Have you caught the World Cup fever yet? If you are a hardcore football fan, you might be having a ball of a time during this period. But what about taking that high to a whole new level by experiencing the action live in Russia?
Football fanatic would dream of having a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their favourite teams and footballers but if you are still thinking of booking your tickets to Russia, you should better hurry, as well as get yourself well-prepared.
Russia as a holiday destination can no-doubt be an interesting choice, but visiting the country during this peak season can also mean some inconveniences due to the higher security and crowd. So if you are going or still planning to catch the action in July, here are some essential information to help you prepare your trip.
When: 14 June to 15 July 2018
Where: Russia – various areas, including St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Kazan, Sochi.. etc
Airlines from Singapore: Unfortunately, there is no direct flights to Moscow from Singapore, but airlines that fly there with a stopover includes Qatar, Emirates, Turkish Airline and Air China. A simulation done via Skyscanner showed air tickets to be between $1,115 to $1, 923, taking an average of around 16 hours including layover.
Visa: Singaporean visitors typically require a visa for visiting Russia, but if you already have a ticket to watch the football matches, you will not need the visa (see below).
Fan ID: The FAN ID is an identification document required by the Russian authorities. All ticket holders need to hold a FAN ID together with a valid match ticket in order to enter the stadiums hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Fans are encouraged to apply for a FAN ID as soon as possible after they have received the ticket confirmation email or at the latest when receiving the ticket itself.
The FAN ID provides visa-free entry to Russia for foreign citizens and will allow you to remain in the country during the period that starts ten days before the first match and ten days after the last match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Please note, that a FAN ID will be also required to leave Russia once it had been used for visa-free entry purposes.
The FAN ID entitles holders to use certain free transport services, including inter-city trains and public transport in the host cities upon presentation of a FAN ID card and a 2018 FIFA World Cup™ match ticket. Details about the application and issuance of the FAN ID are available on www.fan-id.ru.
As always during the FIFA World Cup, you can expect high security but also a higher probability of criminals looking for opportunities. With the crowd and general increase in number of tourist in the country, do try to keep yourself safe and be alert of the following:
- Losing your passport and/or migration card may result in the inability to obtain accommodation. Hotels and hostels will not allow guests to check in without a passport, a migration card, and a Fan ID or Russian visa.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of money or other valuables.
- Secure all valuables such as purses, wallets, mobile phones and electronics while traveling on public transportation.
- Protect yourself from credit card fraud. Be careful when choosing a form of payment for goods and services.
- Only use marked taxi services. Preferably, you should pre-arrange transportation through the hotel concierge or other reputable services.
- Always carry your passport and hotel registration with you at all times due to the possibility of random checks.
- Keep photocopies of passports, visas, credit cards, and other important documents in a secure location so proper notifications can be made if original documents are lost or stolen.
- Take note that “hooliganism” or violence often directed at fans, is possible before, during, and after the football matches. You may not be the one who started or get involved, but being nearby means there’s a likelihood of injury. You should avoid such situations and move away when such situation arises.
- Cybercrimes and hacking is rife in Russia; you might want to think twice about making transactions online.
- Your internet and mobile usage will also be monitored – internet service providers, telcos, content platforms, and social networks in Russia are obliged by the government to store, for up to three years any and all metadata on their users — to which the Russian authorities have unrestricted access.
You can protect yourself against these potential hazards by being alert and aware of them. Most importantly, help yourself by getting a comprehensive travel insurance that can cover you for any potential financial damages caused by theft or injury.