England’s World Cup journey has caused a huge surge in searches for last-minute flights and holidays to Russia, as fans scramble to go and support Gareth Southgate and the team.
Hotels.com alone has seen a 45% increase in searches for hotels in Russia, while flight bookings website Kiwi.com had recorded a whopping 83% increase in bookings ahead of the England vs Sweden match.
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And as England prepares to face off against Croatia in the semi-finals, there continues to be increased interest in cheap flights and packages to Russia from Brits.
However, travel experts are warning holidaymakers to remain vigilant if they’re planning a trip, especially as amidst the excitement and flurry it can be easy to become more vulnerable to common scams and frauds.
Not to mention that, under the pressure of booking, some Brits are forgetting key factors about the trip – most notably, the entry requirements for tourists.
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An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA Members are reporting yet another surge in demand for travel to Russia after England reached the semi-final.
“For fans looking to travel to Moscow for England’s semi-final, it’s important to remember that there are entry requirements for Russia: if you have a valid ticket to one of the matches and have registered for a Fan ID, you won’t need a visa.
“If you don’t have a ticket and Fan ID, you will need a visa. However please be aware that The Russian Embassy advised in March 2018 that it takes around 20 business days (4 weeks) to process most visa applications.”
Considering the final is on Sunday, that four-week window doesn’t exactly sound promising – and Brits who don’t take this into consideration when they book could find themselves both disappointed and out of pocket.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that even if you find a great deal or package, make sure you’re booking with a reputable company – especially if it’s one you haven’t heard of or booked with before.
ABTA says: “Events like the World Cup can be a popular target for fraud. ABTA recommends that anyone looking for a last minute trip to Moscow for England’s semi-final match to be vigilant by checking that they’re booking with a reputable company.
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“There are ABTA Members offering trips to the World Cup – you can check if a company is an ABTA Member at abta.com/findamember .”
The same goes for tickets.
“The Foreign Office has also reminded anyone travelling to look out for tickets sold by touts. Anyone caught with a forged ticket will not be admitted and are likely to receive a heavy fine.
“Match tickets should only be bought through FIFA or national football associations.
“Anyone travelling to the World Cup should visit the Foreign Office website before they travel for essential information on visas and the latest travel advice.”