Travel Tips Turkey

Is Turkey safe for solo female travelers?

03/21/2016

Last updated on November 11th, 2019 at 08:08 am

Solo Travel In turkey

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Planning a trip and wondering is Turkey safe for solo female travelers?

Turkey is a popular tourist destination with just over 46 million visitors in 2018. Due to its proximity to Europe and Asia, luxurious resorts on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, a multitude of historical monuments and cultural diversity are the main aspects that make it a very popular destination.

When I first moved from South Africa to Turkey in 2015 there was a decline to tourism in Turkey due to many attacks by the Islamic State and political tension with Russia & the civil war in Syria which is 785 km’s away from Turkey.

This influenced tourists from visiting but since then things have changed and tourism rates have started to increase again.

Almost everyone told me to be concerned about my safety. Someone even asked me ‘Why would you want to work in a Muslim country, “they” are dangerous’.

“They” are actually the most hospitable people in the world. Turkish people are really friendly but most have never been exposed to other races & cultures. I was born in a diverse country with people of all races and we have eleven official languages. Unfortunately, Turkey is not the same. Most people (especially in the countryside) don’t speak or understand English and some schools don’t even teach English – so communicating with Turkish people is a bit difficult.

Is Turkey safe to live

Despite the political chaos, most cities in Turkey are safe to live in. 

The most popular places to live in Turkey for expats are Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, and Izmir.

South-Eastern parts of the country are at times comparable to Syria. If you stay away from that region and you should be fine. Turkey is also a war-torn country, however, most fighting is done in the southeastern part of the country, where most terror attacks occur as well.

In terms of people, I found Turkish females to not be

Useful Turkish phrases

Format : English {Turkish} (Pronunciation)

1. Hello. {Merhaba} (mehr hah bah)
2. What is your name? {Adınız nedir?} (ad uhn uhz ne deer)
3. My name is ______ . {Adım _______ .} (Ad uhm _____ .)
4. Please. {Lütfen.} (Luet fen)
5. Thank you. {Teşekkür ederim.} (teh shek uer eh der eem)
6. Yes. {Evet.} (eh vet)
7. No. {Hayır.} (Hah yuhr)
8. Excuse me. {Bakar mısınız?} (bah kar muh suh nuhz)
9. Do you speak English? {İngilizce biliyor musunuz?} (literally, “Do you know English?”)
10. I don’t understand. {Anlamıyorum} (An-la-muh-yoor-uhm)
11. Help! {İmdat!} (Im Daht !)
12. I need your help. {Yardımınıza ihtiyacım var.} (yahr duh muh nuh zah eeh tee yah juhm vahr)
13. It’s an emergency. {Acil durum.} (ah jeel doo room)
14. I’m lost. {Kayboldum.} (kahy bohl doom)
15. I need a doctor. {Bir doktora ihtiyacım var.} (beer dohk toh rah eeh tee yah jum vahr)

Important Turkish laws tourists must know

What age can you drive in Turkey?

The legal driving age in Turkey is 17.

Foreigners visiting Turkey as tourists for stays up to 90 days may drive in Turkey with their valid driving license regardless of its country of issue; carrying an International Driving License/Permit (IDL/P) is optional but not obligatory unless the foreign license does not display an identity photograph

Drinking and driving in Turkey

The law on drink driving in Turkey, with 0.05% being the legal alcohol limit.

That only applies if you are driving alone – if you have a passenger, your system must be completely free of alcohol.

Speed limit in Turkey

There are three typical limits around Turkey, which are 50kph in built-up areas; 90kph on open roads (the equivalent of a dual carriageway in the UK); and 120kph on the motorway.

Don’t insult Ataturk

I always advise people to avoid political discussions in other countries as you don’t know how sensitive the person you are speaking to is.

In Turkey, to show disrespect to the name or image of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic. It is also illegal to insult the Turkish Government, flag, or security forces.

You will be sentenced to up to 2 years in jail.

Stay away from Drugs

Possessing, purchasing or receiving any illegal drug, including Cannabis, is punishable by jail sentences of between four and twenty years in some cases.

You cant take antiquities home

Turkish law has a broad definition of “antiquities” and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. Offenders are prosecuted. All historic sites, and everything in them, on the grounds, or in the water, are the property of the Turkish Government.

If you buy antiquities, use only authorized dealers and obtain museum certificate for each item they are authorized to sell. At departure, you may be asked to present a receipt and the certificate. Failure to have them can result in your arrest and jail time. Counterfeit Items

Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are bootleg copies of copyrighted goods illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them, but you are also breaking local law.

Is Turkey safe for tourists

Turkey is safe for tourists and there is a minimal risk of crime.

When in a big city like Istanbul, the crime rates as they relate to foreigners are very low. But remain aware of the potential for petty crimes such as pickpocketing in popular tourist areas and other crowded locations.

Is Turkey safe for solo female travelers

After spending a year and visiting the country 7 times between 2015 and 2019, I believe Turkey is safe.  There is so much you can do in Turkey like visiting popular coastal resorts, such as Antalya, Marmaris, and Izmir.

Not only are these areas less populated but there are high police and military presence everywhere you go. All public access buildings like shopping malls and museums have airport type security x-ray scanners for bags and everyone is searched before entering. Traffic officers stop & search cars and check passports. I felt safer in Turkey than I do when I’m home in South Africa, although we don’t even have terrorist attacks.

If you are planning a visit, avoid traveling to the southeastern region, particularly near the Syrian border. Avoid political demonstrations, be vigilant in crowded places and on public transport and keep an eye on the news. After arriving in Turkey call your consulate and ask them to send you updates via SMS. Keep in mind that most consulates are in the capital city, Ankara. Always carry your passport or a copy because If police stop you and you don’t have any identification you can be arrested.

Important Contact Numbers:
1. Your countries consulate
2. Ambulance: 112
3. Police: 155 & Tourism Police: (0212) 5274503 (Istanbul only)
4. Fire: 110
5. Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Tel: (0212) 6636400

At the end of the day visiting is a personal choice and you should also keep in mind that anything can happen to you anytime, anywhere in the world.

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

Female Personal Safety Gadgets for Turkey

Don’t you wish we lived in a world where the possibility of being assaulted, violated or even murdered wasn’t one of the things to take into consideration when traveling or even just living in your own country?

 Personal safety gadgets for solo female travelers in Turkey

  • Phone Lanyard: A phone sling where I can attach it to my belt/waist/bag so that I don’t drop/lose it (I’d die if anything happens to my phone!) Buy the black one. The elastic is stronger!
  • Not your typical money belt: I chose this one and agree with the reviews that the material feels stronger. It’s also moisture-wicking and comfortable to wear! I know some similar products already have zippers but this one feels like it holds better but has no zippers. and acts like Spanx!
  • The double-ended S-biner lockWith thousands of claims filed annually for lost items, you need a lock that can turn most handbags into thief-proof! 
  • Pacsafe Bra Pouch: Ideal to keep your money, IDs and credit cards safe from pickpockets and thieves. The turn-and-snap connector clasp design is different from comparable products, easy to use and prevents the pouch from unsnapping accidentally.
  • Pacsafe Cash Belt: It’s metal-free-ish so you can wear it through security without setting off alarms! It holds cash AND your pants up. I love mine!

Hotel room security gadgets for females in Turkey

  • Portable Door Jammer: Use for a door barricade in an Airbnb or hotel to be able to lock yourself in a room.

Turkey Travel Guides

Get Insurance before traveling to Turkey

Use travel insurance while visiting Turkey so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in Turkey, and it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking and trying some of the best food in the world.

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!

5 Comments

  • Ouma Moeng
    04/17/2016 at 9:30 AM

    Turkey is also on my bucket list

  • Mehemet Altunbulduk
    04/08/2016 at 4:08 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. I live in Istanbul and I believe it’s relatively safe. Things like this happen everywhere

  • Lerato B
    03/23/2016 at 7:48 AM

    Totally agree!

  • Loren
    03/22/2016 at 5:29 PM

    I personally believe we cannot stop living and doing because of these attacks! So don’t cancel any trips 🙂

    Loren | http://www.minkys.co.za

  • Tumi Moremi
    03/21/2016 at 7:13 PM

    I agree. Anything can happen anywhere. The Paris attack is a good example.

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