It goes without saying that you won't get many deals in Sochi from Feb. 7-23, but the Winter Olympics have little bearing on a country whose light season stretches all winter long.
SmarterTravel found round-trip flights from Boston to Moscow in January on Aeroflot for $749. Boston to St. Petersburg on the same airline, meanwhile, goes for $775 round-trip in March. Even the most affordable summer airfares to Russia don't tend to drop below $1,000, with last year's summer low hitting $1,189 for a round-trip ticket from Detroit to Moscow on Lufthansa.
Russia knows people think of its winters and envision snow and cold that can defeat armies. It's why the Russian Ministry of Culture is allowing visitors from select countries -- including the U.S. -- to visit parts of Russia for up to 72 hours this winter without a visa. If you're already in Europe, you jet over to Russia on a major Russian airline without going through the visa application process. It seems the least that a country known for its punishing winters can do, but it's a win for all involved.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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