For many travelers, a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a bucket list travel dream.
In fact, the Trans-Siberian Railway was on my own bucket list for many years, until one day I sat down at my computer and said, “Could this actually be doable?”
The first websites I found were sponsored by companies selling Russian travel services to foreigners, and they all seemed to imply that traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway was difficult and confusing for foreigners… and that I’d be better off paying them lots of money to plan every detail of my trip.
But my gut was telling me that I’d traveled independently all over the world, including through much of Eastern Europe, and there must be a way to do the Trans-Siberian Railway on my own terms. I consulted a few guidebooks, read some internet forums and brushed up on my Cyrillic reading skills, and came to the conclusion that I could travel across Russia by train at my own pace, on my own budget, according to my own interests.
In this post I’m going to talk about my own experiences on the Trans-Siberian Railway, including budgeting for the train journey, buying my own train tickets along the way, choosing which stops to make, living on board the train and obtaining the dreaded Russian visa. There’s a lot of information to digest here, so grab a cup of tea (get in that Russian railway mood!), find a comfortable chair and even consider keeping a notepad close at hand. If you’re left with any questions at the end, don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comments!