If you’re heading to Russia on business, your destination is likely to be Moscow or Kaliningrad. As the largest city in Europe, Moscow is Russia’s financial, economic, and political center. Kaliningrad gets a nod as a business destination for its thriving economic zone.
Business travel costs for Russia can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. These include when you’ll be traveling, how long you’ll be staying, where you’ll be staying, and the meals you choose.
We researched business travel costs for Russia in March, with a six-night stay in Moscow or Kaliningrad. We looked into flights out of three of the busiest U.S. airports. Here’s what we found.
Overall Business Travel Costs for Russia
The average cost of an international business trip runs about $2,600 per person, according to expense management company Certify, although the firm doesn’t mention the length of stay.
Business Travel Costs for Russia: Average Flight Fees
Certify reported the average price of a round-trip, coach, international flight as $1,217. Ticket prices for flights to Russia we found were both below and above that mark. Flight prices out of three major U.S. airports, flying to Moscow or Kaliningrad, ranged from around $630 to more than $1,800.
The flights listed below are those with the most reasonable travel time, airfare, and stops. Airline choices included Lufthansa, United, British Airways, and others.
Flights out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Head to Russia out of LAX and your flight time can range from around 12 to more than 28 hours. The average price of the best flights appears below.
- LAX to Moscow: $849
- LAX to Kaliningrad: $1075
Flights out of Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Leave from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and your flight times range from 14 hours to 22 hours. The average flight cost appears below.
- IAH to Moscow: $689
- IAH to Kaliningrad: $1,509
Flights out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Fly out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Russia and your travel time can span from nearly 14 hours to more than 23 hours. The average ticket price appears below.
- ATL to Moscow: $759
- ATL to Kaliningrad: $926
Business Travel Costs for Russia: Hotels
Certify puts the average nightly stay at an international hotel at $275, although many hotels in Russia are much less expensive. We researched hotel rates in both Moscow and Kaliningrad, looking at hotels rated four stars or higher on TripAdvisor.
- Moscow hotel rate range: $41 to $305
- Kaliningrad hotel rate range: $24 to $75
Business Travel Costs for Russia: Visa Fees
Fees for obtaining a Russian business visa start around $325 for a visa that’s processed within eight to 10 business days (the only processing time available as of February 2017). The total price covers the service, processing, and consulate fees.
If you also need help obtaining a Russian letter of invitation, which is one of the visa requirements, the fee is an additional $110.
Business Travel Costs for Russia: Per Diem Expenses
Russia’s currency is the ruble, commonly symbolized by ₽, руб, or simply by the letter R placed before an amount. A single ruble was worth 0.017 U.S. dollars on Feb. 15, 2017, although exchange rates fluctuate regularly.
Your daily business travel costs for Russia can span from about R1000 (about $17) to more than R4000 (about $69), depending on how extravagant or budget-conscious you tend to be. Lonely Planet provides a rundown of per diem costs in Russia.
The U.S. dollar and euro are the best currencies to exchange in Russia. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs tend to be readily available.
To calculate the amount of U.S. dollars you’d be spending based on the ruble, multiply the ruble amount by 0.017.
Up to R1500 per day (about $25.50)
- Dorm-room bed: R700 to R800
- Meal at a café or street stall: R200 to R500
- Buses and metro travel: R30
Between R1500 and R4000 (about $25.50 to $69)
- Mid-range hotel: R2000 to R3000
- Two-course meal: R500 to R1000
- Taxi ride: R200 to R300
More than R4000 per day (about $69 and up)
- High-end hotel: R5000 and up
- Two-course meal with wine: R2000 and up
Even at the mid-range level, it’s possible to keep the business travel costs for Russia less than Certify’s reported average of $2,600 per person. You may also note the cost of adding wine to your meal can nearly double the cost, so you may want to stick with water or perhaps some Russian vodka.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.