“Dreamy Mauritius & Wonders of Turkey”

Nov 23-Dec 6. Must finalize and close trip by Sept 1

Cappadocia, Istanbul, Mauritius

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TURKEY- Talk about a unique two week dual destination to two of the world’s coolest places, nothing can top our Sea Safari in breathtaking Mauritius coupled with delightful explorations of Istanbul and even Cappadocia! Why combine these two? Simple – for a vacation packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Any trip to high-end Mauritius is worth the extra mile and fabulous Turkish airlines have the best flights and prices to cut the cost of Mauritius on its own. Starting our journey with a stop in mesmerizing Istanbul breaks up the long-haul flight journey.

AFSers never get enough of this captivating city, and we fly nonstop to an ancient capital that straddles two continents for historic tours and cultural immersion. Been there before? Who wouldn’t want to return to explore more of its wondrous treasures? December is the perfect time with fewer crowds to savor the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and more sites. Our Turkish guide Mehmet loves he’ll assist you with other fun options. Everyone asked for Cappadocia so we added 4 fun days here to glorious Cappadocia, top of all bucket list dreams with hot air ballooning, fairy chimney Jeep Safari, Whirling Dervishes, cooking with locals, AFS Cave hotel and more!  Since everyone wanted this, we now built it in as in a single tour package for you.

MAURITIUS – Time to experience Mauritius, my favorite island chain because there’s so much adventure here.  A hypnotic blend of Indian, Chinese, African, French, and British influences, Mauritius is trending hot on 2023 bucket list. This dazzling small island nation in the Indian Ocean is stunning with white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, a gorgeous interior of lush towering mountains, and nature parks.  We begin in the capital of Port Louis before exploring outer regions. You’ll love the relaxing vibe of our lux 5-star Sofitel Resort and Spa on Sugar Beach with its water activities.

We’re not gonna just hang on beach chairs.  By both land and sea, we are immersed each day in experiences one could find nowhere else. Imagine- Breakfast with Giraffes, Swimming with wild Dolphins, Walking with Cheetahs and Lions!  Enjoy stunning panoramas of Maritimus’s famous Trou aux Cerfs Crater with a waterfall tour, Paradise Island cruise, fishing villages, winetasting, museums and we even throw in a Hindu blessing ceremony. At sea, there’s free time for watching whale watching (Humpback and Sperm Whales), snorkeling, diving, sea scooters, deep sea fishing, horse rides on the beach and the best grilled seafood imaginable. 

The world’s top dreamiest islands are Maldives, Seychelles, Tahiti, and Mauritius. We saturated 3 of these islands with previous AFS groups.  Now it’s time for Mauritius, set apart from all other islands for its variety of things to do and see here. Our past group loved it. We’ve added even more daily tours to really wow you on this one.  

Our perfect adventure combines historical treasures of Turkey with some of the world’s most scenic wonders of nature in Mauritius.  Lonely Planet says Mauritius is “the whole world in one slice of paradise!” Come join us to see for yourself.

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Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

We originally had just Istanbul with Mauritius but everyone wanted Cappadocia pre-trip so here is our final beautiful itinerary.

23 NOV  FRIDAY Depart JFK on group air or arrange own from USA.

Group air on Turkish Airlines from JFK to Istanbul-  Nov 23 JFK – IST 11:45PM – 5:15 PM next day.  Price is $1685 includes all six air legs! See details in trip tips.

24 NOV – Today arrive at Istanbul airport. Our representative will meet you upon group air arrival.   Hoşgeldiniz! Welcome to stunning Istanbul. Set on the Bosporus peninsula, with part of the city in Europe and part in Asia, Istanbul is perhaps one of the most important cities in history. Born as Byzantium and later renamed Constantinople, Istanbul served as an imperial capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires for almost 16 centuries.
Check-in at the hotel.
Overnight at hotel Holiday Inn Old City.

25 NOV – Istanbul to Cappadocia by flight  

This morning we will transfer to Istanbul airport to catch your flight for Capadocia (Kayseri airport). Depart Istanbul at 09:55 AM by Turkish Airline: TK 2016 Arrive Kayseri at 1120 Hrs. Check into our fabulous cave hotel with all the traditional Turkish amenities.

Central Anatolia’s mountain-lined plains hide a unique land of fairy chimneys and valleys full of underground cities. The spectacular landscape of Cappadocia is entirely sculpted by erosion. Check-in at the hotel. Later we will start our visits of Red valley, Avcilar valley, Uchisar castle. Whirling Dervishes Ceremony. We will enjoy panoramic views from Uchisar castle of Cappadocia.  Tonight, attend the Whirling Dervish performance; their captivating mystical ritual connects one in infinite spinning to perfect harmony.
Overnight at Utopia Cave Hotel.  B = breakfast

26 NOV – Cappadocia  Full day tour

Early in the morning, there will be an OPTIONAL hot-air balloon ride (extra charge $TBA).
We have dedicated a whole day to the beauties of Cappadocia, Kılıclar Valley, Love Valley, Goreme open-air museum, Pasabag valley. Start a day with visit to the Love Valley, is a real place just outside of the city Gerome in Turkey‘s Cappadocia region. Standing erect between the Goreme open-air museum and the town of Goreme, one finds this valley of the Super-sized Slongs. If you‘ve got a good sense of humor and some hiking boots, you too can rummage through the underpants of this Turkish countryside.

Göreme Open-Air Museum
This Unesco World Heritage site is an essential stop on any Cappadocian itinerary. First thought to be a Byzantine monastic settlement that housed some 20 monks, then a pilgrimage site from the 17th century, this splendid cluster of monastic Byzantine artistry with its rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries is 1km uphill from Göreme’s center. Continue with famous views of Cappadocia at Paşabağ y Zelve.

At sunset we enjoy The Jeep Safari Tour – on our AFS jeep safari tour, you’ll have an experience with driving in open-top jeeps through the valleys, having better views of the churches and cultural highlights. We will take you to off-beaten tracks for spectacular views. You’ll get the best photos and laughter ever!
Overnight at Utopia Cave Hotel B

27 NOV – Cappadocia  Half day tour

Today is a relaxing day. After a leisurely breakfast, we will enjoy a Turkish Cooking Class with locals were you will meet local people to interact and learn to make some of their traditional dishes.  Then enjoy a delicious four-course lunch. (Next door is an elementary school. Please bring some school supplies for children with a surprise joy bomb for them.)
Suggestion– Horse Riding tour of Cappadocia- book on own there. Our awesome guide Mehmet will offer you plenty of suggestions.
Overnight Utopia Cave Hotel.   B,L

28 NOV- Cappadocia – Kayseri by flight

This morning transfer to Kayseri airport to catch flight to Istanbul
Depart Kayseri at noon Arrive Istanbul at 1:40 PM.  You will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Welcome to stunning Istanbul. Set on the Bosporus Peninsula with part of this stunning city in Europe and part in Asia, Istanbul is perhaps one of the most important cities in history. One could spend a month here exploring all the historical and cultural treasures.

Check into hotel located in city Center. If time, nothing like visiting a traditional Hammam Turkish bath to rejuvenate. Our guide Mehmet will be there to assist you. Then we will sample local seafood dishes with Turkish delights and get to know your fellow AFS Travelers with a Welcome Dinner at a pier on the Bosphorus River that divides two continents.

 Overnight at hotel Holiday Inn Old City (2 Nights)    B  D

29 NOV – Full day City Tour, Istanbul 

Our full-day tour begins with a visit to the renowned Sultanahmet Mosque, known popularly as The Blue Mosque. Incredibly beautiful, it is known for its blue Iznik (Nicaea) tiles and six minarets. We then continue to the Hippodrome, a massive arena that once functioned as the heart of sporting events and political activities of the old city.

From here we continue to the nearby Hagia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom. Ranking as one of the greatest marvels of world architecture, this awe-inspiring building was constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. From here, we take a short walk to the Underground Cistern, the largest of the many underground cisterns built during the Byzantine Empire to supply the city with water. This cistern is especially fascinating because the Byzantine builders repurposed many stone structures-capital heads and columns that had been used in earlier temples. Now, an upside-down Medusa stares out at you from her watery home.

We’ll continue with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, which was the imperial palace of the Ottoman Sultans and features the fascinating imperial treasury, the Chinese porcelain section, the calligraphy section and much more. Visit the jewelry collection segment of the palace.  What time permitting, our tour ends at the incredible Grand Bazaar, a vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, carpets, and so much more. Or visit my favorite place the fabulous Spice Bazaar, the largest market in the world for culinary delights.  Return to our hotel for a rest before our late departure airport at 11 PM

 Overnight at Holiday Inn Old City Hotel        B

 

30  NOV – Welcome to Mauritius  

We head to Istanbul airport to catch our 9-hour flight to Mauritius. There’s only one flight to MRU.  All group must be on this flight. If you do your own air be sure you book the same flight as our group  NOV 30th – IST / MRU – Tk 176 – 0220 / 1:15 PM 

Welcome to paradise, one of the world’s most beautiful island chains, famous for its beaches, lagoons and reefs!  We’ll arrive in the late afternoon at Ramgoolam Airport in Port Louis and be greeted by our local guide. We head to our resort where we have a free evening in our stunning tropical surroundings. From Port Louis it’s just an hour drive along the west coast to our paradise resort to be pampered throughout. Set in tropical gardens along palm-fringed Sugar Beach on the Indian Ocean our resort has an Asian spa and restaurants specializing in grilled seafood as well as two pools. Activities in the calm lagoon and coral reefs here make it perfect for snorkeling, sea kayaks, pedal boats and scuba diving with beach horse riding nearby.  The resort lies on two beaches with incredible snorkeling among submerged statues.  After dark, enjoy seaside dining under the stars.

 Overnight at hotel Sofitel le Imperial Mauritius Resort & Spa        B


1 DEC – Southern Mauritius – Gorges, Waterfalls and Lakes  Full day tour

Highlights – Total immersion in the lush nature of the Black River Gorges National Park.
Blessing from a Hindu priest at the sacred lake of Grand Bassin.
Seven-colored earth, nature’s wonder, and its waterfalls.
Michelin Acclaimed Litchi wine tasting.
Home hosted Creole lunch in Chamarel.

Breakfast at the hotel.  (Wear comfy walking shoes today).
Today we discover the spectacular wild beauty of the South during this unforgettable day which combines everything that the island has to offer.  From the splendid panoramic view from the Trou aux Cerfs crater to the guided tour of the Takamaka Winery, the only winery in the world dedicated exclusively to lychee wine, the South of Mauritius is a perfect tour for those who want to connect with nature since it is one of the most scenic and unspoiled parts of the island.

Learn about the history of the Sacred Lake and its relation to the Ganges in India according to Hindu mythology. Photo stop at the viewpoint of the breathtaking Black River Gorges National Park – Enjoy a full day of scenically contrasting delights.  Lunch will be hosted by Rico in Chamarel. Well-known in the village for coffee and creole cuisine, he will be pleased to welcome you to his place for an authentic Creole meal. Nestled amidst a steep landscape surrounded by lush and unspoiled nature, Chamarel is a small village with a thousand inhabitants, often called the cradle of Creole culture. Chamarel is a village of resistance because it is the place where the slaves who rejected the colonial order came to hide. This history adds a mystical dimension for the Rasta community and the village is home to their Nyabinghi Tabernacle, where they regularly meet to perform their rituals. Chamarel is also home to a true wonder of nature; unique dunes that have different colors, including red, brown, violet, green, purple, and yellow.  Drive back through small remote villages along the West coast.

Overnight at hotel Sofitel le Imperial Mauritius Resort & Spa   B, L

2 DEC –   Swim with Dolphins, Breakfast with Giraffes & Walk with Lions 

Get ready for an early 6AM departure for a day of once-in-a-lifetime experiences!  Wild Dolphin Swim– we start our day with a peaceful and responsible swimming experience with wild dolphins in the open sea, plunging into the remarkable world of these powerful marine mammals and come face to face with them.

Back on land, we make our way to Casela Nature Park for Breakfast with Giraffes, one of the most unique experiences anyone can have. Peering in over the raised deck where you will be having breakfast with their elegant necks, encountering giraffes at such close quarters gives a real appreciation of just how beautiful and soulful these creatures are.   And just when you think you can’t top that, we’ll meet the world’s fastest land animal on our Cheetah Encounter.   These elegant and graceful mammals, part of the Big Cat family, are an endangered species in the African bush. Experience a unique session among these magnificent beasts as we walk side by side and interact with the cheetahs alongside the handlers. You will have the opportunity to learn about the animals, their habitat, and their behaviors. Later board the safari truck into the Animal Kingdom to photograph monkeys, zebras, giant tortoises, exotic birds and more.

There are several options you can choose from to round out your day- A chance to Walk with lions. Take a walk on the wild side and feel the adrenaline rush on our lion walk. Our past group loved the sense of adventure and being so close to these amazing big cats. Professional guides lead us out to Rivian Rampart for a brief introduction on these lions. Truly once in a lifetime experience for some unique photos. Or opt for the new Rhino Encounter in addition to this. ($129 book there.)

Zipline – Step outside of your comfort zone and Zip through the sky on a heart-racing Zipline Adventure, the ideal outdoor experience for any fun-loving thrill-seeker. Your journey will culminate with the legendary 400m zipline!

Quad Bike Safari Experience – Quad biking safari in the most amazing natural setting is a great adventure. This one-hour ride of intense fun will help you appreciate the exclusivity and the charm that prevails in the reserve. More than a quad bike outing, it is a real safari, allowing you to get close to deer, zebras, ostriches, African antelopes, wild boars and many more. Later in the Thrill Park here, you can also enjoy the Canyon Swing and mountain toboggan slide.

Overnight at hotel Sofitel le Imperial Mauritius Resort & Spa        B

 

3 DEC – Charming & Historic Mahebourg 

 After buffet breakfast, we take a scenic drive through small villages set in rolling sugarcane fields to the southeast of the island. We’ll visit the 18th-century local family-owned Biscuit Factory, which has been producing manioc biscuits since 1870. Learn the cooking technique and unique biscuit recipes that have made the success of this factory as we take a guided tour and of course get to sample!

We then head off to the historic Portugese village of Mahebourg, where we get a chance to tour this laid-back fishing community of 20,000, crammed with colorful old houses. A monument at the Mahebourg waterfront honors the naval battle between the French Napoleonic navy and the British Navy who wanted to conquer the Island in 1810.

We’ll visit the Naval Museum, housed in a beautiful 18th century Creole mansion. Exhibits guide you through the Dutch, the French, and the British periods of Mauritian history and includes objects recovered from shipwrecks along the Mauritian coast. They include the bell of the St. Geran which sank back in 1744 or items from the Magicienne a British frigate that sank during the French-British naval battle in 1810.  Lunch will be served in a local restaurant.

Late afternoon, you have the option of booking a breath-taking Helicopter Tour as an exciting way to discover the Mauritian landscape. See the Southeast part of the island unfold beneath you as you rise above a panorama of magnificent lagoons, pristine coastlines, undulating sugar cane fields, and other spectacular views.  (Helicopter tour $240 with four per chopper.)

Overnight at hotel Sofitel le Imperial Mauritius Resort & Spa  a             B, L

 

4 DEC – Full Day tour to Ile Aux Cerfs Island-Paradise Island 

Highlights: The discovery of an island with lush flora and clear water.  Photo stop at the waterfalls of the Grand River Southeast.  Mauritian BBQ lunch at Ile aux Cerfs.

Today is a day to chill and enjoy the superb beaches of Mauritius. The day begins with a boat cruise to one of the stunning beaches of the famous Ile aux Cerfs to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful lagoon surrounding the island. The uninhabited Ile aux Cerf’s is one of Mauritius’s best-known tourist attractions, with its beautiful beaches, golf course, a handful of restaurants and plenty of water sports facilities. No wonder it is better known as “Paradise Island.”  Enjoy the beach, take a walk, swim or snorkel in crystal blue waters.  Lunch will be a BBQ at the beach. A boat trip in the estuary of the longest river in Mauritius is included, as we visit the famous waterfalls of the Grand River Southeast for a dip and great pics.

You can also take advantage of optional activities here, such as parasailing, sea scooters, submarine and the new underwater walking. We’ll return to the hotel in late afternoon, where we’ll enjoy our Farewell Dinner under the stars on the sand and toast our new found friend’s good night for a journey well done.

Overnight at hotel Sofitel le Imperial Mauritius Resort & Spa        B, L, D

5 / 6 DEC – Day at Leisure and Head home 9PM departure

Following breakfast, you will have a full day of leisure for last-minute enjoyment in this tropical paradise.  Early evening, we check out.  Then group transfer to the airport for our flights back home. (Group air on Turkish Airlines departs Mauritius at 9 PM and flies via Istanbul to land at JFK at 12:50 PM on December 6).

 

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Original Land Price $2895 plus Cappadocia Land Portion $1185 includes 5 days with internal air. 

Based on pp twin share and min of 20 participants.  ($90 pre-paid for licensed guides, drives, and porters added to invoice for your convenience).

Group air price: $1685 including all taxes. Great price for six legs of Cappadocia, Istanbul and Mauritius. Holding limited number of seats. Book now.

(If doing own air you fly into Istanbul and out of Mauritius. See November 30 on itinerary. You need this flight to go from Turkey to Mauritius. Price is $895 now.  TK 176)

Trip Deposit $600

Please Read Trip Tips, It’s Essential!  

 

 

Trip Tips  Turkey and Mauritius

Thank you for booking this remarkable adventure to 2 amazing countries in one vacation. Prepare to be thrilled by all the wonders in exotic Turkey and the dreamy sapphire waters of Mauritius, which is trending as top island destination for 2023.  Our last group loved it. All island countries are beautiful, but Portuguese Mauritius is the place where there’s actually things to do. You’ll love the waterfalls, colorful culture, cuisines, swimming with dolphins and walking with lions. If it’s your first time to Istanbul, you’ll be blown away by all the historic treasures. We negotiated an amazing price on this. I wonder which place you will love most. At present we have a fabulous group of 28 travel lovers. After final payments are in, will send you the room and contact lists. Connect now to get to know each other on your private group Facebook page.  An earlier email has invited everyone. Please bookmark and print the itinerary and these trip tips out to start your vacation file with more details, updates and emails to come.

Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information.  Updates and addendums will be posted here.  Check back from time to time.

  • PAYMENT DATES 50% due Aug 1 and final Sep 1.     Wetravel is our data management company, it allows you to pay by check electronically without a fee. Simply follow the instructions. Credit cards will be assessed a processing fee at time of purchase.  As a small business, this helps mitigate costs and allows us to give you the very best price.   In review, main trip is $2895. Cappadocia extension is $1185. Group air for all flights is $1650.   If you prefer to use the mail, make your payment to AFS or Adventures For Solo Travelers, 1907 Daniel Green Ct., Smyrna GA 30080

Your fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but a liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly)

Salanda GTLSalanda Williams has decades of experience in the travel industry and has worked over 12 years as a travel consultant for one of the world’s largest management companies!  She has been on dozens of AFS solo travel tours over the years. With a passion for nature and unique culture is, she chooses and has led some of our most exciting adventures.

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Trip Prep:

  • Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
  • Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages.  We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email.  Also good to scan any docs, Covid test, trip tips, etc.
  • To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport.  Look in your App Store for details.
  • Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
  • Vaccines – Bring your vaccine card.  Don’t laminate vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it.  You can take photo of both sides and store on phone.
  • All airline rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules on their website to ensure a smooth departure!  Airlines are in the process of making routing and scheduling changes now. Always check your flight before departure.
  • Visa – a visa is only needed for Turkey. The new www.Evisa.go.tr  is so easy online for $50. Do nothing until we advise you on this a month out.  For visa – Host is Diverse destinations 413, 4th floor, Qutub plaza DLF phase 1 City – Gurgaon State – Haryana Pin – 122001, phone ‭00911242354836‬

Fitness level – 2   (No trouble walking.)

General Air – Understand Mauritius is a more remote destination. Only Turkish airlines can be booked from Istanbul to Mauritius. See perfect group air below.  (Air challenges today – Many route changes now on domestic flights to get to your international flights.  Airlines must protect you if problem with flight.  They are required to notify you of changes.  Always download and use your airlines app! Use app to track your booking, delays, bags, to show boarding pass and to contact them. If you have a flight problem go to the airline’s website “contact us” page or reach them by text, social media, Skype or call their international number.  Also, premium credit cards often offer many air perks, assistance, insurance, lounge passes, global entry and more. Read more at www.tpg.com for best cards.)

Group AirWe love Turkish airlines because they have the best schedule and prices.  Please don’t sit on this. Yes far out but seats are limited. Air is not into Istanbul and out of Mauritius. See 2nd leg that all must be on Nov 30. Make it easy on yourself to relax and have your air secured now.  $1685 including taxes. See below. Check in JFK by 9 PM. Get homebound flight on last day after 1:30 PM.  As of April 15 Turkish airline has a $150 penalty for canceling your ticket. If you cancel you will lose this amount as well as the cancellation fee on land. Once you are ticketed, there can be no refunds on that ticket.

  • Update: Group air dates!… Nov 23 to Dec 5 (landing Dec 6). Cost increased but we will absorb it. Price is $1685 including taxes for four legs and ground transfers. All travel experts stating airfares will soar. We are seeing it with all our 2023 trips already. Yet everyone is traveling this year. Turkish will only hold our seats for a few days until January 25,, after that gone. Please understand it is most wise for you to do this group air on this particular trip. We only able to secure 15 seats, but will get 3 more. All names below. We need to know now if you changed your mind and do not want group air.
  • Nov 23  JFK – IST 11:45 PM to 5:50 PM the next day.
  • (November 24-28 Cappadocia trip. Main group begins November 28 in Istanbul.)
  • Nov 30  IST-MRU (Mauritius) 2:20 AM to 1:15 PM. All must be on the TK176 flight.
  • Dec 5   MRU-IST 9 PM to 6 AM the next day.
  • Dec 6  Connecting IST-JFK    8:50 AM to 11:50 AM

Doing Own Air –  We cannot ticket individuals outside of group air. You can arrange your own air round-trip from USA to Istanbul but you must be on TK176 on Nov 30 from Istanbul to Mauritius. TK has the best rates from USA. If you buy only this one leg, however, it’s very expensive to book so I would get all flights on TK.  We like Google Flights, Kayak or Momondo.  3rd-party booking engines like Expedia are good to follow but make it near impossible to handle air problems.  Buy direct from airline or pay a travel agent to ticket you.  For economy, premium economy & business, call our friend Raj who’s an air expert Direct 770-573-7400 0t text his cell at 281-912-9173 raj8travel@gmail.com  Give him your exact airdates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.

Airport Transfers-  Group transfers on arrival and departure at airports are only included with group air. Guide will greet you on airport arrival with an AFS sign.   We get one airport, transfer in and out for a group.

With travelers arriving and departing on different days and times, it is insurmountable to manage. Group air airport transfers are based on set time. Without group air, there can no longer be any pick-up or drop-offs without group air.  Unfortunately, now like other tour companies, transfers are your responsibility. (We’ve spent weeks each trip making spreadsheets of each persons air to send to the supplier and then flights change. We then hire a guide, driver and pay parking fees. 2022 groups, only half showed up as guides waited hours looking for others. Sometimes no AFSers showed up without informing us.) Transfers are not expensive. First google your arrival airport website to see transfer tab. Suggestions to appear like airport bus, taxi details, Uber and more. Then connect on group Facebook page to set up sharing transfer cost if you like.  If you go early and check-in AFS hotel before group arrives, it’s your responsibility to change rooms with your roommate if necessary day one when trip begins.

Meet Up With Group-   For Cappadocia pre-trip extension, meet guide on airport arrival.  For main group, all meet November 29 in lobby by 4 PM at Holiday Inn Old City hotel in Istanbul.

Click here for More Tips on transfers, packing, money, shopping and more

Supplemental Trip Tips Info

Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland.  You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag& 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lb checked bag – weigh on a bathroom scale.  If you overpack by adding pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. Apple AirTags works great to track checked bags when the airline cannot, also good for carry-on.    The new hard cases are difficult to fit in safari vehicles. Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID to carry-on and bag to assure your bag never gets left behind.

Packing – Check Google Weather a week prior to departure. Read Packing 101 in Heading Abroad with AFS  Pack your hygiene kit and munchies in clear plastic bags.  This trip is so easy. Simply pack casual clothing with a jacket for nights and long flights. Bring umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, comfy sneakers, swimsuit.

  • Turkey: Weather is cooler, so bring a jacket and layer clothes. More conservative here. Ladies this means covered elbows to knees. Bring a head scarf.
  • Mauritius: Bring swimsuit, swim gear, water shoes. Sofitel resort has snorkel gear.

Electric– Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter; you only need an adapter plug.  AFSers often leave charger cords in room, so be sure to double-check your room before check out. All properties have hairdryers.

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Money Matters – Always bring some cash!  You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $300 to $500 cash should suffice.    Change currency arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM.  Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering. Avoid using unless it’s an emergency.  Master Card and Visa widely accepted.  Amex rarely accepted.  Be sure you bring New Bills (dates after 2016) as countries may not accept older bills when changing money.  Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I convert half of it upon entry. I use my credit card for most purchases.  Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees. (Some countries in Africa and Asia require new bills dated after 2016. Older bills not accepted when changing money.)

Currency  Exchange Rate  Mauritius- rupees $1= 45 rupees

Turkey – lira $1= 18.9 lira

Follow the link below to create a conversion cheat sheet

https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates

Gratuities – (Prepaid)  It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, wait staff, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $10 to $15 per day should cover all for the trip.  A $90 total will be added to your invoice. Please understand this is only the suggested minimum.  For ease of distribution, your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.

Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly.  All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I carry a stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip.  For group lunches or dinners included, please leave $2 for waitstaff!

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Communication– Internet is available. With smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Data Roaming rates can be expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook messaging when using WIFI. Be cautious using public Wi-Fi without using VPN. Without VPN never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad.  Phone calls, text messages, and data usage of all kinds, it is crucial to understand that, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, every use of your phone incurs a data toll. That means that viewing and downloading email, browsing the web, viewing social media, and mapping all incur data charges, as do applications that we sometimes assume to be “free,” such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, however, WhatsApp is using cellular data, so you are getting charged at your provider’s international roaming data rate.  Facebook Messenger Phone is an easy free way to make calls.

Get Smart: Avoiding Hackers on Vacation.  Thieves not only want your money but also your data.    Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN.

  • Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water.
  • Pickpockets are everywhere now, especially at night.  Never carry your passport outside of the room.
  • It’s wise to grab a business card from the desk before heading out on own.  To get back just show the card to a taxi driver- no memory or English needed.
  • Travel health – Drink bottled water. Avoid street foods. Bring Imodium.  Load up on antioxidants like vitamin C to zinc.

Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, know it is polite to ask.  Your AFS Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) for our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame!

Websites of Interest:  Google your resort in Mauritius and these fun sites to really discover all you can see! www.visitturkey.com.tr, www.mauritiusnow.com, www.mymauritius.travel

Accommodations –– Our itinerary has links to each hotel.  Hotels can change, but it’s rare.

Roommates –  Single supplements have significantly increased in price– if available at all.  Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching.  99% of our clients are wonderful and you’re only in your room to sleep at night.   (The best option is to invite a friend.  We be able to give you a $100 discount.). Note, kindness begets kindness.  How many of our season travelers bring headsets to drown out any excess noise.  We share rooms only to sleep at night.  If AFS room list ends up with unbalance gender, and forces a single room we will offer it to all in group or share in the added cost. If none want it, if you were the last to book we may have to remove you from the trip.

AFS Optionals:  We will get a headcount on who wants hot air balloons and other things later.

Leisure Time –  For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions.  We notice many newer clients pre-plan many activities on the AFS trip well before they arrive, often with disappointing results.  Our daily itineraries are pretty full, but there will be some free time. Expert travelers revel in the element of surprise in a new destination and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Use Google Maps on your phone to find everything nearby.

Amending tour pre-or post-trip. We honor your independent spirit, but encourage you to extend more days at the trip’s end when you’re acclimated well to the destination.   Arranging private tours during free time.  We often see many AFSers on Facebook urging others to join them to countries before/after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has no responsibility for the quality of your trip.

Emergency Contact – Local number or text Terry 770-432-8225, or email us at https://www.afstravelers.com/contact-us/    More contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 to 3 weeks before departure. Your guide can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own.

Cancellation Penalty –  At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Click here for our Terms & Conditions   Briefly, on land packages we’ll refund your deposit less 50% until 5 weeks prior trip’s final payment due date.   Any cancellation after this date will result in full forfeiture of your deposit. AFS reserves the right to resell or otherwise use the canceled space at our discretion.

Travel Insurance– While travel insurance is optional, in today’s world we highly encourage you to get standard coverage to cover trip interruption and cancellation.  Best source for all is www.insuremytrip.com.   CFAR or cancel for any reason covers Covid but is expensive.  Note that no company covers for fear.

Preexisting conditions – If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage.  The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period.  We like TravelSafe, Allianz or Seven Corners.

Travel Psychology 101  – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that with travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit.  If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience.  Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude.  Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness.  Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.

The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy

“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable.  It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman

Please note that AFS is non-partisan – With our homogeneous groups, we all want to focus on the common denominator – our love of travel.  In today’s divisive world, we suggest members not discuss politics and if you must, please practice my rule of TOK:  Tolerance, Open-mindedness and Kindness.

Please be advised that the operation of some tours may need to be rearranged or modified to suit local conditions, but all activities stated will be included.  We are here for you to address any questions about your trip. In time, we believe travel will begin to normalize with less rules and we appreciate your cooperation until then.  Now more than ever before, travelers value the privilege of travel to explore our world. You’ve been waiting so long, it’s time for recess!

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