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Queenie52

Paying for tours in St Petersburg

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Hello can anyone help? 

We have booked a two day tour of St Petersburg with T J Tours and have been quoted a price in dollars. We would prefer to pay in cash but the website says they only accept Rubles. Has anyone been on this tour and paid in dollars?  I am assuming if we ask them how much the tour is in Rubles we will get their exchange rate? 

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1 hour ago, Queenie52 said:

Hello can anyone help? 

We have booked a two day tour of St Petersburg with T J Tours and have been quoted a price in dollars. We would prefer to pay in cash but the website says they only accept Rubles. Has anyone been on this tour and paid in dollars?  I am assuming if we ask them how much the tour is in Rubles we will get their exchange rate? 

 

 

we had this issue last year-they assume everyone is American and quote in dollars even though can only accept payment on the day in roubles-cash or credit cards[they convert dollars to roubles at exchange rate on the day]

 

our first trip there a few years ago they quoted in dollars and we were able to pay in dollars-crisp new notes we got from our high street travel bureau

 

However since then laws changed and they can only accept payment in local currency ie roubles but they continue to quote in US Dollars and will give rate of day when coming to pay

 

Like you we are from UK and it made no sense to have 2 sets of foreign transaction conversions so insisted on getting a quote from the start in roubles

it actually worked in our favour as rouble versus dollar rate changed

 

so if you can get cash roubles from high street you can pay that way

 

we used a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and paid agreed rate in roubles on the day

 

that was also with TJ

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2 hours ago, Queenie52 said:

Hello can anyone help? 

We have booked a two day tour of St Petersburg with T J Tours and have been quoted a price in dollars. We would prefer to pay in cash but the website says they only accept Rubles. Has anyone been on this tour and paid in dollars?  I am assuming if we ask them how much the tour is in Rubles we will get their exchange rate? 

Did you contact TJ to specifically ask your question or are you relying solely on the website and prefer to ask on CC rather than the tour provider?

 

I did a tour with TJ this spring and communicated via email with their office. I paid my excursion prior with my credit card. On the day of the  tour, those who had not paid in full, paid immediately after meet and greet at the first stop, specifically for tour payment, at a souvenir store. I did not see anyone pay in rubles. One couple, and only one couple, brought rubles to tip the guide/driver.

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We booked with Anastasia Travel last May and the tour was also quoted in USD but paid in Rubles when we used our credit card. I think this is the Russian banks' policy especially when paying online and with credit card. If you prefer to pay in cash on the day of the tour, I think there won't be any problem with paying in USD.  I suggest you contact your tour operator to clarify things. 

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16 minutes ago, flowslow said:

 If you prefer to pay in cash on the day of the tour, I think there won't be any problem with paying in USD.  I suggest you contact your tour operator to clarify things. 

The tour operator could get in serious trouble with the Russian tax authorities if they accept cash payment in any currency other than rubles - this has already happened to one particular tour operator that accepted cash payments in USD and failed to report the income. 

One now has the options of payment via credit card or cash payment in rubles.

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A few years back, like Fab&40+, we were quoted in USD so we took USD and paid in cash. That avoided any grief with what exchange rates were used.

But as per Dogs4's post, Russian law has changed - payment must be in roubles, either cash roubles or credit card charged in roubles.

 

I'm very wary of being quoted in one currency & charged in another - put that down to my naturally-suspicious nature, and usually it's rightly suspicious.

But that law changed 2 or 3 years ago and I've not seen any complaints about local tour operators in St P. using unfair exchange rates, they do seem to be a fair and reasonable crowd.

But if we return I think I'd want to do the same as Fab&40+ and get quoted in roubles.

 

BTW we do like the comfort of having some local currency wherever we go. So we took a few roubles with us, enough for the guide's tip. 

Altho meals were included in the tour, the restaurants used by Alla accepted only cash roubles for extras.

So we had beers while everyone else had tap water from the jug on the table.

We then made up the tip shortfall with euros.

 

JB :classic_smile:  

 

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We paid TJ with a credit card (no fees) and the transaction was exactly as quoted in $$.  The guides will graciously accept any tips in dollars, Euros or Rubles.  They were a wonderful company to tour with.  Enjoy!

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18 hours ago, flowslow said:

If you prefer to pay in cash on the day of the tour, I think there won't be any problem with paying in USD.  I suggest you contact your tour operator to clarify things. 

 

i do not believe you can legally pay in anything other than rubles.  something about off the books transactions, undeclared income, and tax evasion.   i thought i read somewhere that one of the big tour operators is in trouble for this exact thing.

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Did you contact TJ to specifically ask your question or are you relying solely on the website and prefer to ask on CC rather than the tour provider?
 
I did a tour with TJ this spring and communicated via email with their office. I paid my excursion prior with my credit card. On the day of the  tour, those who had not paid in full, paid immediately after meet and greet at the first stop, specifically for tour payment, at a souvenir store. I did not see anyone pay in rubles. One couple, and only one couple, brought rubles to tip the guide/driver.
Great info thank you.
We are flying from Australia & did wonder why tour's are quoted in US$
We will pay by credit card before hand.

Sent from my SM-J530Y using Tapatalk

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On 7/11/2019 at 9:49 PM, dethman said:

 

i do not believe you can legally pay in anything other than rubles.  something about off the books transactions, undeclared income, and tax evasion.   i thought i read somewhere that one of the big tour operators is in trouble for this exact thing.

You are correct on both counts. Legally, payment must be in the national currency and you are right - one of the big tour operators is in trouble for accepting payments in foreign currency and failing to pay taxes.

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