We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Safety for women traveling alone

Wisconsin
Level Contributor
15 posts
43 reviews
Save Topic
Safety for women traveling alone

I am planning a trip to Turkey in May (my first) and have become concerned this week, first by the suicide bombing at the US embassy and today by the discovery of the body of an American woman traveling solo. I have traveled throughout Europe on my own and have always felt safe but am beginning to think that it is unwise for me to travel alone in Turkey at this time. Advice?

Best of Istanbul: 1, 2, or 3-Day...
171 Reviews
from US$100.00*
Special Offer
Istanbul Day Tour of Sultanahmet...
1,229 Reviews
from US$72.25*
US$85.00
Special Offer
2-Day Cappadocia Tour with Optional...
52 Reviews
from US$250.75*
US$295.00
Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner...
96 Reviews
from US$100.20*
Kayakoy, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
9,447 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

İ was expecting this question to come since these recent events. A very sad incident indeed, and my thoughts do go out for her relatives and friends.

Of course we all hope the whole situation will be solved and that the culprit will be found. All İ have heard so far from the media is that this woman made contact for months before traveling with people over the internet and she was meeting them. There are crazy people on the web everywhere...

Whatever happened, this happens very rarely, İ do feel very safe in Turkey, and do consider İstanbul as any other large city in the world, use common sense, as sad as this is, it is an incident, it happens rarely, actually it is the first time İ have heard of something like this since İ live in Turkey and that is now coming to 12 years.

Istanbul
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
39,870 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Belladonnadellago, Istanbul is safe for solo ladies. You can make a forum search for "solo woman" and you will get lots of results. We have so many positive trip reports of solo woman who visited and enjoyed Istanbul. Just use your street smarts in Istanbul as you would in any large city. Just because there is lots of street crime in large cities in US, will never deter me visiting America which is a great destination.

As for the unfortunate incident about the American lady in Istanbul, there are reports in the Turkish press today that American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials believe that she had been recruited by drug trafficking organizations in US, as a courier for narcotics in Europe. If that is the case, then her visit had nothing to do with tourism and is not really a subject for discussion at these forums.

come and enjoy Istanbul,

enigma...

Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
17,579 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Yes,I think we are going to get a glut of these type of posts over the next few weeks.I am also very irritated that the posts concerning this young woman have been removed from the forum.Perhaps DE's don't like anything negative to appear about 'their'city I don't know but to pretend this or incidents like it don't happen is disrespectful to this poor woman and leads to visitors thinking they are coming to some fantasy land where everything is sugar and spice and are thus dangerously unprepared for what they may find.

Bad things do happen in Turkey so deal with people don't just delete posts that aren't all rosy!

OP you say you have travelled quite widely so you are no novice traveller and will have a good idea of the universal rules of travel safety for solo women travellers.The basic one being if you wouldn't do it at home don't do it in the place you are overseas.

Despite it's huge size Istanbul is a safe city for sensible savvy female travellers and this goes for Turkey as a whole too and the safety precautions you would take in other cities or countries are sufficient for here.I have never felt the need to employ greater care than I would in other places.Indeed along with VR,as a woman,I too feel safer here than I ever did in my native UK.

We still do not know the exact details of what happened to Sarai so it would be wrong to comment on this individual case beyond the fact that we know she did go to meet someone alone whom she did not personally know which goes against an important rule of personal safety.

The bombing of the embassy is a separate issue all together and there is not much you can do about these type of incidents other than to stay away from foreign governmental buildings.Again the purpose/reason behind this bombing is as yet unclear.

Look at this in perspective;each year some 20 million visitors come to Turkey and all but a very tiny percentage(less than 1%) have trouble free visits and trouble is mostly confined to petty theft.This too can be allieved by being careful of ones personal possessions.Those encountering violent crime count as less than 0.1%.

This holds true for Istanbul too.Almost 9 million people visit the city and again those who have any type of problem are only a miniscule number.

No one can say with 100% certainty you will not have any problems,but we can say that if you are sensible about your own personal safety and remember those universal rules of safe travel then you are highly likely to be like almost all visitors to Turkey and have a wonderful trouble free visit.

Kayakoy, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
9,447 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

İ know İ am a DE for İstanbul, and İ do realize you normally do feel safe in a city that is your own, but quoting from CBS news:

<<< Istanbul, the vast and crowded city is considered relatively safe compared to other major urban centers >>>

cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57567300/…

The news will bring more about the reasons of her death soon, now this is all under investigation.

İstanbul is a huge city with almost 14 million inhabitants, that is like a small country (my own for instance) crime is still small compared to other big cities, let's hope it will remain that way!

Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
17,579 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Amin to that! One excellent thing now,which many people were maybe previously unaware of,is the extent of security camera's in many area's of the city,even away from tourism districts.Also these MOBESE street security camera's are in addition to the great number of camera's owned by private companies for store security.Combined it means that an individual can be traced successfully for a wide area.

MOBESE were initially criticised by some civil liberty bods as being too 'big brother' yet they have successfully brought many assorted baddies to justice.

Ruhr Area, Germany
Level Contributor
15,691 posts
127 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Of course there might be a lot of rumour now concerning the fate of this poor American lady and we all should be very careful to form an opinion about her, before an official statement.

When I read the note that she had made contacts with people over the internet I remembered a strange incident. Before my last visit to Istanbul I got some PMs from any guys (2, if I remember correctly) who offered to help me with their assistance during my visit. Obviously they had watched the forums, I assume. I didn´t attache importance to it, because I thought they were just any tour guides.

But internet acquaintances are always somewhat difficult, we should always have a reasonable and safe plan for the first meeting and perhaps a "plan B" if there is something doubtful with the person.

Hopefully this sad incident will get cleared up very soon.

Istanbul
Level Contributor
2,534 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

I agree with patara. Perhaps the Turkish authorities are trying to paint a negative picture of this woman in order not to deter tourists. Just saying...

I'm a foreign woman and have travelled all over Turkey, sometimes alone, sometimes with others, and I maintain that this country is safe. As safe as any other in any case! Certainly no more dangerous than the UK.

Kadikale, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Turgutreis
Level Contributor
3,550 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

I just wanted to second what Sari said re the removal of the original thread re this unfortunate american woman. Also to add that perpetuating rumour and speculation is not helpful and disrespectful to the poor woman and her family.

Finally, as others have said, this kind of incident is rare, tho not unheard of, in Turkey and everyone I've spoken to is shocked and horrified by the event.

To the OP, take the advice of sari, VR, Patara and kachika who have personal experience.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,175 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Came across this article today from an expat female in Istanbul.. Some helpful tips when walking alone around the city.

www.todayszaman.com/mobile_detailn.action…

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Safety for women traveling alone

Hi Belladonna,

Istanbul is not immune to the types of crimes that occur in cities throughout the world, and to pretend otherwise is just absurd. There are robberies, rapes, assaults and sometimes murders...not only involving residents but occasionally tourists as well. That said, Istanbul is safer than most other cities because it has a much lower violent crime rate. My chances of being a victim of violent crime are much higher here at home than they are when I'm in Turkey.

Tourists in any major city need to be savvy and streetwise, and Istanbul is no different in that regard. Because Turks are so extraordinarily friendly and helpful, and because when we're on vacation it's easier to relax and forget the rules of common sense and the street, we can sometimes put ourselves in a dangerous situation. While traveling around Turkey, I've done some things that I would never, ever do back home in the US or other countries. Luckily for me there were no bad consequences, but it could have gone the other way - and If it had, it would have been because I acted stupidly, not because I was in Turkey.

As Sari said, the Embassy bombing is an entirely different issue...and one that you don't have control over like you do your personal safety.

Topics like this need to be discussed on the forum, not deleted, as they better prepare travelers for their visits. If I were you, I would not cancel my trip - but that's a choice only you can make. If you decide to go ahead with it, I hope you have a wonderful time. and if you're like many of us, you'll find yourself returning again and again.

Jo