1. Are visas required to tour in Turkey?
Yes, YOU CAN NO LONGER PURCHASE VISAS AT THE AIRPORT, YOU MUST PURCHASE AND PRINT THEM ONLINE BEFORE TRAVELING. For online applications see our blog post here: e-Visa Instructions
2. Does Sojourn customize tours?
Yes, that is in fact our specialtiy. As a team of Americans and Turks working together we have the team to tailor make your perfect trip. If you prefer set tours on specific dates, we offer those as well. See the Tours page for more info.
3. Medical services? Food & Water?
Turkey has incredible spring water, bottled and available everywhere, it is wonderful. While the tap water is generally safe to drink, why pass up the chance to enjoy the great spring water. Turkish cuisine covers a wide range. From Kebap restaraunts, to vegeterian meals to fresh fish, there is more than enough variety available. Also, food sanitation in Turkey tends to be quite good, as most locals judge a restaraunt first by its cleanliness.
Turkish medical standards are quite high and in all major cities there are private hospitals that are modern, clean, and have well trained staff. If you have specific medical concerns please let us know.
4. How to handle money? Cash? ATMs? Credit Cards? Currency?
In Turkey the Turkish Lira is the currency divided into 100 kurus. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Bills are common as are 1 lira, 50, 25, 10, and 5 kurus coins. 1 kurus coins are seldom used though available.
Most touristic establishments will exchange US dollars, Euros, and British Pounds, with pricing generally in Turkish Lira, though sometimes Euro.
The best way to access your finances is with an ATM or Credit Card. Visa and Mastercard as well as all US and European ATM cards are widely accepted, and there are ATM machines almost literally on every corner. Be sure to notify your card company that you will travel to Turkey to ensure a security hold doesn’t limit your access.
5. What’s the electric system in Hotels?
Turkey has the same electric and plugs as mainland Europe. 220 V with 2 rounded prong plugs. Most digital electronic equipment works on 110-240 V, just check the UL tab on it. If so you can use only a plug adaptor to change the physical shape, if not you’ll need a power transformer.
6. Is travel / tour insurance provided?
No, but we do recommend you purchase travel insurance to protect your trip.
7. Advanced booking recommendations?
We recommend that you book as far in advance as possible all travel. Every city in Turkey has unique high seasons, due to weather or local holidays and to ensure the widest choices, book early.
8. Hotels: Single/ Triple/ roomates?
All our trips are priced based on 2 people sharing a room (double occupancy). Single and triple occupancy are limited for most trips. Also, if you are traveling with a group and want a specific roommate, please let us know in advance, as housing arrangements tend to be settled long before you arrive.
Turkey is a fantastic place to travel with kids, mainly because Turks have a deep love for children. Be forewarned though that they may get affection and attention more than in their home country. There are also city parks everywhere and hotels, as well as other tourist establishments are often very accomodating to kid’s unique needs.
10. Custom/ Group discounts?
Since we focus on custom design itineraries, please let us know the specifics and we’ll give you the most competitive prices possible.
11. Tell me about vehicles? Boats?
Transportation is always in vehicles newer than 3 years old. All our vehicles are well maintaned, Air Conditioned and insured. Minibuses carry up to 12 people, midibuses can carry 24, and full size buses can carry 40+. If you have specific vehicle needs let us know.
Boat travel in Turkey can vary from ferries in Istanbul to Gulets on the Mediterranean coast. We’ll give you details according to your itinerary.
12. Weather and time to travel?
Turkey being quite large, bordered by three seas and having many high mountains and plains has every kind of weather almost all year. Summers though tend to be very hot, dry inland and very humid on the coasts. Winters likewise are cold with snow inland, and somewhat more mild on the coast. The Mediterranean region is short sleeve weather from April to October during the day. Istanbul from May to mid September.
The best times to travel are September to November and April to early June. The weather in all of Turkey is much too warm for touring during the summer months, and it is very crowded with beachgoing holiday makers. Prices tend to be much lower as well in the Spring and Fall. December to March can have great weather, but there may be snow as well. Prices are lowest then.
13. Can I customize your tours?
Of course, just let us know which tour and how you would like to change it.
14. About Sojourn Turkey’s guides?
As picky travellers ourselves, we demand the best in guides. All guides are trained and officiallly licensed by the Tour Guide board in Turkey. We also find that guides that are somewhat older tend to have more insight. Most guides have degrees, some even Masters and Doctorates and all speak English well.
15. Hotels and selections? / Restaurants?
See our Hotels pages for more information. We include most meals at restaurants that are reputable, and our guides can give you direction on where to eat during your tour as well.
16. Trip Safety? Women travellers?
Violent crime among unrelated people here is almost unheard of. It is certainly much safer than the US or England even at night. Tourists as in many countries may be the target of petty theft, but this too is rare. Even so, we recommend that you keep your wits about you, store and lock valuables when you are not with them and be aware of your surroundings.
For women travellers, Turkey is a safe place. The few problems that do arise are from women wandering around well after dark in non touristic areas, and engaging people in ways that locals assume is romantic.
Cellphones if they are GSM (ATT and T-Mobile in the US) and all European carriers work here. There are payphones, but not widely available.
The country code is 90
Dialing is 7 digits locally 311-5961 or for long distance or to a cell phone preceeded by a 0 and the area or cell code. 0242 311 5961 and 0533 650 0073 for example.
Many villages and rest stops along the highways still have “squatty potties” or asian style bathrooms, but you will never see these in hotels. Toilet paper is very common here, but its always good to have some tissues handy.
19. Opening times? Time difference?
Turkish business stay open longer than in the US and much longer than in Europe. Opening somewhat later around 9 AM most places are open till 9 PM. This is seasonal and can be a bit earlier in the winter, and much later in the summer. The time is EST + 7 hours. PST +10. 2 hours different from London.
20. What is a typical Sojourn traveler?
Someone that enjoys travelling with their friends, nice food, budget appropriate accomodations and occasionally enjoys the finer things in life.
21. What should I pack for my trip? Do you have recommend packing lists?
22. WHAT ARE YOUR PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS?
We collect a 50% deposit at the time of booking, but it is fully refundable up to 90 days before your travel, at which time the full payment is due. Then up to 60 days before travel the tour cost is refundable minus the cost of any domestic flights we purchased for you.
23. WHAT DOES THE INSURANCE YOU PURCHASE FOR US COVER?
TURSAB insurance is a mandatory insurance policy required by the tourism board of Turkey and we purchase it for all our clients. It however generally only protects the tourist in cases where the agency is no longer operating when the time for a pre-paid tour occurs. It is not like personal travel insurance that protects you for flight issues, etc. We generally advise our clients to purchase their own U.S. based travel insurance policy with full coverage.
24. CAN YOU PROVIDE A BREAKDOWN OF THE TOUR COST?
We provide our tours as package prices rather than line-by-line items, therefore a breakdown is not possible.
25. WHAT IS CUSTOMARY TO TIP TO GUIDES AND DRIVERS AND IN RESTAURANTS?
It is not required but it is appreciated to tip drivers and guides. At Restaurants it is optional and should be only 5-10% of the total bill.
And that guides should be tipped at least twice what you would tip a driver on a tour day, for instance $5 for the driver and $10 for the guide per person.
26. HOW SHOULD WE DRESS?
There is no general restriction on dress in Turkey for women in the primary touristic cities. Only when you visit the mosques, you are expected to wear a scarf to cover up your hair and shoulders and maybe wear a longer skirt or trousers that cover up your legs while visiting the mosques. They provide scarves at the entrance if needed, but you may also bring your own. Of course it is ok to wear a sundress or shorts for rest of the places on your tour.
27. IS IT SAFE FOR A SINGLE FEMALE TRAVELLER TO TAKE A TOUR ON HER OWN.
Safety is a priority for us, and we hand-pick all hotels, guides and transfer companies. Some regions are safer than others when it comes to exploring on your own.
28. IS THERE AN EXTRA COST FOR LUGGAGE WEIGHT ON DOMESTIC FLIGHTS?
Domestic flights allow 15 or 20 kg. total weight of all pieces, depending on airline, with reasonable charges for overweight baggage. Packing light will be to your advantage. There is a small per kilo charge on domestic flights when bags are overweight. Please notify us so we will allow an extra 20 minutes for your airport check-in if you know you are carrying overweight baggage.
29. WHAT AMOUNT OF CASH SHOULD WE BRING WITH US?
The best way to obtain local Turkish Lira (TL) currency is to use your ATM card at local bank machines, so we advise our clients not to bring a lot of cash with them to exchange in person. Much touristic shopping can also be done with US$ if you have them along. Visa and MC are also accepted widely. Please do notify your bank before traveling to avoid security blocks when using your cards overseas.