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Solo Female Travel in Turkey — Is Turkey Safe?

Originally source of the media http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AdventurousKate/~3/WrGl5T61HHc/

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Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Turkey? With the right preparation and research, absolutely. While I’ve done a lot of solo female travel in Turkey, I’m not an expert — that’s my friend Katie Nadworny, who has been living in Istanbul since 2013 and has traveled Turkey more extensively than anyone I’ve ever met.

I love Turkey. The jagged landscapes, the steam-filled hamams, the warm hospitality, the blue Mediterranean, the endless tulip-shaped cups of tea. I wish more people realized this! Turkey is a destination that gets a lot of bad publicity, particularly for women on their own — but if you have at least a little bit of travel experience, Turkey is a great destination for solo female travelers.

Take it away, Katie!

Why Travel to Turkey Solo?

Before I moved to Turkey in the beginning of 2013, I knew it would be a place I would always return to visit. I traveled to Istanbul three times as a tourist (in 2008, 2009, and 2011) and was so completely intoxicated with this wild, massive city that figured it would be one of those places I could come back to again and again.

I was wrong. Instead, I moved here. And I’m still completely enamored with the city on the Strait and this glorious country.

When I moved to Istanbul, I started traveling extensively around Turkey– and once I started, I never wanted to stop. Even after seven (seven!!) years living in Turkey, there are so many places that I still want to go to, and so many I would like to return to.

From the hiking trails that skirt the Mediterranean coast to the lush mountains of the Northeast shrouded in thick fog to the cultural wonders of the Southeast to the vineyards that are driving distance from Istanbul to the splendid beaches of the Turquoise Coast, Turkey has an abundance of places to visit.

Even after all this time, Turkey still takes my breath away.

Table of Contents

Why Travel to Turkey Solo?Is Turkey Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?Turkey Tours for Solo TravelersIs Turkey Good for Experienced Solo Female Travelers?Is Turkey Safe?Let’s Talk About Refugees in TurkeyWhere to Go in TurkeyBest Things to Do in Turkey as a Solo TravelerHow To Visit a Hamam in TurkeyBest Time to Visit TurkeyVisiting Turkey during RamadanHow to Get Around Turkey SoloHow to Get to TurkeyHow to Get Around Turkey by AirHow to Get Around Turkey by BusHow to Get Around Turkey by TrainRenting a Car in TurkeyEating Alone in TurkeyHow to Meet People in TurkeyStreet Harassment in TurkeyTurkey Travel and Safety TipsWhat to Pack for TurkeyTravel Insurance for TurkeyTurkey is waiting for you!About the Author

This is a Solo Female Destination Guide.

Want more? We have guides to Lebanon, the Balkans, South Africa, and more!

Katie standing on a rooftop in Istanbul underneath a blue sky.Traveling to Turkey solo for the first time? Start in Istanbul!

Is Turkey Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?

Turkey is terrific for first-time solo travelers who already have travel experience but haven’t traveled by themselves before. There is a pervasive culture of hospitality here, and locals are almost always eager to help visitors experience their country.

The main complication in Turkey is that, once you leave the heavily touristed parts of Istanbul (like Sultanahmet), fewer people speak English. Which doesn’t mean people won’t try very hard to help you get around! Anyone you ask will be happy to give you directions, even if they don’t know where you are actually going.

Turkey is quite safe and I find that pickpocketing and stealing are much less common here than you would expect, both in Istanbul for a city of its size and in throughout the country.

Here’s a story that illustrates this: I went on vacation with my cousin to a beach in the south of Turkey. After spending most of the morning by the sea, we went to get lunch at a nearby restaurant.

We ordered and chit-chatted when suddenly my cousin realized she was no longer wearing her watch — her high-tech, quite expensive watch. She freaked out, jumped up from the table and went back down to the beach, hoping maybe she had dropped it, fearing it was stolen.

A few minutes later, she returned with her watch.

“What happened? Where was it?” I asked.

“I went down to the beach in a panic,” she said, “and these two Turkish girls saw me looking around, and came up to me and asked if I was looking for a watch, they had found one on the beach.”

That’s Turkey.

Turkey Tours for Solo Travelers

If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to travel completely solo, another option is joining a group tour! G Adventures is a company Kate recommends. Their tours are very solo-friendly, they keep their groups small, they’re sustainability-minded, and they have several tour options in Turkey.

Here are some of them:

Absolute Turkey (15 days from Istanbul) — This comprehensive tour takes in all the best-known sights in Turkey, including Istanbul, Cappadocia, and spots up and down the Mediterranean coast.The Best of Turkey (8 days from Istanbul) — This weeklong tour includes Istanbul, several stops along the Mediterranean coast, and Pamukkale.Turkey: Coastlines and Kebabs (15 days from Istanbul) — This low-budget tour geared toward 18-to-30-somethings includes Istanbul, Cappadocia, lots of stops on the Mediterranean coast, and one memorable night at sea.Turkey Multisport (10 days, Istanbul to Cappadocia) — This active adventure tour goes from Istanbul to the Mediterranean Coast to Cappadocia and includes hiking, biking, and kayaking excursions.See all their Turkey tours here.

Katie standing on a hiking trail near the teal water of the Mediterranean om the Lycian Way.The Lycian Way is a great hike for adventurous female travelers!

Is Turkey Good for Experienced Solo Female Travelers?

Yes! If you are an experienced traveler, get out of Istanbul and go on an adventure!

If you feel comfortable hiking alone, take advantage of the waymarked Lycian Way along the southern coast; if you feel comfortable driving alone, head out on a road trip through the country’s varied landscape — perhaps a trip along the Black Sea Coast.

Go explore the complicated Southeast of the country to learn about the ancient and modern history of Diyarbakir or Şanlıurfa or Gaziantep. There is so much to do here, and you will not be bored.

Kate overlooking Turkey's desert, mountainous landscape.Turkey is a lot safer than the media would have you believe.

Is Turkey Safe?

“Is Turkey safe?” is something I am asked over and over and over again. Sometimes, I understand why; other times, the question seems so removed from real life here that I get frustrated.

Geographically, Turkey is sort of in the middle of everything, with Russian submarines slipping through the Bosphorus Strait, war continuing to roil the bordering Syria to the southeast, and refugees transiting on their way to Europe.

Turkey touches the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East; it’s one of the reasons there is such a rich cultural and culinary history here, and why Turkey always seems to come up in the news.

The hangover from the Very Bad Year of 2016 lingers when people think of traveling to Turkey. That was the year we had terror attacks from ISIS and others in Istanbul and throughout the country, with attacks on the since-shuttered Ataturk Airport and a nightclub and Sultanahmet Square.

That was also the year of the failed coup. I was living here then, experiencing what (in retrospect) was clearly a slow-building anxiety attack, and the coup still is the scariest thing I’ve ever lived through. AND YET.

Since 2016, the country has been quiet and safe, with no major terror attacks and no coups. Even in the thick of the Very Bad Days, life in Istanbul seemed to hum along. My parents even came to visit that year — six weeks after the coup! — and we had a splendid time together. It feels like everyone here let out a tightly-held breath sometime about 2017, and we’ve all been more at ease since. Life went back to normal.

As I always said then, until 2016, only one of the two cities I’ve lived in has had a terror attack, and that was Boston. The Boston Marathon bombing happened just after I left in 2013, years before terror came to Istanbul. (Note from Kate: I was actually at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. I wrote about that scary day here.)

We live in an age of terror, unfortunately, and I don’t believe that Turkey is any less safe than anywhere else in the world.

The fact that Turkey is in the middle of everything is actually one of the reasons it’s so wonderful. I meet people from all over the world here — from Iran and Nigeria and Iraq and France and Australia and Egypt and Israel and Mexico and Syria and Kyrgyzstan and beyond.

In an age where the news stokes such intense fear of “the other” (especially refugees and migrants), and when the US is shamefully closing its doors to so many people all over the world, Turkey is in many ways the perfect antidote — there’s nothing like meeting real, wonderful people to make you realize that all that fearmongering is shortsighted and idiotic. 

I often walk around at night in Istanbul listening to music in my headphones, which is something I would certainly never do in the US, and pickpocketing is infrequent for a city of this size. Often, I see people leave their laptops or phones on tables at cafes while they wander off…and no one takes their devices.

That’s Turkey. There is a sense of neighborliness here that I never really experienced in the US. If your perception of Turkey has only come from the news, I really encourage you to come here. The country is so much more than what they are telling you. 

READ MORE:

Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women

Two women and a child sitting on the rocky barrier to the Bosphorus, facing away.You should understand Turkey’s refugee situation before you visit.

Let’s Talk About Refugees in Turkey

I mentioned above that refugees transiting through Turkey is one of the reasons the country is often in the news. I think it’s worth touching upon the refugee issue and some of the facts (and misconceptions) around it.

Turkey hosts around 3.7 million refugees, the most in the world. (The country that hosts the second-most, Pakistan, doesn’t even come close: they host 1.4 million, less than half of the number in Turkey.)

The most common country of origin of refugees in Turkey is of course Syria, but there are many refugees from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, various African countries, and more. Most are trying to reach a better life in Europe, but anti-refugee sentiment has kept the majority in Turkey.

Through a fluke of history (and international refugee law), Turkey does not officially recognize most of its refugees AS refugees. After World War II, Turkey became a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which defines refugees as “persons who have become refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe.”

While many countries have since done away with the outdated geographical limitation of this definition, Turkey has not.

Syrians and other refugees in Turkey, therefore, are under “temporary protection,” with the understanding that they will eventually settle in another country. This assumption breaks down, though, when refugees are not able to leave. Some are officially registered with UNHCR as refugees, but resettlement is slow (to the point of often feeling impossible), because many countries (including the USA) have restricted the number of asylum seekers they will let in.

Because of all this, the majority of refugees in Turkey (98%, according to Relief Web) live in local communities, not in refugee camps. 

I think it’s easy to read the news about the refugee crisis and forget that this is a story about real people. The US barely lets any refugees in at all (a black mark of shame upon our whole generation), and Europe is restricting the flow and the integration of refugees as much as it can.

People are still dying in the sea or slowly wasting away in the wheels of bureaucracy or waiting, trapped, on the Greek Islands. But migrants are real people who deserve to live real lives.

The very few who have the option have become Turkish citizens, and others live normal lives in this country as much as they can. They open businesses and rent apartments and fall in love and ride the ferries. Migration is a fact of life, and Turkey is one of the places in the world where that can’t be hidden away. 

This is a topic that I feel particularly passionate about, obviously. So if all of that felt like too many numbers and too much information to take in, I encourage you to read this essay I wrote about travel and migration, and a friend of mine.

Katie in a patterned skirt, white top, and floppy hat smiling in front of the dark green Mediterranean near Kas.Looking for a GREAT beach town in Turkey? Consider beautiful, lesser-known Kaş.

Where to Go in Turkey

There are so many fascinating places to go in Turkey. Here’s an overview of my favorite places in the country:

Istanbul. The city of all cities, Istanbul stretches from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and contains layers and layers of fallen empires. It’s the cultural center of Turkey, with a vibrant art scene, trendy cafes, rollicking bars, ancient ruins, stunning Ottoman mosques, and relentless energy. There’s no place quite like it.

Cappadocia. Perhaps one of the most iconic landscapes in Turkey is the fairy chimney rock formations in the Cappadocia region. People come for the spectacular sight of hot air balloons hovering at sunrise, but I recommend hiking through the region’s wild valleys to truly experience this place.

Pamukkale. Pamukkale means “cotton castle,” and the name makes sense when you see Pamukkale’s rippling white travertine pools. Walk up through the warm turquoise water to reach the ancient city of Hierapolis, a stunning site where the Pamukkale crowds thin out and you can have some quiet.

Kaş. Fethiye and Antalya are closer to airports and therefore get swarmed with tourists, but midway between the two is the Mediterranean city of Kaş. This is where you can go scuba diving in clear turquoise water by day, read a book in the sunshine on a quiet bay in the afternoon, and feast on meze all summer evening. It combines Mediterranean bliss with all the comforts of a city. 

Antakya. Geographically hemmed in by the Mediterranean and Syria, Antakya might look shady on a map but don’t be fooled: this city is the culinary peak of Turkey.  It’s safe, charming, and has a splendid archaeological museum that you can visit when you need to take a break from eating everything.

(Fun fact, after I visited Antakya, I started ordering kilos of homemade tahini from a guy in the city, because I’ve never tasted better tahini in my life. He sends it to Istanbul in a giant reused plastic tub!)

The Lycian Way. If you enjoy trekking, or if you’d like to go trekking and never have before, the Lycian Way is a stunning and easy option. The 30-day trail in Turkey’s southwest is waymarked and for most of the way, you can reach a bed and breakfast every evening. Plus the trail skirts past wild views of the Mediterranean coast, ancient Lycian ruins (including those at Patara and Olympos), and quiet fields lined with olive trees.

Ephesus. The iconic Library of Celsus is here, along with an amphitheatre and the comprehensive Ephesus Museum. Take time to explore the charming nearby town of Selçuk as well as the old Greek village of Şirince, where the locals make their own fruit wine.

The Kaçkars. The Kaçkar Mountains in Turkey’s northeast feel completely different from the rest of the country: they’re lush and green, with white goats wandering through foggy mountain plateaus. This is a great place to go trekking, roadtripping, or just eating: lots of gooey cheese, thick honey, cornmeal, and butter, the better to stay hearty and energized in the mountains.

Ani. Right outside of the city of Kars, perched on the edge of the Armenian border, is the ancient ruined city of Ani. The decrepit buildings seem to rise directly out of the landscape, eerie and quiet at the edge of the Anatolian plain. 

Hot air balloons flying over the jagged landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey.Taking a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is a must for solo female travelers in Turkey.

Best Things to Do in Turkey as a Solo Traveler

Take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Get a view of the wild landscape from above at sunrise. Flights leave early in the morning and only go up in good weather, so I recommend making a reservation for your first morning in case you need to reschedule. 

Go hiking along the coast or in the mountains. There are many trails in Turkey, including the Lycian Way and the St. Paul’s Trail, and you can hire a guide to take you through the Kaçkar Mountains.

Visit the Hagia Sophia. The church-turned-mosque-turned-museum in Istanbul dates back to the 6th century and has stunning Byzantine-era mosaics.

Ride a ferry from one continent to another in Istanbul. The city spans both Europe and Asia, and a ferry ride between the two takes only 20 minutes.

Eat the local cuisine. Turkish food is incredible, and incredibly varied. Eat as much as you can.

Spend a long morning having kahvaltı, or Turkish breakfast. Turkish breakfast involves many small dishes of honey and kaymak (clotted cream) and jams and cheeses and olives and cucumbers and eggs and yogurt and pastries and more, all washed down with endless cups of tea.

Learn how to scuba dive in the Mediterranean among ancient ruins. Kaş and the area around it is particularly good for this, with an underwater world full of ancient cities and shipwrecks. If you’re new to diving, there are beginner lessons available.

Visit Ottoman mosques, Byzantine cisterns, and waterside palaces in Istanbul. The city was the capital of empires, and it shows. Some of my favorites places to visit are Suleymaniye Mosque, Theodosius Cistern, and Topkapı Palace.

Smoke scented waterpipes and sip tea at a nargile cafe. Hookah, waterpipe, nargile, whatever you call it; it’s quite common here and there are cafes that are lovely tea gardens to sit and smoke in. I don’t smoke nargile so much these days (I run and swim and dance and therefore like to breathe), but I still enjoy sitting with friends, surrounded by fragrant smoke.

Try authentic Syrian food in Istanbul or Gaziantep. With millions of Syrians living in Turkey, there are now MANY Syrian restaurants, and Syrian food is DIVINE. Istanbul is full of great places (especially in Aksaray), and Gaziantep has the unofficial nickname “little Aleppo” because so many people hailing from that Syrian city (only 75 miles away) have relocated there, and brought their cuisine along with them.

Visit Istanbul’s Princes Islands for the day. Istanbul has nine islands, four of which are easy to visit. Cars are not allowed on the islands, so take a ferry over and enjoy some rare nature and quiet.

Explore ancient ruins from many civilizations all over the country. Into early Christianity? Go to Ephesus and the Celsus library. Curious about the Lycians? Stop by Patara or Olympos. Fascinated about ancient Georgian kingdoms? Venture northeast to spot some stunning crumbling monasteries. There is a wealth here.

Hang out on a perfect beach. Turquoise water, sandy beaches, blooming magenta bougainvillea…this can describe so many beaches along the Aegean and Mediterranean Turkish coasts. 

Kate sits on a patterned sofa while drinking a cup of tea, wrapped in towels with a mischievous smile on her face after finishing the Turkish hamam.Kate’s first visit to a Turkish hamam was certainly memorable!

How To Visit a Hamam in Turkey

Hamams, or Turkish baths, are popular here among both locals and visitors, and this is an experience I highly recommend to solo female travelers. A friend and I are currently in the middle of an informal project to visit as many different hamams in as many different neighborhoods as possible — tough research, I know, but someone has to do it!

If you want to go to a hamam on your visit to Turkey, I recommend choosing one of the higher-end hamams because they will be better equipped to deal with foreigners who don’t speak Turkish, and they are very nice.

A favorite of mine is Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamamı, which is centrally located in a historical building in Karakoy. There are usually different entrances for women and men, and they are clearly marked. (The word for woman in Turkish is “bayan.”)

What should you wear to a Turkish hamam? Most women wear bikinis (at least bikini bottoms), though you can go without if you prefer. Hamams generally provide you with a towel. Usually you spend some time sweating out on a hot marble slab, and then eventually you are washed and scrubbed by a woman from the hamam. (She will ask you to take off your top at this point if you haven’t already.)

The washing and scrubbing is intense, and the perfect way to remove the dirt and grime of life that has probably made its way into your skin.

Afterwards, you’ll be provided with a dry towel or robe, and can sit around to drink tea or juice or ayran (a salty yogurt drink).

READ MORE:

Adventurous Kate Gets Naked in Istanbul

Katie balancing on a rocky jetty in the dark green Mediterranean.Consider visiting Turkey in shoulder season for pleasant weather.

Best Time to Visit Turkey

Turkey is a big country and the weather can vary wildly between regions. Istanbul is generally best around April-May and September-October, when the temperature is perfect.

The entire month of April is the Tulip Festival in Istanbul, when every green space is flooded with the flower — it’s a particularly lovely time to visit.

Summers in Istanbul can be sticky and hot and there aren’t many places to swim. If you’re visiting Turkey in the summer, head on down to the coasts, where the swimming season lasts through October. Summer can be a wonderful time to hike in the mountains, too.

In the winter, Istanbul still has a lot going on and the coasts have mild, comfortable weather — too cold for swimming, but perfect for day hikes and city wanders. You might see snow in Cappadocia and the mountains.

In terms of crowds, summer is the busiest season in Turkey, both in Istanbul and on the coasts. The most crowded time is during the bayram, or holidays, when Turks have vacation and often travel to the beach. Pay attention to the period just after Ramadan (Şeker Bayram) and the holiday of Kurban Bayram. 

Visiting Turkey during Ramadan

I have traveled in Turkey extensively during Ramadan, and your experience will really depend on where you are and what you are doing. In Istanbul, life continues on fairly normally, and in my very liberal neighborhood you can barely tell it is Ramadan — people still fill up the sidewalk seating at bars, drinking late-afternoon beers.

I’ve traveled to the beaches during Ramadan as well as to the more conservative Southeast region, and never had problems finding a meal.

The most difficult places to travel during Ramadan, for me, were the towns and villages around Lake İznik, just south of Istanbul. I went on a bicycle trip here with a friend, and it was almost impossible to find an open restaurant before sundown (and the local old men were not super pleased to see me flying into the center of town in my tank top and shorts). 

Turkey is a secular republic, so eating and drinking in public during Ramadan is not illegal and most touristed areas will have options for people who are not fasting. I would recommend reading the area and paying attention to what people around you are doing, and practice patience with taxi drivers or shopkeepers who might be a bit grumpier than usual.

I’ve written about visiting Turkey during Ramadan here.

(Note from Kate: I’ve traveled in Istanbul during Ramadan and found it to be a wonderful, festive experience. Enjoy the huge, cheap iftar meal specials and head to the Blue Mosque for post-sundown picnics!)

Katie bundled up in a coat and standing on a rocky path in Ani, Turkey.Turkey is easy to navigate, especially with its great bus system.

How to Get Around Turkey Solo

It’s easy to get around Turkey as a solo female traveler. There are flights, good roads, some trains, and a comprehensive bus system that covers the whole country in depth.

How to Get to Turkey

Most travelers arrive in Turkey by air. Most flights arrive in Istanbul, but keep in mind that there are cheap flights from all over Europe to Turkey’s coastal hubs like Dalaman and Antalya.

To find the cheapest flights to Turkey, I recommend using Skyscanner. You can set it for flights to anywhere in Turkey rather than Istanbul if you want to keep your options open!

There is one daily international train to Istanbul arriving from Sofia, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania.

Buses to destinations in Turkey arrive from all over the surrounding countries.

Some travelers arrive in Turkey by boat — there are frequent ferries from Greek islands to Turkish islands and the mainland, and ferries cross the Black Sea from Ukraine and Russia.

Keep in mind that the Turkey-Armenia border is closed and the Turkey-Syria border shouldn’t be crossed by independent travelers at this time. Crossing from Turkey into northern Iraq is Iraqi Kurdistan, which has a different visa process to other parts of Iraq.

How to Get Around Turkey by Air

The easiest way to get around Turkey if you are traveling long distances and based in Istanbul is to fly. Istanbul has two airports and frequent, inexpensive domestic flights all over the country.

Most domestic flights will originate in Istanbul or Ankara. Turkish Airlines usually gives you small sandwiches on domestic flights, while the budget airlines like Pegasus do not. 

I recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest domestic flights in Turkey.

How to Get Around Turkey by Bus

Buses between cities in Turkey are frequent and much nicer than their American equivalent. Bus rides in Turkey include free cups of tea and Nescafe, snacks, frequent rest stops, and occasionally lunch stops as well (depending on how far you are traveling).

If you show up at the local otogar (bus station), you can easily figure out which bus companies are leaving at a time that works for you. Buses usually have assigned seating and women will generally be seated next to women, men next to men. This is assuming everyone actually follows their assigned seat, of course.

(Note from Kate: I was incredibly relieved when a bus driver in Turkey took me to sit next to an older woman on my overnight bus from Gorëme to Fethiye. It felt like people were looking out for me.)

For shorter distances, there are dolmuş (big shared taxi vans) and minibuses that drive between frequently-traveled destinations.

How to Get Around Turkey by Train

Turkey has a train system that runs throughout the country, though not as extensively as its bus system.

Booking trains in Turkey can be a challenge — while you can book them online at the Turkish State Railways website, it will be much easier to book them from a travel agency office once you arrive in Turkey.

Try to book trains a day or two in advance; if it’s during holiday times, book as early as possible.

Renting a Car in Turkey

If you’d like to see Turkey at your own pace, it is easy to rent a car and the roads in most of the country are good for a road trip.

If you’re looking for an affordable car rental in Turkey, I recommend using RentalCars.com.

Katie sitting down to a meal underneath mosquito netting, smiling and drinking a cup of tea.Eating your way through Turkey is an adventure.

Eating Alone in Turkey

If you’re in Istanbul or another major city in Turkey, no one will think it’s strange that you’re eating alone — many of us living in the city do it all the time. Istanbul is bursting with restaurants and cafes and you can always find someone sitting alone, reading or working on a laptop or writing in a notebook as they eat. 

Outside of cities, you’re more likely to get attention simply by being a foreigner who doesn’t speak Turkish, not because you are eating alone.

A popular kind of restaurant to get homemade food quickly is a lokanta, sort of a cafeteria-style set-up that was designed to serve workers in need of quick and hearty lunches. The food is fresh and, because you can see what’s available in front of you, you don’t need to understand a menu. You can simply point at what you like.

My favorite simple dish at most lokanatas is nohut yemeği (chickpeas cooked in oil and tomato paste) with pilav. 

If you go to a meyhane (fish restaurant), you’ll often be presented with a large tray of meze (small dishes) to choose from, which can also be useful if you don’t speak any Turkish.

Some popular choices are patlıcan salatası (smoky eggplant puree), giritli ezme (a cheese spread with walnuts and herbs), haydari (thick yogurt with garlic and herbs), acılı ezme (a spicy mash of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and sometimes pomegranate molasses), and hardal soslu levrek (sea bass in a mustard and peppercorn sauce). 

It’s also easy to eat on-the-go here — Turkey has an abundance of street food.

There’s always döner (shaved meat cooked on a vertical spit), but I prefer balık ekmek (grilled fish sandwiches) and kumpir, which are baked potatoes stuffed to the gills with cheese and butter and all sorts of meat and vegetables, from corn to olives to beets to sausage to pickles — you get to choose what goes in the potato. It’s the most maximalist potato you will ever consume.

Kate and five other people smiling for the camera in the basket of a hot air balloon.You’ll make friends in Turkey when you’re squished together in a hot air balloon basket!

How to Meet People in Turkey

If you’re looking to meet people in Turkey while traveling solo, you’re in luck. It’s easy to connect with travelers while doing organized activities, and locals are friendly, inquisitive, and love a good time.

Here are some of the best ways to meet people in Turkey:

Check out Yabangee. Yabangee is an English-language site that’s primarily aimed at foreigners living in Turkey, and they arrange events regularly, from talks to trivia nights to dance parties. I recommend checking out their events page for the dates of your visit.

Stay in social hostels and guesthouses. Read through the reviews of hostels and guesthouses (and keep in mind that many Turkey hostels have private rooms!) and spend time in the common areas. (Note from Kate: I made a lot of friends at Agora Guesthouse in Istanbul!)

Check out local meetups via Meetup.com. Whether you’re into travel, running, movies, board games, or just want to meet a group of nice people, there’s a Meetup for that. 

Couchsurfing. The Couchsurfing Turkey community isn’t just for free accommodation, it’s also for socializing. The local Couchsurfers often put on events and meetups in a variety of destinations.

Join local tours and events. Turkey is all about activities! Doing a food tour or going on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is a great way to meet other people. Once the day is over, ask someone if they feel like getting a drink or dinner.

Put out feelers on social media. You never know — often a friend of yours will have a cousin or friend who is in Turkey at the same time as you, or knows someone who is living there as an expat long-term.

Tinder. If you’re looking to date or hook up in Turkey, it’s as easy as swiping right.

READ MORE:

How to Meet People While Traveling Solo

Men walking down a busy street in Istanbul.Street harassment can be rough in Istanbul’s more touristy neighborhoods.

Street Harassment in Turkey

The street harassment in Turkey varies wildly, and is mostly concentrated in the most touristed areas, like Sultanahmet or the Grand Bazaar. Shopkeepers will shout at you to come into their shops, will try to guess where you’re from, will do anything to get a reaction and get you to engage with them.

In other areas, you might get to occasional comment or whistle (lots of “Hey lady hey lady!”), but there is an antidote to all of this: you must practice the fine art of ignoring people.

As an American, I was conditioned to smile and react and if someone asked me to come into their shop or have a tea, to answer “No, thank you.” Wrong — don’t even bother doing this in Turkey. Just completely ignore anyone you do not want to talk to.

Any reaction is an encouragement for someone to keep talking to you. It takes practice, but it’s the most surefire way to not be bothered: active, aggressive ignoring.

People won’t touch you in Turkey, generally. All the harassment that takes place is usually verbal. And it is usually from merchants trying to sell you things. Get out of the touristy parts of destinations and it happens much less frequently.

In places that get very few tourists, I think you’re less likely to face any harassment. In a small conservative Black Sea town called İspir, my friend and I were incredibly conspicuous as the only two very-blonde foreigners on the streets.

I think everyone was so befuddled at our presence that they defaulted to hospitality, and offered us tea.

We drank a lot of tea on that trip.

The giant triangle-shaped rocks of Cappadocia, with a tiny Katie next to one for scale.Cappadocia is more than balloon rides — be sure to hike there too!

Turkey Travel and Safety Tips

Get data on your phone or get a Turkish SIM card. This allows you to follow the route you are traveling in a taxi on Google Maps, use Google Translate, and generally be more equipped to navigate the country. You can buy a SIM card at a kiosk at the airport. I use Turkcell; Vodafone and Turk Telekom are also options.

Keep an eye on the meter when taking a taxi. The meter is always required to be on, so if it isn’t, you can insist. If the cab driver won’t turn the meter on, get a different cab. Generally, it helps to talk to the driver about where you are going before you get in a taxi, and don’t be afraid to get out of taxis with rude drivers. For every jerk, there are plenty of taxis that are perfectly fine.

There is a common scam in Istanbul where a taxi driver will insist you paid him with a smaller bill than you did, and short change you. (So for example, if you pay with 100 TL, he’ll say you paid with a 20 TL note.) I have never experienced this myself, but just be aware.

If you are coming into a city by bus at night, try to know ahead of time how you are getting from the bus station to your hotel or wherever you are going. Some of the bus stations in Istanbul (especially the main one in Istanbul) can be a little shady at night.

Haggling is the way to purchase at markets in Turkey, including the Grand Bazaar. Never accept the first price — people are expecting you to lowball them. Have fun with it, but don’t get so caught up in it that you’re arguing for five minutes over the value of 25 cents with someone who makes far less money than you.

Ignore men you don’t want to talk to, don’t try to be polite. This is different from traveling in the United States. They will only stop if you ignore them completely.

It doesn’t hurt to occasionally invent a fake boyfriend if the situation calls for it. (Note from Kate: Sometimes I fake a call to a boyfriend or someone else before I get in a taxi, making a clear show of reading the driver’s license plate number out loud.)

Is the water safe to drink in Turkey? In some areas. The water is safe to drink in some cities in Turkey, but it’s not safe to drink in all of the country, particularly rural areas. While most travelers rely on bottled water, it creates a major waste problem.

For this reason, I recommend you bring a LifeStraw, a bottle that purifies water as you drink it through its straw. Alternatively, you can bring a reusable bottle and invest in a SteriPen water purifier (much better and faster than tablets).

See a travel doctor before your trip and be prepared on what to do if you get sick. If you get food poisoning or a similar illness, your doctor may advise you to take antibiotics that are easily available at pharmacies throughout Turkey. As I am not a medical professional, you should ask your doctor what you should do.

Keep your valuables locked up in your accommodation and only take with you what you need that day. Kate does this with my Pacsafe Travelsafe and she considers it the most important thing she packs. Keep an extra debit card and at least $100 hidden in obscure parts of your luggage.

Get an extra debit card. You should have two debit cards to two different bank accounts. If you only have one, I recommend you get a debit card from Transferwise. Keep a few hundred dollars in your account, hide the card deep in your luggage, and use it if your primary debit card is stolen.

Never leave your bags anywhere unattended. Take your belongings with you.

If you carry a purse, hold it close to you. I recommend a crossbody purse, made out of a tough material like leather or fake leather, that zips shut. I recommend many purses in this post. Never let it hang behind you — always keep it in a place where you can see it, and keep your hand on it if you’re in a crowd.

If you carry a wallet without a purse, don’t keep it in your back pocket. This is obvious to thieves. They will grab it and run.

Be careful about your drinking. Drink less than you ordinarily would at home — two drinks is a good limit. Only take drinks from bartenders, never take a drink from a stranger, and always keep it with you and keep an eye on it. Be especially cautious in party spots like Bodrum and Marmaris, but drink spiking can happen anywhere.

Do not take drugs, even if you’re a party drug enthusiast. Drugs in Turkey can be cut with poisonous substances that can often lead to your death, and if you’re caught by the police, you’ll be in life-changing trouble.

Spend extra money on staying safe. If it costs you money to take a taxi rather than walk, or to stay in a guesthouse in a well-lit, central area, do it. It’s worth the peace of mind. Don’t pinch pennies on your safety.

Bring a digital Turkey guidebook. I always bring PDFs of Lonely Planet guidebooks — they have critical information, like details on transportation and the locations of medical centers, and a digital version adds no weight to your bag. You can buy the book or individual chapters, and I keep my PDFs in the Books app on my iPhone. I recommend Lonely Planet Turkey.

Katie jumping for joy in front of a Roman amphitheater.You don’t need to dress conservatively in many places in Turkey.

What to Pack for Turkey

What you should wear in Turkey varies depending on where you are. I go through most of the summer in crop tops and shorts (because it’s SO humid here in Istanbul), which is not a problem in my liberal neighborhood of Kadikoy and in most areas of the city that I spend my time day-to-day.

If I was going to a more conservative neighborhood, though, I might wear a knee-length skirt and a shirt that tucks in (though honestly, I mostly stick with the crop tops anyway). 

In coastal areas, where people are spending time on the beach, wear what you would wear at any beach town. Make sure you bring your bathing suit! A bikini can be useful if you are planning on going to a hamam, as well.

In more conservative parts of the country, it will probably be more comfortable for you to dress slightly more conservatively — I am a big fan of maxi dresses in general. I traveled around Southeast Turkey in the thick of the summer (it got up to 108 F/42 C) and I mainly wore long skirts with t-shirts and maxi dresses. 

Shorts have become MUCH more popular in Istanbul in the last seven years, even short-shorts. I still find that low-cut shirts bring on the most uncomfortable attention, so you should gauge your comfort level with that. Again, much of it depends on where you are, and what the locals around you are wearing. Turks are quite stylish.

It helps to have a scarf to cover your head and shoulders if you are going to visit a mosque in Turkey, though they are almost always provided by the mosque as well. I have a light cotton scarf that fits in my bag, and I carry that if I’m going to visit a mosque.

The dress code at Turkish mosques requires that women cover their heads, shoulders, and knees, though how much leg below the knee you are allowed to show depends on the mosque. (Sometimes I’ve been able to get in wearing a midi skirt, other times they’ve given me a skirt to cover up.)

I also recommend shoes that are easy to slip on and off for your own convenience, as you will have to remove them to visit the mosque.

Kate recommends shoes that come with quality arch support from The Walking Company, ideally the Abeo brand: black flats, black sandals, black boots, flip-flops with arch support, depending on the time of year. Also bring a pair of trail runners, which work equally well for hiking and working out.

A Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf is ideal for travel — they all have a hidden pocket for your passport or cash, and come in different patterns and weights perfect for Turkey at any time of year. I love these scarves (I even designed my own!).

A portable safe like the Pacsafe Travelsafe is vital for protecting your belongings. Kate considers it the most important thing she packs.

Finally, the water isn’t safe to drink in most parts of Turkey, so bring a LifeStraw or SteriPen water purifier and  reusable bottle to keep from buying plastic bottles and creating more waste.

The Blue Mosque at dusk in Istanbul.Don’t scrimp on the insurance here.

Travel Insurance for Turkey

One last note — it’s absolutely vital to have travel insurance before traveling to Turkey. If you get sick or injured on your trip, if you get robbed, or even if you have to be flown home for more care, travel insurance will protect you from financial ruin. Adventurous Kate uses and recommends World Nomads for trips to Turkey.

Travel insurance will help you in your hour of need if you get your wallet stolen from your hostel in Istanbul; they will help you get medical care if you come down with appendicitis or break an ankle while climbing the ruins at Ephesus; and if your flights get canceled due to storms, you can get accommodation and new flights paid for.

As always, be sure to read your policy carefully and make sure it’s a fit for you. See what World Nomads covers here.

Katie dancing in the bright white travertine pools of Pamukkale, holding a rainbow-striped umbrella.Pamukkale was made for Instagram!

Turkey is waiting for you!

Turkey is one of those places that just grabs you — I’ve met so many people who came to visit and kept coming back until they finally moved here. I am one of those people!

I remember on my first trip, I was so completely enamored with the smell of spices and the drone of the call to prayer and the caw of circling seagulls and the colors of the bazaars and breezes on the Bosphorus and the intense kindness of everyone I met. It was almost too much to make sense of it all.

I went home to the US and would dream about Turkey, those steamy summer nights surrounded by scented nargile smoke and clinking tulip cups of tea. I started plotting my return to Istanbul immediately. It’s an intoxicating place.

So come to Turkey, see what it’s really like to travel as a solo woman here. Swim in the Mediterranean or stroll the backstreets of ancient Byzantium or trek through Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys. Turkey has a way of wiggling into your heart. There’s nowhere quite like it.

Katie wearing a red dress and smiling on an Istanbul street with bright shops and hanging umbrellas.

About the Author

Katie Nadworny is an Istanbul-based writer, journalist, and photographer who specializes in the intersection of culture and politics in Turkey, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Independent, BBC Travel, Cornucopia Magazine, and PRI, among other places. She updated the Istanbul chapter of the most recent Fodor’s Turkey guide.

Her blog Katrinka Abroad combines personal essays with analog photography. You can find her on Instagram at @katrinkasasha and @katrinkafilm and on Twitter @katrinkasasha.

Read More About Turkey:

A Day in Kadikoy, Istanbul’s Hippest Neighborhood

Adventurous Kate Gets Naked in Istanbul

Freezing in a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia

Fethiye, Turkey: Come Here for Chilled Out Bliss

See all the Solo Female Destination Guides here.

Have you traveled solo in Turkey? Share away!

The post Solo Female Travel in Turkey — Is Turkey Safe? appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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Why Travel to the Colorful City of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua?

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I absolutely love traveling to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua! I planned on coming for three days; I ended up staying for eight. I haven’t felt such a strong pull to a place in a long time. At times it almost felt like a time warp — traveling back to a time when I was a 26-year-old party girl, only now with modern technology like AirPods and Tinder.

Soon I discovered the best things to do in San Juan Del Sur, from sipping cocktails on a catamaran to hiking up to the Jesus Statue, and of course, enjoying the Sunday Funday pool crawl. This city has it going on!

But if there’s anything that struck me about San Juan immediately, it was that it was just so colorful. Nicaragua stunned me with its bright colors, but San Juan brought it to a new level, both naturally and creatively.

Should you travel to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua? Well, I’ll let you read the post. I warn you, though — soon you’ll be as bewitched by San Juan del Sur as I am.

This post was last updated in February 2020.

San Juan del Sur BridgeWelcome to San Juan del Sur! We’re glad you’re here.

San Juan del Sur JesusOne of the largest Jesus statues in the world is in San Juan del Sur.

San Juan del SurI love the color in this San Juan del Sur photo.

San Juan del SurMurals dot the town.

San Juan del SurA popular spot on the backpacking trail.

Jesus in San Juan del SurJesus shows up all the time in San Juan del Sur!

San Juan del Sur Catamaran Ride Hidden BeachViews from a catamaran on a private beach

San Juan del Sur SunsetSunset on the beach at San Juan del Sur

Why Travel to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua?

Nicaragua has long been cited as “the next Costa Rica” or “how Costa Rica used to be 20 years ago.” How true is it? Well, in some ways.

Nicaragua is a country filled with incredibly colorful cities, gorgeous beaches, unusual islands, fun activities, and wonderful people. And it doesn’t have the attention or infrastructure of Costa Rica — thus things are a lot cheaper, it tends to draw more adventurous travelers, and Nicaragua is more of a badge of honor.

Today, people primarily come to San Juan del Sur for two things: the beach scene and the party scene.

San Juan del Sur is a fun, beachside party town surrounded by excellent surfing beaches and mountains that carve out an unforgettable coastal view in Nicaragua.

You can spend your days horseback riding or taking a catamaran ride. You can spend your nights doing trivia, joining a pub crawl, or enjoying cocktails overlooking the sea.

If you’re looking for a happening, low-key beach town that attracts a lot more twenty- and thirty-somethings than families with kids, San Juan is the place for you!

San Juan del SurNicaragua doesn’t have a great rep, but San Juan del Sur is safer than you think.

Is San Juan del Sur safe?

Most people researching San Juan Del Sur want to know if the city is safe. The knee-jerk reaction to telling someone you’re visiting Nicaragua is, “It’s not safe!” And it didn’t help that Nicaragua faced civil unrest starting in April 2018, effectively grinding tourism to a near-halt.

As far as civil unrest goes, San Juan del Sur was never a target for violence, though often there would be blockades on the road there.

Today — I write this in February 2020 — Nicaragua has been becoming more peaceful and welcoming more and more tourism. I personally would not hesitate to visit now, though I would continue researching through my trip.

I encourage you to do research closer to your trip and find out the current situation. Avoid all political demonstrations — that’s good advice for anywhere — and know that the Nicaraguan flag has often been used as a protest symbol, so it would be wise to avoid displaying flags.

I recommend reading up on the UK’s travel advisory for Nicaragua — they tend to be more practical and less alarmist than US travel warnings.

Other than that, Nicaragua is similar to other Central American countries — as long as you do your research, stick to the tourist trail, and watch your belongings, you probably won’t have any safety issues.

The main concern for safety in San Juan Del Sur is petty theft. There are signs all over town that say “DO NOT GO ON BEACH AT NIGHT — YOU WILL GET ROB.” Absolutely avoid the beach at night. As a solo woman, I’m comfortable walking in the main part of the town at night, the part surrounded by restaurants and bars and guesthouses, but I wouldn’t walk alone in the outskirts of San Juan del Sur at night.

When choosing your hotel, I recommend choosing a place in the center of San Juan del Sur so you won’t have to walk into isolated areas at night. You can see my accommodation recommendations for all budgets further down.

Street harassment is insidious in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, I think Nicaragua has the worst street harassment out of the 80+ countries I’ve visited. Expect men to catcall you constantly. This is part of Nicaraguan culture. If you ignore them, though, it rarely escalates. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else.

For what it’s worth, I though the street harassment in San Juan del Sur wasn’t as bad as Granada or Léon.

Finally, San Juan del Sur is a party destination, and some people use this as an excuse to get insanely drunk. When you’re drunk, you’re at your most vulnerable. I recommend drinking far less than you would at home, or sticking to just two drinks over the course of an evening (and watching them like a hawk).

Is San Juan del Sur safe to visit? As long as you take increased precautions — do your research, keep an eye on your belongings, watch your drinking, lock up your valuables — chances are you’ll wonder what you were even worried about.

I think San Juan del Sur, and Nicaragua as a whole, are better suited for experienced travelers rather than newbies. If you haven’t traveled in the developing world yet, get your feet wet in Costa Rica or Belize first.

READ MORE:

Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women

Two women on the front of a white boat overlooking beaches in Nicaragua.A catamaran ride is one of the best things to do in San Juan del Sur!

Best Things to Do in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

There is no shortage on cool things to do in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. However, there’s one important thing to know — while many people come to San Juan del Sur to surf, you can’t actually surf right in town. The beach here is calm; you couldn’t surf here if you tried.

If you’re looking to surf in San Juan del Sur, you’ll need to travel to one of the nearby surf beaches, like Playa Hermosa. Read on for more information on how to do that.

Jesus statue on a mountain in San Juan Del Sur, a palm frond in the foreground.Jesus overlooks San Juan del Sur from above.

Hike to the Jesus statue

One of the world’s largest Jesus statues sits atop a hill overlooking San Juan del Sur. Hiking to the top is a perfect athletic activity for the day! And views at the top are spectacular — it’s one of my favorite places to pose for Instagram photos.

Hiking to the top requires walking up a very steep but paved road; if you have a car, you could drive most of the way. It’s a wonderful place to view golden hour and the sunset, but you’ll want to return to town before it gets too dark.

A beach near San Juan Del Sur, with still green water.Some of the best beaches are north of the city.

Visit the Surfing Beaches

San Juan’s beach isn’t that great — but the beaches outside town are incredible. Two of the most famous ones are Playa Maderas and Playa Hermosa.

Both Maderas and Hermosa are fantastic places to surf, whether you’re experienced or a first-timer. Lessons are available on both beaches; you can rent boards there or through Casa Oro Eco Hostel. Shuttle transportation, which can accommodate surfboards, is available through Casa Oro.

If you’re a hardcore surfer, you may prefer staying in Playa Maderas or Playa Hermosa. But if you like to experience a variety of things, I’d recommend staying in San Juan del Sur instead and just taking the shuttles when you’re in a surfing mood.

Oh, and that photo above is fro my catamaran ride — you definitely can’t surf there!

San Juan Del Sur beach at sunsetTaking a yoga class is a great way to decompress while traveling Central America.

Take a Yoga Class

It seems like every Central American beach town has an abundance of yoga classes, and San Juan del Sur is no exception. I took part in yoga at Zen Yoga, attached to the popular Buddha’s Garden restaurant. I found my all-levels class to be nice and relaxed, easy enough for first-timers but a decent workout for more hardcore yogis.

Before I got into fitness, I was self-conscious about being unable to hit certain poses in yoga — but I never felt awkward about it at Zen. The instructor corrected my posture discreetly and I immediately felt better.

In a party-heavy destination, it’s important to take time to center yourself. That’s why I think a yoga class is one of the best things to do in San Juan del Sur — it reduces stress and makes you feel peaceful.

The best part? Getting a fresh juice afterward and chatting with new friends from class.

Bartenders pouring drinks in the Loose Moose, San Juan Del SurA very Canadian bar crawl begins at the Loose Moose!

San Juan del Sur Pub Crawl

Have you ever been to a Canadian bar before? Bugaboo Creek doesn’t count.

With so many Canadians in San Juan del Sur (seriously, I met more people from Saskatchewan in Nicaragua than I’ve met ever), it’s only natural that a Canadian bar would pop up: The Loose Moose, complete with poutine on the menu, hockey on TV, antlers and maple leaves everywhere, and handheld masks of Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber (not sure why; the latter aren’t Canadian!).

When I wrote about traveling solo to a party destination, a pub crawl is the perfect way to get to know new people. The Loose Moose puts on regular pub crawls that visit several spots in town. Other bars have trivia nights, poker nights, and more.

Even if there isn’t a current pub crawl taking place, this is a good spot to have a few drinks and get to know some friendly Canadians.

Five women on horseback on a beach, facing the sea.Horseback riding on the beach — via Alex in Wanderland

Go Horseback Riding on the Beach

One of the most special things to do in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, is horseback riding on the beach. Rancho Chilamate offers a variety of horseback riding tours,

My friend Alex in Wanderland did this tour while we were in San Juan Del Sur and she came back gushing about how much fun she had. Alex has done a lot of horseback riding around the world — if she raves about something, you know it’s exceptional. I wish I had joined her.

The cowgirls who work on the ranch hail from around the world. They are fantastic, friendly, down-to-earth ladies and getting to know them was one of the highlights of my time in San Juan.

Kate and Alex sitting on the net of a Catamaran with a crew member in the background, in front of bright blue ocean.I loved this catamaran ride!

Take a Catamaran Ride

Of all the things in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, the catamaran ride was my favorite. All around town are signs for catamaran rides. I planned to save it as a reward after completing a big work goal, but soon some girls invited us to join them that day!

It includes the boat ride, all you can drink (the mai tais are nice!), snacks (ceviche made from fish caught during the cruise, as well as chips, guacamole, and salsa), a stop at a beautiful private beach for swimming and beach hanging (complete with a bag of beers that they throw at you, and the cruise ends during sunset.

Also, hilariously, there was a bathroom on board, but I’m pretty sure none of us used it.

If you’re traveling on your own and looking to meet new friends, this is yet another way to do so. I can’t imagine not making friends on this booze cruise! Ask your accommodation or look around town for signs; they’ll have the latest information on pricing.

Partiers clustered around a pool, surrounded by palm trees, at Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur, NicaraguaSunday Funday gets pretty wild!

Sunday Funday

Every week, San Juan has a legendary party — Sunday Funday! It’s basically a pool party pub crawl that starts at about noon and goes until dawn, if you dare. Today it’s the most infamous party on the Central American backpacker trail.

This was the most visceral reminder of Vang Vieng — people in San Juan and throughout Nicaragua walk around in Sunday Funday tank tops, just like the In The Tubing tank tops in Laos.

You go to four different bars, including the Naked Tiger, which is outside town and perched on a hill overlooking the region. People get covered in body paint; drinking games are rampant; guys cross-dressing in skirts and bras jump into the pools fully clothed.

Was it fun? It was INSANELY fun. But I, the resident 30-year-old traveler among the twenty-somethings, was happily home in bed at 10:30 PM.

Buddha's Garden Rasta Pasta -- zucchini pasta with vegan ragsHave some Rasta Pasta — zucchini noodles with vegan nut-based rags!

Eat Healthy Food

Many people who come to Central America eat nothing but comida tipico (some kind of protein, gallo pinto (rice and beans), plantains, maybe a bit of salad if you’re lucky) everywhere they go, especially if they’re on a tight budget. Frankly, it gets monotonous pretty quickly.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, is a great place to indulge in a bit of international cuisine and especially healthy cuisine.

Here are some of my favorite spots, all in the town center:

Buddha’s Garden: Raw vegan food! I recommend the rasta pasta (raw zucchini pasta with walnut bolognese) and any of their juices, especially the Drop the Beet.Taco Stop: Great tacos on the main strip. Don’t confuse it with the inferior Taco Spot on the same street.El Gato Negro: Delicious organic food, nice smoothies, and a creative cafe atmosphere. Open until mid-afternoon only.Cerveceria: An actual brewery in San Juan del Sur! Good tacos and salads.Bar Republik: Nice tacos (see a pattern here?) and nightly events at the bar.Casa Oro: This hostel offers a free cooked breakfast every day, which is pretty rare. Breakfast tacos were the best!

Casa OroThe chilled out communal lounge at Casa Oro Eco Hostel.

Where to Stay in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur has accommodation for every budget! You get a lot for your money here, especially compared to beach towns in nearby Costa Rica. That might mean taking advantage of the cheapness and staying for longer (like I did!), or that might mean splashing out on a luxury rental you couldn’t afford elsewhere.

The most important consideration in where to stay in San Juan del Sur is the location of your accommodation. This could make or break your trip.

If you’re looking to spend most of your time in the town, and want to be walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops, you should stay right in town.

But if you’re looking for peace and quiet, incredible views, and want to lounge by the pool, you may prefer staying in a rental further out of town, especially if you have a car.

For that reason, I’m going to recommend properties both in downtown San Juan del Sur and outside the main town. They are two totally different travel experiences.

If you’re looking for a luxury place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay in town, I recommend staying at Hotel Victoriano. This hotel, built to look like a Victorian mansion, is right on the beach with views of the cliffs, has a pool overlooking the sea, and has easy access to all of San Juan del Sur.

If you’re looking for a luxury place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay a bit outside town, I recommend staying at LACASA. This three-bedroom house is perhaps the most Instagrammable property in the region, a gorgeous modern building right in front of a pool and its own stretch of beach north of the city.

Another option is to find a luxury home in San Juan del Sur on Airbnb. They have lots of CRAZY luxury rentals — see them all here.

If you’re looking for a mid-range place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay in town, I recommend staying at Barrio Cafe Hotel. This hotel is right in the heart of downtown with cute, clean and comfortable rooms. They’re well-known for their restaurant and bar.

If you’re looking for a mid-range place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay a bit outside town, I recommend staying at El Jardín. This hotel has a gorgeous pool and views of the mountains leading down to the ocean. Rooms are simple and colorful, and it even has its own private beach.

If you’re looking for a budget place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay in town, I recommend staying at Casa Oro Eco Hostel. I loved staying here — there are private rooms as well as dorms, a gorgeous lounge area with hammocks, shuttles to the surf beaches, an excellent breakfast, and it’s right in the heart of town.

If you’re looking for a budget place to stay in San Juan del Sur and want to stay in town, I recommend staying at Puk’s Palace. This hostel has private rooms as well as dorms, and you can enjoy a swimming pool, views over the mountains to the ocean, communal “family dinners,” and free shuttles to downtown San Juan del Sur.

Best Places to Stay in San Juan del Sur:

Luxury: Hotel Victoriano if you want to stay in town, LACASA if you want to stay outside town.Mid-range: Barrio Cafe Hotel if you want to stay in town, El Jardín if you want to stay outside town.Budget: Casa Oro Eco Hostel if you want to stay in town, Puk’s Palace if you want to stay outside town.Check out more San Juan del Sur hotels here and check out San Juan del Sur Airbnbs here.

A bus and a white wooden hotel in San Juan Del Sur.

How to Get to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

If you look on the map, San Juan del Sur is very close to the Costa Rica border — so close that you might be tempted to fly into Liberia Airport in northwest Costa Rica.

I urge you not to do this. The border crossing from Costa Rica to Nicaragua is a huge hassle — it takes a long time, you have to walk a long way, and there’s little shade. It’s an ordeal and you’re better off avoiding it.

Instead, fly into Managua in Nicaragua. I recommend using Skyscanner to find the best prices on flights to Managua.

From there, you have several different ways to get to San Juan del Sur, a 2.5-hour driving journey.

Rent a Car in Nicaragua

Renting a car can be a good option in Nicaragua, but I think it’s essential if you’re staying in a property far from town. Being able to drive to the grocery store for provisions will make a huge difference in your travels!

If you want to save money on a car rental in Nicaragua, I recommend using RentalCars.com. They compare all the sites so you can find the best rates.

Book a private transfer from Managua Airport to San Juan del Sur

Booking a private transfer for a 2.5-hour journey might seem like a baller move — but in Nicaragua, it can be quite affordable. It’s the easiest way to get to San Juan del Sur — someone is waiting at the airport with your name on a sign, and you leave as soon as you’re ready.

Book a private transfer from Managua Airport to San Juan del Sur here.

You can also just ask a taxi driver at Managua Airport to drive you there. It’s a long journey, but most drivers will do it. (I took a taxi from Managua Airport to Léon, a similar distance from Managua.) You can expect to pay about $100.

Join a group shuttle from Managua Airport to San Juan del Sur

Group shuttles are my preferred way to travel in Central America — they are essentially small group transportation between two major tourism spots, saving you the time and hassle of public transportation.

A group shuttle from Managua Airport to San Juan del Sur will cost you roughly half the price of a private transfer. One company that does this is IskraTravel. Be sure to plan ahead, as most shuttle times are set in advance.

Take public transportation from Managua Airport to San Juan del Sur

I don’t recommend this. This is not a logical or direct route in Nicaragua and you’ll have to change buses multiple times while lugging your bags. Nicaragua is a cheap country; splurge on a group shuttle at least.

Best Time to Visit San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Most travelers to San Juan del Sur visit during North America’s winter months — from December through March. This is when you have some of the nicest weather in San Juan del Sur. Temperatures tend to range from a low of 76 F (24 C) to a high of 88 F (31 C).

High season in San Juan del Sur can be very crowded, and this is when accommodation is at its most expensive. If you’re planning a trip to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, between December and March, I recommend booking accommodation a few months in advance if you can.

The hottest months of the year in San Juan del Sur are April and May, where temperatures hit highs of around 91 F (33 C). If you don’t do well in heat, I wouldn’t recommend visiting during the spring months.

While the summer months, June through September, tend to be rainy in much of Central America, San Juan del Sur is a fairly dry region. It tends to rain the most during this time of year, but rainstorms tend to be infrequent and short-lived.

Hurricane season in Nicaragua runs from June through November, and you could get hit with hurricanes anytime during that period, but most are from August through November.

I’m a big fan of traveling to Nicaragua during high season — December to March. Even though this is the most crowded and expensive time of year, Nicaragua never gets THAT crowded or THAT expensive. And the weather is absolutely perfect. But overall, you can have a great visit to San Juan del Sur year-round.

Palm trees in front of the Caribbean Sea in Little Corn IslandGo to Little Corn Island to experience Nicaragua’s Caribbean side!

Where Else to Go in Nicaragua

Should you limit your time to just San Juan del Sur? Not if you can help it! I adore Nicaragua — it’s my favorite country in Central America — and so many places in Nicaragua are stunning. I spent a full month there, but with a week you can see a cool place or two.

Here are some of my favorite spots in Nicaragua:

Ometepe. This mysterious volcano-topped island in a lake is a short journey from San Juan del Sur (too far to day trip, though. Learn more about what makes Ometepe wonderful here.

Granada. This picture-perfect colonial town is close to Managua, making it a good stop on the way to the airport. If you go, I loved spending a day at nearby Laguna de Apoyo.

Léon. Get a taste of the north with this wild, revolutionary city — not everyone’s taste, but definitely one for more experienced travelers and city lovers. Read more about Léon here.

Little Corn Island. This island in the Caribbean is one of my favorite islands on the planet — it’s tiny, low-key, friendly, and has the greatest vibe. Read more about Little Corn Island here.

View over San Juan del Sur

Travel Insurance for San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

One last note — it’s absolutely vital to have travel insurance before traveling to Nicaragua. If you get sick or injured on your trip, if you get robbed, or even if you have to be flown home for more care, travel insurance will protect you from financial ruin. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Nicaragua.

Travel insurance will help you in your hour of need if you have an accident while surfing; they will help you get medical care if you come down with appendicitis or trip on a patch of uneven sidewalk and break an ankle; and if your flights get canceled due to hurricanes, you can get accommodation and new flights paid for.

HOWEVER — double-check and make sure that they will actually cover Nicaragua. Some policies stopped covering Nicaragua when the civil unrest began in 2018. This is something that changes constantly so you’ll need to check before you buy.

As always, be sure to read your policy carefully and make sure it’s a fit for you. See what World Nomads covers here.

The beach at San Juan Del Sur

San Juan del Sur is waiting for you!

I absolutely loved my time in San Juan del Sur — and I hope it’s just as memorable a destination for you.

Go to San Juan Del Sur. Enjoy the tacos. Enjoy the hike to Jesus. Enjoy the HELL out of Sunday Funday. Go have the time of your life in Nicaragua — then come back and tell me all about it!

READ NEXT:

Solo Female Travel in Central America: Is it Safe?

What’s the most colorful city you’ve ever visited?

The post Why Travel to the Colorful City of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua? appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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The Solo Woman’s Guide to House Sitting While Traveling

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Have you ever considered house sitting as a solo female traveler? If you enjoy traveling slowly, taking care of animals, and getting to know a destination like a local, house sitting might be a great choice for you. You can get free accommodation in exchange for taking care of homes and pets around the world.

But what’s house sitting like when you’re a woman traveling on her own? Is it still a good idea? Is it safe?

Look around and most of the posts you see about house sitting are written from the point of view of couples, for other couples. Perhaps because of this, some homeowners insist on taking house sitters who are a couple.

Does that mean that it’s not worth it for a solo female traveler to house sit? Not at all. Those couples-only listings are the minority. Ignore the listings asking for couples and you can find tons of wonderful, interesting house sits that will welcome a solo woman with warmth and gratitude!

I personally haven’t done any house sitting on my travels, so I called in an expert – April of The Unending Journey. April has done a lot of house sitting on her own, and she’s picked up a few furry friends along the way.

To be completely honest, after reading her post, now I want to house sit! April makes it sound awesome.

This branded content post is brought to you by TrustedHousesitters. Almost every house sitter I know uses TrustedHousesitters to find house sits around the world. April is one of them – TrustedHousesitters is the only platform she uses!

Table of Contents

House Sitting as a WomanHouse Sitting While Traveling  Pet Sitting While Traveling A Typical Day for a House Sitter How to Become a House Sitter TrustedHousesitters Why Pay to House Sit? Is it Hard for A Solo Woman to Become a House Sitter? Is House Sitting Safe? Do You Get Lonely While House Sitting Alone? How to Get Good House Sitting Jobs House Sitting Tips My Favorite House Sitting Experiences Is House Sitting for You? About the Author 

A white cottage with a porch and dark wooden front door in Key WestThis could be your temporary home while house-sitting!

House Sitting as a Woman

When my six months of backpacking around the world came to a close, I was heartbroken – I didn’t want it to end. Travel had seeped into the core of my being, but with dwindling funds, I was unsure how to continue. And that’s when a friend suggested I look into house sitting.

House sitting? Sure, I had heard of it, but it wasn’t something I had given much thought. Might as well take a look.

I started researching house sitting sites and soon I found TrustedHousesitters. I joined online and before I knew it, I had scored my first gig – free accommodation on the trendy Lower East Side of Manhattan in exchange for taking care of two adorable cats. 

Since joining, I’ve unlocked the door to a whole new way of traveling. I’m hooked on house sitting!

The New York skyline as seen from Hell's Kitchen, the buildings brown and silver underneath a blue and pink sunset.House sitting can make an extended stay in Manhattan affordable!

House Sitting While Traveling  

First off, what is house sitting and what does it involve?

House sitting is taking care of someone else’s home in exchange for free accommodation. It involves spending each night at the house and maintaining its upkeep, which often includes watering plants, taking out the trash, doing dishes, and keeping the place tidy. In most cases, you’re also taking care of the owner’s pets – most often dogs or cats.

So what’s it like? After a long day of exploring my new destination, I walk through the door of my house sitting job. I’m home, with a nice comfortable chair to relax into. Maybe I’ll make a cup of tea. Or stretch out on the sofa while catching up on the news.

Later, I sink into a bed that’s only been used by one or two people, not hundreds or thousands like in a hotel. In the morning, I fix breakfast in the kitchen while eating at the dining room table. 

Isn’t that how you wish traveling was like? All the comforts of home while being somewhere else in the world? Well, that’s how it feels when house sitting while traveling! You get to feel at home while taking care of someone else’s home.

For the most part, the homeowners are also travelers. They are eager for travelers to stay at their home and get to know the area where they live. Some owners will even give preference to people who have not been to that destination before. 

Two long-haired cats, a gray one in front and a black one in black, sitting on a striped blanket.How would you like to pet sit while traveling?

Pet Sitting While Traveling 

Most house sits involve pet sitting. When pet sitting, you need to remember that this is an important job, and taking care of the homeowner’s beloved pets always takes first priority.

For that reason, days are not entirely at your disposal — you must plan your sightseeing around the pets and their routines. It’s not a vacation, even though you get to explore new destinations.

This may mean starting your day with an early walk for the dogs, or grabbing an early dinner so you can come back to give the cats their dinner.

While cats and dogs are the most common animals in house sits, sometimes you could get smaller animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, backyard chickens (and their eggs!), or if you’re in a rural environment, even sheep or horses!

If the pets are particularly low-maintenance, some pet owners may allow you to go away for the night within a short distance to explore more of the region. But you must always clarify this with the pet owners in advance. 

No matter how your travels go, you will walk away from house sitting with at least one friend. A four-legged one, but still a good friend! And it’s a wonderful feeling to have someone there to welcome you home at the end of the day.

Sometimes when traveling, I deeply miss being around animals. But pet sitting helps scratch that itch.

A small brown dog on a leash on the beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand.A typical day while house sitting starts with walking the dog.

A Typical Day for a House Sitter 

A typical day for a house sitter depends on the kind of house and type of pets you are looking after. 

When caring for cats, my mornings start with serving breakfast followed by playtime and scooping the litter. For dogs, my mornings generally start with a walk. 

During the day, I get to explore my destination, get work done, or just kick back and relax. Some pets have special needs requiring you to be home at midday for a walk, medicine, or feeding. 

Evenings are for more walks or meals with the pets, then cuddle time – my favorite part of the day!

Throughout the day, I take care of the house. Usually it’s nothing major. My day typically involves tidying up, bringing in mail, watering plants, taking out garbage.

If you have a longer house-sit, you might have more in-depth tasks, like moving a car each day due to street parking rules, or gardening and yard work. If you house sit in the winter, you may need to shovel, clear the walkways, or turn the pipes on to keep them from freezing. 

At some point in the day, I send a text or email to the homeowners. A photo plus a fun story of the day helps the pet owners feel more at ease while away — I sometimes send these via the TrustedHousesitters app. It also shows them that you’ve bonded with their pet.

As a former cat mom, I loved receiving photos and updates when I was away. Remember, their pets are not just pets — they’re family.

A black cat peeking out of the hole of a blue play cube.“You can become a house sitter in just 15 minutes?!”

How to Become a House Sitter 

To become a house sitter, first make sure you have some sort of experience taking care of other people’s pets and/or homes. It doesn’t have to be professional. If you’ve ever watched a house or pets for a friend or relative, that’s perfect! Use it.

If you don’t have experience, start asking around so you have an experience to reference when creating your profile.

Once you have experience, you can easily create your profile on TrustedHousesitters. Your profile consists of a photo, a blurb about yourself, why you want to house sit, and what your experience is. This is where you want to be personable. Let your personality shine through. Be genuine and honest. 

Then, as you are new on the site, send out requests to friends and family for either reviews on past house sits or a character testimonial. Finally, to raise the status of your profile, you need to complete two easy verification steps: first to verify contact information, next to verify your identity. 

Once your profile is completed, that’s it! You can immediately start applying for house sits anywhere in the world. You can become a house sitter in just 15 minutes!

A deep blue cottage perched on the edge of the bay in Trinity, NewfoundlandImagine house sitting in a seaside cottage like this.

TrustedHousesitters 

Why TrustedHousesitters? That’s easy. It’s the only house sitting platform I use to find house and pet sits. They have an extensive collection of house sits around the world, and I appreciate the verification steps they take.

I find that the community on TrustedHousesitters is so warm and supportive. The homeowners on TrustedHousesitters are so helpful to the people who take care of their pets. They understand that everyone who has joined is some form of traveler.

I’ve experienced some house sits where the owners will provide accommodation the night before and/or after a sit to help accommodate the next stage of travel. It really is a community, first and foremost. 

TrustedHousesitters was created with the idea to help pet lovers and travelers help each other. Care for pets in exchange for accommodation. Get to know a new part of the world while making furry friends. It’s a win-win!

Pet owners save the expense of boarding their pets or paying a sitter to come over daily. Instead, they have someone providing their pets with care and attention in the comfort of the pet’s home.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, TrustedHousesitters is the largest pet and house sitting platform out there. If you’re house sitting as a woman, it offers a secure and safe way for travelers to interact with pet owners without giving personal information. No personal details are given out until deep into discussions for a house sit.

Even better, if traveling is your passion, house sits are available in 130 countries! That’s a whole lot of traveling opportunities. Imagine the cultures you can immerse yourself into, and all those wonderfully cuddly creatures. And you get all of that for a yearly annual membership fee. 

Beautiful brownstones in Newark, New Jersey.Brownstones in Newark, New Jersey — another great house sit for April.

Why Pay to House Sit? 

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant about paying a fee to join a housesitting organization. But soon I realized that it made sense. TrustedHousesitters provides a platform for homeowners to safely vet prospective house sitters, and vice versa.

Not only have they verified that every member is who they say they are, but they also provide a safe and effective way for homeowners to communicate with house sitters. No personal information is shared at first, so both parties are protected.

The annual fee for TrustedHousesitters is $130. Though it may seem like a lot at first, consider what accommodation in a major tourist city would cost per night.

One of my house sits was for two weeks in Newark, New Jersey, a 20-minute train ride from midtown Manhattan. Where else could you find lodging for two weeks that close to New York for just $130? You can’t even find a hotel for $130 per NIGHT that close to New York!

The annual fee just paid for itself. Even if you only want to house sit occasionally, the annual plan fee is excellent value.

Do know that there may be added costs involved in some sits. On longer house sits (3+ weeks), some homeowners may ask you to contribute to the cost of utilities. This is generally stated up front in the listing, so there are no surprises mid-sit. It’s up to you to decide if you are okay with paying extra. If not, then don’t apply. Just know to keep an eye out for this.

A long-haired gray cat turning sideways and striking a post like a model.How gorgeous is this Lower East Side cat?

Is it Hard for A Solo Woman to Become a House Sitter? 

House sitting as a solo female traveler can have its drawbacks, because some homeowners are insistent on couples only, for whatever reason. However, I’ve never found any difficulty in securing house sits as a woman on her own. Sometimes I think it’s actually to my advantage.

My top tip? Look for homeowners who are solo women. Several of my house sits have been caring after pets of other single women. Since we have that in common, it’s easier for each of us to relate to each other and support each other. 

I don’t bother with the listings requesting couples only as there are so many other opportunities at any given time on TrustedHousesitters. New opportunities open up every day. In my experience, there is nothing to hold you back when you house sit as a solo woman traveler. 

A tabby cat staring intently from underneath a table.Pets may be shy at first, but they’ll get to know you.

Is House Sitting Safe? 

Some women looking to house sit solo wonder how safe it is to house sit alone. Is house sitting safe? I say yes, it’s just as safe as staying in your hometown!

When house sitting, you have a house – or apartment, or condo, or even a farm – all to yourself. If you’re a budget-conscious traveler, that’s a big difference from sharing accommodation with others at hostels. You don’t have to worry about locking up your luggage or loud roommates snoring all night.

Additionally, some house sits are located in gated communities or doorman buildings, providing you with an additional layer of safety. Plus, there’s an adorable pet to greet you at the end of the day!

That being said, it’s up to you to do your research on a destination before accepting a house sit. What part of the city do they live in? Is it convenient to public transport? Are there friends of the homeowner nearby who can help you out in case of emergency? You can do this research on your own, or just ask the homeowners during the interview process. 

In most cases, homeowners like to speak to you before they make a decision on who will house sit. Not only are they putting their home in your hands, but they are entrusting you with their beloved pets, who are members of their family. 

A phone call or video chat helps pet owners get a sense of your personality. Do they think that you’re responsible and that you would bond with their pets? The chats are often informal, less like an interview than you’d think. If you’re close by, sometimes they prefer an in-person meet and greet instead.

These conversations are just as beneficial for you. It’s a great way for you to get a feel for the home, the pets, the neighborhood, and an opportunity to ask the homeowners all the questions you have.

I find that the more questions you ask, the more homeowners appreciate you. It means you have thought things through and are serious about taking good care of their home and pets. 

A black cat lying on a white blanket, a bit of mischief in his eyes.How could you get lonely when you have this friend to keep you company?

Do You Get Lonely While House Sitting Alone? 

I have never once felt lonely when house sitting by myself. The pets are there, and they are the best company. Just as much as you are there to provide them companionship, they return the favor in spades. 

Cats are my personal preference for house sitting. Once you gain their trust, they are around you all the time. They either want playtime or just a lap to curl up on. At night, when they snuggle in bed, it’s the sweetest thing! That sure beats sitting in a hotel room by yourself. 

White brick houses in Savannah, Georgia, with a twisting oak tree in front.I’d jump at the chance to house sit in Savannah!

How to Get Good House Sitting Jobs 

Getting a good house sitting gig involves work, diligence, and sometimes a little bit of luck. That being said, how would you define a good house sitting gig for you personally? Is it the location, the type and number of pets, the duration of the sit, or all of the above? Everyone is different!

The main key to landing a good house-sitting job is to apply early! If you’re looking to house sit at a popular travel destination, you’ll need to apply to a house sit as soon as it posts. Ideally, you should apply the same day the posting goes live.

Applying to a potential house sit that already has more than 20 applicants is pretty much a waste of time. In my experience, I’ve found that most homeowners go with someone who was one of the first to apply.

One nice thing about TrustedHousesitters is that each listing states the number of applicants a sit has received. With that, you can check the site multiple times a day, wait for the daily email sharing new opportunities, or you can save yourself some of the work with TrustedHousesitters app.

I love using the TrustedHousesitters app. You can create saved searches based on location, duration, and type of pet, so when a listing comes up that meets your criteria, you’ll get notified right away. This increases your chances of securing that perfect house sit. 

But the easiest way to get a house sit is to be flexible with the location and duration of a house sit, especially if you want to travel full-time house sitting by yourself. Maybe you have your heart set on house sitting in Amsterdam, but there are charming cities all over the Netherlands with canals and stroopwafels.

Another easy way to book sittings is to look for house-sits in the off-season. Everyone wants to find a house sit on the beach in summer, but how about house sitting in Southeast Asia during the rainy season? Or Michigan in the winter?

Being flexible opens up your options and allows you to apply to more house sits. You never know what fun new place you’ll discover. It’s all part of the adventure!

A black cat sitting on the arm of a couch, his arms on each side.Be sure to send a cute photo of the pet every day!

House Sitting Tips 

To become a house sitter and rack up glowing reviews, there are some small things you should do for every house sit:

1.     Send a daily update of the pets to the homeowner, even if they say you don’t need to. Though it doesn’t need to be daily, it shows that you care about the pets and it makes the homeowner feel so much better about being away.

2.     Clean up. Not only after the pets, but the house, too. I always leave the house the way I found it. Yes, that means doing cleaning at the end of the house sit – but no one likes to come home to a messy home. And if the house is messy, how well did you take care of their pets?

3.     Don’t use up supplies. Though many homeowners say to make yourself at home and use whatever is available, I always replace what I use, whether it’s butter or toilet paper. I always purchase my own food to prepare. A homeowner’s kitchen is not my private pantry.  

4.     Before applying for a potential house sit, make sure you’ve looked into transportation options. Some house sits are in rural areas and public transport may not be available. You need to ensure that you can get there so you’re not wasting anyone’s time. If you mention how you would get to the house sit in your introduction message, it can help to give you preference over other candidates. 

5.     If you work remotely, don’t be afraid to ask what speed and type of internet is available in the house. When traveling, I know I’ve encountered some slow wifi connections in hotels that made doing my work nearly impossible. So far, I haven’t had that issue while house sitting, but it’s always something to keep in mind. 

Colorful Victorian homes in Providence, Rhode IslandApril’s favorite house sitting discovery: Providence, Rhode Island!

My Favorite House Sitting Experiences 

My first official house sit on TrustedHousesitters was on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, taking care of two of the sweetest cats. On day three of my two-week sit, I awoke to find one of the cats sitting on top of my head! What a laugh I had! 

It showed me that I was providing the cats with such a comfortable environment that they had no reason not to do their normal routine. It was like the boss saying, “Nice work!”

But one of my overall favorites took place in Providence, Rhode Island. Admittedly, I had never given much thought to Rhode Island. But the house sit was available with hardly any applicants, so I applied and I got it.

The apartment was a dream for me, located on the second floor of a house built in the early 1900s. Character oozed out of every corner. The entire neighborhood was that way. Quiet streets were lined with colorful houses built in the late 1800s. Walking around the neighborhood every day felt like traveling back in time.

The two cats were absolute sweethearts, though I did have to work to earn the trust of one of them. I was told she was very timid with strangers and that she may not come out at all during the entire stay. Imagine my delight when on the third morning, there she was, no longer hiding! 

This sit allowed me to explore Providence. I fell in love with the city – its history, its architectural gems, its quirky shops…and that’s what I love about house sitting. If you’re open to anywhere, who knows what gems you’ll find!

A woman in a blue dress walking a whippet dressed as a handmaid in a red cape and white bonnet at a Halloween Dog Parade.If you love dogs THIS much, house sitting might be for you!

Is House Sitting for You? 

Before applying to become a house sitter, ask yourself what type of traveler you are. Do you travel for the party scene? Do you prefer the social atmosphere of a hostel? Do you like to get away from responsibilities on your travels? If so, house sitting probably isn’t for you. 

But if you’re the type of traveler who enjoys getting to know daily life in a location, who likes to get away from the regular tourist areas, and who is open to letting the day be whatever it may, then house sitting could definitely be for you. 

Finally, if you’ve thought about traveling by yourself but have never given it a try, house sitting as a solo female traveler is a secure, fun way to start your solo travel adventures. When you have a pet or two to keep you company, you’ll never feel alone. 

Ready to house sit?

Get started with TrustedHousesitters here.

About the Author 

April is a solo traveler with her own travel blog, The Unending Journey. She started traveling at 19 and was instantly hooked. Another passion of hers is hiking, and you will often find her on the trails while exploring new places.

Using pet sitting as a way to travel, she now has half of the year planned with pet sits already agreed to including in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. She enjoys sharing her travels with the pets she looks after. 

Have you done house sitting as a woman? Share away!

The post The Solo Woman’s Guide to House Sitting While Traveling appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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