1.Visas & Flights
As a Zambian citizen living in Ireland, needing a visa for most places I want to visit is something I’m used to but I was surprised to find that Brian who holds an Irish passport also required one. Before traveling to Turkey check the Visa requirements, if you need one don’t panic about Visa appointments. A Turkish Visa can be applied for and paid for online. It’s usually issued in a few days and all you need to do is print it out. How convenient!
One of the terms of my Turkish E-Visa is that I had to travel with Turkish Airlines. Now that I have traveled a few times traveling with Turkish Airlines is fine by me. The flights are comfortable , the food is decent and you can watch movies (something you take for granted until you use an airline that doesn’t have TVs). The only real disadvantage is the fact that this flight may not always be the cheapest flight but as a requirement of your visa, you have no choice. This is not a stipulation of all Visas however.
2. The Journey
We were traveling from Dublin to Izmir and there was an hour layover in Istanbul which is reasonable except for the fact that finding gates at Istanbul airport reminds me of the Where Waldo books I read as a child. With the language barrier we found it difficult to get directions to the gate (which ended up being in another building) and we almost missed the flight. It’s worth mentioning this because we were not the only ones. Bare in mind this was over two years ago so things may be different now.
Speaking of communicating, always have a print out of your hotel to give to your taxi driver if you are not using the airport shuttle.
The Turkish currency is the Lira and because of the economy you can expect some good rates for Dollars and Euros. Do not make your exchange at the airport or your hotel, you’ll always get better rates at your bank.
4. Clothes On
Turkey is primarily Muslim and because of this you need be respectful and mindful of your dress code so when you are not at the beach or your hotel/resort try to cover up unless you want all eyes to be on you. Trust me I had to learn this the hard way.
5. Savor the flavor
A lot of the big restaurants have adjusted their menus to cater for tourists. If you want to have the full Turkish experience and indulge in traditional Turkish cuisine, research the restaurants or look around for a while.
My favourite place to eat was a beautiful restaurant named Mado which serves authentic Turkish food and a large selection of amazing desserts.