I have been asked a few times how much it has cost me to travel. So, though it’s not particularly exciting, here is what I have spent from the moment I left home to Ulaanbaatar. I will post the costs of the next stage of my journey when I leave Mongolia.
From my home to Newcastle ferry port:- a free lift with my Mum & sister, Jen.
A ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam:- £115. I paid an additional £6 in England for the transfer on the other side of the sea, but they did not add it to my ticket correctly so I had to pay another £7 (10 Euros) the other side – Frustrating!
I paid £21 (29 Euros) for a bus from Amsterdam to Berlin. In Berlin, I stayed with Jordi for free for 5 nights. However I bought a metro ticket for £5 (7 Euros) every day. I spent another £65 (90 Euros) in Berlin on food, climbing, drinks etc and £21 (30 Euros) on a 2 month visa for Thailand.
I got an overnight bus from Berlin to Warsaw for £13 (18 Euros). I spent one day and one night in Warsaw and spent £30. I did not really need this much, but I arrived early in the morning and my brain did the conversion maths wrong so I withdrew too much! I stayed at New World Hostel for £6. It was nice and very friendly, but I warn you, it is hard to find, especially early in the morning when I was half asleep! I treated myself to some nice coffees and good food with the extra cash.
24 hours and 2 buses later I arrive in Moscow. Warsaw to Minsk cost £28 and then Minsk to Moscow for £22. At this point, I started needing Visas, and this is where it got expensive!
UK residents have to apply for the Russian visa from within the UK. I paid £15 for an invitation (part of the required supporting documentation for the Russian visa) from Real Russia (www.realrussia.co.uk). I spent another £77 on a return train ticket to Edinburgh in order to give my fingerprints at the Russian embassy. The visa and the service charge was another £151. It was an expensive visa.
Once I received my Russian visa I was able to apply for my Belarus visa. This was relatively straightforward and cost £30 for a two day transit visa.
I arrived in Moscow on Tuesday 13th October 2015 and, failing to find any couchsurf hosts, spent two nights at the Apple Hostel. It was a nice hostel that I would recommend and cost £6.50 per night. If you ever want to stay there, let me know and I can give you a 12% discount code!
I bought my train ticket from Moscow to Irkutsk from Real Russia for £152. This got me an upper bunk in “second class”. This meant I shared a cabin with three other people, got a free meal and free toiletries.
I withdrew £55 in Moscow and another £50 in Irkutsk. This covered all my costs in Russia including by rail ticket to Ulaanbaatar for £65, bought from the ticket office in Irkutsk.. I bought food in Moscow a couple of times and a few coffees.
I spent two nights in the Bailalaika hostel in Irkustk for just under £5 per night and 3 nights in the Belka Hostel in Listvyanka for £6 per night. These are both owned by the same people and I cannot recommend them enough. They were brilliant.
I had a few Rubles left before crossing into Mongolia and exchanged these for Tugriks on the train at a terrible rate. I think I lost about £5 – half of the money I exchanged. Despite the expensive visa, Russia itself was quite a cheap place for me to travel in.
3 weeks and 6,000 miles (9,500km) later, I have spent £883 (1,256 Euros) for absolutely everything.