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Murmansk: Everything You Need to Know About Winter Trip Cost by Car

Murmansk: Everything You Need to Know About Winter Trip Cost by Car

Alyosha

Background

A few years ago we came up with the idea of going for Christmas to a less obvious place in Europe than usual. And so in the winter of 2017 we drove the whole family to NordKapp in Norway. And a year later we went to the Russian Murmansk. In 2019, we set the goal of Chelyabinsk behind the Ural mountains.

We decided to go by Lada Niva car. First to avoid a problem with possible service. We wanted also to gain a little bit of experience, but most of all to get to know the car, already thinking about the summer Złombol charity rally. You can read about the expedition of 450 cars of eastern production: here.

Our calculations and experience show that a car is the cheapest form of transport. In addition, the availability of the car on site is a great independence – in terms of the route, as well as the possibility of changing the route of the expedition on an ongoing basis.

So! This was our first trip east, outside the European Union. We didn’t quite know what to expect. We hear various more or less strange information about our further eastern neighbor in the media all the time. Which later turned out to be a big exaggeration, because the Russians are nice and helpful people, and above all hospitable. They never asked us where we were going from, but where we were going, because it is interesting for them.

In any case, one thing was certain – there will be cheap fuel. Accommodations also have quite nice prices.

We budget each trip earlier. With a few trips per year, for a 4-person family, we reach a certain scale, which requires us to manage this topic in advance. Therefore, we have assumed, based on experience, how much money will go for food, sightseeing and other important matters. And that is how the plan was created.

We did not include in the calculation the costs of preparing the car, spare parts or preparing a set of clothes or equipment that we used.

Plan and assumptions


Assumptions

  • We go in 4 people (2 adults, 2 children)
  • Accommodation is to be as cheap as possible, but also attractive. Living in a Soviet building is an attraction for us
  • Car parking has to be safe
  • We’re supposed to have the opportunity to prepare the food
  • Christmas Eve night should be in a place where you can comfortably and aesthetically pleasingly serve what we have prepared
  • In most cases, we will use our own (proven) food
  • There will be trips to the restaurant but in order to get to know the dishes of local cuisine
  • We take food from home but also plan to stock up on local shops
  • We want to sightsee something – most of the attractions we chose before departure, taking into account the costs and e.g. the need to buy tickets to the Hermitage well in advance (via Internet).
  • We want to try local products – e.g. all kinds of caviar, which was supposed to be cheap there
  • We buy fridge magnets and pens for a friend taking care of our cats
  • We send postcards from the trip

Accommodation

For Russia, we have a budget of approx. 100-130 PLN per night. For e.g. Germany, an average of 250 PLN per day should be assumed for the four of us. We made the whole reservation with the help of Booking.com. According to us, it is a proven and reliable platform.

We wrote about our experience with booking.com here:
“What if we have a problem with booking.com”

Fuel etc

According to data available on the Internet, fuel in Russia was fabulously cheap. However, you have to be careful about quality. The most popular type of fuel is 92. In addition, we bought winter windscreen washer fluid several times, which we used quite a lot. However, its cost is negligible here.
Road tolls were practically non-existent, so we did not take them into account

According to data available on the Internet, fuel in Russia was fabulously cheap. However, you have to be careful about quality. The most popular type of fuel is 92. In addition, we bought winter windscreen washer fluid several times, which we used quite a lot. However, its cost is negligible here.
Road tolls were practically non-existent, so we did not take them into account



Food

Although food products are relatively cheap, a stable base taken from home guarantees peace of mind in uncertain conditions. In particular, unspecified meteorological conditions.
Of course we assumed food shopping, but mainly to try local products: sweets, caviar, alcohol, and just what we were interested in. For example: yeast with potato filling.


Culture: Magnets, mugs, souvenirs, admissions

If you are collecting magnets from the places you visit, it is necessary to include this in your budget. In our case, there are still Starbucks cups. So we treat this as souvenirs too. In addition, we had several planned museums to visit – including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, which is not cheap, and it’s better to buy tickets in advance. The same is true of Tsarskoye Selo.

Visa, documents and medical insurance, etc.

The cost of visas and required documents is fixed and known before departure.

What are the costs and our way to get a cheap visa you will find here:
“Russian visa in 5 steps”

Cash or card payments

We had some petty cash, but we didn’t use it at all. We used card payments practically everywhere. As in previous trips, we used Revolut. In addition to savings on courses, the application allows you to categorize expenses during the trip in a cool and simple way.

If you want to test your Revolut multi-currency card for free, click here on our link. There will be a bonus.


Cost statement [in PLN]

PlanBefore tripDuring tripTotalDifference
Accommodation230014420212165-135
Russian visa780780– 7800
Medical insurance230231– 2311
Baggage insurance300– 23923961
Food16005007571257-343
Restaurants400 –503503103
Admissions500136360496-4
Fuel2400 –23802380-20
Petty cash600– 728728128
Starbucks mugs250– 34334393
Souvenirs200 –140140-60
Postcards100 –11311313
Beeline (GSM)50 –3939-11
Total9710179176239414-296

Conclusions

At this trip, we were pretty much on the lookout for expenses. It’s actually quite simple, because using the built-in functionality of the Revolut card application, it’s simple.

As for the expenses themselves, you can see with the naked eye that a lot of small transactions put us most at risk of “floating” outside our budget. In practice, bearing in mind that we planned to go to the restaurant 2-3 times, which does not seem too difficult, we are able to keep the budget in check.

Another approach is to operate on envelopes with a pool of funds such as fuel, accommodation, etc. According to us, it is seemingly convenient, but it generates quite a large markup for handling such a portfolio management.

At the end, it is worth answering the question for yourself, whether such a watchful eye will not kill our holiday fun? According to us, if we move within the limits of reason, then definitely not. Otherwise, it is worth thinking about an organized trip of a travel agency, which in one transaction contains the vast majority of expenses related to “travel”. We then have control over our pocket money, which is definitely nicer.

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