Here you can see a lot of information about safe trip to Russia, do not think that you will see a risk for your life by having dangerous situations, this is just the guide for a confidence during the trip.
The information which is stated here is based on the book «Как не стать жертвой преступления» Михайлова Ю. С., Ульянов В. В., which is available at the informational portal www.ispb.info (http://www.ispb.info/tourist/security/book/), and also on my experience of the trips.
Where to apply for help
Foreign tourists should use these means of connection if they are attacked or have a problem in the city:
- 24hour English-speaking phone line (+7) 300 33 33
- The number of phone of police station is 02. From the mobile phone you can dial 112- this is a Russian-speaking help
- Buttons of an emergency call of police–after you press the button the police will arrive as quickly as possible.
In the mentioned book you can find an information about the actions in the following cases:
- misconduct against tourists
- the loss of the migration card
- the loss of the visa and migration card
- restoration of visa.
Prevention of unpleasant situations
To have a good visit and avoid problems such as a loss of documents, it is important to be attentive and careful.
The most widespread type of the delicts made in hotel is a theft (it is not about Russia only; it is a possible situation all over the world).
- An effective way of protection against thieves – if there is no safe in the apartment, you should leave the sign on the door “Do not disturb”. In addition to that I would recommend to put the valuables in a suitcase and lock it with a key before leaving, the key should be kept in a safe place.
- Be discrete during conversations with random companions. You should not discuss plans for the trip and the financial costs. Perpetrators can find out that way how much money do you have and what valuables are in your luggage.
- Do not open the door to strangers, if you are alone in the apartment.
Plastic card use
Unfortunately, fraud cases with plastic cards are frequent. It is very useful to know about ways of protection against frauds. Here are some tips on how to keep your card and money safe.
- It is a good idea to activate “Mobile Banking” for the trip. That will make you be informed about operations with the account. In case of suspicious or unknown operations, the card holder can find it out immediately and notify the bank as fast as possible. Advice – before your trip ask the bank about possible card lock when moving between cities and countries, find out whether the payment systems work in Russia.
- When you withdraw money from the card, beware of strangers nearby. Try to use ATMs that stand in banks, large supermarkets and business centers, try not to use ATMs on the streets.
- If you are going to pay for goods or services by the card, do not leave the check for the purchase or throw it away, it has a card number on it, that should be considered private information.
- If the waiter does not come to your table with a special card-reading device, and takes your card instead, follow him and enter your PIN code.
- In the case of loss or theft of the card you should immediately inform the bank about the situation and block the account.
Your safety in public transport
While using the public transport, remember the following security advice:
- Try not to sleep during the ride if you are traveling alone, keep an eye on your belongings,
- While waiting for the train at the platform don’t stand near the edge of the platform,
- Come to the doors only after the vehicle has stopped. Wait until the passengers exit. If the transport seems to be too overcrowded, you would be advised to wait for the next means of transport.
- Beggars use the illusion of the crowd – the company of 2-3 people start shoving around the exact person so that he gets used to the crowding. They then take all the documents and money, run out the vehicle, leaving the poor passenger inside.
- Don’t touch items left behind by others. If you can, tell a subway worker about the found bag.
- If the train stops in the tunnel do not get out of it without the permission– the wires can have the electricity. Wait for the instructions.
If you are a pedestrian in the city
- you should cross the street in the corresponding places only on a green signal of the traffic light;
- you should use underground or overground transition if there is any;
- you should walk past standing buses or the trolleybus behind. Pass the tram in front, to avoid the risk of getting under the car.
Advice – be careful at the crosswalks (not all the cars stop where it is necessary to stop). It is better to move slowly, letting the cars with crazy drivers pass by.
The safety in public places
- Try not to wear a lot of jewelry, especially if you have to walk down the street alone during night-time.
- Do not walk along poorly lit streets. Try to go to the busy places with lots of people, cars.
- Hold your bag closed on a shoulder, press it with the hand (it will be less likely to have the bag torn out of your hands).
- While paying for expensive purchases, use the cards for a cashless payment.
- While making cash payments, do not remove all the cash, but only the necessary sum or not very big amounts of money. That can be possible if you keep money in different places in small amounts in your purse.
- Keep your money and documents in internal pockets. It is better to have 2 wallets (one will be for paying another will be for keeping the valuables).
- Do not leave personal belongings and documents unattended.
- Beware of purchases outside outlets and stores. Do not buy goods “from hands”, especially cooked food. In addition to having fake money, you can be poisoned with the food.
Gay travelers should behave discretely, as Russian society, in contrast to the world, does not welcome open disolays of affection. Aggressive citizens can put up a fight for this reason. Nevertheless, there are places in St. Petersburg for leisure (various clubs), where these travelers will be welcomed.
Try not to be with football fans after the football games, the fans can be aggressive. Do not wear symbols of other Russian football teams. If you go to a football game, buy the tickets in the central sector.