Solo travel in Russia

Hi,
I was wondering if anybody could give me advice for my upcoming travel to Russia. I was planning to meet someone there, who is suddenly not going to be there. I have a visa, accomodations, etc., and would like to go ahead and go by myself. I'd just be going to St. Petersburg. My question is, is that safe for an American girl in her early 20s to do alone? I'd be taking the train to & from St. Petersburg, and I'd be stickign to touristy areas. I'm working on Cyrillic, but don't know any Russian. Any thoughts appreciated!
Thanks!
Marie

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6837 posts

I'm not a woman so I can't answer from first hand experience. But from everything I've read and heard, Russia is one of the safest places for a woman to travel solo. One of the most positive carry-overs from the communist regime was the equality of the sexes that was imposed and most of that still carries over to this day. I was in St Petersburg last March and most people who worked at the hotels and major tourist attractions spoke passable English. Along Nevsky Prospect it appears they have just installed "tourist" street signs in English that point to the major attractions. I didn't bother studying up on Cyrillic and managed to get around just fine.

Posted by Rita
Philadelphia
27 posts

I lived in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago when I was in my early 20s and had no problems traveling around the city alone at any time of day or night. Granted, I knew some Russian when I arrived but I don't think it makes much of a difference as far as safety goes. Go ahead, and have a great time!

Posted by carl
dallas, tx, usa
1358 posts

I spent 3 days in STPB last year and had no problems except for reading street signs. Lots of people speak enough English to help you.

I don't think safety is an issue as long as you take precautions and be extra alert to what is happening around you. Don't go into dangerous areas at night.

I have read many times in this column that being aware of possible dangers is the key to safety.

Most single female travelers suggest that you walk confidently and look like you know where you are going. In other words, don't look like you are alone and lost.

Posted by Ben
Long Beach
7 posts

My friend and I were in Moscow and St. Petersburg last November 2006. Along Nevsky Prospect where our hotel is located is safe as there are always lots of people there almost all the time. It is also in the center where you can almost walk to everything, and all western style restaurant and fast foods are located.
I would like to warn you though that there was this little incident while we were strolling along this street. There was this man who kept on pushing/selling this calendar to my face while he was busy with his other hand trying to open my backpack that I was carrying on my side. Too bad for him it was locked so he did not get anything from me.
I acted like I was going to punch him so he quickly ran away.
By the way, I used to live in Russia so I know the language, but I left over 20 years ago, and so it felt different.
They still do appreciate you're trying to learn their language even if just to say thank you and please!
I am sure you will have fun there.