Are you traveling to Turkey with kids and need the best pointers, so everyone has a great time? We’ve traveled in Turkey on our own and as a couple, so traveling with our kids in Turkey is a new experience. We’ve learned a lot and have some tried and tested tips for how to travel in Turkey with kids.
See our gift guide to the best travel gifts for kids.
Top 16 Tips for Traveling to Turkey with Kids
1. Stay hydrated before & during your flight
The kids need to drink lots of water 24-48 hours before your trip to Turkey. Long-haul international flights will dehydrate you. Drink plenty of water before and during your trip. You won’t be able to carry water with you to the airport, but you can fill up a water bottle, or buy a bottle of water at one of the markets inside the airport before you catch your flight to Turkey.
2. Take a direct flight to Turkey
When you’re flying to Turkey with kids the best thing you can do is buy a direct flight. You can fly directly into Istanbul and then on to your in-country destination. If you’re flying in from Europe, more than likely you can easily find a direct flight to your final destination in Turkey. A direct flight will mean shorter all-around travel time and less hassle for you to organize kids, carry-ons, and luggage multiple times to get to Turkey.
TIP: We love flying Turkish Airlines for the long haul international flights.
3. Arrive at bedtime
The ideal time to arrive in Turkey with kids is in the evening when it’s time to go to bed. You’ll naturally be tired and ready to go to sleep, so this puts you on the track for success as you adjust to a different time zone.
4. Make the first day a relaxing & easy day
On the first day in Turkey, everyone is blurry-eyed and tired from traveling. Give the kids an easy day to explore around the area you’re staying, go to the park to play a bit, or sit at the beach enjoying the water and sunshine. This helps with the transition, especially on the first day when you’re probably all going to want a quick nap in the afternoon. If you can stay up and then go to bed early, that’s always better. It seems that kids adjust easily and only need a few days. As for us parents, it may take a little longer.
5. Do 1 main activity in the morning
Don’t pack your schedule doing things all day. If you try to do too much in a day, you end up with tired cranky kids. Pick one main thing to do in the mornings when everyone is well-rested. In the afternoon, go to the park, hit the beach or swimming pool for some relaxation and fun for everyone.
6.Less locations, means happier kids
Moving around a lot is hard for kids. We suggest picking 2 – 3 locations if you’re traveling in Turkey with kids for 14 days or less. Have one place that you stay at that location and take day trips out from there. A good general rule of thumb is for every 4 days, pick 1 location. If you’re a fan of slow travel, pick one location for the entirety of your trip to get to know the locals and the culture in the area.
7. Expect smaller hotel rooms in Turkey
If there are more than 4 people in your family, you may need to book 2 rooms. If there are 4 of you, you may need to book suites at your hotels to accommodate all of you in one space. It may not be that big of a deal if you have young children, but it could get very cramped if you’re traveling in Turkey with older kids. Book your rooms well in advance to get the best choice of hotels and rooms. Airbnb is a great option for larger families that would like to have an entire space for themselves.
8. Baby, Toddler & Kid Essentials
You can find baby, toddler, and kid essentials in Turkey at the local markets. If your child must have a certain brand of an item, bring enough with you for the length of your trip. If you are bringing a stroller, make sure it can handle cobble stone or uneven paths when you’re visiting different sites. Also, we suggest bringing your small medicine kit with you that includes allergy, fever reducer, and cold medicine that you are familiar with for your kids. See our Ultimate Packing Guide to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
9. Bring travel games
Bring or make up your games that your kids and family can play when you travel between locations or when you have downtime. A few of our family favorites are:
- Travel Bingo: The kids love this game!
- Monopoly Deal: We are a little obsessed with this game.
- Would you Rather
- I Spy
10. Car Seats: Bring Your Own
If you’re renting a car or traveling on a small group tour, you’ll need to bring a car seat or booster seat for your kids. We’ve done several trips when the kids were younger that we hauled around a car seat. It was not fun but felt better about the kids being safe to travel. As they were older, a smaller booster seat was much easier to bring with us as we traveled.
11. Turkish food for kids
You can find western food in metropolitan cities like Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir. If you have picky eaters, stop at a local market to buy some items you know they will love. Pide & chicken shish are easy and simple meals for your kids. For more food tips, check out all our kids’ favorite dishes in Turkey.
12. Bring good walking shoes for kids
You will be walking a lot, so be sure to have good walking shoes that are broken in for your trip to Turkey with kids. No matter their age, this is important for the whole family. On our trip to the Ephesus area, we walked over 12,000 steps on the days we were out visiting sites. Our kids were champs and walked all of it as they were having a blast exploring.
13. Drink Water
Drink water, lots of it. If you’re traveling in Turkey with kids during the summer months, the sun is bright, and it gets quite hot. We don’t recommend drinking the water from faucets, so you’ll need to plan on buying bottled water from the market. Stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day.
14. Plan lazy beach or pool days to rest and relax
After those long days of walking, be sure to plan for relaxing days at the pool or beach resting. The kids will need time to recuperate after a day of being out and about. We’ve got a great guide for Kas with kids to have some fun on the water. Also, see the best things to do in Antalya with kids.
15. Let the kids lead
To keep kids engaged in the trip to Turkey, sometimes it’s best to let them lead. What do they want to do today? As you’re exploring a site, let them decide what you all will look at next. Let them be a part of creating the experience and memories you’re having together as a family.
16. Turkish people will adore your kids
Turks loved kids. They’ll make sure they are taken care of, accommodated, and having a great time when you are traveling in Turkey with kids. If you need anything while you are traveling, don’t be afraid to ask. Turks will go out of their way to help, it’s one of their most endearing qualities.