Where can I book my ticket for the Trans-Siberian Railway?
There are two ways to get your Trans-Siberian ticket. You can book all your tickets on the Internet at home in advance and have the tickets sent to you. Alternatively you can fly to Moscow and buy the tickets on the spot over the counter.
Online Booking versus Local Purchase
Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. When booking online you can be sure you have all the tickets in your pocket and don’t have to worry about them when travelling. You have a firm reservation and need not worry that there are perhaps no tickets available. However, this certainty has a price.
If you take nothing but a plane ticket to Moscow and buy your travel reservations for the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia you will, of course, pay less. However, the ticket sellers at the counters can speak no English as a rule. It is difficult, but not impossible, to order your tickets without speaking Russian. Keep in mind that trains can be booked solid and you may have to wait a few days before you can continue. If you prefer careful planning and certainty, this is not for you. If you are looking for pure Trans-Siberian adventure, this is the right address.
Online Reservations with Real Russia
A very good online booking provider is RealRussia. It is the only site I know where you can buy 3rd Class tickets for the Trans-Siberian Railway. Even if you prefer to buy your tickets locally, it is worthwhile checking the various options and approximate costs with their booking engine. The Tour Planner enables you to specify exactly when you want to go and where and how long you want to stay. You can plan your journey in peace and try out the various alternatives. It is worthwhile pushing things around a bit. The price for the same route may differ depending on the type of train used. On the whole the prices compared well with the tickets I purchased at the counter. No one who had booked through RealRussia complained about problems.
What are the key issues when booking?
If you travel on the same class throughout, make sure that the trains have a green “International Rate” logo. You will then save about 100 € on the total cost. The tickets will be sent from England. The shipping costs, depending on the exchange rate, are around 23 €. For about 11 € it is possible to have the tickets sent to your hostel in Moscow. I personally prefer to invest a few extra Euros and have the tickets safely in my hands. But that is up to you. If you want to save the shipping costs you can pick up all the tickets at the agency office in Moscow.
The prices on some rail links are labelled “TBC”. This abbreviation stands for “To Be Confirmed” meaning the price will be determined individually. You will then receive an e-mail quote and can decide whether to accept it or not. These connections are not any more or less expensive than the normal ones.
you need a Paypal account or a credit card to pay. This is not a problem as you should in any case get yourself a free credit card for the journey. Note that the final payment will in British pounds. This may include foreign exchange fee of about 1.6% on your credit card.
Type your total distance and your start date into the form below. Then you can then fill in stopover as a second step.