Learn Russian from the beginning!
Lesson Nine

Making travel arrangements

You will learn

  • to ask how to get to places outside the city
  • to buy train and plane tickets
  • to ask for information about departure times, where to go, etc.
  • to rent a car

and you will read about travel within the Russian Federation.

Study guide

Dialogues 1: listen without the book
Dialogues 1: listen, read and study one by one
Practice what you have learned
Dialogues 2, 3: listen without the book
Dialogues 2, 3: listen, read and study one by one
Practice what you have learned
Dialogues 4, 5: listen without the book
Dialogues 4, 5: listen, read and study one by one
Practice what you have learned
Dialogues 6, 7: listen without the book
Dialogues 6, 7: listen, read and study one by one
Practice what you have learned
Study the Key words and phrases
Study the Grammar section carefully
Do the exercises in Read and understand
Read Did you know?
Do the exercises in Your turn to speak
Listen to all the dialogues once again straight through


1. Tamara wants to know how to get to Zagorsk.

Tamara Извините, вы не скажете, как доехать до Загорска?
Passerby Лучше всего на электричке.
Tamara Простите, а с какого вокзала?
Passerby С Ярославского.
Tamara Большое спасибо.
Passerby Пожалуйста.

Загорск or, since 1991, Сергиев Посад, a small city outside Moscow, containing a monastery which many consider the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church
лучше всего best of all

как доехать до Загорска? how do I get to Zagorsk? Yes, the verb has changed! Как доехать до...? isn't much different from как проехать в / на...?, but it's better when talking about places further away. Since the preposition до is used, the endings are those discussed in the previous lesson.

на электричке on a suburban train. If Zagorsk were further away, she would have heard на поезде on a train.

С какого вокзала? from which station? A railway station is вокзал. The preposition с means 'from' when followed by this genitive ending.

с Ярославского from Yaroslavsky station; the word for station has been left out since it is understood.

A station

Practice what you have learned

1. Below is a diagram showing five of Moscow's railway stations and the directions in which they face. Underneath is a jumbled list of cities which one can reach from these stations. After reading it, listen carefully to the dialogues and fill in the city which each arrow is pointing towards.

Киевский вокзал >
Курский вокзал >
< Белорусский вокзал
< Ярославский вокзал
Казанский вокзал >
I. Кишинёв IV. Смоленск
II. Самарканд V. Новосибирск
III. Харьков    

2. You will be trying to get to one of the above places. Listen to Andrei's prompts.

A departure and arrivals board of a fast train Moscow - Prague


2. At the station Tamara buys a ticket to Zagorsk.

Tamara Будьте любезны, дайте, пожалуйста, один билет до Загорска.
Clerk Вам туда и обратно или только в один конец?
Tamara Будьте любезны, туда и обратно.
Clerk С вас рубль десять.
Tamara Большое спасибо.

будьте любезны please, be so kind
только only

один билет до Загорска one ticket to Zagorsk. If you wanted a ticket to Moscow you would ask for:
один билет до Москвы

вам туда и обратно? do you want a round-trip ticket?
в один конец a one-way ticket

3. She asks a young woman when the next train will be.

Tamara Извините, вы не скажете, когда ближайшая электричка до Загорска?
Woman Через пятнадцать минут, в 17:30.
Tamara Скажите, а с какой платформы?
Woman Точно не помню, кажется со второй. Посмотрите на табло.
Tamara Большое спасибо.
Woman Пожалуйста.

когда ближайшая электричка до Загорска? when is the next train to Zagorsk? A more common way of saying 'the next train' is следуюшая электричка.
Электричка is a feminine noun. A long-distance train is поезд. Since this noun is masculine, the question would become:
когда ближайший (or следующий) поезд до Киева? when is the next train to Kiev?

Some other useful questions:
Когда первая электричка до Загорска? when is the first train to Zagorsk?
Когда последняя электричка до Москвы? when is the last train to Moscow?

через пятнадцать минут in 15 minutes. Not too long to wait - she might have been told через полчаса in half an hour, or через час in an hour.

с какой платформы? from which track? The word платформа is feminine.

со второй from the second (this is the same preposition 'from' - it is simply impossible to pronounce without the o!)

точно не помню I don’t remember exactly
кажется I think, it seems (to me)
Beware of such words - if you hear too many in one response, you may want to ask someone else!

посмотрите на табло look at the board. In a smaller station, you might be told: посмотрите на расписание look at the timetable.

Practice what you have learned

3. Three friends went on daytrips out of Moscow. Well, they were supposed to be daytrips... However, only one bought a round-trip ticket, and the others were stranded. Listen to your recording, then write down what each asked for.

I. Дайте, пожалуйста, один билет
Вам туда и обратно или только в один конец?
II. Дайте, пожалуйста, один билет
Вам туда и обратно или только в один конец?
III. Дайте, пожалуйста, один билет
Вам туда и обратно или только в один конец?

4. Below are signs above tracks in a Moscow railway station. Only the destination is shown. If you listen carefully to the following snatches of conversation, you should be able to add the time of departure and the track.

время отправления
время отправления
Ясная Поляна
время отправления

5. You are a tourist wanting to go to Vladimir. As usual, Andrei will guide you.


4. Ira is at the Aeroflot desk of her hotel booking a flight.

Ira Здравствуйте.
Clerk Добрый день.
Ira У вас есть билеты до Петербурга на завтра?
Clerk А сколько вам мест нужно?
Ira Два.
Clerk Сейчас посмотрю... На завтра, к сожалению, мест нет.

к сожалению [ksazhalyen'yu / ksazhalyeniyu] unfortunately

сколько вам мест нужно? how many seats do you need?

сейчас посмотрю I'll just have a look

мест нет there aren't any seats. Мест is the genitive plural of место, a neuter noun.

5. Maybe there are seats for the day after tomorrow?

Ira А на послезавтра?
Clerk Один момент... На послезавтра, пожалуйста, на рейсы в 7:35, в 14:25, в 18:35 места есть.
Ira Дайте, пожалуйста, два билета на 14:25.
Clerk Пожалуйста, касса рядом, уплатите, пожалуйста, за билет.
Ira Спасибо.
Clerk Всего наилучшего. Счастливого полёта!

один момент one moment
касса рядом the cashier is at the next desk
уплатите, пожалуйста, за билет pay (there) please for the ticket
всего наилучшего all the best
счастливого полёта! have a good flight!

а на послезавтра? what about the day after tomorrow? If Ira needed to travel on a specific day of the week she would ask for билет на понедельник, на вторник, на среду etc.

на рейсы в 7:35, в 14:25, в 18:35 места есть there are seats on flights at 7:35, at 14:25 and at 18:35

два билета на 14:25 2 tickets for the 14:25

самолёт airplane

Practice what you have learned

6. The Aeroflot assistant has a list of flights still available, with a note of how many tickets are available on each. Listen to your recording. Cross out any flights on your list which are now fully booked. Read just the number of seats available after all three customers have been served.

I. на сегодня (12:25) (один билет)
II. на завтра (14:25) (два билета)
III. на послезавтра (18:35) (четыре билета)

7. You will be buying tickets for flights to Moscow. Listen to Andrei for full details.


6. At her hotel Tanya asks about renting a car.

Tanya Здравствуйте.
Clerk Здравствуйте.
Tanya У вас можно взять напрокат машину?
Clerk Пожалуйста. Какую машину вы предпочитаете?
Tanya Среднюю.
Clerk Я рекомендую вам Нисан Блуберд.
Tanya Хорошо. А сколько это будет стоить в день?
Clerk Это стоит 40 долларов без страховки.
Tanya А всего сколько?
Clerk Всего это будет стоить 40 долларов плюс 3 доллара страховка плюс бензин.

я рекомендую вам... I recommend...
плюс три доллара страховка плюс бензин plus 3 dollars insurance, plus gasoline

у вас можно взять напрокат машину? can I rent a car here?

какую машину вы предпочитаете? which car would you prefer? In her response Tanya could have said я предпочитаю I prefer, or simply я хочу I want.

среднюю medium-sized. A big car would be большую and a small one маленькую. By the way, do always listen carefully to the ending of какой? which? since any adjective you use in response will probably have the same ending.

Сколько это будет стоить в день? how much will that cost per day? She might have asked how much it will cost per week сколько это будет стоить в неделю?

без страховки without insurance. Без ’without’ is another preposition which is followed by the genitive case.

всего сколько? how much all together?

7. Tanya will take it.

Tanya Это меня устраивает.
Clerk На какой срок вы хотите взять машину?
Tanya На неделю.
Clerk Пожалуйста, дайте мне свою кредитную карточку и права.
Tanya Вот, пожалуйста.
Clerk Спасибо... Возьмите, пожалуйста... Это будет стоить вам триста пятнадцать долларов.
Tanya Хорошо.
Clerk Машину вы возьмёте в нашем гараже.
Tanya Спасибо.
Clerk До свидания, приходите ещё.

это меня устраивает that suits me
права driver's licence (plural in Russian)
в нашем гараже in our garage
приходите ещё come again

на какой срок? for what period of time?

на неделю for a week. Or you might want it for two weeks на две недели.

дайте мне свою кредитную карточку и права give me your credit card and driving licence

свою / вашу - both forms are possible here. There is more about свой, своя, своё in lesson 11.

возьмите, пожалуйста take (it) please. The two other forms of the verb взять 'to take' you will need are:
я возьму I will take
вы возьмёте you will take

триста three hundred. Four hundred is четыреста and five hundred пятьсот.

Practice what you have learned

8. In the dialogue below Oleg is looking for a small car. Certain key words have been left out and are jumbled up in the box below. Listen to your recording, then fill in the gaps.

Oleg Сколько будет стоить маленькая машина в (I) ?
Clerk 50 долларов (II) страховки.
Oleg А (III) сколько?
Clerk Всего это будет стоить 50 долларов плюс (IV) доллара страховка (V) бензин.
Oleg Это меня устраивает.
Clerk (VI) какой срок вы хотите взять машину?
Oleg На (VII) .
Clerk Пожалуйста, дайте мне вашу кредитную карточку и (VIII)
Oleg Вот, пожалуйста.
права без на всего неделю три день плюс

9. You are a visitor to Moscow on a fairly limited budget. You will be practicing asking for different sizes of car, saying how long you need the car for and asking the crucial question about cost.

Key words and phrases

To use  
как доехать до Загорска?
с какого вокзала?
один билет
how do I get to Zagorsk?
from which station?
one ticket
два (три, четыре) билета
до Петербурга
до Москвы
туда и обратно
в один конец
two (three, four) tickets
to St. Petersburg
to Moscow
there and back
когда следующая электричка до...?
когда следующий поезд до...?
с какой платформы?
when is the next suburban train to...?
when is the next train to...?
from which track?
у вас есть билеты...
на сегодня?
на завтра?
на послезавтра?
на рейс в 14.25?
do you have tickets...
for today?
for tomorrow?
for the day after tomorrow?
for the flight at 14:25?
у вас можно взять напрокат...
маленькую машину?
среднюю машину?
большую машину?
do you have for rent...
a car?
a small car?
a medium car?
a big car?
сколько это будет стоить...
в день?
в неделю?
how much will that cost...
per day?
per week?
всего сколько?
взять (я возьму, вы возьмёте)
how much all together?
to take (I will take, you will take)
я хочу взять / я возьму машину...
на неделю
на две недели
I want to take / I will take the car...
for a week
for two weeks
To understand  
на электричке
на поезде
через пятнадцать минут
посмотрите на табло
сколько вам мест нужно?
на завтра мест нет
на завтра места есть
на какой срок вы хотите взять машину?
без страховки
плюс бензин
by suburban train
by train
in fifteen minutes
look at the board
how many seats do you need?
there are no seats tomorrow
there are seats tomorrow
for how long would you like the car?
without insurance
plus gasoline



Russian verbs have six different endings depending on who is performing the action. There are patterns which you can follow in order to work out the ending for a verb you have never seen before. The first type of verb 'conjugates' (changes its endings) like the verb знать (to know):

я знаю
ты знаешь
он/она знает
мы знаем
вы знаете
они знают
I know
you know (sing. to a child or a friend)
he/she knows
we know
you know (pl. or more formal)
they know

The verbs завтракать (to have breakfast), обедать (to have lunch), ужинать (to have dinner) conjugate in this way, as does the important verb понимать (to understand).

There are also many verbs whose infinitives end in -еть or -ить. Most of these will conjugate like говорить (to speak):

я говорю
ты говоришь
он/она говорит
мы говорим
вы говорите
они говорят
I speak
you speak (sing. to a child or a friend)
he/she speaks
we speak
you speak (pl. or more formal)
they speak

Here are three important verbs that follow the same pattern:
смотреть (to look, watch)
стоить (to cost)
помнить (to remember)

A word of warning: You can’t be sure that a verb will follow the above patterns. There are quite a lot of irregular verbs which unfortunately just have to be learned.

10. Write in the correct forms of the verbs in parentheses.

I. Что вы ? — Я журнал. (читать - to read)
II. Сколько эта марка для авиаконверта в Англию? (стоить)
III. Они дома, а в ресторане. (завтракать, обедать)
IV. Вы по-русски? — Да, я немного. (говорить)
V. Мы не , где это кафе. (знать)
VI. Она хорошо по-французски. (понимать)
VII. Вечером мы музыку. (слушать - to listen to)
VIII. Ты по-немецки? — Нет, но я по-немецки. (говорить, читать)
IX. Он не , где находится музей. (помнить)
X. Помидоры 4 рубля килограмм. (стоить)

New words:
дома at home
вечером in the evening


Read and understand

11. Nina has come to the Russian Federation determined to see places with which her favorite writers were connected. So she tells the Intourist guide, whose itinerary goes nowhere near those places! Undeterred, Nina finds the necessary timetables and proves to her guide that her plans are quite feasible. What will her revised program look like?


Город прибытие отправление
Ростов Великий
6/7 (утром)
9/7 (вечером)
13/7 (утром)
15/7 (утром)
2/7 (утром)
5/7 (вечером)

New words:
прибытие arrival
отправление departure
утром in the morning

Here are the various possibilities Nina noted from the timetables, before she'd seen the Intourist program.

Автобус: Новгород - Михайловское

9 ч. утра
8 ч. утра
9 ч. утра
11 ч. вечера
9 ч. вечера
7 ч. вечера
Электричка: Санкт-Петербург - Царское Село
9 ч. вечера
11 ч. утра
10 ч. утра
10 ч. утра
9 ч. вечера
7 ч. вечера
Автобус: Москва - Ясная Поляна
7 ч. утра
7 ч. утра
5 ч. вечера
9 ч. вечера
9 ч. вечера
9 ч. вечера

Михайловское - the estate of the great Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin.
Царское Село - home of the famous Lycee at which Pushkin and some other poets of the time studied.
Ясная Поляна - estate of Leo Tolstoy.

Did you know

How Russian people travel

The number of private car owners in the Russian Federation is relatively low (not now!). Many Russian-made cars such as Lada are easier and much cheaper to buy abroad than in their country of origin! It should not, however, be assumed that the roads are correspondingly safer. They are not! The number of accidents per year is quite disproportionate to the number of cars on the road.

Most people use trains and airplanes when traveling long distances. A train journey over one or two days can be a very enjoyable way of meeting Russian people in a relaxed environment. Travelers generally change into comfortable casual clothing and bring bagloads of provisions, as well as cards or chess to while away the time.

Particularly over the summer months it can be quite difficult to obtain tickets. This is nothing, however, in comparison with the problems involved in getting airplane tickets. Branches of Aeroflot frequently have lines overflowing into the street, while even a ticket in hand by no means guarantees that you will fly on the day and time designated.

Russian people have necessarily become hardened to such difficulties, and are seldom deterred from travelling.

Travel abroad

Until recently this was merely a dream for all but a privileged few. People quite simply did not have international passports. To obtain one required a 'good' reason for traveling and political 'reliability'. There would also be a stream of bureaucratic demands. The authorities could — and did — refuse people without providing any reason.

The end of the 1980s saw an increase in the number of people granted visas, and a new law which came into effect in January 1993 affirms the right of all citizens to an international passport.

Moscow's international airport
Sheremetyevo 2, Moscow's international airport

Your turn to speak

12. Beiow is a map of the Russian Federation. We have marked certain famous places, though you may of course be interested in visiting others. The itinerary this time is in your hands! Before turning on the recording, work out where you wish to go, then try organizing your trip. You will need to ask how to get to places, buy tickets, find out about the next train, flight etc. You may also want to rent a car. And of course you will have to convince Intourist that you know what you are doing!

Here are some useful phrases:

как доехать до...? how does one get to...?
у вас есть билеты до...? do you have tickets to...?
на завтра? / на послезавтра? for tomorrow? / for the day after tomorrow?
один билет до..., пожалуйста one ticket to..., please
туда и обратно there and back
у вас можно взять напрокат машину? can I rent a car here?
я хочу маленькую машину I want a small car
я хочу доехать до... I'd like to get to...
надо купить... / взять напрокат... I have to buy... /rent...