In your travel wallet that you should have received by now, you will find a copy of your airticket and WHITE baggage tags from the travel agency. Please ensure these are on your suitcases – as it identifies us as a group. Please ensure you have a lock on your suitcase and an identifying mark on your case if it is a common colour (eg: a ribbon or colourful handle).
Make sure you have your passport with you before you leave home, as well as your Turkish VISA form and a print out of your airticket. Make a copy of your passport, credit card and any other important documentation for easy replacement. You can give this to me upon arrival in Turkey. Make sure your passports are valid for at least 6 months from your return date and that you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.
We will not be taken to any place where there is danger. Tourists are very carefully looked after, especially in light of recent activities in the region. We are in constant communication with our agents over in Turkey, and we will never place you in harm’s way. It is essential however that you have travel insurance in light of recent events, so please contact Pieter to arrange this. It costs only R400 and is worth it. You may also arrange it privately through your bank or medical aid should you wish (just let us know).
The local currency is Turkish Lira, but you can also use Euros (most things are priced in both TLira and Euros). We suggest you take Turkish Lira preferably, but if you can only get Euros, then you will be able to easily change it in Turkey. Euros are fine for the bigger tourist centers. If you don’t want to take too much cash, you can use your credit card at some of the more commercial tourist shops (especially when buying more expensive items like jewellery and leather jackets etc). I am taking cash and a credit card. I would suggest that in your cash you include a couple smaller denomination bills for use in markets and bazaars. We do not get much time to go past an ATM ever, so drawing cash will be problematic.
In the Grand Bazaar (where you may wish to shop) they will take credit cards and it is very safe to use them there – just let your SA bank know in advance that you will be travelling overseas so that they do not block your card. If you can, buy your currency ahead of time. The airport is very expensive to buy forex. To purchase you will need to show airticket, itinerary, proof of residence, passport and ID book. Please do not purchase or use travelers cheques.
As much or as little as you want to. All airfares, hotels (4 & 5 stars), breakfasts, lunches and dinners, transport in our own luxury bus, portage, etc are included in the fare. Tipping money is included, though you may wish to save some cash back at the end for an additional tip for our tour guide and driver (they become like family!). We will need to buy our own drinks…such as waters, juices, wines etc. These range in price from 2 Euros for water to 15 Euros for a bottle of wine. And if you want souvenirs, you will need extra for that. We suggest you budget about 10 Euros per day for lunch and dinner drinks and anything from R2,000 – R10,000 for spending money. (You will know if you spend more or less. Souvenirs range from 5Euros – 205Euros. A box of Turkish delight costs approx. 10 Euros, a beautiful scarf will cost from 6 – 20 Euros. A beautiful leather handbag will cost 50 Euros – 200 Euros (for an excellent fake Louis Vuitton or Prada bag and a leather jacket at the Grand Bazaar (Turkey is known for their exquisite leather) can range from about 40 Euros- 500 Euros depending on the quality and style.
In your packed luggage medicine bag, include your normal prescription drugs, tweezers, and sun cream. Please also include an anti-histamine (for allergies), headache tablets, plasters and immodium. If you think you may get sick, ask your doctor for an anti-biotic prescription. For hand-luggage please note the following:
• You will only be allowed 1 piece of hand luggage on the aircraft (such as your complimentary backpack) and one small handbag
• No containers of liquids more than 100ml will be allowed in hand luggage. Make sure it is all less than this and is in a see-through clear bag (ziplock bag). You can buy travel sized bottles from Clicks or Dischem.
• Hand luggage may not weigh more than 7kg.
• No pocket knives, scissors or sharp objects – put them in main luggage.
• Only take two days of medicine/tablets in your hand bag, the rest must be in your luggage.
• Pack valuables in your hand luggage. Not just passports and money, but less obvious things, such as prescriptions, an extra pair of contact lenses, camera, jewellery etc. Most are useful on-board. All are invaluable if luggage goes missing. I also like to take some wet wipes to refresh myself on the plane, as well as a travel pillow. Remember that it can get cold on the plane, so take a jersey, and also pack a change of clothing for when we land in Turkey (as we start touring immediately).
• Take one suitcase no more than 20kg
• Travel light – arrive with the minimum – so you have capacity to add weight (souvenirs etc) and still be below the limit for the return flight
• We strongly suggest a suitcase with wheels that is easy to pull. Remember to have a lock on your case and your luggage tag provided by 3G Travel.
• Take half the clothes, twice the money!
• Make sure that you get some sleep –I take a herbal sleeping tablet, travel pillow and EAR PLUGS to help me.
• You can take snacks onto the aircraft – but must be in original sealed packaging.
• I also like to take a plastic waterbottle, which I use to fill in the mornings at the hotel and keep with me during the day.
At this time, the days are sunny and warm, and the evenings are cool. The temperature ranges from 21 degrees in the day but can fall to 10 degrees at night. Please take sunscreen, a hat and even a small umbrella; you can also bring a swimming costume. Never fear, we have a fully air-conned bus and hotel rooms, and a swimming pool at each of our hotels.
The dress code on tour is casual, though certain places in Turkey are conservative. Women cannot have bare shoulders in public in some of the religious places (hence if you have string tops you must cover up in the Holy Sites with a shawl or jersey). JOY! Magazine will be giving each lady a complimentary cover up shawl. Men need to wear long pants in the holy places/temples (2 of the days), but can wear shorts the rest of the time – though you may find it cold, so I suggest jeans. I suggest the men take a pair of longs on the bus for when we go into the holy sites, or, you can purchase shorts that zip up to pants from Cape Union Mart or camping stores. Flip flops and takkies are perfect for walking. Longs are to be worn at dinner (as our hotels are smart) and ladies may wish to take a change of clothing each night for dinner, as it is always nice to “dress up” and feel special. I usually take some dresses, a warm jacket, jewellery and accessories, sparkly sandals for dinner, and comfortable walking shoes for the daytime.
Travel as light as you can, as I am sure you will buy a few souvenirs along the way.
A hat. (We will be providing the men each with a JOY! cap) and sunglasses
A small light Bible and/or notebook
A camera, extra memory card, batteries, cellphone chargers etc
A photocopy of your passport and credit card just in case anything gets lost or stolen (you can give these papers to me on the aeroplane and I will keep it safe for you)
Comfortable walking shoes, socks and flip flops
Wet wipes and tissues (public toilets…need I say more!)
A swimming costume/s…for the hotel at the end of the day.
Soap for hand washing of clothes (if you want to hand wash) and toiletries
The hotels will have hairdryers. Turkey uses 2 prong plugs, so that is very handy for South Africans. If you have a three point, you can buy an adapter at the airport/luggage shops.
Most of our hotels will have free internet. You will have received a hotel list in your itinerary with contact numbers (should people need to get hold of you). You can also buy a local sim card, which we will assist you with purchasing. If you like, you can place your phone on SMS roaming (which I do and it works nicely and cheaply) and then use what’s app to text and phone for free. If you must call, then international call roaming (which is costly) allows you to stay in touch. If you are not sure how to do this, contact your service provider for more info ahead of time. You will only do this just before we board.
Every bit helps. The only “heavy duty” stuff will be what you choose to do – but having said that, there is a small bit of walking each day. Bring extra plasters just in case you get blisters! Why not start doing a bit more walking now – as a preparation?
Please be disciplined!!! Be ready at agreed times, eg in the morning for breakfast and departure. DO NOT BE LATE – or you will be left behind. Rather plan to be early for each part of the program.
When we go to Pergamum, we will have some free time for reflection and prayer. To make it special, I suggest you write down any prayer requests/burdens you have of the Lord, or those from friends or family, on small pieces of paper that you can fold up or roll up….to place in a special tour box. We will pray over these and also lay hands on those who need prayer and healing. This is a symbolic and very memorable occasion. Things you can write on the paper include:
• The name of a loved one you are praying for to be healed/saved/helped
• Any burdens you are carrying in your life that you “can’t seem to let go of”
• A prayer for the Turkish people and that nation.