If you have chosen Turkey as your next destination for a fantastic holiday, congratulations are due because it is a beautiful country. Mostly everyone who visits Turkey instantly falls in love with it, even if they were apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. They return home with fond memories having seen some of the most amazing landscapes in the world and met some of the friendliest people (Turks are renowned for their hospitality and generosity.)
Naturally, after booking your travel arrangements, your next thoughts will be planning the details of your trip, and we have a lot of advice to save you money, time and avoid the usual stresses of going away. We are Turkish and seasoned travellers so know how to plan a smooth and enjoyable holiday in the country.
Our Travel Tips for Visiting Turkey
Before You Go
1: Scan a copy of your passport and upload it into your cloud accounts, or leave it with friends and family. Therefore, if you do happen to lose your passport while travelling, you can present a copy to the consulate of your home country to get replacement travel documents, quickly and easily.
2: If you plan to use credit or debit cards, notify your supplier that you will be visiting Turkey. This ensures they do not cancel your cards because the different country usage flags security concerns. At the same time, also check on their charges for withdrawing or using those cards in a different country. Some banks charge extraordinary amounts that soon add up!
3: If you are taking medication, make a note of these and keep it with your travel documents. Therefore, if you lose your medication as often happens when airports put suitcases on a different flight, Turkish chemists (Eczane) will give you the same or equivalent.
4: Before you start packing, it is worth knowing that Turkey has three different climate zones. Research the weather for the month that you are travelling, along with your chosen destinations and pack accordingly. (We advise all customers on our guided tours of what to pack.)
5: Some people don’t buy holiday insurance but these days, many inexpensive packages give you peace of mind and don’t just cover medical insurance but also theft and luggage as well. Check the small print, and the terms and conditions, though. For example, many policies don’t cover water sports so be aware of this, if you plan to go wild on the jet skis available for rent in all coastal resorts.
6: Do not exchange your money for Turkish Lira at the airport because they offer the worse rates and high commission charges. To get through your first day in Turkey, swap a small amount online with currency card companies or your bank before you leave. Then change the rest of your money when you arrive. This guarantees higher exchange rates.
7: It sounds obvious, but this is a just a reminder to apply for your visa online because the Turkish customs desks in airports don’t issue them anymore. An e-visa allows you to travel anywhere in Turkey for 90 days out of 180. Use the official website here. Don’t use any others because they charge for the service, therefore increasing the cost of your visa.
Tips for Families Travelling in Turkey
First-time visitors to Turkey are sometimes alarmed at the amount of attention that children get. As a nation, we just love children and wish only the best for them as the future generation. If at any time, you are uncomfortable with the attention, just say so, because nobody wants to upset the parents. Also, cover your children because the Turkish sun especially in July, August and summer is sweltering and sunburn happens easily without you realising it.
What Women Should Know
Potential female travellers who have never been to Turkey before often get confused about what to pack. The thing to remember is that Turkey is incredibly diverse and while dress standards in the west are relaxed, in the rural areas, they are particularly strict. As a rule, keep beachwear confined to the beach and swimming pools.
If you are on one of our tours, we often go to mosques, so you will need to cover your head, upper arms, knees, cleavage, and midriff. Although the coastal resorts often frequented by foreigners have extremely relaxed dress standards, if you are in Istanbul or touring the rest of the country, we recommended conservative clothing to avoid unwanted attention.
Solo Traveller Tips
Solo male travellers should be aware of a scam that occurs particularly in the large cities. A stranger strikes up a conversation and suggests drinks in his favourite bar. After peanuts are given and sometimes, women arrive at the table, the travellers receive a massive bill. They will even take you to the cashpoint, to get the money. If anyone offers to take you for a drink, just refuse.
If you are travelling independently and not as part of our group tours, always let someone know where you are. Facebook place check-ins are great to do this, otherwise, call someone back home or send an email with updates. Also pick up a card from your hotel, because getting lost, especially in the big cities is easily done. In the event, this happens; you can just show the card to a taxi driver.
While You are Here
1: If you plan to buy a Turkish carpet while you are here, do not give into impulse buying and seek expert advice. (The guides on our tours are able to help with this) Unfortunately, in recent years, the market has been flooded with Chinese machine made copies selling for exactly the same price.
2: Tax-free shopping is available in Turkey. The base limit is 100 lira; however, it typically only pays off for big purchases such as gold or leather. Ask for a tax-free form when buying the product. When you enter the airport for your return flight home, look for the tax-free desk before checking in. Don’t pack the items in your suitcase because you need to show them.
3: The general rule for tipping in Turkey is 10% dependent on how happy you are with the service. You don’t need to tip taxi drivers who operate on meters instead.
4: Much has been said worldwide about the ancient art of haggling in Turkey. However, it doesn’t apply to small items such as water and bread, and it isn’t done in restaurants, or the big shopping malls where items are priced electronically, or the shop is part of a big franchise. If you are buying souvenirs or big purchases such as a carpet, jewellery, or leather, this is a good time to put your haggling head on. Start with a 50% discount and eventually you and the seller will reach a mutually agreed price.
5: We cannot underestimate the need for water, sunscreen and if you are walking about historical sites or villages, the need for a hat, especially during July, August and September. Sunstroke happens quickly as does sunburn for sensitive skin that is unacclimatized to the strong midday heat occurring from 12 noon to 3 pm.
If you have any more questions about Turkey or Ada Vegas Travel, just contact us here and we will reply within 48 hours. Alternatively, you might also like to see our wide range of private and group guided tours to many destinations in Turkey, including Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Bodrum and much more.