Turkey’s stunning beauty and the great hospitality of Turkish people motivate millions of tourists to explore Turkey every year.
Beautiful landscapes, hitchhiking-friendly people, and great Turkish hospitality are the reasons why turkey is on the bucket list of so many hitchhikers.
Turkey has a very good reputation when it comes to hitchhiking. Turkish people are known for their great hospitality in the community of hitchhikers.
But things have changed in Turkey in the last four to five years. Recent political unrest and terrorist attacks in Turkey have raised doubts in the minds of tourists about their safety.
Especially, this is a sensitive issue for hitchhikers since hitchhikers mingle with the local people and spend most of their time on the road. So, the peace and stability of an area affect significantly the safety of the hitchhiker.
If you also have doubts in your mind about hitchhiking in turkey then this article is for you. In this article, we have given some important tips for the safe journey of hitchhikers considering the recent situations of Turkey.
Hitchhiking in Turkey
Table of Contents
How its like to Hitchhike in Turkey?
Hitchhiking in Turkey is quite easy. Hitchhikers rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes to get a ride in Turkey. Most of the time, the first car passing by you will give you a ride. Turkish people are very friendlier towards hitchhikers. It is very nice to see that in today’s world, where people from all over the world look at the hitchhikers with suspicion, the Turkish people treat them with respect. Turkey is famous for its great hospitality. People will often invite you for food and homestays, and they will always make you feel welcomed. The language barrier is the only problem for hitchhikers so learning basic Turkish words will help hitchhikers in communication with the Turkish drivers.
Hitchhiking in Turkey is safe for male hitchhikers but may be dangerous for female hitchhikers. The incidents of abuse and harassment with female hitchhikers are common in turkey.
Is Hitchhiking Safe in Turkey
Turkey is a safe country for male hitchhikers. Turkish drivers are very friendly towards hitchhikers and won’t let you wait for a long time to get a ride. On the other hand, hitchhiking is not safe for female hitchhikers in turkey. Many females hitchhikers (especially western girls) have faced harassment from male drivers in Turkey.
That’s why it is necessary for female hitchhikers to follow their intuition and must be cautious about male drivers while hitchhiking in turkey.
Also, there are such places in turkey where hitchhikers should be cautious. For example, Turkish areas near Iraqi and Syrian borders are going through unrest and these areas are always under the threat of terrorist attacks.
Turkey is going through political turmoil Since 2016. So, it is best to check the current political situation of the place where you are going to hitchhike.
Also Read: 11 Safety Tips for an Amazing Hitchhiking Experience
Is Turkey unsafe for Female Hitchhikers
Turkey is a breathtakingly beautiful country and without a doubt is one of the best countries in the world for hitchhiking. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Turkish people are quite famous for their great hospitality. But, when it comes to female hitchhikers things are a little difficult.
Turkey is not as safe for female hitchhikers as it is safe for male hitchhikers, especially for western girls. Many incidents of rape and harassment of female hitchhikers have been reported in Turkey. The rape and murder of female hitchhiker Pippa Bacca is a very famous example. Female hitchhikers should always be extra cautious about their surroundings while hitchhiking in Turkey.
I have talked to many female hitchhikers about their hitchhiking experience in Turkey. Surprisingly, most of them reported having experienced some sort of abuse or harassment.
So, why so many female hitchhikers have faced harassment in turkey?
The reason is that there is a widespread misconception in Turkish people about western girls. It is believed that western girls don’t mind having casual make-out with strangers. So, making eye contact or smiling can even send the wrong message to the male drivers.
I think, maybe Hollywood movies are the reason why Turkish people have such misunderstandings about western women.
The best way to avoid such a situation is to trust your intuition and be peaky about your ride. If you get negative vibes from any male driver then follow your intuition and don’t be shy to say no to a ride.
Another important thing that western female hitchhikers should take seriously is clothing.
If your clothes are too much influenced by westernized culture then there is a possibility that you may invite some unnecessary troubles while hitchhiking. So, it is best to dress in a conservative manner while hitchhiking in Turkey.
Is Hitchhiking Illegal in Turkey
Hitchhiking is not illegal in turkey. No one will disturb you or try to stop you while hitchhiking in turkey. There is a possibility that sometimes while hitchhiking on big highways, polish officers may question you. But after some questions, they will let you go, or sometimes they might even help you to get a ride.
Some things you should know before Hitchhiking in Turkey
Turkey is a hitchhiking paradise for the hitchhikers and most of the time you will get a ride in less than 10 minutes in turkey.
But most hitchhikers will face one common problem while hitchhiking turkey and that is the language barrier.
In turkey, 80% of people don’t speak English. So, before hitchhiking in turkey remember to learn some Turkish words that can help you while communicating with Turkish drivers.
Stay away from Sensitive issues
Turkish are nice talking people and they are world-famous for their hospitality. But, since 2016 turkey has been passing through political turmoil.
Right now, politics, religion, and war are sensitive issues in turkey. So, don’t start a discussion with locals on such topics that may put you in unnecessary trouble.
Some Tips for Female Hitchhikers
If a Turkish driver asks about you, always tell him either you are married or you have a boyfriend (to prevent flirting).
Don’t wear clothes that show too much skin. By wearing such clothes you may give the wrong idea about you to Turkish people that may put you in unnecessary trouble while hitchhiking.
Also, as I explained earlier many western female hitchhikers have faced obscene behavior by male drivers in turkey. So, be peaky about your ride. Even if you let go of one car you won’t have to wait for a longer time to get the next ride in Turkey.
Also Read: Hitchhiking in France: Guide to a Quick and Safe Hitchhiking Trip!
My Personal Experience
We hitchhiked turkey in 2016. In 2016, turkey was going through serious political turmoil. Despite warnings from many government agencies against traveling to Turkey, we decided to visit turkey.
When we visited turkey we saw a totally different turkey than the one we were seeing on news channels at that time. Turkey is a country with stunning beauty. Hitchhiking is very easy in turkey.
Unlike other countries, Turkish people were friendlier towards hitchhikers. I remember we hitchhiked 1200 km in the first two days of our visit. We hardly had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a ride while hitchhiking.
As I explained earlier language was the only problem for us while hitchhiking. Due to the language barrier, it was difficult for us to communicate with Turkish drivers.
Turkish people always made us feel welcomed and even after the language barrier we used to speak for hours with the help of the google translate app. I can’t even count how many times we were invited for food and homestays by Turkish people.
Overall, Turkey is one of the best countries for hitchhiking. We met a lot of interesting people, saw their great hospitality, and return home with beautiful memories.