If you have booked your next holiday in the magical land of Turkey, you should make it a point to know certain things that will help you once you land in Istanbul. Turkey offers a unique mix of rich history, diverse cuisines, breathtaking landscapes, and an amalgamation of cultures. It can be the perfect destinations for tourists because natives are known for their hospitality.
10 Important Things you should know before you Travel to Turkey:
- Always carry cash: It is a good practice to carry cash with you when traveling to Turkey. While you can pay using credit cards in places like Istanbul and Izmir, smaller towns will ask you for cash. Besides, having cash handy is important for tipping waiters and paying taxis.
- Vegetarian cuisines: You may think that Turkish cuisine will have only meat offerings but the truth is vegetarians will be spoilt for choice at its local eateries. Veggies cooked in olive oil are one of their most popular offerings to be found in tradesmen’s restaurants. Almost all non-vegetarian restaurants will have meat platters on their menus featuring hummus, herbs, yogurts, and eggplant salads.
- Do not drink tap water: It is not a good idea to drink the tap water here, because no matter where you stay, people do not use this for drinking. You can use it to prepare food alright, but it is better to buy mineral water when you travel.
- Dress appropriately: Since the Turkish population is largely Muslim; you will find a lot of Islamic influence on the customs and behaviors of the locals. As a traveler, while you need not be clad in a burqa, you must know that dressing modestly is necessary to avoid unwanted attention. Having a scarf handy can be useful because you can drape it around if you feel cold, or use it to cover the head when entering mosques.
- Know a few Turkish phrases and words: This can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals outside big cities where people may not speak in English.
- Know how to greet them: This is important to know beforehand because Turkish people are typically affectionate and like to show their affection when greeting one another. First meetings usually include handshakes only, but if you meet someone whom you know already, you must kiss both cheeks.
- Unruly traffic: Crossing streets in Turkey can be a hazard because traffic rules are rarely obeyed. You should not expect cars to stop for you at pedestrian crossings. Even when following traffic lights, be sure to check that cars are not moving before you cross.
- Websites you cannot access: Knowing these is important because you may find yourself in trouble otherwise. For someone who uses booking.com to book hotel accommodations, it is necessary to know this site is banned in Turkey. Likewise, you cannot access PayPal in this country through computers, but you can use the mobile app for transactions.
- Visa entry: You will always need a visa to enter Turkey, even if you are from the US. Americans can get theirs within 5 minutes of applying for visas online. You should take a snapshot of the bar code and approval page provided in an online link.
- Bans drug use: Turkey has always been very strict about drug abuse and you should never expect any sort of leniency from the authorities in this matter. However, there is no ban on alcohol consumption or smoking.