When traveling abroad, there are a lot of questions and preparation that need to be taken before embarking on the journey itself. Istanbul is one of the more popular destinations for traveling abroad, and there are many considerations to take before making the trip. Obviously, one of the first things to determine is what you’ll do when you arrive. Will you be going straight to your hotel or sight seeing before checking in to your lodging? Depending on your situation, you may benefit from luggage storage in Istanbul so you can store your bags and get right to exploring the beautiful city you’ve traveled to. But aside from initial arrival plans, there are things to think about both in your itinerary and what to expect spending time in a culturally different location.
The main thing to be aware of in a country like Turkey is the stark cultural differences that Americans especially will not necessarily be aware of ahead of time. Turkey is not quite as liberal as America is, and has some conservative values that should be considered before entering certain buildings.
Women traveling to Istanbul should be prepared for cultural laws and regulations, especially surrounding religious buildings like mosques. Women are required to wear a headdress when entering a mosque, something that American women will not be used to thinking about. Be prepared if you plan to visit any of the famous mosques in the city.
The Grand Bazaar
When it comes to shopping, look no further than the Grand Bazaar! The Grand Bazaar is one of the most famous covered markets in the world. It’s among the oldest and largest bazaar style markets in the world and is filled with just about anything you can imagine. But be careful, it’s easy to lose track of a whole vacation in this sprawling tourist trap. Take a day to explore the market, buy some souvenirs, and eat some great food. Then move on in your itinerary to see all the other things the country has to offer!
Prepare for Warm Days and Cold Nights
As with any new environment, it’s important to understand the climate you’ll be living in for a short period of time. When visiting Turkey, it’s important to be prepared for both heat and cold. Daytime temperatures can spike fairly high while bringing cold and chilly nights. Be prepared with plenty of thin layers, a coat, and a couple pairs of shoes for each kind of weather. Avoid being uncomfortable in a new place by researching the typical climate at the time of year you’ll be visiting. It’s better to have something and not need it when traveling abroad, this is especially true when it comes to preparing for the weather.
Bring Your Own Toilet Paper
Something that may surprise Americans traveling to new countries is a rather sensitive topic. Toilet paper is not always used in other countries, and Turkey is a place that you may want to be prepared with your own stash of toilet paper. The reasons for this essentially come down to their plumbing and sewage system. It’s simply not designed to handle mass amounts of toilet paper. Instead, countries abroad often use bidets and the standard cleaning practice. If you do need to use toilet paper, make sure to bring your own!
Plan Ahead and Don’t Try to See Everything
A good itinerary makes or breaks any trip. If you go in without a plan, you’ll end up stretching yourself too thin and trying to see way too much in a short amount of time. Plan to see a few tourist attractions and leave plenty of room for exploring. That’s when the magic happens, after all. Make sure your trip is both unique and well planned with a few solidified activities to make sure you won’t be spending your time wandering a city that you don’t know very well.
Planning any trip abroad can be both stressful and exciting. The important thing to remember is to make sure you plan ahead and know what to expect before visiting a new country. Especially a country that may fall outside of western European norms. These places are beautifully rich in culture, but unknowing travelers can create undesirable situations for themselves if they don’t acutely research the place they’re going to. Make sure you understand what to expect in terms of cultural norms, transportation, climate, and how to take advantage of travel resources in a new place to ensure you have the best experience possible.