Booking a room
There are a couple of ways to book a hotel or apartment.
- Contact a travel agent in your country. The agent will charge commission, but you will be relieved of the need to do your own search, compare the different options, and read descriptions and feedback in a foreign language.
- Make your own reservation on the aggregator site or the site of the hotel where you plan to stay.
The terms of reservation may vary, but the option to cancel your reservation free of charge is available in most cases. On an apartment, however, you are likely to be asked for a prepayment, and you don’t get a refund if you cancel.
You pay by bank card on most websites, but you usually use your bank card to post a security deposit, and then pay the balance when you get there. Most hotels take credit cards, but a mini hotel, hostel or apartment manager may ask for cash. This point should be clarified before you make your reservation.
The agency that manages short-term rental apartments may ask for a prepayment by invoice or by bank transfer card-to-card, instead of the usual practice of paying by bank card on the website. In this case, you will receive an invoice by email after making your reservation on the website.
The majority of Russian hotels, hostels and apartments are on booking.com. Other popular hotel search engines, both local and global, are also available, e.g. hotels.com, ostrovok.ru, agoda.com, ozon.travel, momondo.ru, and others.
To compare the prices offered by the different booking systems, use these websites or mobile apps: trivago.ru, hotellook.ru or roomguru.ru.It is safer to make apartment reservations on a well-known aggregator website, such as booking.com or airbnb.com. Any other option, including classified ads and people advertising accommodation services at the airport or railway station, is fraught with risk.