Costly Travel Mistakes to Avoid in Turkey
There is a time-honoured belief that travel broadens the mind. Mark Twain, author of the most famous travel book “Innocents Abroad” summed it up perfectly when he said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
However, on odd occasions, the experience can be costly, especially when it comes to travel mistakes that had we been forewarned, wouldn’t have made.
It is natural to make mistakes as human beings, especially when we venture into a country of which the culture, food, traditions and destinations are entirely new to us. Making the occasional social faux pas can easily be laughed off as a blunder in cultural differences.
However, when the mistake ruins the trip or even more, hits us in the pocket, it can turn the holiday of a lifetime into an experience you never want to repeat. So, if you are planning to visit Turkey for the first time, what do you need to know to ensure you save money and avoid unnecessary charges?
5 Costly Travel Mistakes to Avoid in Turkey
Before you leave….
1: Passports and E-visas
Turkey is one of the countries that request all international visitors to have at least 6 months validity in their passport. You should also apply for an e-visa before you arrive, but this is where you need to be careful.
Many websites on the internet offer their services as an agent. They apply for the visa and charge extra for that service, in some cases as much as 100%. The process of applying for an e-visa for Turkey is so simple and straightforward that you don’t need an agent to do it for you. Here is the official website. https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
2: Currency Exchange
Changing all your money into Turkish lira before you leave is convenient, but can be costly, especially if you have lots of spending money. Exchange shops and banks in Turkey offer a far better rate than your travel agent or airport back home ever can. Exchange a small amount of money to keep you going when you first arrive and then change the rest when you get here.
3: Fees, Fees, Fees and More Fees!
The fees we pay to banks and mobile phone providers, while abroad can soon add up to a staggering amount. Before you leave, check with your bank as to whether you will be charged for withdrawing cash from ATM machines in Turkey. Also, check the terms and conditions attached to using your credit card.
We’ve all read horror stories of people who have racked up humungous mobile telephone bills because they didn’t cap their international roaming data, yet it is easily overlooked. In such cases, playing online games or watching videos via the internet on your mobile phone can incur bills running into hundreds of pounds.
Most hotels in Turkey offer free wi-fi or speak to your mobile phone provider before you leave and enquire about their roaming charges or whether they have an international data plan.
When you arrive….
4: Restaurants Prices and Service
99% of the restaurants in Turkey are honest. However sometimes people make mistakes, and on the odd occasion, we might even be the target of a waiter who sees an easy catch. Always ask for the bill and check it to see what you have been charged for. The standard tipping charge in restaurants is 10% dependent on how happy you are with the service. It is not usual practice to tip if you have only had drinks.
Also, prices in beachfront restaurants are higher than restaurants in residential areas, so that beautiful sea view ends up costing you. Over a two-week holiday, eating in restaurants away from the seafront can save a lot of money especially if you are a family.
5: Bargaining in Touristic Resorts
Many people from western countries don’t like bargaining or haggling over prices, yet if you don’t do it in Turkey, you will miss great opportunities to save money. Many vendors, especially in the touristic places expect foreigners to bargain so, have already set high prices.
Haggle on items without price tags, so shopping malls, brand name shops, restaurants, and bars etc are exempt, but for purchases like Turkish carpets and leather goods, there is much money to be saved!
Finally, Keep an Open Mind
This isn’t a travel mistake to avoid but more of a tip for seasoned travellers and people looking to buy property in Turkey or retire here as expats.
The culture and traditions of Turkey are so incredibly diverse, you would need to read a library full of books just to understand it. The difference in social protocols from the east to the west can make them seem like two different countries, while the plateau landscapes and weather climate of the black sea are a complete contrast to the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean in the North.
Holiday towns like Didim on the Aegean coast have a British feel to them because of the large expat community, but over on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is a hardcore favourite destination of the Russians. Keep an open mind, to discover the diversity that keeps people coming back to Turkey every year.