Updated on January 27, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
What should I bring on my Turkey trip?
Check out this comprehensive Turkey Packing List, which will also touch on what to wear in Turkey, what NOT to bring, and other FAQs.
What to Pack for Turkey
1. Universal Power Adapter
3. Activated Charcoal
4. Packing Cubes
5. Neck Wallet
6. Lightweight Jacket
7. World Nomads Travel Insurance
8. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using a VPN is essential when traveling abroad, especially if you plan to connect to the internet in public places such as hotels, cafes, and airports. A strong VPN provides you with an added layer of security so all your sensitive data, including passwords and credit card information, is protected from being hacked. We like to use NordVPN while traveling because it’s reliable and affordable.
9. Comfortable Flats
10. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger
11. Gorgeous Outfit
12. Wide Brim Hat
13. Long Skirt
14. Quick Dry Towel
16. Pashmina Shawl/Scarf
Don’t forget these other items for a Turkey vacation:
Travel Toilet Paper
Jet Lag Relief
TSA Approved Travel-Sized Bottles
Steripod Toothbrush Cover
Travel Neck Pillow
Hard Copies of Vital Documents
Travel-Sized Contact Solution
Hanging Toiletry Case
Lip Balm with SPF
ATM or Credit Card with No International Fees
Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes
Separate Small Change Purse
Over the Counter Medications
Hiking Boots: Women’s and Men’s
What to wear in Turkey
For women, it is not necessary to cover your head or dress conservatively unless you are entering a mosque, church, or holy site. Many mosques will have scarves on site for visitors to borrow.
Turkish women are very fashionable and Istanbul is a city where you will want to look your best. Istanbul is the perfect blend of ancient and modern and the style is very much a reflection of Turkey’s rich history as well as the latest European trends. Women will need to cover their head, chest, shoulders, and knees when entering mosques or holy sites, which is in line with the local customs. Many mosques will have scarves on site for visitors to borrow, though bringing your own is always a good idea.
In Istanbul, Turkish men dress in trendy, European style. Typical city attire includes boots or sneakers paired with a shirt and jacket. A graphic t-shirt paired with a blazer, jeans, and loafers is another classic option for men on the Istanbul streets. Jeans paired with a sweater or leather jacket is also a great option in Turkey. Pack a mix of casual and more formal attire, and be prepared with a dress shirt and jacket that can be dressed up or down depending on the activity.
Turkey has a Mediterranean climate and experiences all four seasons. The weather varies from hot and dry during the summer to cold and rainy in the winter. It’s typically warmer along the coasts and cooler at higher elevations, where there is often snow. Be prepared for rain when visiting Turkey and don’t forget to bring your reliable windproof umbrella.
WINTER – December, January, February:
Different regions of Turkey experience differences in their winter season. Depending on where you are in the country, the weather can range from mild, to cold and rainy, to snowy. Temperatures throughout the country range from 9°F (-13°C) to 75°F (24°C) depending on where you’re located, so be sure to check ahead of time what type of weather to expect in your particular region.
SPRING – March, April, May:
As Turkey is so large and far-reaching, the climate throughout the country is quite diverse. Spring is the start of the Turkey’s tourism season, and weather throughout the country is moderate with longer days. Depending on where you are, you may experience cold, rainy days and chilly evenings so be sure to bring plenty of lightweight clothes for layering.
SUMMER – June, July, August:
Summer experiences the peak of tourism season in Turkey, and people flock to the coasts for swimming, sunbathing, and exciting nightlife. Throughout the country, you can expect the weather to be mostly hot and dry, with temperatures typically at or exceeding 86°F (30 °C). Summer is the driest of Turkey’s seasons, though be prepared for the occasional thunderstorm and rain showers.
FALL – September, October, November:
Fall is an ideal season to visit Turkey as weather throughout the country remains mostly mild and pleasant for exploring outdoors. Days are shorter and rain typically begins starting in October. Be prepared for cooler temperatures in the north of the country, especially at night.
Beaches – As Turkey is a largely secular country, bikinis and western-style swimsuits are the norm when visiting the beach. Flip flops, tank tops, and shorts are worn by both men and women at the beautiful beaches throughout the country.
Religious Sites – Religious sites such as mosques, churches, and synagogues will require that women dress modestly upon entering. This means avoiding tight-fitting clothing and covering the shoulders, chest, and knees. At mosques and holy Muslim sites, women will likely be required to cover their heads, so be prepared with your own shawl or scarf if there isn’t one provided.
Hammam – A Hammam is a traditional Turkish bathhouse, and these are quite popular throughout the country. It is common for tourists to wear swimsuits or underwear into the Hammam but be aware that locals likely won’t be wearing anything, as is the traditional custom.
Exploring the City – In larger cities like Istanbul, fashionable European and Western-style clothing is the norm. In more rural areas you should opt for loose fitting clothing in order to remain respectful and blend in a bit more easily. Women won’t need to cover their heads unless they’re entering a mosque or holy site.
What NOT to bring to Turkey:
2) DON’T BRING items you can buy at the supermarket: Avoid bringing heavy or bulky items that can be purchased cheaply upon arrival, such as soap and generic toiletries. Many everyday items can be found at the local supermarket in Turkey so do your research ahead of time as to which stores will be available in the area you’re staying in and save yourself some luggage space!
3) DON’T TAKE bulky luggage: Be sure to bring a lightweight and not overly-bulky suitcase or backpack when visiting Turkey. Particularly if you plan to move around from place to place, you’ll want to make sure your luggage is easily transferrable on the cobblestoned streets.
4) DON’T PACK too many clothes: This cannot be said enough! Many people end up overpacking for their trips and bring items that never see the light of day. Challenge yourself to pack light and be strategic about what you bring. You’ll be glad for that extra space in your suitcase after you’ve been shopping at the bazaar!
FAQs about traveling in Turkey
1. What language is spoken in Turkey?
The official language of Turkey is Turkish. The language was originally written in the Perso-Arabic script used by the Ottomans but in the 1920s in an attempt to modernize the country, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk issued a decree that the Turkish language was to be changed to the Latin alphabet which is used to this day. English is also widely spoken in Istanbul.
3. Can you flush toilet paper in Turkey?
Most hotels will have sit-down toilets, though hole-in-the-ground toilets are common also. Toilet paper is often unavailable, especially on the train, so it is a good idea to bring some with you! In most bathrooms you can flush paper down the toilet but in parts of Istanbul’s old city, flushing paper down the toilet could cause flooding, in which case you must dispose of paper in a bin. There are often signs in bathrooms that will advise you on the policy. Some bathrooms charge a fee to enter so it’s good to keep some small coins on you as well.
2. Is Turkey a part of the European Union?
No, currently Turkey is not a part of the EU but has been increasing its efforts for many years to gain membership. Since it is not a member it does not use the Euro as its primary currency, but instead uses the Turkish Lira. However, as Turkey is closely linked with Europe, Euros are accepted by many vendors.
4. Is tipping required in Turkey?
Restaurants: As a rule, it is expected that you tip 5-10% in restaurants. If you are in a fine dining establishment opt for the higher 10%. Be sure to carry some cash or coins with you as there isn’t always a place to write in the tip if you pay by credit card.
Turkish bathhouse (Hammam): You will want to tip your bathhouse attendant before you leave. They will normally come by to bid you farewell and help you exit the hammam, so make sure to have cash on you and divide 10-20% of the total amount spent among the attendants.
Hotels: Tip 5-20 liras for hotel staff depending on their role. Tip when being helped with your luggage, room service, laundry, etc.
Taxi: Tipping taxi drivers is not required, though most people simply round up their fare. If the driver helps you carry your luggage it is polite to give a tip.
5. How expensive is Turkey?
Turkey is relatively inexpensive to visit. That said, you can comfortably experience Turkey on either a high or low budget! Expenses really depend on your travel style and which activities you’ll be doing while there. Istanbul and Ankara will be pricier than smaller cities, and beach towns tend to be more expensive. If you’re a budget-savvy traveler, you will have no problem get the most bang for your buck in Turkey!