Giving concise packing advice for someone regarding a nation as geographically diverse as Turkey would be a challenge for any writer. Fortunately, you are in the presence of those who are not afraid to step out and make bold claims regarding all things related to travel in Turkey. We will guide you with confidence through the chore of packing for Turkey including how many pairs of underwear to bring for a ten day trip and what to expect from the dry cleaning services at most hotels in Turkey.

  1. Electronics: Cell Phones, Curling Irons and Notebooks
    • Electricity in Turkey is run on a 220 Volt current and can do serious damage to smaller appliances that run on an American standard 110 Volt system. So, at the very least you willneed an adapter to plug in your appliances that has a plug ending like the one in this picture.
    • Check your appliances most modern appliances have an AC/DC adapter that allows for this higher Voltage the way to check is to look on your computer, cell phone or appliance cable for something resembling 110-240V Input allowance.
    • If your appliance is not compatible you will either need a converter (much bulkier than an adapter) or you will need to leave your device behind. With the stricter weight allowances I suggest the latter choice.
  2. What to Wear: Shorts, Slacks and Evening Wear
    • The purpose of your travel will dictate what you bring but the standard visitor to Turkey is glad they brought:
      • A swimsuit – men usually wear Shorts not Speedo’s, women usually wear two piece swimsuits.
      • Shorts – There are different opinions about shorts in Turkey. If you are considering visiting the Eastern parts of Turkey you will likely want at least one pair of slacks. Men in Turkey wear shorts only when exercising and usually are not seen in public wearing shorts even in the middle of the hot summer days. This being said the majority of the Turkish people you will see in your journeys will not be tourists. So, when traveling in Turkey I like to wear shorts even though it identifies me clearly as a tourist.
      • Turks like to dress up. You will find that for a night on the town Turks, especially Turkish men, are ready to pull out all the stops and go the whole nine yards to impress as they show themselves about town. Bring two dress shirts and a pair of slacks, or a dress or two for dinners, parties and the random circumcision party to which you could be invited.
    • When visiting Mosques:
      • Men should wear pants and at least a short sleeved shirt, shoes will be removed before entering the mosque.
      • Women will need to have their shoulders covered and pants or a long skirt for their legs and will be given something to cover their head upon entering the mosque. If you prefer not to use a previously-used-scarf bring one from home to use.
    • When traveling to Turkey in the Winter:
      • Remember that it snows regularly in Istanbul and Ankara,
      • Check the elevation of your destination: Dogubeyazit 2,300 meters above sea level; Antalya 10 meters above sea level
      • Watch out for rain
    • When traveling to Turkey in the Summer:
      • We call sunscreen – “liquid gold” – as most sun tan lotion is imported and costs an arm and a leg at your local pharmacy in Turkey. Bring a bottle from home where you can get it at half the price.
      • Prepare to sweat if you plan on being in Turkey for the months of June,July, August or September.
    • When wondering about weight limits on flights:
      • Domestic Flight Allowance – 1 x 20 kg (45lbs) checked bag and 1x 9 kg (20 lbs) carry on
      • International Flight Allowance – varies based on your Air Carrier
  3. Hotel Cleaning Services: Bring Enough for Everyone
    • I have had some bad experiences with hotel cleaning services. While the larger hotels are usually more trustworthy to return the proper items of clothing to the proper guests, even in larger hotels in Turkey I have lost shirts.
    • If traveling on a DIY basis you will want to bring enough cloths for the whole trip. Smaller hotels are notoriously bad for loosing clothing items in the laundry service. I recall coming back with half as many socks as I left with after my stay in Antalya at a small Pansiyon.
  4. Suitcase Types: Big Wheels
    • If you’re wondering what kind of luggage to buy for your visit then I would suggest you invest in something with some big wheels. The roads and sidewalks in Turkey are usually paved with cobble and key stones. These make for difficult transferring of rolling baggage with small wheels and you’ll find your suitcase broken quickly.

For more Turkey Travel Tips, see our posts on tipping your guides and books to read about Turkey.