You’ve booked your holiday to Turkey, you’re planning what you’ll do once you’re there, and you’re more than a little excited about the prospect of a week or two away from the daily grind. Keep the excitement levels going but make sure you’re well prepared with our handy guide to everything you need to know before you step foot in this fascinating country.
If you’re travelling to Turkey, you need a visa – or an e-visa, to be more precise. It’s a simple online process that takes no time at all to fill in on the Republic of Turkey’s e-visa website. What’s more, you can fill in the form up to three months before the date of your holiday. Your visa will be valid for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. That means if you’re planning multiple trips that last less than 90 days combined and you’re doing them all within 180 days, you can use this one e-visa. Read more information about Turkish visas if this is relevant to you.
Check Your Passport
It goes without saying that you need to ensure your passport is in date before you travel. However, according to Turkish authorities, you also need to make sure your passport is valid for a period of six months from the date of your trip to Turkey. It should also still be in date 60 days after your Turkish e-visa’s expiry date.
Paying for everything and anything by flashing a little piece of plastic is becoming the norm in the UK, but don’t bank on it in Turkey. While it’s easy to pay by card in big cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, it’s best to make sure you’ve got cash to hand when you’re exploring smaller places. You’ll need cash for things like taxis and restaurant tips, and to use public toilets.
PDAs or ‘Public Displays of Affection’ are not the done thing in Turkey. It’s best to keep kissing and hugging behind closed doors. That said, unlike in the UK, you may often see Turkish friends holding hands with each other or walking along with their hands on each other’s waists. There are a few rules when it comes to touching in public – you can find out more about Turkish customs and etiquette here.
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Sabanci Central Mosque in Adana, and Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara – Turkey is home to some seriously breathtaking mosques. If you’d like to step foot inside them though, you’ll need to make sure you’re suitably dressed. Both men and women need to ensure their arms and legs are covered. Women also need to cover their heads with a scarf. At some of the larger mosques such as the Blue Mosque, you’ll often find attendants who will give you a robe to cover your head and shoulders if you’re not wearing appropriate clothing. You don’t need to worry about footwear as you remove your shoes when you enter.
OK, so the word ‘insurance’ might not send your excitement levels into overdrive, but one thing’s for sure, it’s vital you have travel insurance covered before you set off on your holiday to Turkey. You’ll need to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities such as medical, baggage cover, passport cover, personal liability cover and more.
When it comes to drinking tea, Turkish people can give English folk a run for their money. Tea is a sign of friendship in Turkey and if you refuse a cup, you could well end up offending the person who offered it. It’s not unusual for shopkeepers to offer tea to their customers, so don’t be surprised to sip a cuppa while browsing for gifts to take home.
One quick last thing worth mentioning is that in Turkey you may run into a few restricted sites while using the internet – no worries though, check out this list of the best VPN’s for Turkey and you’ll be up and running in no time!
Turkey is a wonderful place to discover – whether you’re exploring the bazaars and world-famous sights of Istanbul, the ancient ruins of the city of Ephesus, or simply sunning yourself on the sands of the beautiful city of Bodrum. Make sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible with a bit of forward planning and you’ll have your whole holiday to sit back and relax.