1. Turkey is Dangerous
It’s not. By and large, it’s among the safer destinations in Europe. Violent incidents happen in many countries these days, including in Europe and North America. Mideast strife may make headlines, but it’s in other countries. Approach Turkey’s southeast cautiously for now, but travel freely in the rest of the country.
2. Turkey is Cheap
It’s no longer the bargain destination it once was, but recent Turkish lira devaluations have made it a lot cheaper now, and it’s more popular than ever—a few years ago, it became the 6th most popular destination in the entire world. And it’s well worth the money.
3. Turkey is Small
Turkey is one of those “little countries,” right? Drive it all in a week.
No, Turkey is the 37th largest country in the world (of 235). It’s larger than France, Germany, Poland, Syria, New Zealand, and most other countries, larger than Texas and nearly twice as large as California. Transport can take time.
4. I Can Buy My Visa When I Get There
Not every traveler needs a Turkish visa, but if you do (and if your passport is US, UK, Canadian, Australian, Russian or some European countries, you do), you MUST buy it online BEFORE you travel to Turkey.
5. Motor Fuel Costs the Same
Turks complain that they pay the world’s highest prices for gasoline/petrol and diesel fuel. But there are ways to keep the cost of fuel down.
6. Planes & Trains Go Everywhere
They don’t. Some touristic destinations have no train service, and most plane trips involve a connection through either Istanbul or Ankara, making plane trips longer. Buses go everywhere (but see Mistake No. 3). Planning your transport carefully is essential.
7. I Can Plan My Whole Trip Easily
For simple trips, yes. But if you want to visit 3 or 4 areas in 8 to 10 days, you must get all the details—especially the transport—exactly right, in advance. Don’t make any reservations until you have all the details planned, and if you need help, get it early. Any travel agent will tell you that re-designing a half-reserved trip is a nightmare.
8. Turkish Hotel Prices are High
Most Turkish hotel rates include a large daily buffet breakfast and all hotel taxes and service charges—unlike, say, New York City, where breakfast is rarely included, and taxes and fees can add more than 17% to your bill.
9. Islam in Turkey is Strict
By its constitution, Turkey is a secular republic with a separation of religion and state. Most Turks consider themselves good Muslims, and in recent years the religious practice has increased, but as in many countries, the practice of religious observance varies. A minority is strictly observant, another minority never goes to the mosque, and the majority is in between. Non-Muslims are not expected to observe Muslim religious practices.
10. I Should Buy a Carpet in Turkey
Most carpets sold in Turkey today are made in other countries—China, India, Bangladesh, etc. They may be machine-made, with chemical dyes. This does not mean you shouldn’t buy them, just know what you’re buying.