St. Petersburg or Moscow is no more dangerous than Rome or London, nevertheless you should always be wary of any dangers that might be around the corner, but like in any other big European city, there is nothing of any particular concern to prevent you from visiting. The safety rules for Russia, are the same as for any European country, where nobody will guarantee your safety if you venture upon a night stroll in a rough area. They are very simple: don't walk in deserted areas or alone at night and don't carry large sums of money, avoid dubious places, people, deals and your chance of getting into a serious trouble will be much lower than that of being injured in a road accident. Use the hotel safe deposit box for valuables. Deal only with people you know personally or with good references.
This may seem a strange piece of advice, but be air on the side of caution with the police. There have been a number of reports concerning 'fake' policeman who ask you for passport, the result of this will most probably leave you without your money or mobile phone... Always keep your passport away from money, and do not let any officer to take any money from you as they don't have the right. Always ask any police officer who stops you to present their documents, as those who are not operating illegally will soon flee. Also if you want to air on the side of caution, do not be afraid to accompany the policeman to the local police station.
Here are some do's and don'ts:
- Always consult your host/guide/hotel keeper before going exploring. Travel in company when you can.
- Don't walk alone in dubious areas and deserted streets after dark.
- Be on the alert for pretty thieves and pickpockets in busy places: crowded streets, big stores, or marketplaces, check your pockets regularly. If pickpockets see that you are on your guard, they'll be less likely to single you out.
- Never carry a lot of money with you. Most stores and restaurants downtown accept credit cards.
- Never get into a taxi that has more than one male in the car.
- If you have female company that you are unfamiliar with, NEVER allow your drink to leave your sight.
- Avoid showing off any expensive jewelry and also make sure that any photographic equipment is hidden from view. It is always advisable to carry your passport and wallet in the inside pocket of your coat or jacket, and under no circumstances ever put any valuables in the back pocket of your trousers.
- In a restaurant or club, don not leave money or personal belongings in your jacket, especially if you have placed it on the chair where you are sitting.
- Avoid gangs of Gypsy children, who on occasions will look to converge on a foreigner begging for money, while others will look to steal any valuables that they can get their hands on. If such a situation arises, do not be afraid to lash out at one or two of them and the others will soon flee away.
- Keep your doors locked whether you are home or away.
If confronted by an armed assailant, don't try to be a hero. Your life is worth more than your possessions.
Remember that the vast majority of Russians are well-disposed and friendly, and will be happy to help you. Safety is of course a serious issue, and one can never be guaranteed complete safety regardless of where they travel. You can believe us that our clients repeatedly tell us that they are surprised at how safe they feel and that they are surprised by the images they had before hand. We are often told that they feel more danger in New York, Los Angeles or London.
All tourists entering Russia are required by law to be covered by insurance, which will last the duration of their stay in Russia. However, it is also necessary to bring a certificate, certifying that you have purchased insurance policy with you, especially as this will help to speed up any necessary claims. Please note that for taking part in adventure trips in some regions a local insurance is required (Kamchatka, Far Ears, Central Asia, remote areas of Siberia) Remember to bring any medications you may need. Check with your health insurer before you depart to ascertain your coverage in the event of emergency. Many insurance providers offer specialized riders which can cover emergency evacuation.