Q- How will I be communicating with my family back home?
A- Atlantic Institute's guides will have cell phones in Turkey. Family members will be able to reach you at these numbers. Numbers will be available prior departures.
You can contact your GSM carrier to ask for international plans, some offer discounted rates.
Turkey offers many public phones where prepaid calling cards can be used. Cards are readily available at different vendors.
Q- How is the weather going to be, so I can pack proper clothing?
A- Weather in Turkey is mild during our trips. During the day is warm and comfortable, very little humidity if any. Late afternoon and night will be a bit cooler. Please click here for more detailed weather info for Turkey
Q- Do I need visa for my trip?
A- Turkey requires a tourist visa for all visitors from USA. However this is an entry visa which can be purchased at the airport in Istanbul for $20.00. No prior arrangements necessary.
Q- How can I exchange US currency in Turkey? What are the best ways to use ATM’s?
A- Banking system in Turkey is advanced and delivers many conveniences to users. Almost all ATM’s offer multiple currency options where you can withdraw your money in $ Euro and Turkish Lira. ATM’s are located in many locations and safe to use. It is wise to contact your bank card issuer and inform them of your intended trip to overseas to prevent blockage of your card. Most US banks will block your card if it is used in an area where you do not normally travel. Banks are open 9-5 Mon-Fri. There is however 1 hour lunch breaks where they would be closed.
Q- What is the A/C current in Turkey? Do I need converter for my electronic gadgets?
A- Turkey has 220 V and 50 Cycle power. Most personal gadgets and laptops will automatically convert power. It is recommended to pack a power outlet adapter.
Q- Is it expected to exchange gifts when visiting families in Turkey?
A- Almost all families who will host guests from U.S. would like to present each with a gift. Gift exchange will take place after dinner. It is recommended to bring gifts that will represent our localities in U.S. When group visits governmental offices and/or NGO’s, officials will also present group with souvenirs.
Q- What is appropriate attire for different events during trip?
A- It is recommended to dress casual during touristic sightseeing. Shorts and tennis shoes are common wear. Please be mindful of cool temperatures in the afternoon and evenings. When visiting places of worship, head covers for ladies will be provided at location.
Turkish culture expects men to wear coat and tie during visits at NGO’s and Governmental Offices. Ladies are also expected to wear formal business attire.
Business casual for both is normal during visiting families for dinner.
Q- What is cultural norm for greeting during official visits and house visits?
A- Greeting in Turkey is often more close and physical than western cultures. Men who know each other often hug and kiss on the cheek. This is also good for family members. Ladies’ greetings towards men depend on their level of religious practices.
If a lady extends her hand to man, he is expected to shake her hand. If no hand extended that means no physical contact desired due to her religious beliefs.
Children often will kiss hand of visiting elders as a sign of respect.
Q- What are different housekeeping items we should be aware of?
A- Almost all households will expect you to leave your shoes outside of front door. Some hosts will offer you slippers to wear while in the house, you may pass the offer if you do not like to wear slippers. Unlike U.S, in Turkey children of the house stay up late with parents if hosting guests in the house.
Q- What should I be looking for when shopping in Turkey?
A- In Turkey shopping is considered a social event rather than an economical exchange. Negotiating with seller is almost expected from all potential buyers even if the article is something small in value. Shopkeepers will greet and offer refreshments to potential buyers in their store. You are not expected to purchase because of this offering. It is customary for shop keeper to engage in small talk before transaction. You will not offend store owner if you walk in drink tea/coffee and walk out without purchase.
Q- Do I need to get any vaccines prior to my departure date?
A- We do not require any vaccines, however, if you feel the need or desire to do so that is completely up to you and your physician.
Q- What language is spoken in Turkey? Should I learn any Turkish (language) prior to my trip?
A- Turkish. It is not required but will not only be much appreciated by any Turks that you encounter/meet but will make your experience more rich and beneficial (especially when shopping, for example). A little Turkish goes a long way!
Note: For tips and phrases in regards to Turkish language, refer to the “Basic Turkish Language” sheet. We also recommend Lonely Planet’s “Turkish Phrasebook” which can be purchased online and at local Barnes & Noble Bookstores (for less than $10.00) and is a great read, for example, to peruse on the flight to Istanbul.
Q- Is English spoken/common in Turkey?
A- Yes. English is taught as a second language in k-12 schools (known as “colleges”) in addition to universities across Turkey. Thus, the younger generations and many people in both the business sector and touristy areas (especially the Grand Bazaar) will generally be proficient in basic English in the least.