Time is running out to snag tickets, flights and accommodation packages for the February 7, 2014 start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The good news is that there are tickets still available for almost all events. The bad news is that you cannot buy them without doing a few 10.0 gymnastic moves.
If you are a citizen of the United States, Germany, France or the United Kingdom, the first thing you may want to do is phone-a-friend in Ireland, Italy or one of the other nations who can purchase event tickets on the website. For some reason, the Irish are acceptable but the rest of us must have upset someone in charge of taking money. The next step is to ask your friend if they have a Visa Card to purchase the tickets and offer to pay them back with a bit of a “favor boost” tacked on.
If you are among the “outlaw nations”, you cannot purchase train tickets online either. As a result, any “deal” to get to Sochi, stay in a suitable shelter and attend the Olympics is a really big deal. The one and only way to obtain event ticketing and packages for the Games is to email the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Once you do acquire confirmation that you have tickets for the events, immediately get a Russian Federation Visa, because your passport is not sufficient. The visa must be good for at least 6 months on arrival in Russia – check the dates that you will be permitted to enter Russia.
The alternative is to become a spy, release important federal documents online and ask Russia for protective status in their nation – which may be quicker.
Indoor Event Locations
Figure Skating, hockey and curling, for example, will be held in one of the rings of the Coastal Cluster. Sochi is on the Black Sea and the climate is “subtropical” – similar to Florida, Mississippi and Alabama in winter.
Outdoor Event Locations
For the skiing events, sledding, and snowboarding, you will have to travel – or stay – in the Caucasus Mountains, which is about 30-minutes from central Sochi. The climate is typical of Alpine elevations. There are lodges still accepting reservations.
Shortest Short Cut for Lodging Reservations
Ludus Tours is booking tour packages for the 2014 Winter Olympics for both Indoor and Outdoor events. They have one package – not including event tickets or Russian Federation visas – starting at 4-days for $2690 up to $5690.
Sports Traveler is another booking agent that is offering accommodation packages but only offering 6-night stays at the moment. The least expensive is at a local B&B for $3795 and the most expensive is $4795 at the mountain resort lodge, including shuttle service from the airport.
A Few Important “Things to Know”
The most recent online post, via YouTube on October 23rd, shows that the Olympic Stadium is still under construction.
In addition to that little difficulty, here are some very important things to understand before you go.
- Russia has promised to provide English-speaking bus drivers and install English signage to accommodate tourists. However, neither has yet to actually materialize.
- Sochi International Airport is between the two locations for events. So, be prepared to either use bus or taxi transport to your housing.
- Taxis in Sochi are not necessarily officially licensed. The locals prefer to use these hacker services but as a tourist, you could end up in a back alley or police station. Arrange for taxi services through your hotel concierge service.
- Unless you speak fluent Russian, avoid renting a private apartment or house for your stay.
- Lower your expectations when it involves “luxury” dining, accommodations, and transportation. While Russia has been feverishly attempting to modernize and update the area for Westerners, the definitions for “luxury” are far from similar.
If you can work out all the details for flights – connect through Vienna, London or Finland for best results – lodging, dining, ground transport and acquiring event tickets, you are bound to have a memorable experience. Don’t forget to apply for your Russian Federation visa when planning for best discount deals! We recommend you find a reputable wholesale vacation company like Sundance Vacations to find the best rates possible. You can learn more about sundance here.
Jordan loves talking and writing about all things travel. When he’s not planning out his next vacation, he can be found walking his dogs in the moutains.