It doesn’t matter if it’s your first trip to Turkey or your hundredth, everyone makes mistakes – its human natures little slap around the face. But, with a little planning and foresight, many of the most common and costly mishaps can be avoided. Here’s the 10 most common mistakes to avoid when visiting Turkey.
1. Overpacking (Bringing everything but the kitchen sink)
Most of us are guilty of this! The cases are open on the bed in the spare room and you eagerly start packing weeks in advance. A trip shopping to buy ‘just one more bikini’ turns into a mammoth trip – the Primark bag multiplies and has babies. You end up struggling to find space for all the essential new toiletries, shoes and little onesies for the kids and get home questioning how the hell all these necessities can be crammed into your case in under 20 kilos. Shopping is a necessity but can be evil. Do you really need it all? Toiletries, beach towels, clothes – in fact, most of the stuff you will need can be found locally and a lot of them cheaper. Bring the basics, save your strength and your money, don’t over-pack!
2. Check your mobile phone plan – don’t run up crazy charges!
If you don’t do this it could be costly. Check your cell phone plan. What are the provider’s charges for international data roaming? If you’re not covered, turn off data roaming before getting on the plane, you will still be able to use WiFi in resort but you then avoid roaming charges that can be incredibly costly (speaking from experience!). If you do really need data, pay for an international plan or buy a SIM card locally (about 50TL or c£10 from most Turkcell, Vodaphone or mobile shops), register it on your passport and pop it in an unblocked old phone or face getting home to a shocking bill.
3. Check your passport and buy E-Visa’s.
To visit Turkey you need at least 6 months left on your passport – the authorities will check. Most foreigners also need to purchase an e-visa for entry into the country, this is where you need to be careful as there are many websites and agents online that make the process sound complicated, offering to organise your visa for you for an extra fee – the process is easy, don’t be ripped off! Head to the official website: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/, follow the instructions and buy one direct from there. If you do forget, you can buy one when you get to the airport, but it will be an extra hassle, and it will cost you more.
4. Change your cash in Turkey, exchange rates are better!
Don’t change all your cash into local currency in the UK, you are unlikely to get the going rate and in many cases you receive significantly less. The best exchange rates are in the banks and exchange shops here in Turkey, even the ATM at the airport on arrival will probably give you a better rate than back home. Change a little before you arrive just to buy a little water or snack if you need it, but exchange the bulk of it here in resort.
5. Check to see if your bank charges you for drawing from international ATMs.
A lot of people simply draw the cash they need, as they need it, from local ATMs. This is safer than carrying or stashing cash but do check what your bank charges for the privilege and if there are additional charges for currency exchange. Also, do the same with your credit card company also informing them of your impending trip to avoid your account being flagged and blocked for ‘unusual transactions’ should you buy something locally.
6. Travel insurance – buy some!
Do invest in travel insurance, hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do it will all be worth it and will save you a fortune. Also check what activities are covered on your policy. Chances are the likes of paragliding or diving won’t be covered, so if you are planning a few extreme activities, keep that in mind and book additional cover if necessary.
7. Keep your valuables safe.
Although rare, theft is a reality here in Turkey as it is everywhere in the world. Make use of the hotels safe, don’t flash cash in public and keep the wearing of expensive jewellery to a minimum.
8. Save money haggling.
Haggling is expected here in Turkey. If the price is stated on the item, chances are the price is the price (e.g. supermarkets, brand stores, Starbucks etc.), but if you’re in an open market buying some shoes or a jacket, or buying a rug or leather bag, haggle! Start around 30% less and chances are you will come away with it at least 10 or 15% cheaper.
9. Do your homework on your destination.
Turkey is very diverse, as is Fethiye. The resorts here are all different, as are the hotels and accommodation options. Check reviews on Trip Advisor, read local online groups and blogs, keep an open mind and book sensibly. If you have mobility issues or intend pushing a double stroller around, don’t book a remote hotel up a mountain and expect to walk everywhere unless you are very fit, you will need to hire a car or rely on public transport or taxis – maybe a hotel or apartment nearer the centre of resort will be a better bet? Fancy an evening out? Check reviews and ask people by the pool where to go. If you are intending doing a few excursions, shop around and ask which is the best company and trip, there are some wonderful places to visit but the cheapest is not always the best. Companies need to make up the money somehow so drinks on the cheap daily boat trips may be expensive, or you may have to stop off on compulsory trips around gold shops or Turkish delight factories en-route.
10. Negotiate taxi prices beforehand.
Most taxis and transfers in Turkey are metered or set prices, but do be sure to check how much it will be to your destination before you get in, especially from the airport or at night and if it seems very expensive, haggle. If there’s a few of you, taxis may work out cheaper than public transport. If you are likely to take a few taxis during your stay, ask for the taxi drivers number or card, they may even do you a special rate.
Do come to Turkey as I’m sure you will enjoy yourself.
Don’t be put of coming due to the above, these are just mistakes to avoid when visiting Turkey and should go someway to helping you make the most of your time here. Writing the article I could think of many other tips e.g. bring lots of sunscreen as it’s expensive here and you will need it, and do use your allowance and buy import alcohol at the duty free on the way over (again expensive here). Has anyone else got any suggestions? Do comment and let us know.
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Thanks for reading 🙂