Top 8 Insider Turkey Travel Tips In 2024

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Discover the best Turkey Travel Tips in 2024. Get insider advice to make your journey unforgettable. Start planning now!

Turkey is a place where the East and West become one. It is a country where you can find just about anything, from authentic bazaars and gorgeous food to historical sites that look like they’ve jumped straight out of a history book. But, like any vacation abroad, you might not be familiar with the cultural customs, traditions, what you must bring, and where you can and shouldn’t go.

hot air ballons in Turkey

So, to ensure you don’t run into any road bumps in your travels, we’ve prepared the best tips and tricks for navigating the Turkish culture and travel requirements. These aren’t your usual travel tips like “remember your passport,” though you do remember it.

Instead, these are nuggets of advice to help everything go smoothly as you experience Turkey’s rich culture, savor every bite of its incredible cuisine, and navigate your way around with a bit less hassle.

Without further ado, here are our top 8 best Turkey travel tips!

Getting To Know Basic Turkish Phrases: One Part Practice & One Part Technology

Tourists Speaking in Bazaar

If you have little to no Turkish, worry not! Most people here speak at least enough English to communicate everyday things. Especially in tourist spots like Marmaris and Cappadocia, two out of three people will probably be able to help you out when you’re in an instant.

Still, having a few Turkish phrases in your belt can make everything more accessible and fun. Turkish people love it when you speak in their language. And it’s not just about making yourself understood either; that’ll help you so much when connecting with locals. Trust me, even a simple “Merhaba” (Hello) or “Teşekkür ederim” (Thank you) can bring out smiles and warm welcomes.

You don’t need to be fluent, but knowing how to ask for directions (“Nasıl gidilir?”), order food, or even haggle in the markets (“Pazarlık yapabilir miyiz?”) can add a whole new layer to your travel experience. Plus, it’s fun!

Technology Is On Your Side

Phone apps for tourists

Translation help to communicate abroad back when you had a dictionary and nothing else. But now, there are endless tools and apps you can use to make it easier to communicate. Sometimes, you must type in what you want, and your phone will talk for you!

Tools like Google Translate can help you out when you’re trying to translate more than just one word, and it now can speak the output as well, which means that whatever you’re trying to explain, you can write it in your native language and Google will take care of the rest! And who knows? Those few words might become a full-blown conversation over Turkish tea.

Here are a few other tools to help you master the art of communication while in Turkey:

  • TripLingo: What makes TripLingo great is that you can speak into it, and it’ll read back your words in whichever language you choose. You can even choose the voice it uses.
  • Waygo: Waygo is similar to other translation tools but is also totally usable offline. So, if you think you might be stuck without the internet, it might be an excellent tool to help you navigate even offline.
  • Speak and Translate: Turkey is home to over 70 languages spoken by people of all nationalities and ethnicities. If you plan to spend time with people speaking some of the other popular languages in Turkey, like Kurdish and Laz, a tool like S&T specializing in minor languages can be a huge help. 

Turkey Travel Tips: The Ins and Outs of Making Payments

Souvenir Shop in Turkey

Turkey is a fascinating blend of old and new; unfortunately, this also extends to how transactions are done here. Card payments are common in big cities and tourist areas, but you’ll quickly find that cash is still king, especially in smaller towns, traditional markets, and taxis. 

Having some Turkish Lira on hand for places where cards might not be accepted is a good idea. They’re more common than you think.

Getting to grips with the Turkish Lira (TRY) is pretty straightforward. Notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 TL denominations, making paying for things easy. Coins, or ‘kurus,’ are also used, but it’s the notes you’ll be handling most of the time, as the coins are now pretty much valueless due to inflation. 

ATM in Turkey

When it comes to getting your hands on some Lira, here are your best options:

  • ATMs: These are easy to find almost everywhere in Turkey, and you can exchange currencies without having to queue or talk to anyone. But they don’t usually offer great exchange rates.
  • Airport Exchanges: Also very convenient, but offer the worst exchange rates out of all the options.
  • Currency Exchange Offices: Slightly more challenging to find, but these offices offer the best exchange rates. And they’re pretty standard in areas where a lot of shopping gets done, so it might be a good idea to get as much Lira as you need when you spot one.

One last tip: PayPal ceased its operations in Turkey in 2016, so finding someone with an account will be challenging if you use it to pay.

Turkey Travel Tips: Health & Safety Precautions

Interior of blue mosque

Turkey is a pretty safe country overall. Especially in financial and tourist hotspots, safety measures are probably higher than in most other holiday towns. And there’s also very little pickpocketing or luggage theft to worry about.

However, it’s still important to keep some things in mind to protect you against health hazards. If you’re driving, always do so slowly. Traffic can get hectic in many areas of Turkey, so you must go slowly and carefully. 

Stocking up on plenty of water might be a good idea, especially if you’re going to the Aegean/Mediterranean area, which can get scorching hot during the summer.

Also, having some mosquito repellent handy is a good idea if you plan to spend a lot of time out and about. And while we’re on about health, make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date, and check if any extra vaccines are advised for holidayers in the regions you’ll be visiting. You can also invest in travel insurance, such as Safetywing Travel Insurance, to secure your valuables if the worst happens.

In an emergency, 112 is the number you can use to contact the ambulance, law enforcement, etc. 

Exploring the Whole of Turkish Cuisine When Travel to Turkey

A tray of Baklava

Most of us probably think of kebabs when talking about Turkish cuisine, but it can’t be overstated how decadent the cuisine is beyond just the kebabs. 

Many of the famous Turkish dishes today originate from when chefs worked morning till dawn to find new dishes that the Ottoman sultans would enjoy. Some were successful and are still revered by their descendants; others weren’t so lucky.

Turkish pita lahmacun

But these high stakes made the cuisine have many varieties and uncommon ingredient combinations, culminating in almost perfect food. It would be a shame not to try some of these fantastic recipes. Here are some that both locals and return holidayers swear by:

  • Mezze: Aperitifs, usually served to accompany alcohol
  • Pide: Long pita bread with toppings
  • Manti: Turkish dumplings usually filled with lamb or beef, served with yogurt and a spice-infused butter
  • Kisir: A Turkish bulgur wheat meal mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses, and usually served with lettuce.
  • Sarma: Vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and aromatic herbs, often served with lemon and yogurt.

Knowing Your Visa Requirements When Visiting Turkey

Passport and Visa Requirements for Turkey

Before you start packing for Turkey, there’s one tedious task you should probably get out of the way – checking the visa requirements. Turkey’s visa rules can vary depending on where you’re coming from, but in general, many European countries either don’t require a visa or are pretty easy to get if they do.

Turkey has also made the visa process easier now with its e-visa system. It’s a simple online application that you can do without leaving home and usually takes just a few minutes. 

However, one thing to remember is that it might be a good idea to apply through the official Republic of Turkey e-visa website to avoid scams or extra fees. 

Turkey Travel Tips: Moving Around

Turkish bus dolmus

Turkey enjoys close to no traffic in most cities, especially in holiday towns like Bodrum. However, navigating by car in some of its most populated cities like Istanbul and Ankara might be much more challenging.

If you’re planning a visit to one of these cities, it might be a good idea to learn the basics of public transportation so as not to get rejected when boarding a bus because you don’t have a transportation card.

Each city has its public transportation options, and Istanbul relies heavily on boats to make it across the Bosphorus. A town like Ankara might only have a bus or underground service.

Regardless, passengers in all the big cities must get transportation cards, basically the Eastern cousin of an Oyster card in the UK. These are very simple, and tons of self-serve kiosks are available in several languages to get your card quickly. However, you do have to pay for these in cash, so be sure to have some on you lest you find yourself having to find an ATM in one of the world’s busiest cities. 

Turkey Travel Tips: Book Everything In Advance

Riverside village in Turkey

To make the most of your trip to Turkey, some planning goes a long way. The best time to visit Turkey is almost any time of the year. Turkey receives millions of holidayers yearly, which means that some of its most popular attractions, like Cappadocia and Pamukkale, can be very crowded. Booking your accommodations, tours, and even some restaurant reservations in advance can save you from missing out or waiting an hour to get in.

Accommodations: Booking your hotel in advance is a no-brainer unless you plan an improvised adventure. But if not, arrange your accommodation as soon as possible to score better deals and avoid having to arrange something at the last minute.

Tours and Attractions: Many famous tourist attractions, like the Hagia Sophia or Cappadocia, are packed during the summer, so pre-booking tickets can help you skip past those long lines. 

Restaurants: Most restaurants, even in some of Turkey’s more crowded areas, don’t require you to make reservations beforehand, but if you’re planning to go to some of the higher-end ones, like the Villa Bosphorus and Lacivert, you’ll probably have to consider making a reservation as they don’t allow walk-in guests.

Turkey Travel Tips: Bring Extra Batteries & a Power Bank

Charging your phone in Turkish cafe

Let’s face it: The last thing you want on holiday is for your phone or camera to die while taking a perfect photo or trying to find directions back to your hotel. Extra batteries for your camera and a reliable power bank for your phone can be lifesavers.

A power bank can be beneficial if you head to places far away from major cities, like Pamukkale or one of the famous hiking trails in the south, as there aren’t many convenience stores or shopping options here.

Write Down the Name & Address of Your Hotel

Here’s a simple tip that’s a bit old school but super handy: always write down the name and address of your hotel. It might sound a bit “back in the day,” but when you’re out and about in Turkey, having that bit of info in your pocket can be a real lifesaver in case the worst comes to the worst.

Anything can happen when you’re out of your comfort zone. Not everywhere you go will have a great internet connection. You might drop or lose your phone or run out of battery. But whatever happens, with a trusty old note of your hotel’s address in your pocket, you’ll always be able to get back to your room one way or another.

It’s a small thing that takes a minute to do before you head out for the day, but it can save you a lot of time and trouble later on. 

Pro Tip: Here’s a list of unique travel accessories you can get to cover your travel needs and look gorgeous at the same time.

FAQ on Turkey Traveling Tips

Before traveling to Turkey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with basic Turkish phrases to facilitate communication with locals. Additionally, ensure you understand the currency exchange rates and have some Turkish Lira (TRY) on hand, especially for transactions in smaller towns and markets. Check the visa requirements for your country and consider obtaining an e-visa in advance. Take necessary health precautions, including staying hydrated, using mosquito repellent, and ensuring your vaccinations are current. Lastly, research the local customs, traditions, and cultural norms to respect and appreciate the Turkish culture during your visit.

Yes, Turkey is generally friendly to American tourists. Many Turkish people are hospitable and welcoming to visitors from all over the world. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making communication easy for American tourists. However, respecting the local culture and customs is essential, as with any travel destination.

Turkey is considered safe for tourists, especially in major cities and destinations. However, it’s essential to stay informed about current events and exercise caution, particularly in areas near the Syrian border and in southeastern Turkey due to potential security risks. It’s also advisable to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations. With proper precautions and awareness, travelers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience in Turkey.

The ideal duration for a trip to Turkey depends on your interests and the destinations you plan to visit. For a comprehensive experience, allowing at least 10 to 14 days is recommended. This timeframe will enable you to explore major cities like Istanbul, historical sites such as Ephesus and Pamukkale, and scenic regions like Cappadocia. However, a week-long trip focusing on specific towns or regions can still provide a fulfilling experience if you have limited time.

Wrapping Up: Turkey Travel Tips

So, there you have it – my top 8 pieces of wisdom for having a flawless time in Turkey. From learning a few Turkish phrases to jotting down your hotel’s address, these tips are all about making your trip smoother and a bit more fun. 

Turkey’s a beauty of a destination, and with some prep, you can focus solely on the food, historical sites, hot air balloons, and exploring the ins and outs of this wonder of a country.

Pin these Turkey Travel Tips!

Discover the best Turkey Travel Tips in 2024. Get insider advice to make your journey unforgettable. Start planning now!


Brenda: + 34 years old + Puerto Rican + Viajera Boricua + Master in Cultural Tourism + Foreign Language Major + Hispanic Studies Minor + Portuguese + Italian + Russian + Literature Freak + ♥’s Indie Music + Volleyball Enthusiast + Tricolor do Morumbi(SPFC) + San Antonio Spurs +

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