May 21-30, 2022    Balloons to Beaches, Delving Deep in Turkey            (Small group )

solo tour to Turkey

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Absolutely everyone loves to visit exotic Turkey for its countless historical wonders and rich cultural treasures. This is a special 9-day getaway crafted only for our postponed groups to Asia in March and Russia in May. We researched so many destinations. Why choose Turkey? Because there are no restrictions, borders wide open, easy flights and such great value for the dollar to make it affordable!

Over 30 years, we’ve sent dozens of groups here, even our 37 AFSers 6 months ago and all raved about the thrills it provided. You may have been here before, but maybe not to Cappadocia, Izmir, Ephesus, Istanbul and the stunning Turquoise Coast in fabulous Bodrum! Seeking fun? We include a Jeep Safari, Whirling Dervishes, cooking class, ruins of biblical Ephesus, House of Mary, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque to Topkopi Palace and a traditional gulet cruise over the emerald Aegean waters. There are options for horse rides on the beach, Turkish baths, a day trip to Kos Greece and the must do hot air ballooning with so much more.

This vast land is stuffed with UNESCO sites and 7 Natural Wonders of the World. You’ll love our unique Utopia Cave hotel and our luxurious spa resort to totally chill at trips end. We negotiated the best price for you with the top guides and with affordable Turkish Airlines, it’s the easiest place on the planet to visit now. I think it’s our best Turkey vacation ever and after two years of longing to travel, you deserve it!

solo tour turkey

Limited to 22 participants on a first-come basis. This was presented first to our postponed Bali and Russia groups and then open to all. Just a couple of months away, final payments are due upon booking. Please understand this is an entirely new trip so bookings or funds can’t be transferred to this. Trip tips with air ideas and all details coming soon.

 

Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

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May 21 –  Depart USA

22 MAY 2022 SUNDAY Fly to Istanbul                     (D)

Today arrive at Istanbul airport . Our representative will meet you and escort you to your air- conditioned vehicle.

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.
Welcome Dinner.
Overnight at hotel Holiday Inn Old City.  Gencturk Cad. Sirvanizade Sok, Vezneciler Cd. No:5, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

May  23   Fly to Cappadocia                                (B)

This morning we will transfer to Istanbul airport to catch your flight for Cappadocia (Kayseri airport). Depart Istanbul Arrive Kayseri.

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

Return to hotel,

Overnight at Utopia Cave Hotel.

MAY 24     Cappadocia                          (B)
Early in the morning, there will be OPTIONAL Hot-Air Balloon ride (extra charge).

We have dedicated a whole day to the beauty of Cappadocia, Kılıclar Valley, Love Valley, Goreme open-air museum, Pasabag valley

Start a day with a visit to the Love Valley, which 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 have 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.

Evening we’ll enjoy a Jeep Safari Tour – With the Cappadocia jeep safari tour, you will have an experience with driving an open-top jeep vehicle through valleys, having a better view over valleys, churches and cultural highlights. We take you to off-beaten tracks to various spectacular views.

Overnight at Utopia Cave Hotel

Turkey Balloons

MAY 25    Cappadocia                             (B,L)

Today is a relaxing day, after a leisurely breakfast, we will enjoy a Turkish Cooking Class with locals – Where you will meet local people to interact and learn to make some of their traditional dishes and have dinner.

Optional – Horse Riding tour of Cappadocia

Return to hotel,
Overnight Utopia Cave Hotel

26 MAY 2022 THURSDAY Cappadocia – Izmir by plane and Bodrum by Land.      (B)

This morning we transfer to Kayseri airport to catch a short flight to Izmir.  Depart Kayseri at 09:00 Hrs by Sun Express XQ 9039 Arrive in Istanbul at 10:35 Hrs.  Upon arrival in Izmir Visit Ephesus & House of Virgin Mary

Ephesus has had a long tradition of being a center of religious pilgrimage. The earliest pilgrims arrived to worship the Anatolian goddess known as Kybele. Later, this deity merged with the Greek goddess Artemis and was venerated at the great Artemision, attracting pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean region. These ancient cults of female deities were later echoed in the worship of St. Mary, mother of Jesus, that supposedly spent the last years of her life in Ephesus. The House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi in Turkish) which can be still visited today, is a place where, according to the beliefs of many people, Mary, the mother of Jesus, spent the last years of her life.

Continue to Bodrum (Approx 03 hours Drive) Check-in Upon Arrival.
Overnight at Radisson Collection Hotel

May 27.  Bodrum AFS Private Gulet Sailing                 (B,L )

Experience Gulet tour by traditional Turkish sailing boat with barbecue on board.  Leave the crowds of Bodrum behind and enjoy a day of relaxation, adventure, and exclusivity on a private boat tour on the Aegean Sea. It’s the perfect opportunity to take your Turkish vacation to the next level. Reserved for your group alone, a high-class vessel takes you to four or five of the area’s most impressive bays and beaches, where you can swim, snorkel, and sunbathe.  Trip Advisors rates this 5 stars!

Return to hotel, Rest of time free for Leisure,
Overnight at Radisson collection hotel

Bidrum Turkey

 May 28  Bodrum – Istanbul (By Flight)                   (B,D)

Day free to enjoy your own.  Your guide assist with so many options here!.. Horse rides on the beach, farmers foodie tour, Turkish and mud baths, fast ferry day trip to Kos Greece, popular Dalyan river cruise with Turtle Beach and more.
Overnight at Radisson collection hotel/Swiss hotel

May 28  Bodrum – Istanbul   (By Flight)                 (B,D)

Morning Transfer to Bodrum airport to catch the morning flight to Istanbul

Upon arrival, your full-day tour begins with a visit to the renowned Sultanahmet Mosque, known popularly as The Blue Mosque, an incredibly beautiful mosque known for its blue Iznik (Nicaea) tiles and six minarets. Continue on to the Hippodrome, once the vast arena that functioned as the heart of sporting events and political activities of the old city.

From here you 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 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 recycled 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. Continue with a visit to the Topkapi Palace. This visit to the imperial palace of the Ottoman Sultans will include tours of the imperial treasury, the Chinese porcelain section, the calligraphy section and many more. Visit the jewelry collection segment of the palace. The tour will end with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, the vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry and carpets.

Our tour will end with visit to the Grand Bazaar

Check-in to the Hotel

Evening we join together for our Farewell dinner cruise aboard a boat along the Bosphorus, which divides Istanbul’s European and Asian sides and spot some of the city’s historic sights. Take in shoreline views of elegant wooden villas, marble palaces, and fortifications, and get a glimpse of life in small fishing communities at the edge of the water.  Offering Turkish Folklore show including various folk dance groups, belly dancers while cruising on the Bosphorus you can enjoy a local dinner accompanied with a succession of Turkish folk dances and belly dancers. Also, enjoy unlimited local beverages.

Return to Hotel,
Overnight at hotel Holiday Inn Old City

turkey

May 30   Depart Home

Morning Transfer to Istanbul airport to catch the flight home.

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Land Price: $1795 plus $250 internal air flights and $85 prepaid gratuities for guides and drivers.  A limited number of single rooms are available for $595 throughout.  (Price based on min. of 18)

Deposit – Payment due in full at booking. 

Air – See Trip Tips

INCLUDES :
– AFS GTL, Accommodation on twin / Double sharing room basis at listed hotels above or equivalent
– Buffet Breakfast at all hotels – Welcome Dinner
– Bosphorus cruise with dinner – Jeep safari in Capadocia
– Gulet cruise with barbeque lunch
– Cooking class with lunch in Cappadocia
– 01 bottled water person per day during the tour in the vehicle.
– All transfers, sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned coach. – Assistance on arrival/departure by airport representative.
– Accompanied Tour director in entire tour.
– English speaking guides
– Entrance fees to monuments as per the given programme.
– All taxes and services charges
EXCLUDES :
– Any meals other than specified in “ cost includes “

– Any applicable Visa fees.
– Any airfare
– Any RT PCT tests
– Any kind of drinks except water as mentioned in “ cost includes “. – Expenses of personal nature such as tipping, porters, laundry etc. – All other than those listed in above inclusions.

      • Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
      • Single rooms limited with $ supplement.  Cost varies.  Email us for availability.  AFS will find you a roommate.
      • The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it.  A minimum number of 12 is needed.
      • Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy.  Travel insurance is important nowadays.  It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
      • Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details. 

AFS Trip Tips for Turkey 2022

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Prepare to be thrilled by our Turkish delights adventure in an exotic land like no other. Our many past groups loved Turkey for its rich heritage, warm hospitality and endless fun from ballooning over lunar landscapes to rejuvenating in Turkish baths. Buckle up for the joy ride to come! After all payments are in, we will send you the contact  and room list.  You’ll get your private Facebook group page link with your booking receipt. This will help you connect as a group before departure.

Email to group:

April 25 –

Hi All,

Thank you for your air times! I wonder which part of our trip you’ll enjoy most – Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir, Ephesus or Bodrum? I’ve visited all and can’t choose as each are so diverse. All ooze biblical history (Ephesians) and all provide delightful wonders.

Visa – you can now get your E visa online. There are many sites if you Google search but now days some are spam so please only use this – www.evisa.gov.tr  I have mine and it is easy.  (Use chrome, safari had issues.)

3 days out –  72 hours prior to your departure, get PCR test to be safe. Turkey doesn’t require it to enter but your airline or transfer airports may ask. No cost at urgent care centers. Then fill out your health form! www.register.health.gov.Tr. You must wait 72 hours out. Read supplier note below.

Grand Bazaar – Unfortunately closed on our days in Istanbul. (Thanks for the reminder, Gayle)  We will replace this with the fab Spice Bazaar which I love for gifts.  Understand there will be other smaller bazaars throughout we can visit in outer areas with better prices. Many of you are going in early, do Grand Bazaar on own then.

Airport Transfers –   since no one wants group air anymore, you’ll need to arrange your own. We do get one group transfer in and out based on the majority of flight times. Pick up will be May 22 at 2:45 PM. See our guide with AFS sign outside baggage. Others arriving different dates and times, change some dollars into Lara at airport bank or use ATM. Take taxi to the correct Holiday Inn in the old city (there are five).  See Address below.  Taxis here are safe and cheap. Hotel check-in is 2 PM. Porters can stow your bags until then. I will take taxi on my arrival at 10 AM on May 22.

Meet up –    all gather in hotel lobby on May 22 at 6 PM. We will move to conference room for group briefing. Each day you will get full briefings.

Turkey is trending so hot, and Cappadocia is packed with visitors now. Utopia hotel full. I will stay in a hotel next-door. Group travel is the best way to go now. Everything is an order with our trip. Great things to explore at the new Govt. tourism site www.goturkiye.com.  Please print this out. Read trip tips. Final departure email will come a week before we go.

Supplier note-

With reference to our conversation yesterday, please find below details for Turkey entry and links to the e-visa , as well as the health declaration form that needs to be filled 72 hours prior to travel only.

  1. Current guidelines – the current Covid guidelines are that all vaccinated passengers can enter freely and those unvaccinated need to show negative PCR results obtained 72 hours prior their entrance.
  2. Link for Visa – https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
  3. Health Declaration form link  – TO BE FILLED 72 HOURS BEFORE TRAVEL ONLY. https://register.health.gov.tr/
  4. Details that will be required for filling the health form
  5. PAGE 1 – Name of transportation company  – THIS IS THE AIRLINE YOU ARE TRAVELLING ON
  6. HOTEL ADDRESS –

HOLIDAY INN ISTANBUL OLD CITY

AddressGencturk Cad. Sirvanizade Sok, Vezneciler Cd. No:5, 34134

District –  Fatih/İstanbul,

City – Istanbul

Phone+90 212 528 18 65

Hi all,

Just want to keep in touch about our departure in 8 weeks. We had 18 but 2 canceled. I’m confident this will go with a couple more. Please spread the word. Yes, we are following Putin’s invasion. But we can “travel fearlessly”, knowing that we are in the hands with our excellent provider there. Diverse Destinations has many groups now all over the world. They know how to handle anything and won’t put us in harm’s way. Countless travelers are touring Turkey now with ease. Don’t stress over Covid. What’s the news today will be different in May. Borders open, airlines flying in, easy visa and we are monitoring the local conditions weekly for you.

Air – Our tour begins May 22 and ends May 30. I booked my airfare to land the morning of May 22. (I haven’t traveled in so long, I splurged on business class with Turkish Airlines nonstop Washington DC to Istanbul. My guy Ali got at 60% less. ali@business-class.com) It is wise nowadays to buy a refundable or changeable ticket if you don’t have air, now is the time and fares are pretty good to Istanbul now. Some are going in early, and some are adding time at trip’s end. Connect now on your private Facebook group page to discuss your plans. Be sure to read the trip tips. More to come.

I can’t wait!

Suzy

It is your responsibility to read our important emails and updated notes here.  Let us sweat the small stuff as we strive to make your trip worry-free. This may well be the best time to go and fully enjoy your vacation!  Bookmark this page to conveniently find your way back.

Final Payment:  Since this trip is so near, all final payments are due now to secure our three properties. (It is challenging with departure so near. Please understand that all tour operators price trips based on size of group. Our price is based on a minimum of 18 participants but it can go with 16. Please tell your friends and post the trip link on your social media. If we do not reach 16, all your money will be refunded.

Our new booking platform by WeTravel 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.   If you prefer to use the mail, make your payment to AFS or Adventures For Solo Travelers, 1907 Daniel Green Ct., Smyrna GA 30080

Covid Rules – Vaccinated Americans are free to enter with no Covid test needed! Unvaccinated must show a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to entry. Updates to come later.  Everyone check your airline rules.

Emergency Contact – AFS Phone 770-432-8225, or email us at https://www.afstravelers.com/contact-us/  and more contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 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 cell phone.  3 weeks prior to departure more details on this will be emailed.

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.  Call to ask what Covid coverage they have.   Some companies cover Covid related issues. Best source for all is www.insuremytrip.com.   CFAR or cancel for any reason may cover some Covid costs but is expensive.  Note, no company covers for fear.  Call the company and ask them exactly what you are looking to cover before booking.  Click to learn about Travel Insurance 101

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, World Nomads and Seven Corners.

Your fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly.) I know turkey well and delighted to leave this small group departing soon. I especially love Bodrum!

Suzy Davis – As a former flight attendant of 14 years with free travel, Suzy has logged over 100 different countries in her 6 tattered passports.  She founded AFS in 1989 to share the world with others.  For the first 10 years, she led ALL solo travel tours but now leads four or five each year. Her favorite group leads are to places outside the boundaries of normal comfort zones where one wouldn’t travel alone because she loves all the challenges. As a cultural ambassador, Suzy is fearless and loves to connect her groups with locals. Her enthusiasm, travel wisdom and patience are extraordinary.

She says, “I deeply care that my tribe blends well and that each member is having Large Fun.  My head is always churning with intuitive preemptive thoughts, and communicating these to our local guides. I make sure there is downtime for relaxation and provide suggestions for activities outside our itinerary.”  Suzy is a former Miss Wisconsin and teacher with a passion for Travel Writing. In her free time, she does site inspections and travel shows abroad for future trip ideas. At home, she loves cooking foreign dishes and loving on her dog, Gracie.  (Read more in her President’s Letter.)  “At the end of trips, it is music to my ears when I get to hear – “Suzy, this solo Vacation exceeded my wildest expectations!”

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. Scan your important documents – Covid tests, trip tips, passport etc. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email folder on your phone to re-issue new one quickly.
  • 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 – I got mine feeling it will eventually be necessary for travel. Many countries may loosen tests and restrictions with Covid tests and quarantine for vaccinated visitors.  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 or copy both sides and laminate the copy.  Login to your trip file booking form and answer question about Vaccine Yes (or will) or No.  Suppliers want this info.
  • All airline Covid rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules to ensure a smooth departure!  Click here for the latest info on PCR tests required to travel abroad Latest Covid Testing Info.  Failure to get the correct test may cause the airline to turn you away.   It’s your responsibility to know the airline rules that can change right up to departure. They won’t speak to us with reservations in your name. All websites post their Covid rules at top of landing page. All airlines in the process of making significant routing and scheduling changes now as they scramble ramping up hiring for the travel surge to come. How to reach them?  Call direct or request a callback time. Check to see if your questions can be resolved on the airlines mobile app or via Twitter or turn to their social media for assistance. Travelers get best results via Facebook message to the airline.
  • The local supplier and AFS may require you sign a Travel Pledge before departure.  If so, we’ll email a form to you  prior.

Visa –   all visitors need a visa, around $40. Two weeks out, you will fill out a form add www.evisa.gov.tr    Then print to show on airport arrival.

 Fitness Level – No trouble walking.

AIR – since this is a small group, we cannot offer a group air. Air is easy round-trip USA to Istanbul (IST) May 21-30. Turkish airlines (TK) is the cheapest fare with direct routes. But 18 major carriers fly to Istanbul. Go to Googleflights, momondo.com or direct to turkishairlines.com to check flights. If you need help, call our air guy Ali Ahmed at 888-315-7838 email ali@business-class.com.  He can work magic!   Nowadays, it’s always wise to buy a refundable ticket or travel insurance.

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.  All should check airline websites often for any new CV news or schedule changes.  In today’s air & hotel landscape, avoid booking tickets on 3rd-party booking engines like Expedia, Google Flights, hotels.com and more! It’s too difficult getting refund and it’s nearly impossible to change your ticket. Use sites only to view air prices. Then go directly to the airline or hotel website and book through them for your best protection and price.

Transfers-  We get only one airport transfer in and out to hotels and will give you set times closer to departure. Chosen times will be based on the majority of arrivals of airlines. If your flight time coincides with the group, you may take our single airport group transfer.  It’s your responsibility to find the group as they exit baggage claim.  If your flight time falls outside the group, you’ll need to make your own transfer arrangements.  Consider Uber or sharing taxi ride with group members.

Meet Up With Group- Land begins May 22. All must meet up at the airport or Holiday Inn Hotel by 6 PM.

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 45lbs – weigh on a bathroom scale – are ideal. This weight limit is set for our porterage and luggage vans.  If you overpack by adding side pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. So many cool new luggage trackers with GPS available now to prevent lost baggage!  We like LugLoc, DynoTag, Samsung or Apple Trackers.   The new hard cases are difficult to fit in coach storage. Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID to carry-on and bag to assure your bag never gets left behind.   Leave space for souvenirs.

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.  Airport and inflight food service may be limited.

This trip is so easy. Simply pack summer clothing with a light jacket for nights and long flights. Think umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, comfy sneakers, … swimsuit, beach gear, wet shoes, for Turkish Hammams, gifts for local children, etc.  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.

See https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com

MONEY MATTERS | CURRENCY – You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $400 in cash should suffice. (Venmo may be convenient at home, but useless overseas, ATM may eat your card.  Always bring some cash!  Wise to have new crisp bills.)   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.

Gratuities – (Prepaid)  It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $10 to $15 per day should cover all for the trip.  A $85 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 personally carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip $2. Restaurants – 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for waitstaff!

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.

  • In hotel rooms, hide valuables to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
  • Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water. Eat clean food and avoid street vendors.
  • 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.

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!

Retail Therapy  –  fine rugs, jewelry, pottery, perfume oils, handicrafts, antiques, embroidery scarves, quality leather goods, designer knock off’s, coffee and spices. Endless delights. Bargain all, especially in the markets and Grand Bazaar.

Websites of Interest. Goturkeytourism.com, visit.istanbul.com

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

Roomies – Single supplements have significantly increased – 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.   Note, kindness begets kindness.

Recommended Option – AFS hot air ballooning adventure over Cappadocia. $250.  We’ll get a headcount 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.   The three best hammans in Istanbul are HASEKI SULTAN, TARIHI, GALATASARY, CAGALOGLA

Amending tour pre-or post-trip or 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 nothing to do with this and is not responsible for the quality of these trips.

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.

Covid travel rules seem to mutate faster than the virus itself.  To keep all groups up to date with the lasted information, we’ve created a page that’s updated as needed.  Set a reminder for yourself to check the Covid page 7 days before departure.  

Please open and read about traveling and Covid Rules

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Bidrum Turkey
Turkey
Turkey Balloons
Turkey solo tour