Are you trying to figure out how to start planning a family trip to Turkey? It could be overwhelming trying to figure out where to go and what to do on your trip. We’re going to take a high-level view of travel in Turkey so you can start confidently planning your trip.
Challenges for Planning a Family Trip to Turkey
- You have less time to really dig into location and details.
- It can be difficult to find family-friendly activities and places to stay that are great for the kids.
- You need more flexibility and freedom in traveling with your family.
Recently we went on a hike in the morning and we had plans for the afternoon based on other tour websites, this is one of three things that you would plan in a day. And we did the hike and by the time we got back to our car, all of us were just done. We stopped, we ate food, and then we went back and had just a low-key afternoon because we were all so tired, we couldn’t do anything else. And so I found that we like to travel a little bit slower and medium to slow pace. And fast pace just doesn’t work whenever we’re traveling with our kids, we need to take it a little bit slower.
You need to make sure that everyone can eat. My husband and I love trying the local favorites and trying new foods and are a little bit more adventurous when it comes to food, but my kids are picky eaters.
Next, we’ll look at the top tips for your planning a family trip to Turkey.
Top 10 Planning Tips for Family Travel in Turkey
Planning Tip #1
Make sure you have your passports and visas for your trip.
Your passport must be valid for more than six months before you arrive, so you need to make sure that if you already have a passport, it is valid. If you don’t have a passport, go ahead and submit that as soon as possible because that can take some time, sometimes three to four months to get that back.
You can purchase your visa at the official Turkish e-Visa site online and we’ll have the link in the show notes. You can also purchase your visa once you arrive at the airport, but we suggest getting it before you even travel. You’ll fill out a form, you’ll purchase it online. Then, you’ll download your visa and then you’ll have it with you when you arrive.
Planning Tip #2
Who are you traveling with?
Here are a few questions to ask before you book anything for your trip or make any travel plans. The first one is, who are you traveling with? Are you traveling with your kids, with other families, with extended family?
Get that nailed down because that’s going to help you determine what else you’re going to be doing on your trip. Also, how do you like to travel together? Do you like to travel at a slow pace? Do you like going all day? Can the people that you’re traveling with handle that? Or do you like to have a mix of things where maybe one day is a down day and you’re going slow and then the next day you have a full day of travel?
Determine how people like to travel together based on who is going to be traveling with you and then look at everyone’s interests.
When you’re traveling in Turkey, there are so many different things that you can do in different areas that you can travel to. You have history, and so you have classic sites like Istanbul and Ephesus and even Cappadocia.
Turkey is the most hospitable country I’ve ever traveled to, and the food and culture are part of experiencing Turkey.
Next, do you enjoy adventure activities. Do you want to do beach and water activities? Do you want to go hiking and have more adventures? There are several different locations in Turkey where you can do those kinds of things. And so think about these questions as you begin the planning process for your trip to Turkey.
Planning Tip #3
How many days do you need to travel in Turkey?
This depends on what you want to do and how many days you have to travel. I think typically a lot of people will come for a week, and so that gives them anywhere from seven to 10 days of travel in Turkey. But if you’ve got more time off, there is definitely so much more that you could see if you had 14 days or even if you are a slow traveler and you like to do month-long trips, there are plenty of things that you can do.
For a medium pace of travel, we recommend at least three days for each location, and that includes your travel day within those three days. For example, if you only have seven days here, you might consider only doing two, possibly three locations depending on how fast you want to travel and how much you want to see and how much you want to do.
Next, consider the popular destinations in Turkey, they’re not close together and so you will need to fly if you have limited days in Turkey. It’s be a much quicker trip to fly from to each location and maximize your time.
Planning Tip #4
When is the best time to go to Turkey?
In April and May, it is beautiful in Turkey. It is, you know, you have the flowers blooming, the weather is getting warmer from the winter and it’s absolutely beautiful and it’s a great time to be here.
You have lower costs, fewer tourists are here, and so it’s a great time to come. If you’re wanting to do the beach, that is not the best time to come because the water will not be warm enough to get in at that point. It’ll be nice weather, but the water will still be pretty cold down on the coast.
Then moving into June, July, and August, this is the high season in travel for Turkey, and so you’re going to have great weather. It is going to be more crowded. You will need to book your travel in advance. This could be booking any tours that you have, hotels for sure, get that done in advance so that you can make sure and have the best options for your family or for whomever you’re traveling with. And then also some of the classic sites in Istanbul, you may have longer waits when you get into the high season.
We were recently up to Istanbul and went to the Hagia Sophia. It was almost a two-hour wait to get in and we decided to skip it because we didn’t want to wait in line.
Also, June, July, and August, is a great time to be in the water. So, if you’re wanting to do the Mediterranean, that would be the best time to go. If you want to get in the water and have water activities or a Blue Cruise tour, that would be a great time to do that.
Getting into September and October, it’s still a great time to enjoy the Mediterranean, the sea, the temperatures are still warm, but you don’t have the humidity and so it’s a great time to get in the water. And all of the other sites, all the other locations in Turkey, the popular locations September and October are great. You’re going to have fewer crowds. The prices are going to be a little bit lower. We love traveling in the fall in Turkey.
Then, when you get into November through March. In November, you could still have a little bit warmer weather, but you’re moving into this season where it can get really cold, especially up in Istanbul and Cappadocia with potential rain and snow. Down on the coast, you’re still going to have some sunny days, but you’re moving into the rainy season in December, January, and February.
You can still travel in the winter season, just realize you’re going to have a little bit more volatile weather and possibly rain or snow.
Planning Tip #5
What are the most popular Destinations in Turkey?
The most popular destination is Istanbul. This is a great place to go if it’s your first time in Turkey or if you’re wanting to visit more of the classic sites. Also, if you only have a limited number of days and you’ve never been to Turkey before, we would definitely recommend Istanbul. It is a huge city, so if you are not a fan of huge cities, you might make it a quick stop and then move on to some other places in Turkey.
Number two of the most popular destinations is Cappadocia. This is a region of Turkey, not only one town. It’s a region of Turkey that is made up of a bunch of little towns and it’s also part of classic Turkey. The landscape is unique and there are some fun activities and things that you can do there, like the underground cities, you have sunrise hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, lots of hiking opportunities as well as visiting the fairy chimneys and the Cape churches, as well as doing some pottery. In Cappadocia, we recommend at least three days to see.
Next, we have the Aegean region of Turkey, and the popular places to go in this region are Ephesus and then Pammukale. These locations are about three hour trip from each other. A lot of times people will go see Ephesus and then take a day trip to Pamukkale and then back before they fly out to their next destination.
The next most popular destination in Turkey is Antalya and the Mediterranean coast. Of course, this is my personal favorite because we live here. We love the Turkish coast! It is a great place for water activities, and hiking in the spring and fall, as well as history and culture. It’s a wonderful place to have a blend of really everything that Turkey has to offer and we highly recommend it visiting the coast.
Planning Tip #6
Booking your flights for your family trip to Turkey.
We love flying Turkish Airlines for the long international flight into Istanbul. Turkish Airlines does such a great job of accommodating kids on the flight. They’re one of the few airlines that we’ve flown that has good food on the flight. We recommend arriving in Turkey later in the afternoon or in the evening if possible so that you can get checked into your hotel and then go straight to bed. You’ll more than likely have a little bit of jet lag, so this can help you get started the next day with a really great night of rest.
Planning Tip #7
Do I need travel insurance for my family trip?
Travel insurance is a must on any trip. This is essential just in case you have any flight cancellations, lose your luggage or have an emergency while you’re traveling. There are many different travel insurance companies out there, but we recommend Alliance, travel Insurance or World Nomads. You can submit a request and then get various rates based on your needs for your trip.
Planning Tip #8
Booking Hotels in Turkey for Families
When you’re looking at booking hotels, the first thing to note is that rooms are smaller than by American standards. In Turkey, if you’re a family of four, you may have to book two rooms for your trip. Some hotels will have family suites available so that you can all stay together, but these types of rooms typically book up quickly, so you need to make sure that you make your reservations early.
Also, you’ll find all kinds of options depending on your budget. You’ll find five-star hotels, luxury boutique hotels, hotels apart, and even budget-friendly hotels. There are hotel options something for everybody’s budget. Also, if you’re traveling independently, you may find an Airbnb that will fit your needs while you’re traveling in Turkey.
Planning Tip #9
What is the best way to get around Turkey with my family?
First of all, you have your in-country flights, so flying between cities and regions will save you time getting from one destination to another. And we highly recommend this when you’re traveling in Turkey, especially if you have a very limited number of days. Be sure and book your flights early if you’re traveling in the summer months because they can fill up. And then if you’re traveling in the winter or early spring or late fall, there could be a limited number of flights available. So be sure and just keep that on your radar depending on when you’re traveling and how you’ll be getting around.
Next, you have options of train and bus to travel throughout Turkey. If you’re traveling slowly through Turkey and have the time, you can travel this way. If you need information, you can look at the Move It app, and this is a great Turkey travel app for train and bus information. It can be somewhat difficult if you’re just looking online trying to find trains or buses from Istanbul to another location in Turkey and vice versa.
Lastly, we have car rental. Let me emphasize that driving in Turkey is not for the faint of heart, but it is a great way to see Turkey and this is something that we prefer. We love to travel in Turkey driving. We do not drive when we’re in Istanbul. We use public transportation and we walk while we’re there, but if we’re outside of Istanbul, if we can, we will rent a car and we will drive just because we have so much flexibility and there are so many places you, you can stop off and see. We love traveling this way, especially on the Mediterranean coast and Cappadocia. If you’re traveling independently, we recommend driving because it’s so beautiful and there are so many things I think that you would miss otherwise.
Planning Tip #10
Private Family Tours vs. Independent Travel in Turkey
There are so many advantages to booking private tours. When you’re in Turkey, you have the advantage of having a licensed guide and a driver with you to navigate your trip. Private tours are typically flexible so that you can change your mind at a moment’s notice on what you want to do for the day. You have the option to have a private tour for your whole trip, maybe a specific location, or even a day trip at a specific location. We love that there are options for semi-private tours, so you can mix it up a bit to travel independently and then have tour days that are built into your trip.
Traveling independently is more budget-friendly and it’s going to give you the most freedom and flexibility, especially when you’re traveling with your family. You can completely change your trip itinerary as you need to.
Conclusion on Top Tips for Planning a Family Trip to Turkey
These 10 tips will help you get started planning a family trip to Turkey. You can get pricing in an itinerary for a custom tour from our favorite travel company in Turkey.