Escorted Tours - or - on Our Own?

Jan 11th, 2011, 08:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 17
Escorted Tours - or - on Our Own?

My 29 year old autistic daughter and her 59 year old mom (me!) want to travel to Turkey in 2012. We went to Spain for 2.5 weeks and handled everything ourselves except hotels (for which we used a Spanish travel agency) . At least I kinda spoke the language!

We went to Morocco for the day and were inundated by people and jostled about. (My daughter become overwhelmed and kinda clung to the guide and me.). Then, we were glad we were on a tour (only organized tour we took).

Do you think we can navigate ourselves? Is a small tour group too much like wimping out. Any suggestions for a SMALL group tour? We have looked at Pacha Tours, Troy Tours, and Indus.

We want a REAL experience, seeing local sites and do not want to stay in large anonymous hotels.

Thanks to the community! You were very helpful when I planned Spain.
ritaozaukee is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 08:50 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,157
I would not be afraid to travel Turkey independently. We did in 2003 and had no issues.

You can book all hotels on the internet.

You might look for a private guide for a day if you like to do that.

But we had no problem communicating either in English or by having our hotel or someone else write down what we needed in Turkish.

And while there are carpet salesman etc. who might solicit you we found pretending we couldn't hear to get rid of them pretty quickly.

If you still think you might enjoy group travel you might look at trips to Turkey (under "Middle East" region) on We traveled with them to Japan a few years ago and they use the same philosophy in all their trips, small groups, local experience. Our group in Japan was 8, some from US, some from UK, some from Canada and one from Switzerland, all very easy going and experienced travelers which added a lot to our experience. You should know though that IT trips the trip leader is more of a facilitor than a true guide. He or she will organize and escort you on logistics such as travel from one place to another and checking into and out of the hotel, providing directions for sightseeing but except for few group events or meals you are independent. The don't escort you around all day. We liked that style a lot. We liked our other group members alot so we often made plans to meet up for meals or drinks but we did most of the sightseeing on our own.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,142
I think Turkey can be done independently. We didn't rent a car and I think that made it an easier trip for us. We flew between Istanbul, Antalya, and Cappadocia and had made transportation arrangements to/from hotels ahead of time. In Cappadocia we did day tours with Rock Valley travel. Planning seems overwhelming to start, but looking back it was all very easy to do on our own.
Jackie is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,974
I would dare say that English is more widely spoken in Turkey than in Spain. Regardless, I think you'll be fine traveling independently in Turkey, certainly to the popular areas you would be visiting (Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the coast).
yorkshire is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 10:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 17
I am glad you have confidence in me! I did like the independent traveller web site which also has 2012 dates available. We want to decided by March when/where we can go. Thanks, all.
ritaozaukee is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 11:17 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
I would dare say that English is more widely spoken in Turkey than in Spain.
Having spent considerable time in Spain but limited time in Turkey, I am not sure this is true. We found that more German was spoken in the southern tourist areas than English. And ironically there are so many Spanish tourists in Turkey, that many Turks in the tourist areas spoke Spanish and we even saw signs in Catalan.

We just spent three weeks transversing Turkey by car and plane and had no problem. The restaurant stalkers and used rug salesmen can be annoying but not threatening.

The Turks in the hospitality services were almost to the person warm and helpful. The rude folks are the tourists.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,626
Rita, try to schedule your visit to May-june or september-october when crowds will be thinner during your sightseeing.
i would also recommend that you do not stay at the sultanahmet area where your daughter may feel threatened by the tauts (although it is nowhere near as bad as morocco or egypt)

there is so much she would love, from the boat trip up the Bosphorus to Miniaturk.

You can definitely do it on your own. If you need any help find the telephones of Fest travel from their site and ask to speak to Ms. Ilknur. She is the girl friend of one of our friends and will hopefully be available to assist you. she is a lovely person, compassionate and nice as well as a good guide.
otherchelebi is offline  

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