Whether you are a seasoned traveler or it is your first package holiday to Turkey, here are my top travel tips to help you. They have all come from my own experiences, when I used to work as a holiday rep for British tourists and also of course, my own travel experiences over the last 14 years.
Travel Tips for Turkey
1 – Turkey is slowing phasing out the old sticker visas given at the airport. They aim to implement a full e-visa system for everywhere. The official site is here. Please note, other sites are not connected with the government and will charge you a fee.
2- Many travelers land at the airport and try to arrange their transfer from there. This method is very expensive. Most of the local tour operators will not accept you at the airport for fear of offending the taxi drivers. More than likely you will have to get a taxi and their rates are very high. Arrange your transfer from the airport to your destination before you travel. (Also see this post for transfer options in Istanbul)
3 – If you are booking a package holiday. Bed and Breakfast means Turkish breakfast. Don’t expect a full English breakfast or continental food unless you are staying at a five-star hotel. Many of the five-star hotels will not use pork or bacon anyway. If you are hampering after an English breakfast, book room only and find the nearest restaurant every morning.
4 – If you are booking basic accommodation, bath room arrangements will be in the form of a wet room. This is basically a shower hose attached to the wall and a small hole in the ground. Nothing else, so if you want a cubicle book a three star hotel. If you want an actual bath, then book five-star.
5 – If hiring a car, then remember to drive on the right. Even if you have right of way, do not assume that other drivers will give it to you. The limit for drinking and driving is nil.
6 – If in a restaurant, the expected tip is 10% of the bill depending on how happy you were with the service. Always ask to see the bill and check for what you have been charged for
7 – My friends who are reps will be very unhappy with me for saying this, but shop around for prices of excursions. Some of the holiday companies offer reasonable prices but two of the holiday companies I know of, charge over the top amount for their trips. The reps will tell you it is for insurance etc, however it is simply because there are four links in the commission chain. The real excursion provider, the Turkish agent of the holiday company, the holiday company itself and finally the rep.
8 – Bartering is a must in many places. The general rule is, if a product does not have a price on it then the seller is open to bartering. If you can not barter, be ready to pay over the top prices. This does not apply to restaurants or bars. Mainly in the market and if making big purchases like gold or a carpet.
9 – Gold is an excellent buy. Most of the gold is 22 carat and prices are a lot cheaper than in the western world.
10 – Last but not least is to sample some of the local drink. Turkey’s national drink is Raki, otherwise known as lions milk. Another suggestion is non alcoholic Ayran. This is water, yogurt and salt mixed and served chill. Many first time visitors to Turkey buy this as a mistake. They are infact looking for milk which is called süt.
If you have travelled to Turkey before, feel free to add your Turkey travel tips below for future travellers.
Places in Turkey : From the East to the West, I am exploring it all.
Culture and Traditions : I have made some horrendous mistakes while trying to adapt into local society