Football has long been regarded as the most popular sport in the world. An estimated 4 billion people (wait, what?!) consider themselves as followers of “the beautiful game”. That number is actually more than half of Earth’s current population! It is no surprise then that the FIFA World Cup is the globe’s favourite sporting spectacle.
The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. Attending this event presents the ultimate vacation opportunity for football fans from across the world. They get to explore a foreign country while enjoying some high-quality football matches.
If you are making some last minute plans to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, here is a checklist of 5 things you must know.
1. Get your tickets fast
Around 1,698,049 tickets to Russia 2018 have been allocated via FIFA’s official website to football supporters from all over the world. There is just over a month left before the opening game of the tournament. However, there is still an opportunity for you to join the fun and get your hands on some tickets.
Last-minute sales have opened online since 18 April. Fans will be able to purchase tickets in real-time and on a first-come, first-served basis. However, fans need to place their order as soon as possible. Demand for the tickets is extremely high (understandably) and they will sell out quickly.
The price of the tickets will depend on the seating area of the stadium and also at which stage of the tournament the match will take place. The cheapest ticket price is USD105 (RM413.59). Click here for the full price list.
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2. The Fan ID is a substitute for a visa
Having a match ticket doesn’t automatically allow you entry into the stadium. A Fan ID will need to be shown along with the ticket. You should apply for the Fan ID (also via FIFA’s website) after you receive your ticket confirmation email.
Other than offering visa-free entry to the Russian Federation, the Fan ID also has additional benefits such as free inter-host city travel and free use of public transport on match days. The Fan ID will be valid 10 days before the tournament up until 10 days after the final match. If you are not attending any of the World Cup matches, you will need a full Russian visa.
3. Accommodation might be tricky
As one might expect, hotel stays during the World Cup are extremely expensive. Additionally, all major hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg have been booked.
This is because the two cities are the base of many of the teams who are participating. FIFA officials and major sponsors are also staying in the area so you might have to choose different locations or other options such as Airbnb.
4. The weather is expected to be warm
Most people normally associate Russia with cold and freezing weathers. However, that is not always the case as there are different seasons. Also, considering that Russia is a huge country, it may be very cold in one part of the land while being simultaneously warm in another.
Most of the FIFA World Cup’s host cities are located in the European side or southern part of Russia. These places normally experience very warm weather during mid-June to mid-July. Temperatures during the day are expected to be higher than 25 degree Celsius. Take this information into consideration especially when you are planning what luggage to take during the trip.
5. Your smartphone will come in handy
We currently live in a digital era where staying connected to the internet is something essential. There are a lot of good and cheap options for mobile internet in Russia. Among the top operators to choose from are MegaFon, MTS, Beeline, Tele2, and Yota. You should compare each operator to find the price and features that best suit your needs and budget.
Another advantage of this era of the smartphone is that there are plenty of mobile apps to make your life easier. Here are some recommended apps to download:
- Yandex Maps – Find the addresses you need or the best places nearby even when you’re offline.
- Yandex Transport – Track busses/trams/trolleys as they move along their routes in real time and when they will reach a stop near you. You don’t even need to know the way to your destination. Just enter an address or landmark into the app’s search field to plan a journey on any public transport service available in your area.
- Yandex.Navi – GPS navigation app if you plan to drive in Russia
- Triposo – a smart travel guide where you can get useful information such as getting around, offline maps and schedules, weather, currency, business directory, concerts, hotels and restaurants, sightseeing, shopping, and embassies.
A few other important things to consider
International trips are expensive, especially if the date of journey isn’t months away, but an airmiles credit card goes a long way in saving air tickets and hotel booking costs (click here to know how air miles credit cards work). That said, always consider the minimum spend requirements and the air miles conversion rate before applying for an airmiles credit card.
Wondering which air miles card to apply for? Click here to find out some of the best travel credit card options.
Also, a travel insurance plan comes in handy to safeguard your interests when you visit a foreign country. Not convinced? Check out our blog on how travel insurance shields your trips.
Here’s wishing all you football fans a wonderful World Cup, and may your team win!
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