Located between Asia and Europe, Turkey is a dazzling destination for many solo travelers worldwide: with its unusual landmarks, outstanding natural sceneries, rich history, and vibrant culture.
If you want to have a solo trip adventure around Turkey, don’t worry- it is far from dangerous. Nonetheless, there are few things that you should be cautious of and keep in mind for an enjoyable and smooth experience.
1. Try the local food, you won’t regret it
Being a melting pot of cultures, Turkish cuisine is diverse and has one of the most delicious dishes globally. Whether you are into sweet, spicy, salty, or anything between that, you will indeed find something that suits your preferences. However, table etiquette and manners in Turkey are some of the things to keep in mind.
For example, food is never taken for granted; therefore, do not waste it. Order only what you can eat as the portions are big; leaving food on your plate will be regarded as disrespectful for those who spent time preparing it.
2. Join local meetups
As a solo traveler, you may want to make some connections along your journey. There is no better way to do so than joining local meetups that are within your interest range. Search for local events and clubs, and get yourself involved in engaging cultural activities. There are also online platforms to help you create or join a local network with travelers who share your interests and hobbies, like Couchsurfing.
3. Dress appropriately
While the big cities are not much of a concern, showing too much skin in other conservative and residential regions can bring unnecessary attention to you. With that said, you are advised to wear modestly wherever you go; flowy knee-length skirts or shorts and t-shirts are good to go. Plus, flowy clothes are comfortable when you are traveling and especially after a huge delicious meal!
4. Place of worships etiquette
Turkey is recognized for its incredibly exquisite mosques like The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Rustem Pasha, and more. As a traveler, you have to know that accessing these mosques comes with some custom rules.
One of these customs is taking your shoes off before entering. It is considered totally disrespectful if you enter a mosque without taking your footwear. Also, if you are a female solo traveler, you want to make sure you have a scarf with you. Without a scarf, you won’t be able to explore religious spots.
5. Safety concerns
As a solo traveler, safety is your biggest concern. Therefore, be conscious of your surroundings at all times and always have your passport on you. Ensure you know your embassy location in case of an emergency, avoid protests, and stay updated with the latest security and news by text or email.
Also, you are likely to encounter scammers along your trip. To avoid paying more money than necessary, don’t get into cabs without a logo and don’t just pay the initial price of a product; learn how to haggle. This is because sellers will always try to charge you a higher fee for their items.
Pickpockets are also a problem, especially in crowded areas of the big cities. Therefore, make sure to keep all your valuable belongings in a safe place to avoid losing them.
6. Have your hotel’s address when roaming
Getting lost and finding your way around foreign cities is the ideal definition of fun for some people. If you are one of these people, having your hotel’s address is extremely important because you may completely lose your bearings. If that happens, you are sure to find your back to the hotel using the address.
Remember to take tips, maps, and important phone numbers from your hotel’s reception staff.
7. Best time to travel
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to travel to Turkey, then summer, and last winter. During the spring season, the days are long, and the weather is milder. Neither too hot nor too cold. Bear in mind; this is the highest tourist season in big Turkish cities, so you should know things are more expensive than other times.
Fall is also considered a high season, but the days are shorter, and it can be quite rainy in late October. However, if you are looking for a non-touristy season, then winter is an excellent choice. Hotels, resorts, and other entertaining means are less expensive. With snowy landscapes, you can enjoy Turkey from another perspective.
8. Must-visit places
Besides the big cities like Istanbul and Antalya, there are plenty of other destinations worth visiting. For instance, your experience is not complete if you don’t pay a visit to Cappadocia.
This enchanting region should be on top of your list; from visiting Goreme and its Open-Air Museum to a hot air balloon ride to the underground cities and long-standing valleys, you have plenty of things to explore.
9. Learn some Turkish
Although Kurmanji, Arabic, and Zazaki are among other languages spoken by some minorities, learning some Turkish phrases can help some situations. You can also find people who speak English in big cities, besides other languages depending on the number of visitors.
Hence, knowing some Turkish words and expressions can bring your whole experience to a new level.
Tip: some useful apps can help you interpret or translate your language offline. They can be helpful in this aspect. You can also carry a phrasebook that will come in handy when the Turkish becomes a little bit too difficult.
10. Avoid political talk
Turkish people are very nationalist, and if they are unhappy with your opinions and thoughts, it can put you in unfavorable situations. Be tactful, use lines like “I have another opinion on this matter, but that’s an interesting point you make there.” or agree to disagree.
11. Avoid exchanging currency at the airports
The unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL or TRY). For currency exchange, we recommend avoiding airport services as they do not offer the best rates. However, you may want to exchange a small amount, just until you get yourself into the city. Once in the city, you can get the best rates in tourist locations like Sultanahmet, around the Grand Bazaar, and more.
Usually, there is no charging commission. Hotels are also worth the try. You can also use an ATM to withdraw money. There might be a slight difference in the rates, but usually, it’s the same thing. You may want to keep in mind that some ATMs display two procedures when withdrawing money; ” with conversion or without conversion.”
If you proceed “with conversion,” then a foreign bank will do the conversion at a lower rate, which is not really the best option. However, on the other hand, the” without conversion” option allows your bank to do the conversion.
Book Your Solo Trip to Turkey
While our expertise is all about customized travel for couples, families, and friends’ groups, we will be more than happy to make some friendly suggestions and arrange some or the complete portion of your solo trip where you might need assistance.