Standing as the bridge between European culture to the West and Asian culture to the East, Turkey is a unique destination. History and tradition live alongside the modern world in perfect harmony. From the idyllic villages on the Black Sea to the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters, from the snow-capped mountains to the cosmopolitan cities on the central plains of the Anatolia region, Turkey has a lot to offer any discerning traveller. Amazing food, beautiful beaches and even Turkish baths await you!
Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. It is advised to have at least one blank page. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport.
British and European Citizens travelling to Turkey for tourist or business purposes are generally able to travel without a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180 days.
In general, US, Canadian and other non-European citizens need a visa to enter Turkey unless entering and travelling solely by cruise ship. With an approved eVisa, you can then spend up to 90 days in Turkey.
All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
Visit the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey website for the most current visa information.
• Consular Information
There are several major international embassies located in Istanbul, including those for the US, Canada and UK. For other countries, please check with your relevant government for local contact details.
**As the entry requirements due to COVID-19 are constantly changing please check your own country's international travel advice as well as the airline requirements before travel.
UK guests please see FCDO website for lates entry and exit advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/coronavirus
US guests pelase see Travel State website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Turkey.html and U.S. Embassy in Turkey: https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/ankara/
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance before travelling, including but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. ALL members of the travelling party must be fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken regarding the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
Tours to Turkey are Activity Level 2 tours. They include a moderate level of physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable for you. Contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us before travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
• Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
• Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travellers, but please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water if distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time before travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
We recommend comfortable, cool clothes and shoes for tours to Turkey in the summer. As Turkey is a mainly Muslim country, it is sensible to cover your shoulders and legs. Include a smart outfit for cocktails and dinner if you wish. The weather should largely be warm throughout the summer, but it is a good idea to pack a light jacket in case of rain and cooler evenings.
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines have strict policies regarding the size and weight of checked-in baggage and carry-on luggage. Before your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements. Size and weight limitations vary according to the airline and destination.
Luggage handling is not included on this tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.
Laundry services may be available in some hotels on the tour.
Turkish is the official language of Turkey. English is often spoken in tourist destinations.
The time zone in Turkey is GMT+3, 3 hours ahead of London GMT.
Turkey’s climate is varied. The Mediterranean coast has a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild, wet winters. Eastern Turkey is mountainous with warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. Central Turkey, located on an interior plateau, has low rainfall and cold or very cold winters. In May and June, Istanbul has daily temperature ranges from 13 degrees in the evening to 27 degrees at midday, getting hotter as the months progress into high summer. Expect to need to prepare for cooler evenings and sun protection during the day. There is an average of 9 rainy days in Istanbul in May. 800km further south, Bodrum is hotter and drier. Daily average temperatures may reach the mid-30s.
Turkey operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. There are two standard plug types - type C with two round pins and type F with two round pins and earth clips on the side. You may need a plug adapter and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Smartphones generally work in Turkey, but older phone models are generally not compatible with the cellular phone network.
Foreign visitors may enter Turkey with only one mobile device each.
Most hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI.
Please check mobile phone and data roaming charges for Turkey with your service provider before leaving home. These can quickly become very expensive. You may need to speak to your network provider about registering for international roaming to avoid high charges.
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira, divided into 100 kurus.
Credit and debit cards are widely used in Turkey. It is advisable to carry a little cash for smaller, less formal establishments and purchases.
ATMs are widely available in cities and smaller towns. Turkish ATMs do not have alphabetical keypads so if you usually press a word for your PIN, translate this into the correct numbers before you travel. Expect to pay a service charge for using all ATMs in Turkey.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. Most high-end hotels also accept American Express.
If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip. It is advisable to also carry your bank’s international contact information with you. Bank fraud is so high in Turkey, sometimes the bank will still refuse transactions until you have contacted them to inform them that the transaction is genuine.
Travellers who have spent time visiting nearby countries in Europe may find prices in Turkey comparatively cheap for the same items.
• Bank Opening
There are no standard opening hours for businesses in Turkey. Most government departments and banks will be open 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5.30pm,
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Turkey is famous for a whole range of foods, from baklava to kebabs, pide -similar to pizza- to köfte. When in Turkey, everyone should take the time to sit down and share a meze - a selection of small, local, specialist dishes accompanied by a glass of red wine. Dark, strong and sweet Turkish coffee is the traditional conclusion to every meal in Turkey.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
We generally do not recommend that you drink tap water in Turkey. Water quality can be variable from place to place. It is good practice to bring your own water filtration bottle with an inbuilt filtration system that removes bacteria and pathogens from the water or buy bottled water. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.
Bargaining is a way of life in Turkey. In markets and bazaars, it’s acceptable to haggle over the price of souvenirs, which often lack price tags. This applies to everything from expensive items such as carpets or kilims and cheaper items like lokum (Turkish Delight) and spices. Once a price has been agreed, you are ethically committed to buying- don’t commence haggling unless you are sure you want the item.
Under Turkish law, it is an offence to buy, sell, export or even possess genuine antiquities (which includes fossils). When buying carpets and rugs, it is best to buy from a reputable seller. Make sure they supply you with a ‘fatura’- an invoice-recording the purchase price and also a declaration stating that the item is not an antiquity. If you do not have these documents, you will not be able to take the item through Customs on your way home.
• Opening Hours
Most shops are open from 9am to 7pm every day.
• VAT/Tax Refund
Shops may offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.
SAFETY & SECURITY
As a rule, Turkey is safe for tourism. The country remains one of the most popular destinations around the globe and most holiday-makers experience no problems. Nevertheless, it is sensible for all travellers to remain vigilant. Keep an eye on your belongings, use the room safe for important items and don’t carry large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery. Pickpocketing can be a problem in crowded and tourist areas.
Smoking is banned in most public places including restaurants and cafes and several outdoor spaces. Smoking is prohibited on all means of public transport.
Although Turkey is officially a secular country, Islam is the largest faith with almost 100% of the population identified as Muslim.
Turkey offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries, and a spare memory card!
You must not photograph or video anything military: bases, buildings, vehicles, Occasionally, some museums and sights may require payment of a photo/video fee, which allows photography and videography without a tripod or other professional equipment, for personal (non-commercial) use only. Most of the medium-sized and smaller sites do not charge a photo/video fee. aircraft, or soldiers on duty. If you see the Turkish words Fotograf yapmak yasak! (Taking photographs prohibited!) observe the restriction. These restrictions are rigorously enforced.
ARRIVAL IN TURKEY
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm. If arriving earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON YOUR TOUR ITINERARY
For those continuing their stay in other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tips pages for information on these countries.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as a camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of the content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained on the website.
Updated February 2023