10 Tips For Travel In Turkey

For an unforgettable travel experience in Turkey, these 10 tips for travel in Turkey are a must read. After familiarizing yourself with tips for travel in Turkey, use them as needed. For the seasoned traveler some of the following tips are superfluous, but for the neophyte traveling abroad for the first time the following tips are invaluable.

  1. Register with your embassy or consulate office. This is the first and most important tip for a safe and enjoyable trip to Turkey. Register upon arrival with your embassy, and provide personnel with a copy of your itinerary, passport and visa, to contact family or friends in case of an emergency.
  2. Do not drink the tap water. To avoid any digestive tract issues, avoid drinking the tap water, and only drink bottled or boiled water. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables using bottled or boiled water. 
  3. Do not carry original travel documents. Before any outing, secure your original passport and visa in hotel safe, and keep copies of these documents with you at all times.
  4. Terror alerts. Terrorist activities in Turkey are on the rise, particularly in eastern and southeastern Turkey. U.S. citizens, tourists, and Christians are key terrorist targets. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK, also known as Kongra Gel), and the Kurdistan Liberation Falcons (TAK, also known as Kurdistan Freedom Hawks) are the most active terrorist groups in Turkey. Watch the news, read newspapers, and where there is reported violence or threats of violence avoid the area.
  5. Crime. Stay alert when moving about in the populous cities of Izmir and Istanbul, where petty crime is on the increase. Pick pockets, purse snatchers, and muggers target tourists which are usually preceded by diversionary tactics. Be especially vigilant in areas around Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar, and Spice Bazaar. 
  6. Enjoy, but exercise caution in coed hammams.  Embassy and consulate officials have voiced concerns about a spike in crimes against women tourists. In response to reported use of “date rape” drugs, women have been cautioned to request a female attendant in mixed hammams or Turkish baths.
  7. Scams. Male tourists traveling alone should tread carefully when approached by strangers who then issue an invitation to go with them to a local bar or nightclub for drinks. On arrival at the bar, women will join the group, and at the end of the night present you with an exorbitant drinks tab for the ladies. The bar, men, and women are in on the scam.  A second scam begins in the same manner, but with a twist; drugs or alcohol are added to your drink, and the night ends with you waking up in a strange place robbed of your valuables.  Use the same care you would in a strange city in your native country. Report crimes to local police, and to your embassy or consular offices.
  8. Familiarize yourself with Turkish laws. It is illegal to speak disrespectfully of the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish government, or the Turkish flag.  It is also illegal to conduct missionary activities in Turkey.
  9. Female clothing important in Turkey. When female travelers venture outside the urban areas, or visit mosques expose as little skin as possible.  Out of respect for your host country women should wear head covering, long sleeves, pants, or longer dresses or skirts.
  10. Healthcare. In preparation of your trip to Turkey, check with your insurance agent to determine if your health insurance policy extends to coverage in foreign countries, and if it does not, purchase insurance coverage for your trip.    

When these ten tips for travel in Turkey are incorporated into your travel plans, there will be less things to worry about, leaving you with more time to enjoy the beauty of this history filled country.  

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