Common Turkish Customs in Istanbul

With news of recent violent events in both Turkey and neighboring Syria, you may be wondering if travel to Turkey is safe. The short answer to that question is, ‘yes,’ but read on to learn why and what you can do to keep yourself safe when traveling in Turkey as wells other places domestically or overseas.

Avoid Hostile Areas

 
While there have been incidents in Turkey recently, they have been isolated from what is being seen in the media. First, the border with Syria, where there is a war occurring, has become volatile. You would do best to avoid the southeastern border of Turkey near Syria and Iraq, unless you need to travel there for medical or journalistic purposes. Most visitors to Turkey don’t gravitate towards that part of the country anyway, as the main attractions are in the opposite direction.

Within major cities, such as Istanbul and Izmir, any reported violence there has been against law enforcement, not citizens or visitors. To minimize the possibility of being caught up in such a scenario, avoid watching or participating in any demonstrations while in Turkey. If it looks like the police, military or groups of protesters are mobilizing in a location where you are, leave, heading in the opposite direction.

General Safety Tips for Visiting Turkey

The following are some safety tips that you should remember when traveling in Turkey. They also work as helpful advice when traveling anywhere:

  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with at least one other person outside your travel party.
  • Know where your nation’s consulate is in case of an emergency.
  • Use transit and other arrangements organized by your hotel’s concierge or another trusted local.
  • Understand that military and police officials in Turkey may be sterner than at home, but this is for your safety.
  • Don’t flash expensive belongings in public.
  • Consider using a room safe, like those offered at the Hotel Büyük Keban to store your valuables when you are out and about enjoying the city’s attractions.
  • Bring the bare minimum amount of jewelry and credit cards when you travel to Turkey.
  • Carry your purse or billfold so it’s not an easy target for pickpockets in crowded places.
  • Know your hotel and other important addresses, and carry their business cards or write it down.
  • Consider renting or buying an international mobile phone for your use in Turkey and/or a mobile WiFi unit, so you can have Internet access wherever you are.

Advice for Women Traveling Alone

As a rule, remember that you are in a foreign country where gender differences are more pronounced than in places like the US and Western Europe. Therefore, women traveling alone should be extra vigilant so as not to attract unwanted attention. While the beaches and cities of Istanbul and the coast are very westernized, rural areas may require a more conservative approach to dress. Also, you need to dress with the appropriate amount of coverage whenever visiting religious sights like mosques.
Some single women find it helpful to wear a fake wedding band to fend off unwanted suitors. Wherever you are traveling, walk confidently, don’t become bogged down with parcels and know where you are going in advance.

Hotel Büyük Keban: Ensuring Your Safety

Hotel Büyük Keban can offer you more safety advice when you check in, and we will help ensure that you have the safest stay possible in Istanbul. Contact us today to make your reservation, and we can put your mind at ease about traveling to Turkey. So all you’ll really have to worry about is what you want to see and where you want to eat!