5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Turkey
Turkey breathes cultural diversity of its most charming feature. The mosaic monuments, churches, imperial mosques. All mark the architectural exultation of layers of history and have numerous stories embedded in them. The aromatic assortment of cuisines, friendly people, adventure activities, all this combines to make the city even more alluring to visit and discover.
Before you set off for an incredible vacation to Turkey, there are a few things you need to have handy. Like other countries, Turkey also has some basics to acknowledge before you plunge into its beauty. So, here are some quick tips and alerts for a hassle-free trip!
1. Currency, costs, tipping, and bargaining:
Cheques are no longer in use nowadays. Therefore, always keep cash on you unless you find a machine that will accept your card. There are many ATMs across Turkey but check with your bank first about the exit fee. Other than that, the US Dollars and Euros are the trouble-free currencies to exchange and convert at the best rates.
Restaurants are 10-15% usual in upmarket in Turkey with good services. However, the waiting staff does not earn much thus tipping will be a great help. Round up the fare for taxi drivers or add the extra US $1-2 if they help with your bags.
Always check prices – on the menu before ordering your meal and bill or taxi meter before paying – and ask for any discrepancies.
Some negotiations are ordinary in carpet shops, first find out the price and the currency they are referring to you. It is OK to ask for a better price. If that fails, stand up and say you are getting late, before one last check to see if it is the best they can do. The important thing is to buy something because you like it.
2. Know how to dress appropriately:
99% of the Turkish population is Muslim, so religious beliefs influence everyday behaviors and customs you are likely to experience, whether in cosmopolitan centers or traditional rural communities. It does not mean that women traveling in Turkey have to cover themselves from head to toe, but being aware of proper etiquette and modest dress helps you avoid unwanted attention.
For instance, a scarf is the perfect multi-purpose go-to. Either you can drape it around your shoulders, or you can cover your hair when you want to enter a mosque.
3. Are Turkish people friendly?
Yes! Turkish people are incredibly amazing. They love to help and often ask questions such as “How old are you?” or “How much money do you earn?” Try to respond to them with good grace because they have a genuine desire to know about your life.
Anything makes you different such as your skin color, hair, and clothing. It makes you an object of fascination, especially outside urban areas.
4. A few Turkish words and phrases go a long way:
Outside the tourist areas, many people don’t speak English even in big cities so learning some basics will be helpful. In case, you receive an invitation from a local family home for Turkish coffee or tea, knowing even a few words is much appreciated. However, some unscrupulous people take advantage of that friendly nature.
It is important to understand non-verbal communication in Turkey. Turkish hospitality means you are offered more food and drink than you wish. To stop the flow, just put your hand on your heart as you say. If you are being pressured to buy something or give money and it doesn’t work, tilt your head back and forth, making a loud noise with your tongue. It may sound rude to do so, but it works.
Understanding Turkish non-verbal communication is essential, particularly when it comes to saying no. Turkish hospitality means you will get more food and drink than you want. To stop the flow, simply put your hand on your heart as you say no. If you are under pressure to buy something or give money and saying no isn’t working, tilt your head up and back while making a brisk tsk sound with your tongue. It might feel rude to do so, but it works.
5. Traditional Turkish toilets:
While most Turkish hotels, museums, and restaurants have western-style toilets, you will frequently encounter squat toilets on your travels. I prefer them because they are often cleaner.
The floor of the stalls is sometimes wet but, you do not have to worry about it, it is just clear water splashing around. They have a faucet with water flowing along the squat area because Turks usually use water instead of paper, so remember to keep a packet of tissues in your bag. Hand sanitizer is also a good idea.
The majority of public toilets in Turkey charge a small fee, so it is wise to carry change. Most mosques have toilets (some of them free), so you will never be caught short.