Women Travelers: 2004
Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Europe? What are some of the challenges you've faced and how have you dealt with them? Are there places women should not travel alone? How do you stay safe?
Woman Alone in Italy
I am a 42-year old woman from a tiny rural town who just returned from a 3-week SOLO trip to Italy, including Sicily. I had no problems whatsoever. I pre-booked my rooms using the Rick Steves book and also pre-booked train seat reservations and used a First Class 6-day TrenItalia pass for use as I traveled between towns. I started in Venice (3 nights) then on to Florence (4 nights), Vernazza in the Cinque Terre (3 nights) and Sorrento (3 nights) then on to Siracusa in Sicily (3 nights) and ending in Rome (4 nights). This occurred during the first 3 weeks of November, so I did expreience 3 days total of rain, but it was not a problem for me. I speak a little bit of Italian and always gave it my best to learn and continue speaking it throughout my travels.
The train was easy to figure out and I would not buy reserved seats again but I recommend it for the first visit as it takes the worry of seating out of the mix when you're just learning to navigate the transportation system. Also, plan to make connections during the day if at all possible.
I had not one worry with pickpockets but also was heads up in terms of not giving them a chance in the first place (used RS neck wallet) and kept bags close (one carry-on and a backpack). The only place I felt nervous about was the train station in Naples as I was connecting into and out of it's station to Sorrento and then on to Sicily. The subway in Rome was not too fun, either, but I only used it to get to the Vatican. I walked everywhere else. At first I was reluctant to walk at night, epecially in Rome, but it was perfectly fine afterall. Italians walk alot and the streets are alive at night.
I believe that how you present yourself to others and how you handle and anticipate unexpected events determines how easy (or not) your trip will go. When I felt uneasy and a little unsure, I would seek out women or couples to sit on the train with, especially senior citizens. One thing I did not expect was to be asked constantly about the presidential election, so be aware that it will assuredly come up. I read the RS books and watched the movies before I left, including the Travel Smart video, which was helpful.
Do not be afraid to travel alone as a woman to Italy. I felt it safer than America and people are helpful. Just learn basic phrases in Italian and always say please and thank you. I also brought photos of where I live and my work and family, and they loved that. It opened up many conversations and I subsequently have made many good friends overseas whom will email and return to see.
Also, if you really need to ask a question of an english-speaking person in order to help you with something, there are many American tourists. We are easy to spot-it is tough to explain, but we just look American. You'll know this when you get there. Like the other Americans I met, we fell in love with Italy and Italians and would like to relocate! This from established working career folks! It is a great country-GO!
Northern California, CA USA Wed 11/24/2004
Dealing with Men
Learn to avoid eye contact with men except in situations where you are purchasing something. Be willing to make noise (screaming or yelling) if it seems necessary. You will embarass the offender and he will leave. As much as possible, ignore men who approach you with comments and questions. A verbal response is not required. Modest dress helps, too.
USA Wed 11/03/2004
Keep your wits
In my travels as a young women I had more real problems with American men approaching me than I did with Italian or Greek men. I think that was I let them "under my radar" of trust. One American man approached me at Gare du Nord and offered to let me come share his room with him!
USA Wed 11/03/2004
I am an 18 year old girl, who just returned from a 2 week trip to Paris, Munich, and Salzburg. Despite our sex, traveling alone is a great experience, even if you don't quite think so at the time due to loneliness or exhaustion, but you do meet a lot of people. In the first days of my stay in all of the cities, I would repeatedly get lost, sometimes at night. I was often scared (they breed that in americans), but as long as you see groups of people on well lit streets, and along streets adorned with cafe's, you're most likely safe.
Also, in France, watch out for the middle eastern french men. They are not shy and will be very forward with girls. The men in Germany and Austria were very well behaved though.
USA Sun 10/31/2004
Amsterdam "stupid stoner tax" and other things
I am a 24-year-old female who just returned from traveling in Europe for 3.5 weeks. Most of the time traveling was spent with my 19-year-old sister, but the last few days in Amsterdam, I traveled solo. We were smart travelers, but never encountered any problems whatsoever. I feel like a lot of the advice on this board tends to scare young females. And I have to say that perhaps we were just lucky, but my sister and I ONLY speak English, I carried a backpack and very large and expensive camera, i often kept my money in my backpack, i left my backpack unattended, i slept on trains, etc and never once had any problems.
One time on the subway in Rome, we encountered a bunch of young people our age who were obviously pickpockets but we kept a close watch on our backpacks and had no problem.
Generally, we carried our small daypacks on our backs. Never once did anyone even ATTEMPT to steal anything from us, our backpacks, or our pockets (which were often heavy with cash and coins). No one stole anything when our backpacks were on the floor at a restaurant while we dined, not when we were at our hostels, not when we were out in the streets of big cities.We traveled in Paris for three days, Arles (south France) for two, ITALY: Vernazza and the Cinque Terre for two days, Venice for two, Florence for three, Siena for two, Rome for four.Brussels, Belgium for about 30 hours, and I was in Amsterdam for 8 days.
The only thing to watch out for is all of the locals in Amsterdam who will ALWAYS overcharge foreigners if they can...for ANYTHING--food, film, souvenirs, postcards, canal rides. They call it the "stupid stoner tax." I was on the ball, but if I had not been would have been ripped off many, many, MANY times. Restaurant people REPEATEDLY quoted one price to me before I ordered and then stated another price after giving me my food when I was at the cash register. Usually they admitted their mistake when I pointed out they had just said another price a moment before. But sometimes I had to give them back their severely over-priced food and go somewhere else. One guy was like, "hey, you pay me what i say now or i will just get the next person to pay what i ask." Yeah, so don't be a victim of the stupid stoner tax!!!
Topeka, KS USA Sat 10/09/2004
Re:Jackie-- I've never been to Morrocco but a male friend of mine has. He was there for 6 months with his college about 3 years ago. He did say some of the girls, especially blondes were hassled and some went home because of it. However, he also said some of the girls enjoyed there time there. He said it best to wear sunglasses in public so as to avoid eye contace, a hat and long sleeves and pants.
USA Sat 10/09/2004
I am currently considering a solo trip to Spain and Italy. Understandably, my family is very concerened. I am a 21 year old female, and I know there must be several other girls in a similar position out there. To those who have made a similar trip, what was your experience like, and would you reccomend that i proceed with the trip? What did you learn that would be beneficial for me to say to family members who do not feel like this would be safe? I really want to make this trip alone, please help!
Napa, ca USA Fri 10/08/2004
Re:below post where she states that if you behave with dignity, men will respect you. That is often not true in some countries. Some cultures believe that all foreign women are out for a good time and will hassle you no matter how you act and some men are just lowlifes. For the record, the behavior of Italian men leaves me with a low impression IMO.
NYC, NY USA Tue 10/05/2004
In regard to Stella's post below about Italian men having a low opinion of American women, well, it may be due to the behavior of some American women when on vacation. There are some women who view sexual indulgence as part of sightseeing. I'm not one to pass judgment. But as a consequence, judgments may be made about us.
If you are passing through a tourist destination, you can safely assume that any local man who approaches you is in search of sex, not a love relationship. If you choose to go with him, don't be persuaded that you are soulmates. Many European men can be gallant and expressive in a way few American men are, so it's easy to interpret such gestures as expressions of love. Since he knows you'll be leaving in a few days, he has no reason to disabuse you of your interpretation, since it will ease his getting what he wants.
But don't be fooled into thinking it is more than a vacation fling. I know a woman who conceived a child with a Greek captain on a cruise and another woman with a child from a vacation romance at a Mexican resort. In one case the man was already married, and neither man was interested in supporting or even seeing the child. Harsh reality.
That said, even during two or three day stays, I have gone on very pleasant dates with men in Greece and Italy. I never led them to believe I would sleep with them, I expected them to treat me (although I kept the tab low -- just drinks or dessert), and I had no problem kissing them goodbye at the hotel entrance at the end of the evening, although on occasion it was necessary to be firm about it ending there. While I'm sure they would have liked more, none was in any way unpleasant about it.
If you behave like a sexual adventurer, men in conservative countries will see you as a tramp. I say, if you behave with dignity, you'll be well treated and, I daresay, well thought of as well.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 10/05/2004
Solo travel in Morocco?
I'm a 22 yo female, and i'm taking a 2 month trip through europe. I really want to spend time in Morocco and have read conflicting reports about how safe it is for a solo female to travel there. Anyone have any positive or negative experiences or suggestions ?
OH USA Thu 09/30/2004
re:Paris Metro Stations
I was planning to bring a group of kids to Europe and a friend gave me a copy of her expenses from when she did the same. One of the expenses was "$100 metro con man". Same scam. In 1999. Lesson: do not accept help in the Paris Metro - it is an scam industry.
Escondido, CA USA Wed 09/22/2004
It happend to me in Italy
Just wanted to add my experience in Italy. I spent a week on my own in Italy last December. As I waited in an empty train station waiting room (about halfway between Pisa and Florence), an elderly man came into the room with me. He started speaking to me in Italian. I know a tiny bit of travel Italian, but could not figure out what he wanted. He then came up close to me, pressed his nose against my cheek, and continued talking to me. I wasn't sure what to do, and then he fondled my breasts... I reached for my Rick Steves Italian phrasebook to figure out what to say to him, all the while he continued talking to me with his nose on my cheek, and then started touching my thighs. At that point, I found the Italian phrase for "don't touch me" and said it. He immediately stepped back, and raised his hands in the air. I gathered my things and left the waiting room faster than I've ever done anything in my life! Everyone who hears this story asks why I didn't slap/elbow/kick in the groin this man... I really don't know. It all happened so fast, and violence never crossed my mind. In the end, a firm "don't touch me" got him to stop. Of course, the next time I am harrassed by a man, he will likely get the full wrath of both his abuse, and the elderly man's as well!
san francisco, CA USA Fri 09/10/2004
Not so hot Italian men
I met an italian guy here in SF and he bluntly told me that italian men think american girls are easy. I wasn't shocked or anything. I believe him. Just as the post below said, american girls should really be smart in this regard. I'm leaving for italy in less than a month and you can bet that i'm not falling for their c--p. As a young woman who doesn't think highly of italian men anyway, I'm not worried about my well-being over there. I just want the girls here to open their eyes and use caution. If you play chess, use that same principle in dealing with this people. They're not that great.
San Francisco, CA USA Thu 09/09/2004
Beware ..of that Italian romance
I wanted to share with American women my experience in Italy, particularly my experience in Rome. I have a friend who lives in Rome whom I have gone to visit 3 times already... I have heard and experienced how aggressive Italian men are or what casanovas they really think they are, even the unattractive ones think they are the best thing since sliced bread. I was inlightened to something about American women and Italian men.
My friend introduce me to friends of hers who had a friend who bragged about how easy is it to bed an American woman, how we were cheap and easy. He didn't know I was American because I speak spanish (I am of Mexican ancestory but I can pass for an Italian I am told) and some Italian but I remained quiet so I could hear what they really thought of us and I told my friend not to say anything. He told us how he and a group of his friends (he claimed to be about a group of 20 in total) hang around the Trevi fountain and wait to pick up American women, because as he up it, we are such "sluts".
So I want to say to my American female counter parts... if you think that romantic Italian man thinks the world of you... you've got another thing coming. He and his friends bragged about how they got these women to pay for dinner or drinks and how they promised them things which they ever intended on doing. They also said a lot of ugly things about American woman much of which they got from out movies which they say confirm our true "nature." They laughed how they never even called these women after they got what they wanted.
After that I saw this american girls with hanging out with him and his friends. I hope this will provide some wise insight to what we are percived to be. I hope most of you will change that for us... if anything, they taught me not to believe all the Italian man, American woman romance crap you see in the movies.. remember, that is just what it is.. the movies.
Chicago, IL USA Thu 09/02/2004
I need some suggestions. I am a middle-aged woman; and I have traveled to several Western European countries many times on my own. In the past I have confined my outings to mostly museums, art galleries and short walking tours.
In July 2003 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Over the next 12 months I have lost 80 pounds, and am now manage my diabetes with diet and exercise. In addition to feeling physically better I now want to revisit Europe with a brand new mind set. In particular I am interested in attending plays, operas, cultural events and dining out (I typically eat small vegetarian meals).
I would like to get some suggestions from the women here on European capitals and events day and night that I might avail myself to as a solo traveler. Thank you in advance.
IL USA Tue 08/24/2004
Paris Metro Stations
Well, just returned from a London/Paris trip and enjoyed the entire trip. I travel a lot through Europe, however this was the first time in Paris and the first using the Metro. I always buy a travel card in London for the Tube and wanted the same for Paris. I went to use a machine and didn't understand fully the routes I needed to take. A "helpful" character offered his help. He sent me for change and then bought the tickets with his own money while my non French speaking friend was standing at the machine. I returned without change since the person he sent me to wouldn't provide it. I speak French and he told me I owed him 8 Euro. I said no the route he picked was only 4 Euro. I was standing there with a 10 Euro note. He pulled the note from my hand and handed me a 2 Euro coin. I argued and asked for 6 more euro. He kept arguing with me and I gave up. I wanted to see Paris not stand in the Metro station and argue about 6 Euro. When we left that evening for London on the Eurostar, 3 British ladies told us about the same experience they had. Only they were taken for 45 Euro. Beware unsolicited even solicited help at the Metro Kiosks. You are wiser to stand in line and talk with an employee behind a glass window.
Ft. Mitchell, KY USA Tue 08/10/2004
Just use the guys that hit on you.. I always did.. Hey come here -- they were all OH YEAH -- Then I asked directions, they told me, and then sometimes walked me to where I needed to go if I was really lost.. We thanked them, and moved on.. leaves them agasp sometimes, but hey.. if they put it out there, use it.
M USA Mon 08/02/2004
Asking for help....be particular!
Ruby had excellent advice below and I would second her comment that if you need directions, get them from someone of YOUR choosing! I am a mid-aged woman traveling in Germany by myself for a couple weeks and my strategy is: if I have a simple question I can ask in German, I find a woman about my same age to ask. If it's a little more complicated, I find a teenage girl and ask in English (after finding out if she speaks a little English). So far I've been very successful and comfortable with my strategy!
CO USA Mon 08/02/2004
Protect yourself with poise
My 12 year old daughter and I traveled to Germany, Paris, and London together and we had absolutely no safety issues at all. My advice,...
Seattle, WA USA Fri 07/30/2004
Avoiding Unwanted Male Attention
When I was in my 30's travelling in S. Europe, I received unwanted attention from men. I am in my 60's now and wonder if Sicily and S. Italy will be ok in this regard, or should I adopt some special behaviors. Recently I have had some unpleasant treatment in Paris from men (mostly rude comments and bumping me intentionally). Has anyone else figured out how to deal with this? I want to be safe, and I have a low tolerance for unwanted attention. I learned the one about not making eye contact. That helps a lot.
CA USA Sat 07/24/2004
Skip the purse, use clear backpack
Skip the purse and use clear backpack, especially in Italy.Wear money/passpots, etc. in moneybelt. Clear packs of water and food discourage thieves.Others on our Contiki trip had problems, we didn't. There was no mystery, you didn't have to take our pack, you could see it was only water, motrin, bandaids and cheese crackers.
Corsicana, TX USA Fri 07/23/2004
Has anyone had any experience traveling to Europe while pregnant? Suggestions?
oneonta, al USA Wed 06/30/2004
Acommodation in Barcelona (Spain)
If anyone is visiting Barcelona, I sugest to consider renting an apartment instead of going to a hotel. The "3 wonder girls" are just back from our holiday there. We found a lovely apartment with a superb location. You can rent it through an agency (as we did) or directly to the owner (a very nice woman, by the way), which is MUCH cheaper. Have a look at http://barcelonaapartment.8m.net
USA Thu 06/17/2004
There were three women in our group, my daughter & niece (both 19) and me. In 5 weeks, we did the "Best of Europe" loop starting with London, hitting Koln, Bacharach, Frankfort, Rothenburg, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Turin and Paris.
We used Rick's books as our guideline. Every day was scheduled and we had a marvelous time. We used common sense and never had a problem. Moneybelts were very useful. We only carried a light jacket, our lunch and possibly a tourbook in our backpacks, so any pickpocket would have been welcome to it. I cannot stress how useful Rick's books were. In planning our trip, we were able to use the specific city books in setting up an itinerary which made sense. We followed his instructions as closely as possible except we rented a small apartment in Paris instead of staying at a hotel since we wanted to save money by cooking ourselves.
I am going again this year but this time with my husband. I believe we had no problems because they must have thought we didn't have much money (which was true). We'll see if anything happens when I travel with the "big strong man." The girls had no problem using the money belts and keeping only their daily spending money readily accessible. It will be interesting to see how my husband adjusts. Again, read Rick's books and apply every hint you can. It is the best instruction you can get for the money.
Half Moon Bay, CA USA Sat 06/12/2004
If you are a woman (or man) for that matter traveling abroad alone (or not), just follow the same precautions you do at home and have a good time. Pretty simple stuff.
tx USA Fri 06/04/2004
Try Touring First
If you are unfamiliar with a new place and aren't comfortable going alone right away, one solution is to take a tour first, then stay on by yourself. I had a wonderful time in Paris recently - a city I had never been to - when I took a city tour for one week with a group, then stayed on another week on my own. I had a ball! I splurged and stayed at a lovely little vacation apt. with a view of the Eiffel Tower. At night, the sparkling Tower was spectacular - that was about the only time I saw the view, since I was out all day, going back to visit places I wanted to, and staying as long as I liked! This fall I plan on hiking in Bryce and Zion Canyons in Southwest Utah with a women's group, then renting a car and driving by myself to the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, etc.
Roanoke, VA USA Thu 06/03/2004
Minor assault in Paris
Paris Metros are the only place I have been unpleasantly touched by men. One man kept bumping into my back as we were exiting a train. I stood aside and let him pass when he continued with it. In April after exiting a train a man brushed past me and I felt a sharp jab in my upper arm. I look after him. He walked away about 10 feet then turned to glance at me, so I know it was deliberate. I suppose his aim was to hit me in the breast. I don't know if I could have avoided this contact. People brush by all the time in crowded situations, so you can't very well stay far from everybody.
Calistoga, CA USA Sat 05/22/2004
Travelling in Italy
This is my first trip to a country where the primary language isn't English. I fly into Milan and take a train to meet my group. Would it be difficult to communicate? I'd like to stay overnight in Milan. What hotels do you recommend?
Newark, CA USA Thu 05/13/2004
what to yell when you're in trouble
Someone wrote that you should yell "FIRE!" if you're in trouble...this is a bad idea, I've taken self defense classes (and I've actually been in a fire...believe me yelling fire doesn't make anybody come any faster) it's better to make people aware of what is actually going on so that they can help you. Make people aware that you don't know the person and are in trouble, yell "STRANGER!" or "HELP" and "I DON'T KNOW YOU!" and make as big a fuss as you can. Yelling fire is confusing, b/c there is obviously not a fire, and trust me, people don't come any faster.
Vancouver, BC Canada Tue 05/04/2004
Have been living in Taiwan about 6 months now. If you need any info on traveling here or living here, please feel free to drop me a line. Taiwan is not a big travel destination, so a lot of the info is not easy to find online. Also, you can check out my website at: http://meintaiwan.blogspot.com Mostly the site is for folks teaching English here, but there is travel stuff too. Cheers, Debra
Tainan Taiwan, USA Tue 04/20/2004
I was 16 the first time I went to Europe. In the short 10 days I spent in Germany, I was approached by older men on 3 occasions! Even this past December in Honolulu I was approached by some young Hawaiian guys. Nothing too serious happened, but I knew how to take care of myself. It helps to pretend you don't understand what the men are saying. They figure they're just wasting their time and leave. I found that a shop keeper in Hawaii was extremely understanding and helped me out with the nuisance. So tell a local woman what's going on and hopefully she will advise you on what to do/where to go. If you are ever in trouble DO NOT yell "Help"! Instead, yell "Fire" which will get attention faster and people will more likely prepared to help you out.
Fairbanks, AK USA Tue 03/30/2004
Attitude, Attitude, Attitude
I travel to Europe an average of 6 times per year; nearly every trip is solo. Here's what I've learned about being a woman travelling alone:
1) Travel light (!) because there won't be anyone else there to carry your bags for you.
2) Stay in hotels at least 4 blocks away from the train station (gets you out of the seedy section of most towns).
3) Ask the hotel desk clerks about dangerous/unpleasant areas for women traveling solo.
4) Study your city maps BEFORE you get there (keeps you from getting lost and - most importantly - looking lost).
5) If you run into a language barrier, look for a local teenager for help - English is definitely becoming the second language for Europe; all the kids are studying it in school and they love to use their English and help out.
6) Attitude is everything! Hold your head high and look confident. The seedy folks won't mess with you; the locals will embrace you.
7) Tell the locals they live in the best country in the world; they eat it up.
8) Learn these six basic words/phrases in the local language: hello, goodbye, good morning, good evening, please and thank you. With these words and a smile -- you can get anything!
Norfolk, VA USA Thu 02/12/2004
1. Read all the guidesbooks: go to Barnes & Noble, get a coffee and just read them all. You can quickly spot the ones who never update.
2. Buy a map, a little pocket kind is great, I get one for every city I hope to visit. Then using the guides, note the areas where I should be more cautious (Rick's guides are really good for pointing that out). It also helps in finding your way on metro boards, and when coming up out of the tunnels, you already have a general idea of the city.
3. I like reserving rooms in advance for the first and last few days. This way, I can relax and know I have a place to unwind before my flight. Accor hotels are great for this, right by airports and you can book on line. Cheap too.
4.Don't be paranoid, but don't forget to use common sense just as you would at home.
I made all the mistakes you can make on my first trip. Stayed in Paris the night before I was to fly out of Heathrow, west of London (on Easter Sunday no less). Had to catch a train from a suburban hotel to get to the Eurostar train at 7am. I was so overloaded with a huge travel pack, I made it through the gates, but the pack didn't. There was no attendant on duty, and I had no extra ticket to go back and try again through the gate. The gypsies who live at the station came to my aid (yes, I had read all the warnings about them in advance!)
Here I was, American, female,
alone and overloaded with luggage. They boosted me over the gates to the
platform, then threw my luggage over (didn't take off with it which they
could have done), then handed their little kids to me and we all got on
trains going our separate ways. Obviously things could have gone wrong,
but I still would have had great memories of my trip, even with no luggage.
Just go, have a good time and trust that most people are not interested
in bothering you.
LA, CA USA Wed 02/04/2004
In Greece I have stayed 3 months and, at a different time, for 6 months, mostly on the island Amorgos. I loved it and can't wait to go back, the people are kind and watched out for me. Almost too well: no man was good enough for me!
In 2003 I was in Rome from Feb-June. Loved it, stayed in town by the train station. As with going anywhere alone you have to be aware of your surroundings. The area of Rome I stayed in is known for "ladies of the night." Several times walking home at night I was asked "my fee!" When I said I was tourist, they would always apologize and ask to forgive, they were very kind really. It all depends on your outlook: they are being friendly and you may see it invading your space. On the metro I did have a man that was talking to me (for what seemed forever) a inch from my face. But I got off at my stop and that was that.
I saw "Under the Tuscan Sun"
and was disappointed about the scene in Rome with Diane Lane being chased
by 3 men heckling her. But that is Hollywood. Not saying it doesn't happen
, maybe I'm bummed it didn't happen too me? I feel safer in Italy and
Greece than traveling alone in the States.You can get harrassed anywhere,
it just seems stranger in another country and language. I am moving to
Rome this year (2004) in the spring, living alone and loving it. I cannot
wait to explore, meet new people and find out what adventures await me.
If needing any advice please email. Ciao, and open your eyes to the world.
Lubbock, TX USA Sat 01/10/2004
ATM Robbery in Paris
I have been traveling alone to Europe by myself safely for 20 years. In Paris, for the first time I was robbed of 200 euros at a bank machine in the middle of the day on a busy street at the corner of Boulevard Voltaire and Rue Oberkampf. He was a short, light skinned Algerian man with a knife. He was wearing a watch cap and a navy pea coat. He quickly ran to an aceess to the metro. Be careful! From now on I will only use indoor cash machines.
seattle, wa USA Wed 01/07/2004
Packing light is a MUST, you shouldn't be hindered by bags. I also never use a standard wallet. I keep my reserve cash in a money belt, and split up local currency and credit cards between my front pocket and security pockets of my day bag. One thing you don't want to happen when you're travelling alone is being left without all your cash and credit cards.
Staying in B&B's is also great, because it's easier to mingle and the innkeeper keeps an eye out for you. In Turkey, women aren't often seen traveling alone so you can expect to get attention. It generally amounts to no more than harrassment, however. I have also had problems in Northern Cyprus. The expectation is that you're out for a "good time" including sexual escapades. (To the women who come to Turkey for that purpose, if you're out there, I hope it's worth making life difficult for the rest of us!) If the attention is unwanted, it's fine to be very firm and even cold in making that clear.
Americans' natural "helpfulness"
gets us in trouble. This includes seemingly innocuous approaches like
asking for the time, asking to practice English, etc. Your willingness
to stop and talk is an invitation for them to pursue other things. In
all countries, it seems par for the course as a lone traveler to occasionally
get the shaft on accomadation and service at restaurants, plus the inevitable
"So you're all on your own, then?" type comments. But the more of us that
are out there doing it, the more we will change the world!
USA Thu 01/01/2004