Trip to Turkey from USA: Top Unexpected Surprises and Tips for Your Trip

Trip to turkey from USA

Things You Need To Know When Taking a Trip To Turkey from USA


If you are planning to travel to Turkey from the USA, This article can help you know some unexpected things while traveling. Turkey is located between the western portion of Asia and the eastern portion of Europe. Turkey is a Center Eastern nation wealthy in culture, which is affected by the Roman, Greek, Ottoman, Byzantine, and Persian realms.

Turkey has been through a bumpy ride regarding its long and distinguished history. While a larger part of Turkey’s population recognizes itself as Turkish, individuals of Kurdish roots tallied among the minority within the nation.

So, looking at the culture and traditions, there are several things that you would not expect at all while traveling to Turkey.

Beautiful Turkey



  • Be careful when picking a taxi.

If you are traveling to Turkey from USA for the very first time, you would not initially expect to be charged for “taking the long route” when you are only making a short trip, intentionally by the driver.  This can happen quickly if you grab a cab without a taxi logo. If the driver sees that you are foreign, he/she may try to charge you to cover the longer distance. 

Pay close attention to your own GPS to ensure the driver takes the shortest route rather than trying too long by choosing the longer route to arrive at the destination. Although it is unethical, you must be smart and always try to sit in a car with a taxi logo.

Turkey From USA

Avoid Being Over Affectionate if you are with someone

In Turkey, like many other countries, it’s crucial to understand and acknowledge the local customs and traditions. Yawn I know, it sounds like a snooze-fest, but trust me, it’s important stuff.

One particular aspect to keep in mind is public displays of affection. Yep, we’re talking about smooching and hugging in public, ladies! While it may seem perfectly innocent and romantic back home, in many areas of Turkey, particularly the more conservative or traditional ones, it’s considered inappropriate.

So here’s the deal: be mindful of your surroundings and exercise some good old-fashioned discretion. I know, I know, it’s a tough job to dial down the PDA when you’re swept up in the romance of your Turkish adventure, but hey, it’s all about being respectful and avoiding any awkward encounters.

While larger cities and tourist hotspots tend to be more accepting of public affection, venturing into rural or less cosmopolitan areas may require even greater sensitivity.

  • Eating Customs in Turkey
Turkish buffet at restaurant Kampin Pippuri
JIP, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Use of Hands

So you want to eat with your hands in Turkish culture? Well, you’re in luck, because it’s totally acceptable, especially when indulging in mouthwatering traditional dishes like kebabs or mezes. But here’s the catch – you have to use your right hand like a pro. Turkish folks believe the left hand is less clean, so let’s keep it classy by using the right hand for all your finger-lickin’ goodness. That way, you can chow down with confidence and avoid any side-eye from the locals.


In Turkish dining culture, bread is the VIP of the table. It’s a staple, and the locals take it seriously. So, when you’re breaking bread with the Turks, take note: it’s customary to break off small pieces of that carb-filled goodness and use them to scoop up your food. Waste not, my friends, because bread is highly valued in this culinary adventure.

Seating Arrangement

Picture this: you’re in a traditional Turkish setting, and there’s a designated head of the table. Now, before you start digging into that scrumptious spread, hold your horses and wait for the head honcho to begin the meal. It’s all about showing respect and not jumping the gun, my friend. And here’s a little bonus for you: in Turkish hospitality, guests often get offered the best seats.

Accepting Food

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to someone’s home, get ready for some serious Turkish hospitality. When they offer you food, the polite thing to do is accept it with open arms, and an empty stomach, of course. Turkish folks take their hospitality seriously, and turning down their delicious offerings might be seen as impolite. So go ahead, embrace their generosity and fill your belly with all the amazing flavors they have to offer.

Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee – the elixirs of Turkish hospitality! If someone offers you a cup of tea or coffee, don’t even think about saying no. It’s practically a crime! Turkish folks take pride in their tea and coffee culture, so accepting and savoring these beverages is a must. And let’s not forget about Turkish coffee – strong and served in small cups. It’s like a caffeine shot of pure joy that’ll keep you energized on your Turkish adventures.

Dining Pace

Meals in Turkey aren’t just about filling your belly; they’re a social affair. So when you’re enjoying a delicious spread with the locals, take your time, soak in the flavors, and engage in conversation. Rushing through a meal is a big no-no and might be seen as impolite. So sit back, relax, and let the flavors dance on your taste buds. Enjoy the company, indulge in mouthwatering dishes, and make memories that will last a lifetime.


Ah, tipping – the post-meal dilemma. In Turkish restaurants, it’s customary to leave a tip of around 5-10% of the bill. Now, this isn’t just some optional extra; it’s part of the Turkish dining culture. Show your appreciation for the service you’ve received and leave a little something extra for your amazing waiter or waitress. But hey, keep an eye out, because sometimes a service charge may already be included. So double-check that bill before you whip out your wallet.  

Clean your plate

  • Refrain from talking to local women who are alone in public.

Something we may think nothing of may be of bad form when visiting Turkey. In Turkey, speaking to a young or a single woman alone in public can be seen as offensive. Speaking to a Muslim female who is alone could be seen as prohibited in Islam if you are a male. This is because you are Non-Mahram to her (A term in Islam that refers to a man who is allowed to marry a girl).  To remain culturally aware and sensitive, it is best to be cautious when traveling to an area with different cultural values.

dont Talk womens

  • Do not wear shoes while entering a house of worship or a local’s home.

 If you are invited into a house of worship, you will need to take off your shoes before entering. A common theme amongst Turkish people is that they tend not to wear shoes in their homes. Take notice when entering someone’s home and do as the owners do.

not wear shoes

  • Do not eat in public during the daytime in the month of Ramadan (in the Islamic Calendar) 

 If you are traveling USA from Turkey during the month of Ramadan (a month in the Islamic calendar that Muslims observe with zeal and zest), then you should refrain from eating during the day in front of the locals. Muslim individuals in Turkey must fast from sun up to sun down, which would be considered very rude and disrespectful to stuff your face. So, make sure you do not eat during the daytime openly. 

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eat in publicly banned
  • Wear clothes that cover

If you are planning to travel from the USA to Turkey, make sure to pack long sleeves and pants.  A significant amount of the population in Turkey is Muslim. Females living in the country don baggy pants, long sleeve shirts, and a robe called entari. While it is not mandatory for foreign visitors to wear traditional clothes, shorts or sleeveless tops can be worn unless entering a mosque. Females will be required to cover their hair if they enter a mosque. Overall, plan to bring slightly conservative clothes while visiting a predominantly Muslim country.

Observance of Rituals: Okay, time to turn down the volume and embrace your inner zen goddess. When visiting religious sites, be mindful of ongoing prayers and religious rituals. Keep a respectful distance from worshippers, avoid interrupting their practices, and for the love of all that is holy, silence your mobile phone. Imagine accidentally blasting your favorite power anthem in the middle of a peaceful prayer session. Awkward. So, let’s keep it quiet, maintain a tranquil environment, and soak in the spiritual ambiance.

Guidelines and Rules: Ah, rules, we love ’em, right? Well, when it comes to religious sites, it’s essential to be attentive to any guidelines or rules provided. They’re there for a reason, folks. Some mosques may have specific visiting hours, restrictions on photography, or areas that are off-limits to visitors. So, let’s show some respect and follow the instructions given. We don’t want to end up accidentally trespassing into sacred areas or getting caught in a religious site fashion faux pas. Trust me, it’s best to stay in the good graces of the religious establishment and have a positive and respectful experience. 

traditional clothes


Even with all the stipulations, Turkey is a beautiful country with so much to see and do that it outweighs the potential restraints we are not used to facing daily.  I highly recommend visiting, and remember that when you do Travel Till You Drop

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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