Turkey is a fascinating mix of cultures, straddling two continents, Europe and Asia. In fact, the city of Istanbul is part of both. Whether you want to see the hot air balloon covered skies and caves of Cappadocia or the bustling capital city, there is so much to draw you in.
However travelling somewhere for the first time can be daunting, especially when the country seems worlds away from what you’re used to. These 9 Things To Know Before Traveling to Turkey will assist you in feeling more prepared for your travels so you can enjoy your adventure with fewer worries and unknowns!
You will likely need a visa!
Turkey mostly requires a Visa for foreigners, if you’re a USA, UK, Canada or Australia National, you will NEED a visa. A visa can be purchased upon arrival at the airport/border, for a fee. However, we recommend obtaining a visa beforehand, fees via the e-Visa website are cheaper and there is less time spent at the airport.
Beware of scams.
Generally, the Turkish are friendly and kind people. However caution, as is smart anywhere you travel, is needed. Be careful to eat and drink responsibly and enter only licenced taxis for transportation.
Look out for carpet vendors that import cheap imitation carpets. Generally most vendors are authentic, but bare in mind the possibility of a scam and always organize the shipment yourself.
If you do get duped, you can claim so and receive help to rectify the situation as long as you were not under the influence of alcohol.
Carry a mixture of cash (Turkish Lira) and cards. US Dollars and euros are the easiest currency to exchange once in Turkey. Traveler cheques are not advised as they are not widely accepted, except for in banks.
Like a lot of countries in the middle east, you should consider remaining sufficiently covered up. Generally in tourist areas, like coastal towns and even some big cities the dress code is more lax, however if you intend to travel to more rural areas you should bare in mind their more traditional values and be respectful to that (at least legs and shoulders covered). Those who wish to visit a mosque should be completely covered up.
It is unlikely that you’ll manage to avoid Turkish toilets here! For those who don’t know what Turkish toilets are like, they are commonly known as “squat toilets” - basically a hole in the ground where you’ll be required to squat to do your business.
It is a good idea to carry change and some toilet paper around with you, as often you have to pay a small fee to use the facilities and toilet paper is not always provided.
If you’re accustomed to western countries the practice of haggling might seem a bit daunting, or even embarrassing, but it is normal in Turkey. Any shops that display a barcoded price such as supermarkets and restaurants stick to that price, however when it comes to markets and larger purchases like the beautiful Turkish carpets it is acceptable to barter. Stay confident!
Public Displays of Affection
Keep public displays to a minimum, Turkey is quite conservative so perhaps limit yourself to hand holding in public if you’re there with a partner.
Ensure you ask someone's permission before taking a photograph of them, especially of the older generation as many still fear the camera. Avoid taken photos of veiled women, people praying or a military facility.
Expect to come across lots of street dogs and a plethora of cats. Food and drink is often let outside for them, and some even leave cardboard houses out for them!
In short, take the same precautions you would use in your own home city, buy your own drinks, only get in licensed taxi cabs and keep your money somewhere safe. Turkey is a beautiful country and a delight to visit!
Good luck on your travels!
Written By Jade Touron, follow her adventures on Instagram.