Russian Passport in Hand! Now What?

For some of you who have been following this blog for a while, you may remember that I have been trying to get my sons’ Russian passports renewed so that we can visit Russia again (see Returning to Russia: It’s Complicated!) To make a long story short: We adopted my boys from Russia. They have dual citizenship and must have Russian passports in order to enter Russia. Their Russian passports expired, and we’ve been trying to renew them.

I traveled to Washington, D.C. last April with my kids to do the necessary paperwork at the Russian Embassy. After about six months, my younger son’s passport arrived. However, there was an issue with my older son’s paperwork, and we had to jump through more hoops to complete the process. Many hoops. All the hoops. I returned to Washington, D.C. with my oldest son at the beginning of this summer for a second trip to the Russian Embassy.

Look what arrived in the mail last week! Finally, after 15 months!

Potential Trip Itineraries

The city in Russia we need to visit is Vladivostok, in Far East Siberia and just above North Korea. Since we didn’t get a chance to see Moscow or St. Petersburg on previous trips, my original plan was to basically fly around the world. We would fly from Dallas to Moscow, then visit St. Petersburg before flying to Vladivostok. The flight from Moscow to Vladivostok is 8 ½ hours long! Then, we would fly back to Dallas via South Korea.

My husband thinks we should consider a different itinerary that skips Moscow and St. Petersburg and combines a visit to another country. The reason? This trip to Russia is going to be pretty heavy. The kids want to track down birth family members and visit orphanages. It has the potential to be an emotional rollercoaster.

So instead of two weeks in Russia, we could spend a few days in Vladivostok followed by a week in Japan, China or a number of other countries. Or, maybe we tack on a visit to Hawaii. Anything to lighten the mood. We are open to suggestions!

Credit Cards, Miles and Points to Get Us There

I plan to focus on covering flights with miles and points, not hotels. My family burns miles and points very quickly since we have to cover five tickets. I used our entire AA stash on our recent trip to New Zealand and an upcoming trip to Costa Rica.

It’s hard for my husband and I to apply for certain cards because we’ve had so many credit cards already. However, I have not owned the Amex Platinum yet, so I am hoping that Amex will decide to like me again soon (see this post). I’m also going to watch out for targeted offers in my snail mail.

My husband will be under 5/24 later this year, so that opens up a few card possibilities that might be beneficial. United miles and British Airways Avios would be useful.

We might also try our luck with getting approvals on some cards we’ve never owned before, like the Hawaiian Airlines card and Lufthansa card from Barclays.

Of course, I’m not going to rule out paying cash for flights and jumping on flight sales to get us there. I follow The Flight Deal and Cheap DFW for deals.

Readers, what country would you combo with a visit to Vladivostok? Or, is Moscow a must-see?

Click here to view various credit cards and available sign-up bonuses

 

Author: Nancy

Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.

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9 thoughts on “Russian Passport in Hand! Now What?

  1. Yeah japan or Hawaii sounds good. Maybe Mongolia?

    Really appreciate you adopting kids, unlike those ducks who can only think of passing on their genes like animals

  2. I think your plan to go to Moscow and St. Petersburg first would be good for your boys to see, since you don’t want to go back when they turn 18. We loved St. Petersburg on our cruise!

    • @Lynn I hear such great things about St. Petersburg, and it looks beautiful and stunning. We could actually go there when my boys are over 18 because if we go on a cruise, they don’t need their Russian passports. It’s the one loophole to all the rules.

      • That’s the nice thing about a cruise! I booked a 2 day tour with a private company for St Petersburg for 19 of us. We had a blast and saved a lot of money not doing it through the cruise line. A few were afraid to do a private tour and were going to use the cruises tours until they saw the price difference! All of a sudden their fears disappeared! lol

  3. I agree with Lynn that seeing Moscow and St. Petersburg now would probably make sense if you don’t intend to come back to Russia. If you have to pick just one of those cities due to time constraints, my vote is for Moscow. Full disclosure: I’ve only spent one day in each, so not really an expert.
    But the thing is, while St. Pete is more visually stunning, Moscow is more Russian. The former was built just a few centuries ago by Peter the Great, and was intended to look like a grand city in Western Europe. At that time Russia was obsessed with the West, and tried to shed the image of a “backwards” country. As a result, St. Pete represented what Russia wanted to be, if that makes sense. Moscow is gritty, but more authentic IMO. Anyway, those are just my two cents or rubles!

    • @Leana Interesting, I never thought of that angle. St. Petersburg would be easier for us to visit on a cruise anyway. So now I’m thinking Dallas – Moscow – Vladivostok – Tokyo. Oy, that’s a lot of flying.

  4. Pingback: Why We’re Skipping the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Miles For Family

  5. From a travel standpoint alone, I would go the other direction. Flying west is always so much easier on the body!
    If you don’t end of doing western Russia while you are there, I can highly recommend visiting Korea. (Of course, you know I’m biased!) If you fly west from Dallas, you are only an hour away from Seoul when you are in Incheon.

    • @Lori Visiting Korea isn’t a bad idea. My oldest son has a good friend who moved to Korea a year ago. He came back to the U.S. this summer to visit, and I’m sure my son would be thrilled to visit him in Korea. Plus, we traveled through Incheon four times but never left the airport.

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