Turkey is open for tourists: Everything you need to know

As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19
shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health
officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before
booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare,
whether it is next month or next year.

After a few months of closed borders, tourism in Turkey is open
again for business. Here’s everything you should know about
safely getting there and back.

Sign up
for TPG’s daily newsletter to stay up to date on travel
news

In This Post

Related:
Europe is out, but these countries are welcoming US
travelers

What to expect Cautions and precautions

As of June 11, Turkey’s international borders are open for
travelers from a number of countries, including the U.S. However,
travelers should note a couple of precautions unrelated to
COVID-19:

  • The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory guide lists
    Turkey at
    Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
    , due to concerns over
    terrorism and arbitrary detention. Travelers are strongly advised
    to avoid the areas bordering Iraq and Syria due to terrorist
    activity. (The official U.S. stance on worldwide travel is still
    Level
    4: Do Not Travel
    — the highest tier of caution — due to
    COVID-19 concerns.)
  • U.S. travelers will still need to apply
    for a visa
    before entering Turkey. You can do so via e-visa application, which takes
    about three minutes.

Related: These are the
US State Department travel advisories for July
2020

  • Additional cautions for Turkey travelers include:
    • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
    • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
    • Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures.
    • Monitor local media and adjust your plans based on new
      information.

The official crime and safety report for Turkey can be found
here, and
the State Department’s
travelers’ checklist here
.

We should also note that Turkey has reported more than 200,000
coronavirus cases with Istanbul especially hard-hit.

Travel

All travelers must wear masks in the airport and
onboard flights inbound for Turkey
, according to the
Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Travelers who show signs of
COVID-19 including but not limited to fever, runny nose, cough or
respiratory distress will not be allowed to board flights or enter
the country. Upon arrival, travelers will be asked to fill out a
passenger information form and undergo medical screenings for
infection, and anyone showing symptoms upon arrival will be

tested for coronavirus
. Anyone who tests positive will be
referred to a Turkish hospital for quarantine and treatment.

However, the Turkish embassy’s website states that tourist
travelers do not need to
provide specific health documentation to enter or exit Turkey

unless they are arriving for medical treatment.

Curfew

Anyone over the age of 65 must observe curfew from 8 p.m. to 10
a.m.
every night.

Masks

Masks are mandatory in all
public areas
in a number of provinces, and required in crowded
public areas such as shopping malls or supermarkets everywhere
else. To be safe, bring at least one per traveler, and be prepared
to wear it at all times.

Transportation

Travelers over the age of 65 must carry a
permit
from the Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, all
passengers must wear masks in any public or private vehicle with
two or
more people
present.

How to get there and Where to stay Airlines

Turkish Airlines, the flagship carrier of Turkey,
suspended all international flights in April.
However, the
airline is back up and running, albeit on a far more limited
schedule than before, asreported
by Charlie at Running with Miles
.

TPG dubbed the carrier’s Miles & Smiles program the
“hottest
frequent flyer program of 2020″
for its many sweet-spot
redemptions within the U.S. and abroad. You can easily purchase
cash flights to and from Turkey, then use the miles you earn from
that travel toward domestic flights.

Turkish Airlines operates direct flights out of Newark (EWR) and
New York (JFK) to Istanbul (IST) for around $900 round trip in
September,
Google Flights showed
. For the purposes of this post, TPG chose
to highlight travel dates between September 11 to September 17 for
a hypothetical trip. 

(Image courtesy Turkish Airlines)(Image
courtesy Turkish Airlines)

 

Hotels

Turkey has a wealth of gorgeous hotels scattered throughout the
country, including a generous number of points properties. Here are
a few highlights:

Kempinski KempinskiKempinski’s
Ciragan Palace Hotel May 2018. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points
Guy)

 

One of TPGs favorite hotels in Istanbul is the Çiragan
Palace Kempinsk
i in Istanbul. The hotel on the edge of the
Bosporous was a former palace. We founds cash rates of 411 Euros a
night which is a pretty good deal. You could also use points from
the Kempinski Discovery loyalty program.

(Image courtesy Kempinski Hotels)(Image
courtesy Kempinski Hotels)

 

Marriott

The Bodrum
EDITION
is a favorite with TPG reviews editor Nick
Ellis
, and has rooms available from $432 or 50,000 Marriott
Bonvoy Points per night
over September 11-17.

Hilton Hilton has a whopping 70
hotels
across the country. Rooms at the Ankara
Hilton
begin at just $85/night for Hilton Honors members, or
20,000 points per night. Since Hilton Honors points are just worth
0.6 cents apiece by TPG valuations, we’d go with the cash rate on
this booking. (Image courtesy Hilton)(Image
courtesy Hilton)

 

Related: What are
points and miles worth?

IHG

Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya boast a number of Holiday Inns and
Crowne Plazas. But the
only InterContinental in Turkey
is in Istanbul, where rooms
begin at just $99 (or a confusing 19,000 IHG points + $100) per
night over September 11-17.

Hyatt

There are seven Hyatt properties in Istanbul alone, and all of
them can be booked at great cash rates.

(Image courtesy Hyatt)(Image
courtesy Hyatt)

 

The
Grand Hyatt Istanbul
is available at a steal of just $132, or
12,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Add $9 per night and
include free breakfast, to boot.

Related: Your
ultimate guide to World of Hyatt

Featured photo by DOZIER Marc/Getty Images.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Turkey is open for tourists: Everything you need to
know