ATTENTION: Kids to Adopt has CLOSED effective Oct 31, 2013.

Russia Travel Info

Airline Reservations
Hotel Reservations
Food
Money
Weather
Packing and Travel Tips
Friends and Family Traveling
Important Tips on Behavior, What to Wear, etc.

Airline Reservations

  • You are responsible for your flight arrangements from home to Moscow and from Moscow to home – all transportation within Russia will be arranged by your coordinator.
  • IF YOU ARE TRAVELING TO NOVOSIBIRSK, YOU MUST ARRIVE IN MOSCOW NO LATER THAN 4:00 P.M.!!!
  • You can have as little as 4-5 days notice prior to travel. We understand the desire to obtain the least expensive airfare possible however you will rarely, if ever, receive notification of travel prior to 10 days.
  • Do not purchase non-refundable tickets, as it is not unusual for your travel dates to be postponed or rescheduled.  We cannot be responsible for change fees as the travel dates are out of our control and related to the availability of the officials involved in the adoption process.
  • There are several travel agencies that are accustomed to working with adoptive families and working around the frequent schedule changes one of which is Peace Travel. These agencies can help with flight and hotel arrangements as well as international phone rentals and transportation.
  • Please send Kids To Adopt your itinerary as soon as you have it.

Hotel ReservationsHotel Reservations

  • Moscow Hotels
    • If you are asked to stay at one of the airport hotels in Moscow, there are two.  The Novotel is a Western Business Class style hotel that is very nice but usually runs about $300.00 per night.  The Sheremetyevo 2 is very budget in appearance (rooms are not very nice), but could be about half of the cost of the Novotel.  Prices range depending upon the season.
    • Parents are required to make their own hotel arrangements while in Moscow.
    • Parents usually arrive in Moscow, stay at the airport hotel for a night, and then are picked up by Frank in the morning to continue on regional travel.  Your coordinator will make regional hotel arrangements for once you leave Moscow.
    • If you are completing your 8-doctor medical on your first trip, we recommend you leave early enough to have at least 1 day to complete the exam.  If so, it is recommended that you stay in one of the hotels in the Red Square area of the city.  (Please note that you are responsible for scheduling your 8-doctor medical with the clinic prior to traveling).  If you are staying in the city, please inform Kids To Adopt so we can let your coordinator know where they can pick you up en route to the region.  However, on your return trip from the region, it is best to stay at an airport hotel the night before you leave to ensure you do not miss your flight (the airport hotels are very close to the airport).
    • Here is some information on the hotels in Red Square:

o  There is a website listing of Moscow hotels at www.hotels.com. – just search under “Moscow, Russia.”

o  Most families enjoy staying at American hotels such as the Marriott Grande (around $265.00 per night), the Marriott Tverskaya (around $300.00 per night), or the Renaissance (around $250.00 per night).

o  Other families are willing to stay in a Russian hotel found at www.hotels-moscow.ru.  The farther you get from the city center, the more affordable the hotel.  However, the farther you are away from Red Square, the more unhappy your coordinator will be (sometimes the coordinator ends up demanding that the family moves to a Red Square hotel).

o  Also make sure to inquire with the hotel if they have discounts for adopting parents – some do.

  • If you want someone from the Frank Foundation to meet you at the airport and get you to your hotel, you must let us know at the time you send us your itinerary.  In most cases it is best for you to arrange for the hotel shuttle to pick you up from the airport or take a taxi. The shuttles are comfortable and more affordable (approximately $90 cost) than pick-up by the adoption team ($230 cost).
  • Please let Kids To Adopt know where you have made your hotel reservation in Moscow as soon as possible.
  • Remember to confirm your reservation before you leave especially if you have made them using an internet service as reservations can be lost and getting a room in Moscow at the last minute isn’t always easy.
  • Regional Hotels
    • If you are going straight to the region upon arrival in Moscow, a member of your adoption team will meet you at the airport.
    • Although once you leave Moscow you do not need to worry about where to stay, you are still responsible for paying the hotel (or home stay) bill wherever your coordinator places you.
    • Hotel costs outside of Moscow usually run from $50 to $200 per night.

Food

  • In Moscow, we suggest budgeting $30 – $100 per day, per person, depending on food preferences.
  • In outside regions, we suggest budgeting $30 – $50 per day, per person, depending on food preferences.

Money

  • The cash brought to cover all expenses will need to be in good condition with no marks, creases, or wrinkles, and be printed in 2000 or later.  Russia prefers the newest bills with color ink.
  • The bills must be mostly $100s and a few $50s.
  • You may need to make arrangements with your bank in advance to obtain this amount of money in excellent condition.
  • It is recommended that you take some smaller bills because many of the souvenir vendors will accept American dollars.
  • Remember no creases, missing ink, tears, bills that have been written on etc. or they will not be accepted by the Frank Foundation coordinators or the exchange offices.
  • It is a good idea to take a small pocket calculator with you so you can calculate the exchange rate and make sure that you are given the correct amount of Rubles for your Dollars.  Count your money BEFORE you step or turn away from the exchange booth window!!!!!!!
  • Be sure to change $250-500 USD to Rubles before you arrive in Russia if possible.
  • Remember that credit cards and debit cards won’t always work so do not rely upon them for money.

Weather

Packing and Travel Tips

  • PLEASE NOTE: Traveling families are frequently asked to hand-carry documents for other families on their trip. These documents will be sent via overnight mail, and need to be put in your carry-on luggage. This request does a huge favor for other families, and was probably done for you during the paperwork phase of your adoption. Please plan accordingly for this possibility.  No not pack these documents in a checked suitcase.  Treat these documents with care as if they were your own.
  • Airlines have strict weight limitations per bag!  International flights allow two (2) carry on pieces per person (ex. Purse and diaper bag) and two check-in bags with a weight restriction of 50 lbs per bag.  Please check your airline website prior to travel to confirm the weight and dimension restrictions.
  • Domestic flights (within Russia) allow approximately 40 lbs. per bag with a $2-$5 per lb. penalty for overage.  Many domestic flights only allow one carry-on and one checked bag per person.
  • Pack lightly but efficiently.  There is no one on your adoption team to carry bags.  You are it!  Remember their cars are very small!!
  • Hotel rooms may be very hot in the winter (no temp regulating in the rooms – using steam heat), so you may want to pack a t-shirt and shorts just in case.
  • You may want to bring an electrical converter and plug adapter that will allow you to use small, electric appliances (ex. hairdryer, electric razor) in Russia.  In Russia, the voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz.  You can buy electrical converters and plug adapters at most travel stores as well as major discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kmart. Simply ask store personnel what plug type will best work in Russia.
  • Calling cards may not work in Russia even when they say that they do! Check in advance! Also, be cautious when using calling cards from your hotel. Some hotels require that you use a phone in the lobby, or you will be charged for minutes used, even with your calling card.
  • Global phones can be purchased or leased and mailed to you by ICS (International Cellular Services) at www.internationalcellular.com or call 800.897.5788.
  • Due to heightened credit card security, you may want to call your credit card company in advance and inform them that you will be traveling in Russia. This way, they will not flag your card for possible fraudulent activity.

**Please remember to read ALL fine print!

Friends and Family Traveling

  • If anybody is traveling with you – other than the adoptive parents – please let Kids To Adopt know right away.  The individual will need to sign a Travel Waiver, and may need to complete additional paperwork. Our in-country coordinators are not responsible for any additional travelers other than the adoptive parents. This is considered a business trip.

Important Tips on Behavior, What to Wear, etc.

  • Don’t wear jeans.  Business casual dress, khakis are fine, you probably will be on the floor playing with your child
  • Don’t act like an arrogant and demanding American!!!
  • Be kind, thoughtful, pleasant, and most of all “thankful”
  • Remember to thank the orphanage director for allowing you to visit your child and for talking with you
  • Leave them with a good impression of Americans
  • If you are interested in donating something, talk to the orphanage director about what things the orphanage could use
  • While you there, you more than likely will be with a group of families
  • Make sure you get enough time to talk to the orphanage director about your child.  Take notes.  Ask ask ask ask all your questions, as the more questions you ask the more opportunity you have to get answers!
  • If you get a chance to talk with your child’s caregiver, do so.  You will get the most helpful information from this person.  The caregiver knows your child better than anyone
  • Be polite.  The polite and squeaky wheel gets oiled but the obnoxious one gets lied to or ignored
  • Take a few small inexpensive toys and goodies for your child.  It is a good way to get to know your child.  If you are visiting for more than one day (as required by some regions), don’t bring everything in on the first day.
  • Take a disposable camera and mark your child’s name on the camera.  Ask the caregiver to take some pictures for you while you are gone for your child’s memory book.
  • If your child is old enough, leave a small photo album (pics of you and your family, house, etc.) with them
  • If your child is very young, take a small, soft baby blanket, and ask to have your child sleep with the blanket. Tell them you would like your child to have this blanket with them when they leave the orphanage and ask them to please NOT wash the blanket so it has the smell of the orphanage.  Mark your child’s name on the blanket!  Be thankful if the blanket actually does come home with your child!  For a little bit older child, you could use a teddy bear or some other stuffed animal.
  • Remember while you are at the orphanage you are being watched.  They are looking to make sure that you are getting along with the child and that it is a good match.  View this as an important job interview!  You are interviewing for the job of parent!  The orphanage director and ministry official do talk and they will go to court so you want them to say wonderful things about you and your experience with the child at the orphanage!