class: Two (2) Checked Bags at 32kg. / 70lbs. each
    Size for Carry-on Bags:
    Length + Width + Height: 106cm./42in.
    Weight: 1 piece at 8 kg./17 lbs.

    luggage

    WHAT IS A “PERSONAL ITEM”?

    In addition to your Carry-On Bag, you are permitted one (1) Personal Item. This can come in the form of a laptop, i-Pad, a Book, a Kindle etc.

    Medical Equipment:

    WHEELCHAIR ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORT?

    During the Registration Process, there is a section noted for “Wheelchair Request” at the Airport. There are options ranging from the Check-In Desk to the Terminal or to the Seat. If you selected to have one of these arranged, they have been requested, and there will be a person to meet you at the Check-In desk after you have checked in your Luggage.

    CPAP MACHINES ON THE PLANE?
    Travelers requiring CPAP machines should get in touch with the Airlines ahead of time (noted on your E-Ticket/Flight Itinerary enclosed with your Travel Documents.) While they are considered to be carry-on items, there are rules about using the machine during the flight.

    OXYGEN TANKS ON THE PLANE?

    It is important to note that if you plan on traveling with oxygen, you will need to visit your doctor ahead of time to get the necessary paperwork. Your own Oxygen tanks are not allowed as check-in luggage, however empty FAA approved tanks can be checked. If you need something on board, talk to your doctor about Department of Transportation Approved battery-powered oxygen concentrators which are permitted on flights. CAR SEATS AND STROLLERS? Car Seats and Strollers are common items for families traveling with young children, and airlines are pretty good with accepting them at no additional fee. However, this is not always the case and some airlines do have restrictions so call ahead and ask. Once at the airport strollers can be either checked in when you check in, or checked in at the gate. Given the size, they are rarely allowed as carry-on luggage. Car Seats can often be carried on board, but they do need to be FAA approved. If you don’t want to carry on the Car Seat, it’s recommended to store it in a duffel bag so it doesn’t get dirty.

    Tip:

    With both Car Seats and Strollers, smaller is always better.

    RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:

    Packing can be one of the most challenging parts of preparing for your trip. Deciding what’s a must-bring and what can stay at home, fretting over baggage allowances, remembering security rules about nail clippers, and just plain trying to make it all fit are enough to stress you out. While we can’t tell you how many pairs of socks to pack, we can give you some helpful tips and the low-down of what to expect.

    WHAT ITEMS CAN I LEAVE AT HOME?

    At no time will you need Formal Attire – so refrain from packing any Fancy Clothes, Suits, Dresses, Dress Shoes, High Heels etc. To avoid loss or theft, aside from the jewelry that you wear every day – we recommend you leave your nice Watches, Necklaces, Money Clips, Cuff Links etc at home.

    WHAT CLOTHING SHOULD I PACK?

    The first step to packing smartly for a trip of any length is to determine what is being done. Take an honest look at the itinerary and season you are traveling to decide what will be needed to be prepared. The days are packed with sightseeing and walking throughout, so comfortable clothing and sneakers are the best. Best intentions aside, you will not have enough time to go to utilize the Hotel Gym or Pool, so you refrain from packing that and utilize that space better.

    CLOTHING:
    • Pants/Shorts made of lightweight but tough materials for walking.
    • Long Sleeve Shirts / Sweaters OR Short Sleeve Shirts / Polo Shirts
    • Undershirts for layering as you can expect mornings and evenings to be cold
    • It’s important to have a good jacket/coat as it will lock out the rain, allow your sweat to escape
    • Socks – this is important as you may need to change several pairs per day
    • Light Undergarments
    • Belts / Wallets / Purse / Portable Umbrella / Hat – Scarf – Gloves etc
    *If you forgot something at home, you can always buy it on the Trip. Ask your Guide.

    TIP:
    Count the number of days, and divide in half. You can wear Pants/Shirts twice.

    BASIC TOILETRIES PACKING LIST:

    • Deodorant (travel size)

    • Soap bar (travel size) and Washcloth

    • Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size) – if you have a preferential brand.

    • Toothbrush & Toothpaste (travel size)

    • Comb/Brush

    • Lotion/Moisturizing cream (travel size)

    • Feminine Items

    • Handi-wipes: for freshening up during the day

    • Travel pack size Kleenex

    • Grocery size plastic bags for dirty clothes

    • Nail file and/or Nail clippers

    • Pen (bring with you on the plane to complete customs forms)

    • Travel Toilet Tissue (not necessary in Hotels/Restaurants but in case of low supply at rest stops)

    *206 Tours uses First Class Four-Star Hotels – so they include all of the necessities you are used to at Home. From the Pillows and Blankets, to the Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap in the Bathrooms, and WiFi.

    WHAT ELECTRONICS SHOULD I BRING?

    • Your Cell Phone and Charger (which includes Alarm Clock App)

    • Camera & Charger (Optional – unless using the Camera on your Smart Phone)

    • Small flashlight (unless you have an app on your cell phone)

    • Travel Bible and Journal or Tablet • Adapter for Country (Converters only necessary for Hair Straighteners etc.)

    SHOULD I BRING OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICINE? If applies to you.
    • Dramamine (for motion sickness)
    • Aspirin/Advil, etc.
    • Epsom Salt
    • Antibiotic Cream
    • Laxative and Imodium
    • Band-Aids
    • Pepto Bismol (tablets)
    • Sominex
    • Allergy/Cold Medicine
    • ChapStick
    • Small/Medium size water bottle
    • Sun Tan Lotion
    • Cream to prevent chafing

    *All of the above can be purchased on your Pilgrimage. Inquire with your Guide or Front Desk, and they will supply you with what you need, or point you in the right direction to buy it.

    SHOULD I PACK CLOTHES IN MY CARRY-ON BAG?
    Pack at least one change of clothes, socks, and undergarments in your carry-on bag in case your baggage is delayed or lost.

    WHAT SHOULD I WEAR ON THE PLANE?
    During your flight, wear loose-fitting clothes. Your feet may swell due to altitude, so wear flexible shoes and bring a pair of slippers or socks.

    Recommended Clothing to pack (In Russia)

    Clothing

    For Winter, Early Spring, and Late Fall: be sure to back a warm jacket, a hat, scarf and gloves. Just in case.
    For Summer, Late Spring, and Late Summer: Bring a sunhat and plenty loose-fitting clothing. Don’t forget a lightweight sweater for the evenings as some places may be a little cooler than others.
    A note about summer attire; shorts (or mini skirts) and bare shoulders are considered inappropriate at some religious sites. For men, shorts that can be transformed by zippers into trousers may be convenient.
    Bring an all-weather coat, just in case. We strongly recommend that women bring a shall or sarong which can be placed conveniently in their day bag, so that they may drape their shoulders, or tie around their waists in the more religious sites.
    Mid-summer advice: Wear a sunhat and loose-fitting clothing, drink at least one liter (one quart) of mineral water a day if you can (carry a small bottle in your hand luggage); avoid eating too much ice-cream and reduce the amount of ice in drinks. A small battery-operated fan may be useful in warm weather.

    General Clothing for Men:
    Jeans, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve shirts, socks, undergarments, and light jacket or coat.

    General Clothing for Women:
    Jeans, long skirts, casual dresses, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve, socks, stockings, undergarments, and a light jacket or sweater is suggested.

    Other Suggested Items to Bring
    • Travel Bible and Journal
    • Portable alarm clock
    • Dramamine (for motion sickness)
    • Aspirin/Advil, etc.
    • Laxative and Imodium
    • Band-Aids
    • Pepto Bismol (tablets)
    • Sominex
    • Allergy/cold medicine; tablets
    • Deodorant (travel size)
    • Soap bar (travel size) and washcloth
    • Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
    • Toothbrush & Toothpaste (travel size)
    • ChapStick
    • Comb/Brush
    • Lotion/Moisturizing cream (travel size)
    • Feminine Items
    • Handi-wipes: for freshening up during the day
    • Travel pack size Kleenex
    • Digital Camera, Charger, Extra Battery & carrying case
    • Adapter and converter if you are bringing any electronic devices
    • Grocery size plastic bags: 1-2 for dirty clothes
    • Travel size poncho (in the camping section of Walmart)
    • Inflatable head & neck rest, eye mask, foam earplugs (for flight)
    • Nail file and/or nail clippers
    • Pen (bring with you on the plane to complete customs forms)

     

    Health Care:

    Some people find that taking themselves off caffeine and taking compounds high in anti-oxidants to be helpful in combating jet lag. You can also take Jet-stress or Cell Guard which are herbal complexes designed to combat jet lag. Ginger can be helpful in motion sickness. Melatonin helps to allow you to sleep on the plane. These items can be found at most health food stores.

    TRANSPORTATION IS BY PRIVATE MOTOR COACH:

    You will be on the same Bus from the time you arrive at the Airport, until your transfer back to the Airport for your return flights home. The duration of driving time between cities/countries can range extensively depending on your itinerary. Some days may include only short transfers on the bus from your hotel to the Shrines, Churches, Museums, Restaurants or similar. Other days, you may drive a couple of hours to travel from one city to another. Depending on the itinerary and location of sites, your day may require 8 hours of driving – broken up by visits, Mass etc. Regardless of the itinerary for the day, rest assured that the coach will stop for bathroom/stretch breaks (approximately every 2-3 hours), as well as a lunch stop.

  • Average Temperatures

    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Lourdes Low 11 12 22 34 44 51 55 52 43 33 24 16
    High 21 24 34 49 63 69 71 68 57 45 32 25
    St Petersburg Low 15 16 24 33 44 52 56 54 45 37 28 20
    High 24 25 34 46 60 66 70 66 56 45 35 28
  • About Europe & Travel Abroad

    Language

    The official language of Russia is Russian.

    Useful Russian Phrases:

    Must Know Travel Terms  Russian Phrases Phrase Pronunciation
    Hello Privet “pri-vet”
    Goodbye  Poka “po-ka”
    Yes Da “da”
    No  Net “net”
    Please  Pozhalusta “po-za-loo-sta”
    Thank You  Spasiba “spahs-iba”
    Do you speak English? Ty govorish po angliyski? “Ty go-vor-ish po ang-lee-ski?”
    I don’t know  Ne znayu “neh znah-yu”
    My name is… Menya zovut… “Men-ya zo-vut”
    How much is this? Skol’ka eta stoit? “Skol-ka eeta stoyt”
    Where is the… Gde nahoditsa… “gde na-ho-dit-sa…”
    bathroom/hotel  vAnnaya/Gastinitsa “va-naya”/”gah-stin-it-sah”

     

    Hotels Accommodations

    Hotels / Accommodations (In Russia)
    Rooms may be smaller than you are used to based on European standards.  Mini-bar items and access to pay TV channels are at your own expense.  King / Queen size beds are rare in Europe.  In some hotels, key cards operate the room lighting systems and/or the elevator.  Fixtures in bathrooms and bedrooms are not standardized.  While most hotels do offer a hair dryer in the bathroom, we recommend bring one if it is essential to you.  Most hotels provide toiletries (shampoo, lotion), we strongly recommend that you bring an adequate supply with you.
    Please note that while we do request non-smoking rooms for our clients, hotels are less stringent about enforcing these rules outside of the USA.
    Remember to frequently check your hotel bulletin board for important information, suggestions, or any last-minute changes from your  tour escort.

    Adapters, Converters, & Electricity

    When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cellphone while using your laptop etc.)

    Adapters we recommend:

    Converters
    Converters are used to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. All of our Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – check with the Manufacturer. Almost all laptops over the last seven (7) years already have a converter built-in. Converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased at better electrical supply stores. Stores such as Walmart, K-Mart, Target also have them for purchase. Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure that the current they use is compatible with the current at home. It will likely cost you more than the original price to have an appliance converted.

    WILL I NEED AN ADAPTER?

    When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cell phone when on your laptop etc.)

    Types of Adapters: Packs are sold with all 3-in-1

    converters

    DO I NEED A CONVERTER?
    Converters are used to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. All of your Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – All laptops over the last ten (10) years already have a converter built into the chord. Converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased anywhere.
    WHY SHOULD I NOT USE THE PHONES IN THE HOTELS?
    Hotel Telephones are available and offer convenience, however, they tend to cost substantially more than using your cell phone if you have an international plan.
    Weights & Measures

    The metric system is used exclusively. A kilometer is a bit over 1/2 mile (.62 miles). A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.

    Hotel telephones

    Hotel telephones are available and offer convenience, however they tend to cost substantially more than using your cell phone provided that you have a plan.

    Smart Phones and Electronics

    HOW CAN I USE MY SMARTPHONE ON MY PILGRIMAGE?

    When you bring your Smartphone, make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most providers offer an “International Plan” that you may sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States” while you are out of the country. Passport Plan: AT&T and other Providers have started to offer a plan known as a “Passport” where you pay a flat fee – Per Day – and allows you to then to use your phone the same as at home. Meaning: No Roaming Fees, No Shutting Off Data etc. You will be able to make/answer calls, and the use will be align with your local plan you have at home.

    HOW DO I CALL FROM EUROPE TO THE USA?

    First: Dial “00” – Then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home) – Then the local area code and telephone number.

    HOW DOES SOMEONE CALL ME FROM THE USA TO EUROPE?

    First dial “011” – Then the country code of the country you are dialing to – Then followed by the local area code and telephone number.

    CAN WE BRING LAPTOPS/MACBOOK / I-PADS?

    Feel free to bring them with you – as all of the Hotels have complimentary Wi-Fi available.

    ipad

    Calling from Russia to the USA

    To make a direct international call, first dial “00” and then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home), then the local area code and telephone number.

    Calling from the USA to Russia

    If your family wishes to call you during the pilgrimage from within the US, you must first dial 011, then then the country code (7) in Russia which is then followed by the local area code and telephone number.

    Laptops/Netbooks

    Please be advised that most hotels do offer WIFI service, however, they may charge a small fee.

    Public Toilets

    Known as WC are available at most tourist locations. Be prepared with tissues in your pocket at all times. Be aware that some public toilets have and attendant, who may ask for a small “user fee.”

    Terrain (In Russia)

    Europe is based on a myriad of old buildings, and there are split-levels and uneven surfaces everywhere; please watch your step! Due to the structure of old buildings, access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchair use, and facilities for the disabled in general may be limited. Many areas are pedestrian only and have cobblestones. High-heeled shoes are not suitable for cobblestone streets; rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended.  Many streets in Europe are narrow, and due to strict traffic regulations, the buses are not always permitted to drop groups off directly in front for their destination.  Please be prepared to walk.

    Photography

    If using a digital camera, we recommend you bring an extra memory card (just in case). Be sure to also bring extra batteries for your camera.

    Taxis (In Russia)

    Be wary of any person approaching you offering unofficial taxi services. If you do not have an airport transfer included and you need transportation, make your way to the official taxi desk or to the regular taxi line outside the terminal; choose only those vehicles with a meter and a taxi sign. We recommend you pre-negotiate the fare, as taxi drivers in some countries may attempt to overcharge unwary travelers.

    LOCAL CUSTOMS / SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

    A different way of life in some countries may take you by surprise, but if you travel with an open mind and respect local customs, you should find it easy to adapt to and enjoy your new surroundings. Standards of living may not be quite what you are used to, but there are compensations – a closer sense of reality and an authentic feeling of locale. Due to cultural differences, you may not be greeted quite as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. Be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends” and never accept food or drink from strangers.

    Meals / Food (In Russia)

    Most European countries tend to dine later than we are accustom to.  Please expect that your dinners  will be scheduled around 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  Most breakfasts are buffet style.  Unlike in the USA, it is frowned upon to take food out of the breakfast room.  Most dinners will be served “sit down” with a pre-determined 3 or 4 course meal.  Your meals include iced tap water and coffee or tea.  All other beverages, including bottled water, will be at additional cost.  While some restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or salt-free, there is no way for us to guarantee this. Please note, vegetarian meals tend to lack variety and imagination.

    Check with your tour guide or concierge for a list of good restaurants. Food is generally safe to eat. Should you want to feel “at home”, many American franchises now operate in Russia: Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more.

    CAN I DRINK THE LOCAL TAP WATER?

    Generally most local tap water will not hurt you, however, due to differences in mineral and micro-biotic levels, we recommend that you avoid consuming local tap water, as it may upset your stomach.

    TIP:

    Bottled water is available on your Tour Bus throughout for purchase, and the Bottled water is included with Meals as part of the package.

    Shopping (In Russia)

    Most stores and businesses are closed on Sundays. Stores are open daily from Monday to Saturday. Some malls close later in the day and are open Saturdays after sundown. Ask your tour escort for regional specialties products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for.

    Enjoy some stress-free Christmas shopping during your travels; small, light items that you can easily carry home make splendid and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too, to take home to evoke pleasant memories of your vacation abroad.  Whenever traveling abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas.  If you purchase a video or DVD, please check very carefully that it is compatible with your home viewing system (for USA and Canada – VHS NTSC and DVD region 1; for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific – VHS PAL and DVD region 4).  Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is already included on price tags; VAT refunds, if applicable, may sometimes take up to three months to process.

    Shopping Hours:
    Department stores are open Mon-Sat 9:00-6:30. Some shops close 12:00-2:30. Food shops open 7:00-6:30 or 7:30. Some food shops (particularly bakers) open Sunday mornings, in which case they will probably close Monday. Many shops close all day Monday or Monday afternoon. Hypermarkets are normally open until 9:00 or 10:00.

  • "What If" & Commonly Asked Questions

    WHAT IF MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED OR CANCELLED?

    Work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Once your tickets have been issued or you have checked-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case be persistent with the agent, however, keep in mind that the situation is not the airline agents fault. Try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. If you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.

    TIP:
    Once the Airlines have rebooked you Text/Call your Guide so that they can be made aware of your NEW arrival time. If it is much later, they can make arrangements for a Transfer for you.

    WHAT IF I MISS THE GROUP TRANSFER UPON ARRIVAL?
    If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed, you will most likely miss your group transfer which is included in your package. Please note:
    o You may take a taxi at your own expense to your Hotel
    o You may contact the Emergency Number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
    *Make sure to obtain a receipt for the taxi or the private transfer provided. Upon return to the U.S.A., you may submit a claim to the insurance company or airlines to seek reimbursement.

    WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE A LAST-MINUTE CHANGE TO MY TICKET?
    If you would like to change your airline ticket for any reason once the ticket has been issued and/or you have departed, you MUST work DIRECTLY with the airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $300 per person) for such changes.

  • Useful Links

    USEFUL TRAVEL LINKS:
    Airline Tracker: www.flightarrivals.com
    Calling Codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com
    Currency Converter: www.xe.com
    Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov
    Embassies: www.usembassy.gov
    Emergency/Disaster Information: www.redcross.org
    Flight Delay Information: www.flightaware.com
    Flight Tracker: www.flightview.com
    Foreign Language Basics: www.fodors.com/language
    Frequent Flyer Programs: www.webflyer.com
    International Health Information: www.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list
    Internet Access/Hotspots: www.skyroam.com
    Language Translation: translate.google.com
    Last-Minute Travel Preparation: www.paperplanesblog.com/getting-ready-for-a-trip-last-minute-travel-prep
    Passports & Visas: www.projectvisa.com
    Physical Disabilities Travel Information: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/traveling-with-disabilties.html
    Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: step.state.gov/step
    Time Around the World: www.time.gov
    Transportation Security Administration: www.tsa.gov
    Travel Planning: www.worldtravelguide.net
    Travel Planning (Religious Sites): www.sacred-destinations.com
    Trusted Traveler www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs
    US Customs: cbp.gov
    US State Department Travel Warnings: www.travel.state.gov
    Weather Around the World: www.weather.com


Travel Insurance

Providing you coverage for both pre-existing conditions and those that may arise during your trip, including medical and dental emergencies, loss of luggage, trip delay, and so much more.

Extended Constellation Protection Plan

A Cancellation Waiver - allowing you to cancel your trip and receive a refund anytime - up until 24 hours prior to departure. The "Waiver" expires once you are within 24 hours of departure.

What to Know Before You Go

Information about your upcoming Pilgrimage!

Client Letters

The Proof is in the Print - see what your fellow pilgrims have to say!