United States citizens must have a VALID PASSPORT. Be sure to carry it with you at all times. Do NOT pack it in your suitcase; you will need to present your passport at the airport and will be denied boarding without it. As a precaution, make a copy of the photo page of your passport and pack it in a place away from where you carry your actual passport. This will facilitate replacement if you should lose it while traveling.
It is generally necessary for your passport to be valid for six (6) months beyond the date of your return to the United States. We recommend that you communicate in writing with the visiting countries’ consular offices and the international air carrier that you are using.
A visa IS required in Turkey. One can be purchased at the point of entry into the country at a current cost of $100 [subject to change].
What are the health requirements - do I need any shots?
No immunization vaccinations are required of U.S. or Canadian citizens traveling from the U.S. and Canada to Turkey. It is a good idea to check with your personal physician, however, to see if any shots are recommended at the time you travel.
How much luggage shall I bring?
As little as possible! If you will be traveling by ferry, hydrofoil, inter-island airline, or rental car, luggage space is quite limited. It is recommended that you travel with one piece of luggage plus one carry-on bag. If you are traveling on a Travels with Leftheris™ trip, baggage handling fees are included for one piece of luggage per person; additional luggage is subject to a supplementary porterage charge.
What clothing should I bring?
In summer months (May - September) bring casual clothing made of lightweight fabrics. A shawl, sweater, or light jacket is recommended for cooler evening breezes. In the spring/fall (mid-March through April; October through November) a wardrobe which allows "layering for warmth" is best. Lightweight wools and a raincoat with zip-out lining are suggested. In any case bring comfortable walking shoes. If you will be hiking, over-the-ankle, Vibram-soled hiking boots are required. Jeans and slacks are acceptable, but at evening events you may wish to wear dressier clothing. Some restaurants in metropolitan areas require a tie and jacket for men.
Are there any dress requirements at monasteries or mosques?
In Turkey, the faithful are called to prayer five times a day. When visiting a mosque, visitors must remove their shoes and show respect. Avoid visits during prayer time. At churches and monasteries, women are required to wear appropriate length dresses or skirts with sleeved blouses (i.e., clothing that covers the shoulders and knees) and men are required to wear slacks and shirt. In addition, at archaeological sites, swimsuits are forbidden.
Will I be able to find a Laundromat?
Laundromats are often inaccessible to travelers, so bring laundry detergent and be prepared to wash clothes in your sink. Luckily, things dry quite quickly in the Mediterranean climate. Of course, some hotels do have laundry service.
What is the currency of Turkey?
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira. Since exchange rates fluctuate daily, check your local newspaper or contact your bank for the most current rate of exchange.
Should I exchange money before I go?
It is not necessary to change money in the U.S. before you leave, nor do we recommend it because you lose over 10% in the exchange value. There are exchange banks in all major airports and you can change money at hotels, train stations, banks, and post offices. If you have a Visa, Master Card or American Express automatic teller machine (ATM) card, you may be able to use it to withdraw cash from Turkish ATMs. They are not as ubiquitous as in the States, however. Check with your bank for ATM locations abroad.
What about electricity?
The standard household electrical current throughout Turkey is 220v AC.
Can I drink the water?
In Turkey, bottled water is recommended.
What about tipping?
Waiters, drivers, hotel personnel, bellboys, bus drivers, and guides are usually tipped. If you are traveling on a Travels with Leftheris™ trip, the tour leader will handle all gratuities for those who assist the group. Eating establishments include a mandated 15% in the bill. It is customary to leave an extra 5-10% for the assistant waiters who do the odd jobs around the table. Baggage handlers expect a tip of $1 per bag. On both organized and private tours, guides are customarily tipped $4-$5 per person per day; drivers are tipped $2-$3 per person per day. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip.
What’s the driving like in Turkey?
Traffic rules are the same as in the U.S. or on the European continent; driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Passing on the right side is strictly prohibited. We do not recommend independent travel by rental car in Turkey. Tours (either private or organized) or travel by public transportation or chauffeured car is preferred.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
Yes, an international driver's license is recommended.
Can I get my medications while traveling?
Bring enough of your prescription medications so that you will not run out away from home. You may not find the same medications in Turkey, and your doctor’s prescription may not be honored. If you wear prescription glasses or sunglasses, bring along an extra pair for backup. Certain over-the-counter drugs may be useful to pack as they may not be readily available: Tylenol, Advil, Contact, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, Maalox, Lomotil, and vitamins. If you do purchase medication while traveling, please be aware that both over-the-counter and prescription drugs purchased abroad may be illegal in the United States. Do not bring medication bought abroad back home with you.