Straddling western Asia and eastern Europe is the popular holiday destination, Turkey. A nation thriving with cultural influences from Persian, Roman, Greek, and Ottoman empires. Although a country famous for its kind locals, great food, and good value for money – there are a few things you should perhaps be aware of before booking your flight to this middle eastern paradise.
Pushy Shop Keepers
As you walk down the streets through popular market places, particularly in tourist areas, you may begin to feel harassed by shop keepers who insist you come in and buy something. Although a simple, ‘no thank you’ usually does the trick – some can be uncomfortably persistent. During my time in Turkey, I even had shop keepers going as far as placing their items in my hand and telling me I must buy because I had touched.
I found that wearing sunglasses to avoid making eye contact with them prevented the unwanted attention, but a stern no and continuing to walk past usually works. Don’t let yourself be forced into buying something you don’t want!
Whilst tourist locations are almost always fine with showing a little flesh – more religious sites forbid it. Tourists must remember that Turkey is a Muslim country; a religion that encourages women to cover themselves in public. So whilst sunbathing topless to avoid a patchy tan might be tempting, it could cause serious offence to some locals and draw unwanted attention to you. You should always sunbathe with your bikini top on and be covered from your shoulders to your toes before entering any religious sites in Turkey.
You Need a Visa
In Turkey, it is required that nationals from other countries obtain a visa. This isn’t always made clear when booking your Turkish holiday. You should also ensure that your passport is valid for six months from the date of your entry into Turkey. Without a visa, you will be refused entry and sent straight back home.
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira, however, in tourist locations, most currencies including Euro, British pounds, and US dollars are accepted as payment. They also offer the best rates and a mixture of the currencies should be carried around with you. Although there are ATM machines in most resorts, you might struggle to find one elsewhere – so make sure you have cash on you before boarding your flight. However, don’t exchange your local currency to Lira in the airport as the exchange rates are considerably higher.
You’ll also notice that in most stores there are very few price tags which means shopkeepers are open to negotiating their prices. If you’re a good negotiator you can reduce the price by up to 50%.
Using Your Mobile
When you arrive in Turkey, you will automatically connect too Turkcell, one of their three mobile operators but this is the most common. Since it is not a part of the EU, roaming prices in Turkey are far from reasonable and you most likely won’t be warned by your normal provider. For two days of roaming in Turkey and a handful of calls, my phone bill was bumped up by an extra £25. Most resorts, hotels, and restaurants offer free WiFi – just ask the staff for the code.
Written by Chloe Gascoigne