Being on your own with a guide saves you from the hidden, yet still realistic risks of group tours:
Joined groups - even small ones - reduce not only the cost, but also comfort. It takes only one wrong person in a group to spoil it all.
You will have a program customized just for you, which we will develop together in advance by e-mails, and also have control over the pace of the tour and places we visit.
For example if you are tired and want a break - we can stop, if not we can continue. If you want to eat, then I can recommend a good restaurant. I can help you avoid the worst crowds of tourists that we get here in the peak summer periods. We can visit some lesser known places off the beaten track that the large groups will never visit. If it rains, as it does occassionally in St. Petersburg, then I can adapt the program to visit indoor attractions, leaving the beautiful parks and other outdoor sights for another day - when hopefully the weather will have improved. If you want souvenirs we can buy them, if not that's fine with me too - you're under no obligation to go shopping. In fact you can do anything - this flexibilty is a key advantage, together with a more personal and caring service. All the advantages of traveling independantly without any of the problems or hassle.
On request I can arrange visit to organisations and institutions, such as:
If you take a standard excursion from you will most likely be in quite a large group, travelling by tourist bus to the major sights. You can imagine how crowded many museums and attractions get when several tour coaches arrive at the same time. You will need to follow the schedule and pace of the guide, which can be quite demanding in order to squeeze in all the promised places. In the worst case it can feel almost if if you are running through the museums and palaces, unable to hear the guide, unable ask questions or stop and linger to admire !
For those that prefer to avoid the usual tourist traps a private tour is the ideal solution to seeing unique attractions, and even the chance to sample the local pastimes with the added benefit that you can enjoy your vacation without having to put up with other members of the group. In large groups nobody knows what their travelling companions will be like - they could turn into friends, but could also be irritating, annoying and end up spoiling your trip. Why take the risk?
Lastly with a major tour operator you probably won't know who your guide will be. Running hundreds of tours you will be allocated someone with appropriate licences that is available on your day. You may be lucky and get a nice experienced guide, on the other hand you may be given someone less experienced or newly qualified. Whereas I personally guide virtually all my tours so you can be assured of having an experienced, enthusiastic and motivated guide. We will develop the tour program by email - and then meet in person when you arrive. The same person, not an administrator or hired guide from a large company. Just me the owner and operator of my small business.
Are you the person responsible for organising the trip ? Maybe for your family, friends or colleagues ? It can be quite a challenge - especially in Russia with language problems, poor service culture, buercracy and other barriers. Why not use my competence and put the responsibility on me for everything that you do not know about and can not foresee. Freed from the burden of responsibily, not only will you companions have a great time, you will too! While cost may be a factor, it is worth remembering that your vacation time is of high value to you - don't miss the chance to relax and enjoy yourself too.
Maybe you have some specialist interest or particular reason for visiting Russia, for example meeting your Russian colleagues, visiting charity organizations or public institutions.
Such visits and meetings are great but need preparation. Its impossible to organize such things by e-mail from abroad. They require connections and experience in dealing with Russian people, many telephone calls and perseverance. This is where I can help. I have contacts and experience and can handle such tasks successfully on your behalf.