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Travel Tips to Turkey
Best time to Visit Turkey
You can vacation in Turkey year round, but depending on the time of year/area you choose to visit, you will find changes in the seasons and weather.
The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey display a climate of hot summers and mild winters, though Istanbul can have some very cold snaps with snow in the winter. July and August are the hottest months with quite high humidity during the summer months.
Temperatures average winter 5°C (winter months December January, February) and 25° C during the summer months. Autumn (September, October, November) has enjoyable mild temperatures with some rain in October. January is the month when you encounter more rain.
In the spring months, the weather is moderate through the Country. March, April, and May temperatures average 7° C to 16° C. Cooler in March warmer towards April and May when you may have temperatures of 20° C.
Passport and Visa Requirements
You need a valid Canadian or American Passport to enter Turkey; it must be valid for six months past your return date, even a day difference will deny you from boarding your flight. Passport also needs to have empty pages. Other nationalities, please consult your local Turkish Embassy.
A Tourist Visa is also required, Canadian and American passport holders you can obtain it online. Visit the website: www.evisa.gov.tr
Some Tips to keep you healthy while travelling in Turkey
Only drink water bottle, inspect the seal cap before drinking it. To be on the safe side, you should brush your teeth with bottled water as well. Eating food from street vendors, although tempting is not recommended. If your system is susceptible take extra precautions like eating only fruits you can peel and making sure your food is freshly prepared and well cooked. Fruit juices may not be advisable to drink unless they are bottled.
Wash your hands frequently, do not touch any stray animals. Do not overload your stomach especially on the first days of your arrival; give your body time to acclimatize, if you keep a special diet back home continue while on your trip. Drink more water than you usually do at home especially while touring the sites on hot days. Bring a small medic kit with headache tablets, allergy and stomach medication, etc. Public hospitals are available at most major Cities and are open to tourist most doctors speak English, but you will be asked to pay for your treatment, medical travel insurance that covers hospital bills and repatriation to your Country is strongly recommended.
Bring sunblock with you especially if you are fair skinned, SPF lip balm is also a good idea.
Language
Turkish is Turkey's official language. But English, German, and French are widely spoken.
Currency
The national currency is the Turkish lira. The Turkish lira is subdivided into 100 kuruş with different banknotes/coins. ATM machines are found in cities, large towns as well as most hotels, they usually accept Visa, MasterCard or Cirrus cards, but cash is the favorite form of payment at many shops. All major credit cards are widely accepted at most major Hotels and shops but most likely you will have to pay a surcharge, American Express cards are not widely accepted. If you are paying cash the currency preferred is USD, or Euros. Traveler's cheques are not widely accepted.
Clothing
Turkey, being a predominantly Muslim country, is naturally conservative but the average people are careful in what they wear. The dress code in Turkey for women is considered conservative by western standards.
Bring light colored clothing, loose linen/cotton trousers or a below knee skirt and sleeved blouse. A good hat and sunscreen are a must, you should also bring sunglasses.
Comfortable, strong shoes are a must. Sandals can be worn, but you will suffer from dust/sand; so in general, having closed shoes is the better option.
Swimming suits and shorts are reserved for the beach or swimming pools only.
Restaurants tend to be fine with casual wear though evenings are smart casual.
If visiting a religious site such as a Mosque, monasteries or churches wear long trousers or skirts, remove your shoes, and for women is advisable to wear a headscarf and a conservative blouse.
When entering a mosque is to leave the shoes with the mosque guard, who usually has a desk at the entrance and a place to store shoes. He will keep an eye on them.
It is advisable to bring heavier clothing if you are visiting the mountainous and eastern regions.
In the winter months, long slacks or long walking shorts are recommended, as well as sweaters since you may encounter cold evenings. It is good to bring one or two casual dressy outfits for special occasions/dinners at one of the major Hotels/Restaurants.
Suggested Travel Essentials
  • Valid Passport for six months past your return date with blank pages (blank two sided), please note insufficient blank pages will deny you boarding.
  • Travel Insurance/numbers who to call for emergency assistance.
  • Flight Tickets.
  • Trip invoice confirmation.
  • Photocopy of passport.
  • Money (cash / debit / credit cards).
  • Money belt or pouch.
  • Pens.
Suggested Packing:
  • Two T-Shirts and one long sleeved cotton shirt.
  • Two Pairs of Shorts or Two Skirts.
  • Two Pairs of long pants.
  • Underwear and socks.
  • Comfortable walking shoes.
  • Sandals.
  • Lightweight jacket.
  • Warm sweater or jacket for early mornings or evenings.
  • Hat/wind proof, and brimmed hat.
  • Swimsuit/cover up.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Toiletries including moisturizer.
  • Good Quality Sunglasses.
  • Sleepwear.
  • Personal medication/prescriptions copy in case of need to refill.
  • First aid kit / over-counter essentials.
  • Extra Eye glasses/contact lenses.
  • Antibacterial gels/wipes.
  • Batteries / Charger / USB chord.
  • Small Binoculars.
  • Electrical adapter.
Electricity - Time Zone
You need to bring an electricity converter since electricity is 220 volts and uses rounded plugs. Turkey is GMT +3 or 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Telephone and Internet
Long distance charges can be expensive at most hotels, calling cards are widely available and you should try that instead. Internet is usually reliable, WI-FI is generally available, extra charges apply for both. Internet Cafes are always found in most major Cities and Towns.
Mail
Regular mail will take over a week to reach USA or Canada.
Shopping
Turkey's largest city of Istanbul has much to offer any degree of shopper. Istanbul's shopping variety with its traditional and modern products makes the city an attraction center for any kind of shopper. Whether you are looking for an antique rug, a high fashion ensemble, breathtaking jewelry, exquisite glassware or authentic artisanal tiles, Istanbul will never disappoint you.
Istanbul's most stunning bazaars and street markets include; Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Arasta Bazaar, Antique Books Market Sultanahmet Area, Sali Market, Ulus Market, Cumartesi Market.
Istanbul is one of the cities with most shopping malls. Other than historical and street markets Istanbul has almost 200 modern shopping malls.
Located in Levent district; Kanyon, Metrocity, Ozdilek and Akmerkez are prominent malls.
Istinye Park in Maslak offers an outstanding open air experience. You should take a rest during your shopping experience in the Brands Street on a cafe.
Cevahir Istanbul in Mecidiyekoy is one of the biggest malls in the world. Carousel, Capacity and Aqua Florya are close to the Ataturk Airport. Capitol in Altunizade district, Palladium and Brandium in Atasehir district and Nautilus in Kadikoy district are in the Anatolian side.
Cuisine
Turkish cuisine is known for its diversity and flavour, drawing influences from all corners of the former Ottoman Empire, and each region boasting its own specialities.
Food is spicier and richer the further south and east you travel, while in the west, olive oil, seafood and vegetable dishes are more prevalent.
Alcoholic Drinks: The traditional tipple is Raki, a clear, strong aniseed based spirit. Local beer, vodka, brandy, whisky and gin are also available.
Soft Drinks: Turkish tea is flavoursome and aromatic when freshly brewed. Turkish coffee is an indulgent pleasure and the perfect way to finish off a good meal. Ayran, mineral water, cherry juice and peach nectar are also popular soft drinks.
Soup has a special place in the Turkish diet and is drunk at any time of day. Turkish people have a big diversity of vegetables and of course this reflects on the dishes.
Kebab is the common name for a dish where meat is coated around a skewer and grilled over a charcoal fire. Don't forget to taste delicious Turkish desserts and sweets.
Speak to your Guide if you are interested in sampling real Turkish food he/she will take you to a good restaurant. In regards to drinks wine, spirits and beer are usually found at major hotels and restaurants catering to tourists. Legal drinking age is 21.
Photography
Keep your camera well protected from sand and dust while travelling to the archeological sites, please note that many Museums and historic sites restrict video or photography in order to protect the antiquities, you may be asked to leave them at the entrance. Other outdoor sites may charge a fee to use them. But at the majority of the outdoor sites you are free to take pictures and video. Many sites will not allow Flash photography, be careful to comply.
Travel Insurance
Having Travel insurance is essential for any vacation, and Turkey is not an exception, the cost of medical emergencies or home repatriation can be extremely high, make sure you read your policy carefully and understand all the applicable exclusions and limitations. Usually you pay for small medical bills while on destination and claim upon arrival, but in the case of a major emergency you must call the insurance company immediately (or have someone call on your behalf), not doing so affects the eligibility of your claim. Is always a good idea to give details of your policy to a close relative back home and to your travel companion. Protect your investment by also having trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
Tipping
Tipping is expected in Turkey. Take with you plenty of small notes (1 and 5 USD notes) for you to tip small amounts frequently (specially the 1.00) refrain from giving coins since they are not easy to exchange.
For the Tour guides you can leave around $10 to $20 dollars per person per day.
For the Bus driver around $5 per person per day.
For the Meet/Greet Representatives around $5 per person per day.
Ramadan
Ramadan is a period of Islamic religious fasting, there is alcohol restrictions during that time but major Hotels do not get affected. Same applies for day tours. It is polite not to eat in public areas, instead choose to dine inside the restaurants or cafe's.
Fasting breaks at Sunset and most major Cities come alive with a Festive atmosphere. Restaurants and public places become very busy with everyone celebrating the breaking of the fast and everyone is welcome to the festivities.
Airline Fees
Please note Airlines have advance seat selection and may have checked luggage Charges. Contact the airline with your airline reservation code for exact fees and terms and conditions.
Delayed or missed Flights
Should this events occur let us know as soon as possible 1-800-842-6943 for USA and Canada.
Or e-mail us at savemore@traveldiscounters.ca.
To call long distance dial 416-481-6701.
Lost or Delayed Luggage
You must file a report with the airline before leaving the airport and keep a copy of the report with you for insurance purposes.
Hotels Check In
The check-in time for most Hotels is 15:00 and check-out time 11:00 am, regardless of your arrival or departure times. Check-in/check-out policies differ by Hotel and will therefore vary. Passengers wishing to make arrangements for a late check-out/check-in and baggage storage must negotiate this service directly with the Hotel. Our Local Representatives will do their best to assist you in this matter. Guaranteed early check-in/check-out can be arranged by paying the applicable fees in advance before departure.
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