Is it difficult to travel in Turkey on your own?

The simple answer if you're a man is certainly not. If you're a woman the answer must be more equivocal but I have spent more than 20 years travelling on my own here which is surely proof in itself that there's nothing to be afraid of. 

The frst thing you need to be aware of is that the Turks themselves almost never do anything alone, so the mere fact that you are unaccompanied will mark you out as "odd" in some way.

This can work in your favour since it means that people will often rush to help you, even offering accommodation to you on the briefest of acquaintances. On the other hand it can also mean that you may have to work very hard at establishing your right to be alone when you want to be. In particular solo travellers are an obvious and easy target for touts and commercial "friends". Single men, notoriously, are often targeted by groups of men or women who lure them into bars where they will be charged extortionate prices for drinks. That's if they don't fall victim to the even nastier types who spike their drinks, then rob them.

As elsewhere in the world single travellers will pay more for their accommodation than their partnered friends. It's a rare hotel that charges a single traveller half the price of a room. Usually you should expect to pay two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of a double. For those on a tight budget this means that the only realistic option may be a bed in a dormitory. 

Eating alone in a Turkish restaurant can be mildly unnerving. Firstly you will have to get used to the eyebrow-raised question: "Kaç kişi (How many people)?", followed by the speedy removal of all but one place setting from the table. It goes without saying that you are unlikely to be given the best tables, the ones with the views in the warmest spots. However, once the waiters have adjusted to the shock of your solitary status the only other problem will be the speed with which they will serve all your courses. Don't be surprised to have eaten a three-course meal and be on your way again in less than 30 minutes.

When it comes to sightseeing on your own you should have no problems although inevitably women need to give their safety more thought than men do. 

See also Women travellers



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