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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Customs & Travel Information


After India, here is my advice for travel. Neither place will be nearly as bad as India was, but (especially in Turkey – our first stop, and also a Middle Eastern country) this is what I can recommend.

Food:
Bread/Grains: It is hard to go wrong here. Always a safe choice
Meat: Be Careful! If it is cooked it should be fine, but always double check.
Fruits/Vegetables: Only eat if it has been cooked/boiled thoroughly or freshly peeled by yourself.
Water: Don’t drink. Brush teeth with bottled water. Always buy bottled water when you see it (even if you don’t need it – you never know when you will need it). This also means no ice.
Dairy: Avoid at all times. It is hard to tell how dairy products have been preserved. I know many of you want ice cream, but I would wait until Greece to try it. Europe is safer, and we will be more adjusted after a few weeks.

Exceptions: Chain restaurants like McDonalds, Pizza Hut (I’m not sure which ones will be in Turkey/Greece – but these were pretty typical in India). The ice, ice cream, meat, lettuce is all safe.

Most people will get at least some mild food related sickness on the trip. (Make sure to bring Imodium) This is because our bodies will take time to adjust to the foreign bacteria that we have not built up immunity for. By the end of the trip, after spending a few weeks in a new setting, you will be able to be more adventurous with dietary choices. Just always use common sense, and you will be fine.

Something else I suggest is going to Sweeny’s before the term is over and using some leftover money from your meal card to buy snacks to pack in your suitcase. Some days, a bag of trail mix/protein bar may be all you feel like eating.

Clothing:
For Greece, no restrictions. It is Europe, clothing is not important.

For Turkey, be covered. Turkey is predominantly Islamic, so when we visit Mosques we have to be covered (or if deemed inappropriate, you will be given a cloth to wrap your body with before entering). Bring many clothes that cover your shoulders (no tank tops) and legs (pants recommended, capris acceptable). Also we will have to remove our shoes upon entering. I always brought socks, so my feet would not get burned on hot stone.

Money:
Euro:
$1 = €0.73
€1 = $1.36

Lira:
$1 =1.75
1 = $0.57

Learn how to quickly convert in your head. It will help so much while shopping!!
Learn haggling techniques when shopping for souvenirs!!!

Weather:
Learn Celsius temperature, as it is what both Turkey and Greece use.
The climate is Mediterranean, which means it can warm during the summer months, but we should be there before it is too bad. Plan on about 75-80ᵒF. The winter months are also known to be quite rainy, so we may experience some during the first few days, but by the end of the trip in the middle of May, the weather will be beautiful since summers are dry.


**All in all, no matter how much we do to prepare, the people there will be able to tell we are tourists instantly. The tour company in Turkey, especially, probably deals with uniformed Americans all the time. The important thing is to just try to respect their culture.**

** Lastly, I just have to say, BRING HAND SANITIZER. You can never have enough!!! **

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