Knowing how to plan for your trip and what to expect makes for more anticipation and less anxiety. Before you go, below are some useful tips for traveling in Turkey:
1. Before you go: Before traveling to Turkey, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months beyond your stay. A visa is required for US citizens, which can be obtained on arrival at the airport or border post for a fee. This tourist visa allows a stay for up to three months in Turkey. The fee must be paid for in hard currency cash; euros, Japanese yen, UK pounds, or US dollars are acceptable.
2. When to go: The best months to visit Turkey are between May - October. If you are visiting in July or August, it is wise to bring a sun hat and sunscreen to protect against the blazing sun. Sunscreen is expensive in Turkey, so it is a good idea t o bring it along. If you are visiting in the winter, you will need warm clothes as the temperatures may go as low as 5F especially in the central eastern parts of Turkey.
3. What to pack: Clothes in Turkey are both inexpensive and fashionable. Therefore, pack lightly, as you can buy clothes there. Take along flat shoes for walking as the sidewalks are often not only uneven, but also broken with unexpected holes. Take along some shoes for the water as many beaches are rocky. Most basic supplies are inexpensive in Turkey, but sunscreen is not - so bring that with you.
4. Dressing in Turkey: When visiting mosques and religious sites you will need to remove your shoes upon entering. Dress needs to be modest for both men and women. Women are required to cover their heads with a scarf. In addition, men and women are required to wear clothes that cover their legs and shoulders. Silence is required inside the mosques and most mosques are closed to visits during prayer times.
Avoid beachwear while visiting places other than the beach. While Turkey is a secular culture, in cities it is important to dress like one dresses in a city in the USA.
5. Food in Turkey: Drink only bottled water while in Turkey. Though tap water can be drunk, even the Turks drink only bottled water.
To experience real Turkish food, find restaurants off the main tourist areas. Find restaurants where food and prices are local. Try Raki while eating mezze, small appetizers. Keep track of what you ordered and notice the prices so you will han no surprise when you get the bill. Eat in tiny places, fancy restaurants and huge places - the food is superb!
6. Shopping In Turkey: There are no fixed prices in Turkey. In small shops and in markets, bargaining is part of Turkish culture. Before you make a purchase, try to get the prices down as low as possible. In most cases, just leave the shop or vendor and pretend to walk away. You will probably be invited back to the shop by the vendor, asking what your best offer is. Then, feel free to declare your own price. Bargaining margins start at 10% and can easily go up to 60%.
7. Visiting museums and other sights: Most museums are closed at least one day a week. If you are traveling independently, check the dates and times of museum openings. Archeological sites can be visited every day of the week from 9 am to 5pm, in the summer. In the winter, it is a good idea to check these times as well.
8. Getting Around: An inexpensive transportation system in Turkey is a dolmus, which is a cross between a bus and a taxi. The dolmus has a predefined route - you can get on at certain locations, but you can get off anywhere. It usually will cost about 50 cents and the driver won't take a tip.
9. Tipping: In Turkey it is common to leave a 10% tip for good service at restaurants, to guides and to taxi drivers.
10. Public restrooms: Finding public restrooms in Turkey can be a problem. Although hotels have improved standards, small restaurants will sometimes have "holes' as toilets. On the other hand, all mosques have public restrooms, or "Tuvalet". In Turkish, "Bay is the word for men and "Bayan" for women.
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Which Caribbean cruise is the best?
Im thinking of taking a caribbean cruise during the summer to the caribbean. is the eastern,southern,or western the best route to take? also if anyone knows a good cruise line with good deals please answer
The best itinerary for you really is based on what you want to do off the ship when you cruise in port stops
Western Caribbean cruises typically go to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize, Jamaica and a private cruise line island. If you go to Cozumel there is the opportunity to buy a tour to see Mayan ruins, if that's your interest. Its considered the best place to go for scuba and snorkeling. If you go to Jamaica the two main attractions are a river raft float trip (not rapids) and the Dunn's River Falls climb. If you go to Grand Cayman you will likely want to go to 7-Mile Beach or do a swim with the dolphins/stingrays tour. So Western Caribbean will get you Mayan ruins as an option.
Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean typically go to St Thomas, St Maarten, a private cruise line island and maybe another island like Tortola or Puerto Rico. If you want to do a lot of shopping then pick a cruise with St Thomas as one of the port stops. St Maarten is also mainly a beach and shopping stop. Right now St Thomas has some issues with it's water supply for restaurants downtown.
Most Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises have a private island stop where the ship takes food ashore for an all day beach party with games and entertainment. All of the cruise lines have what they call their private island and you can have a great day on these islands; only ship's people on them for the day. Royal Caribbean has THE best private island I have ever been to at Labadee, Haiti. Its a huge place that has multiple beaches and many activities. RC's ships the Freedom and The Liberty which do both the Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries both have stops at Labadee. But all of the cruise lines have their own private islands where their ships stop for the day.
The Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries typically start in Puerto Rico and go either to Aruba, Curacao, and St Thomas and St Maarten, OR they go to the southern Caribbean islands like Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, St Lucia and maybe St Thomas and/or St Maarten. For the most part these latter islands are very much alike but nice to see. The main difference between these two Southern Caribbean itineraries, aside from the different islands, is the Aruba cruise has two "at sea" days with no port stops, while the other has a port stop about each day. Then there are some cruises that leave from Florida (Ft Lauderdale) that are 14/15 days and go to all of the southern Caribbean islands.
My favorite cruise line is Royal Caribbean but you cannot go wrong with Celebrity, Princess or Holland America. If you are looking for a real budget cruise and a party ship go on Carnival. If you want to basically be informal the whole cruise go on Norwegian. My ranking of the cruise lines would be Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland, Norwegian, and Carnival. Carnival is the budget cruise line with the lowest prices but you get what you pay for. All of the cruise lines have specials or discounts and give the best prices for early bookings 6 months to a year in advance.
Remember that June through November is hurricane season and if you do cruise during that time period is is highly advisable to buy travel insurance.
Here's a Video about eastern caribbean cruise routes:
Carnival Fantasy video "6 nt Eastern Caribbean Cruise" ex Charleston