How to Find Quality and Affordable Accommodation in Russia
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In big cities you'll have a choice between 5-star expensive hotels (from $200 a night) and old Soviet style 3-star hotels (from $50), that won't worth the money. There are a few nice places in every city and town, but they are booked very fast, so if you want to get it, reserve a room for yourself at least one month beforehand. You can find a list of inexpensive, moderately priced and luxury hotels on this site in Accommodation section of city guides (See Destinations).
There are a few hostels in Russia, mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But make you get one of the better ones, because some are just old renovated Soviet dormitories that suck badly. Hostels are relatively inexpensive ($15-$25 a night) and accommodate young travelers, so it might be more interesting to stay there if you're a student or a backpacker. You can find a listing of hostels in Accommodation section of city guides on this site (See Destinations).
A good alternative to hotels and hostels are apartments. You can rent a standard Russian-style apartment in Moscow or St. Petersburg in the center of the city for about $100 a night, but if you want "western standard" it'll cost $130 a night and more. Apartments for short-term rent in Moscow are more expensive than in St. Petersburg.
It'll be hard to find an apartment for short-term rent in other cities, but the price will be lower (about $30 a night for an apartment in Novosibirsk or Irkutsk, for example). There are usually people offering their flats for short-term rent next to train stations in smaller cities – can't guarantee the safety, but these would be the cheapest options (make sure you don't leave valuables there).
Homestays are not widely spread, but still available in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Irkutsk. The price is about $15-$30 a night, but it's very hard to find.
The flat share is not something many people in Russia have heard about, but if you manage to get a room, it will cost from $150 / month in Moscow. We have created a special resource designed to help to find a homestay or a roommate in Russia - check FlatMates. Ru Roommate Matching Service.
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