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.
Readers, what country would you combo with a visit to Vladivostok? Or, is Moscow a must-see?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.