How to spend less and to see everything? How to spend time going out, eating out, participating in city events and not to become a bankrupt?
This section is for you, if you know that an amazing vacation can be free of charge or very economically.
In order to save money, it is worth thinking about all components of expenses in advance: flight, accommodation, transportation, entrance fee for cultural events, purchases, food. Saving in one area will give you money to spend on something else!
Time for the trip to St. Petersburg
If you have flexible travel days, you should pay attention to the seasons with high prices and the low prices. Calendars of daily rent are very evident for this purpose:
- “High season“: the middle of May – the beginning of the September, the holidays;
- “Low season“: the middle of January – the end of March;
- “Average season“: April – May, September – the end of December.
However, if you are going for the long term (more than 10 days), you can receive a discount for your accommodation even during a “high season“.
On the one hand, holidays mean bright emotions, they can be remembered, on the other hand, the prices of entertainment can be higher, St. Petersburg can be busy and crowded. The highest prices are during the special of city and national holidays or special events (forums, for example). I advise that if you don’t plan to participate in holidays events, it is better to choose other dates for a trip. Also, there will be crowds and long lines to the museums at the time of school vacations (mentioned here).
May is the best time to visit if you enjoy special city celebrations, as you will participate in the events devoted to the birthday of the St. Petersburg. In June, a day before repetition of “Scarlet sails”
: you will see the white nights and will explore the city from the water. It is a great time to participate in city life.
Also September and October are amazing here. The weather is not yet freezing. The beauty of the city will remain the same. The fountains will be working, you will be able to see the “Golden autumn”: the trees with colored leaves will be everywhere! Also, it would be cheaper than coming during the “High season.” You will be able to see less crowded wonderful suburbs of the city: Parks and Palaces of Pushkin (there you can see the Amber room), Pavlovsk, Peterhof.
During the winter visits you won’t be able to see the fountains of Peterhof at work. Although you will be able to visit the palaces, museums, you won’t be able to walk around the city with natural light. In winter the sun rises around 10-11 AM, and sets at about 5 PM. The darkest day of the year is on December 22. Anyway, be sure that your visit to the city in winter will make you want to return here in the summer to explore the colors of Petersburg spring and summer transformation!
Accommodation options in St. Petersburg
If you are the individual traveler, and the comfort is not the key parameter in accommodation, or you are traveling with the company of 5-7 people who have similar preferences, you can reserve the economy class hotels or hostels in St. Petersburg.
Economy class hotels and hostels often have common bathrooms shared between several units. Another difference between the hotels of economy class and hostels is that hotels may limit of number of guests to four or five people, including an additional bed. The hostel can lodge up to 7- 10 people, and the rooms can be for the both genders (men and women). If you are coming with a group of 4-5 people, an economy class hotel will be the best option for you.
There are also mini hotels in the city, usually, they are situated in the center of the city and offer Bed and a Breakfast. The apartments usually have ensuite bathroom and a toilet.
If you travel as a couple or a family, you may choose to reserve an apartment in a hotel or to rent a flat. Prices can differ; hotels, as a rule, are more expensive.
As for the flats, not all the comments and ratings are objective. Not all owners of the flats provide actual and truthful photos of internal furniture of the apartment. I can advise you to look for the apartment on a Russian-speaking website http://spb.sutochno.ru – I have already checked a lot of apartments that are offered on the website. The prices are adequate and the apartment photos are up-to-date. Below you can see the meaning of the Russian words.
I advise you to search the hotels with the help of a service called “booking” as it has a variety of comments and objective ratings. You can also check the prices of hotels by the trustworthy aggregator mentioned below.
1) As soon as you decide that you are going to have the vacation, reserve at least one option of accommodation. Later, you may be able to replace it with more favorable deal, with the super offer. Without having taken this step, you can overpay and be too nervous while waiting for a good airfare. Use the mentioned websites to subscribe for the deals– you will be receiving the emails with interesting offers.
Nevertheless, don’t forget to trace the offers and smart deals on your own on the websites. They appear spontaneously. The best deals can be found for the hotels of any price category. You may get a huge discount on the spot, thanks to being attentive.
2) When booking hotels and apartments, pay attention to payment in advance. Sometimes the plans change but you won’t be refunded money for the prepaid accommodation. Besides, some hotels block some sums of money on the card in advance, usually the sum is equal to the cost of one or two days of accommodation.
3) You shouldn’t be too serious about the star rating of the hotels, I would recommend you to use the filter function to consider hotels rated 8 and above (at 10-mark system) based on the 300 marks and reviews at least. Even if you don’t plan to make the reservation through “booking,” it would be a good idea to read the comments and advice.
4) Read about the best districts to stay for a vacation here.
To be sure that I have the most optimal price for the journey, I prefer to use travel aggregators. I use the Russian searcher called “Aviasales” which has the multilingual analogue called “jetradar”.
The big plus of the aggregators (of the hotels, airplane tickets) is the possibility to choose the best option among the huge variety (price, time of layover and etc.). There is also a good aggregator, IATA Matrix, created by Google.
- try to check the price of the tickets during the unpopular time – in the morning till 8.30 am, during the lunch break at work, after 11 pm. It is known that one of the most expensive days to book the flight is Wednesday – people are making plans for business trips on Thursday and Friday and everyone is planning his activities.
- always check the flexible dates for the trip – you can have a longer vacation for a cheaper price than a smaller one.
Transfer from the airport to the hotel
If you don’t have a lot of baggage, you can use the city transport. Alternatively, you can order a transfer from the airport to hotel in advance, so that you will be met by the driver in the airport. You can find the detailed information about public transport and about English-speaking taxi companies there.