Travel insurance generally covers four basic areas: medical/health problems, property loss, trip cancellation/interruption, and emergency evacuation. Although regular insurance policies may well extend to travel-related accidents, it is wise to consider purchasing travel insurance if the cost of potential trip cancellation/interruption or emergency medical evacuation is greater than you can absorb. Prices for separately-purchased travel insurance are about US$50 per week for full coverage, while trip cancellation/interruption separately costs about US$5.50 per US$100 of coverage.
Medical Insurance (especially university policies) often covers costs incurred abroad; check with your provider. US Medicare does not cover foreign travel. Canadians are protected by their home province’s health insurance plan for up to 90 days after leaving the country; check with the provincial Ministry of Health or Health Plan Headquarters for details. Homeowners’ insurance (or your family’s coverage) often covers theft during travel and loss of travel documents (like passport, plane ticket or rail pass) up to US$500.
ISIC and ITIC provide basic insurance benefits, including US$100 per day of in-hospital sickness for up to 60 days, US$3000 of accident-related medical reimbursement, and US$25,000 for emergency medical transport.
Lay out only what you absolutely need, then take half the clothes and twice the money. The less you have, the less you have to lose (or store, or carry on your back). Any extra space left will be useful for any souvenirs or items you might pick up along the way. If you plan to hike, see Wilderness Safety,
If you plan to cover most of your itinerary by foot, a sturdy frame back – pack is unbeatable. Toting a suitcase or trunk is fine if you plan to live in one or two cities and explore from there, but inefficient, if you’ll be moving around. In addition to your main piece of luggage, a day- pack (a small backpack or courier bag) is a must.
No matter when you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to bring a warm jacket or wool sweater, a rain jacket (Gore-Tex@ is both waterproof and breathable), sturdy shoes or hiking boots, and thick socks. Flip-flops or waterproof sandals are must-haves for grubby hostel showers. Shorts are acceptable in the more touristed regions along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, but completely inappropriate in more conservative parts of Turkey. Men should bring light, slacks, and women should bring loose-fitting pants or long skirts. For both sexes, short sleeves and baggy T-shirts are fine, but tank tops stand out. Also keep in mind that when visiting religious sites, appropriate attire is required.
CONVERTERS & ADAPTERS
In Turkey, electricity is 220 volts AC, enough to fry any 110V North American appliance. 220V electrical appliances don’t like 110V current either. Visit a hardware store for an adapter (which changes the shape of the plug) and a converter (which changes the voltage; US$20). Don’t make the mistake of using only an adapter (unless appliance instructions explicitly state otherwise). New Zealanders and South Africans (who both use 220V at home) as well as Australians (who use 240/250V) won’t need a converter, but will need a set of adapters to use anything electrical.
Toothbrushes, towels, cold-water soap, talcum powder (to keep feet dry), deodorant, razors, tampons, and condoms are often available, but may be difficult to find, so bring extras. Contact lenses, on the other hand, may be expensive and difficult to find, so bring extra pairs and solution for your trip. Also bring your glasses and a copy of your prescription in case you need an emergency replacement. If you use heat-disinfection, either switch temporarily to a chemical disinfection system (check first to make sure it’s safe with your brand of lenses), or buy a 220/240V converter.
For a basic first-aid kit, pack: bandages, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, a thermometer, a Swiss Army knife, tweezers, moleskin, decongestant, motion-sickness remedy, diarrhea or upset-stomach medication (Pepto Bismol or Imodium), an antihistamine, sunscreen, insect repellent, bum ointment, and a syringe for emergencies (get an explanatory letter from your doctor).
Film in Turkey costs about $34 for a roll of 36 exposures. It may be more convenient to bring film from home and develop it at home. Also, APS (Advantix) film is expensive and difficult to find. Less serious photographers may want to use a disposable camera rather than an expensive, permanent one. Despite disclaimers, airport security X-rays can fog film, so buy a lead-lined pouch at a camera store or ask security to hand-inspect it. Always pack film in your carry-on luggage, since higher-intensity X-rays are used on checked luggage.
OTHER USEFUL ITEMS
For safety purposes, you should bring a money belt and small padlock. Basic outdoors equipment (plastic water bottle, compass, waterproof matches, pocketknife, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat) may also prove useful. Quick repairs of tom garments can be done on the road with a needle and thread; also consider bringing electrical tape for patching tears. Doing your laundry by hand (where allowed) is both cheaper and more convenient than doing it at a Laundromat bring detergent, a small rubber ball to stop up the sink, and string for a makeshift clothes line. Other things you’re liable to forget: an umbrella; sealable plastic bags (for damp clothes, soap, food, shampoo, and other spillables); an alarm clock; safety pins; rubber bands; a flashlight; earplugs; garbage bags; and a small calculator.
Don’t forget your passport, traveler’s checks, ATM and/or credit cards, and adequate ID.