Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the Turkish Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
Turkey uses the Turkish lira. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs, available in most cities, are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
Turkey has 230 V at 50 Hz, with a type C or F socket. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available in major cities throughout Turkey. Some of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. Though not as common as they used to be, look for Internet cafés in the main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
On many a shopper's bucket list is the dream of plucking treasures from the colorful stalls of the covered Turkish bazaars. In Istanbul, you can roam through the mesmerizing Grand Bazaar. With thousands of shops, it has thrived and entertained shoppers for more than 550 years as one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. An absolute must-shop!
What to shop for in Turkey? Leather luxuries are always an idea, as Turkey is the biggest leather producer in the world. Hand-woven rugs, carpets and kilims abound, too. In the markets, you'll be tantalized by silk dresses and scarves, alabaster, copperware and brassware, handmade Cappadocian pottery, olive oil soap, Iznik tiles, brass samovars, and meerschaum pipes.
Bargaining is an art form in Turkey, so don't be shy about trying to negotiate a better price. Patience and a little indifference toward the item might go a long way. Do be cautious about older goods, however. Many so-called "antiques" are fakes and items over 100 years old may be forbidden to take from Turkey or subject to heavy restrictions.
We suggest the following tipping rates: Taxis 10-15% of the fare on the meter, Restaurants and bars 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all.
As with most of Europe, traveling within cities and towns can be easily done on foot, by bus, train or taxi. If your travel plans include two or more cities, bus and rail networks will get you to and from quickly and efficiently. For the more adventurous, rental cars may be an option.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a jacket and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. Be sure to bring appropriate attire if you plan to visit any mosques. With the prevalent Muslim culture, Turkey is generally rather modest and conservative, though it has plenty of modern influences, especially in the cities.