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-   -   Travel Tips and Tricks For Greece and Turkey? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/travel-tips-and-tricks-for-greece-and-turkey-1703161/)

AJEIV Nov 21st, 2021 04:33 PM

Travel Tips and Tricks For Greece and Turkey?
 
I am a current college student in the US planning a solo month long trip to Greece and Turkey from mid-May to mid-June 2022. As this is my first solo international trip and first time in Europe/Middle East I have some questions on the logistical and financial aspects of such a trip.
  1. I plan on traveling quite a bit during the trip, and visiting places both on and off the beaten path. For this I almost certainly need a car for the duration of the trip and will cross country lines during the trip. Given renting a car is expensive and given I will be 21 during the trip making renting a car even harder and more expensive, I am assuming renting a car is not a cheap option. I know sometimes people will buy a car upon starting a trip and sell it at the end, which is an option I am also looking into. Given I will be 21, need a car for about a month, and will be crossing country lines during the trip, what are my best options especially if I want to keep costs down?
  2. I plan on visiting a few Aegean Islands during the trip, namely Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, and possibly Samos. It would be helpful for both traveling about Crete and Rhodes, as well as the Turkish coast, to have a car with me while I'm visiting the Aegean. I have looked at ferry prices and it looks like paying for a car ticket in combination with a normal ticket on average about doubles the price but I don't know if this holds throughout. I could also leave my car in Athens (If I have bought one) as I will both begin and end in Athens for that leg of the trip, and rent a car or take a Taxi/Uber once I'm on the islands. Which of these options is the most cost efficient? If I were to leave a car in Athens, where would you do this?
  3. I will be crossing the Greek-Turkish border a planned 3 times. How easy is this crossing? How long does it take and are there any scams to look out for/tricks to know?
  4. I want to be as cost efficient as I can on this trip, as I am a starving college kid, and other than a car, ferries, and flights, the most expensive portion I see is accommodations. As I plan on moving around a bunch, I will likely not be spending many nights in the same place. The 3 options I see are: Sleeping in a car (which is super cheap but more dangerous and poses the logistical issue of where to park for the night), hostels (which are cheap but post some threat of theft), and hotels. (which are much more expensive, but safe and nice) What are the pros and cons of each option, and what would you recommend for an American solo college age kid trying to cut costs?
  5. For any people who have previously visited Greece and/or Turkey what are some sites you would recommend? I am mostly going to see ruins but am interested in any recommendations people might have. Also, what are some tips, trick, or advice you would give to a first time visitor?
  6. This is a trip that has been in the planning for over a year, and its something I hope to remember for the rest of my life, but I feel like I am biting off a bit more than I can chew. I have been cutting down my plans and am at a more reasonable place now than I was, but I know often trips are better without a crowded itinerary and time to 'go with the flow' and play things by ear. But I find myself very attached to the places I currently plan to visit and somewhat unwilling to compromise on not visiting them. I'm also able to extend my travel plans a bit if need be but am scared that more than a month will result in burnout. What is your recommendations on balancing the amount of sites I'd like to visit, the time spent traveling, and how much free time/wiggle room I have available?
Thanks for reading my longwinded post and thank you for those who offer your invaluable advice. I'm happy to answer questions if anyone has any. Thanks again.

dreamon Nov 21st, 2021 08:30 PM

It sounds like a wonderful holiday. So you understand where my advice is coming from, I have travelled extensively in Greece but not for a long time and we travelled down the Turkish coast for about 7-8 weeks but again a long time ago.

Firstly, I would abandon the idea of a car. It isn't necessary, will add significantly to your costs and will sometimes just be a bind that you don't want to have to deal with. Transport in both countries is good. We have visited many places which most tourists haven't and always managed to find a way there by public transport, albeit sometimes that meant one bus a day on occasion.

You could very easily spend a month in either country so a month over both will mean you'll have to be very selective and you may end up covering a lot more ground. I suggest visiting those portions of Greece and Turkey which are closest geographically. I'm not familiar with the political situation in Turkey at the moment, other than to know that there have been some concerns in recent times.

I wouldn't even think about sleeping in the car unless you were truly desperate. Hostels for solo travellers are great. They provide safe, comfortable accommodation, often a place to prepare food, and offer the opportunity to meet other travellers, with whom you can spend a day or longer together. Hotels don't have to be expensive but are more economic for two or more people travelling together. You can sometimes rent a room in someone's home at very affordable rates. Picnicking is both enjoyable and cost effective. It is a huge advantage to be able to travel with minimal luggage. For a trip like this I recommend a 40litre (or smaller) backpack. You will find that you won't need much and there will always be the opportunity to shop along the way if needed.

Learning some basic phrases and nouns (and numbers to 10) will pay dividends. Particularly in Turkey, locals were delighted when I could order tea (or whatever) in Turkish.

The first time I visited Europe, I went for 5-6 months (it was pre-Schengen) and I wanted to extend my stay but was unable to change my airfare home. I've travelled for extended periods many times since. I have preferred to travel less often but for longer. If you can extend your time, then I would. Burnout has never been a problem for me, although I have missed my kids (who were sometimes at home with their dad). Any burnout can be avoided by not moving on to the next place too quickly or too often.

Have fun! And write a trip report back here so we can share in your journey.

Traveler_Nick Nov 21st, 2021 10:00 PM

Listen to the above. Forget the car. Especially on the islands. Even the big islands aren't that big.

What you've mentioned sounds like a LOT of ground to cover in a month. That's the opposite of being money wise. Every ferry,bus,flight or hotel change can cost you money. Worse it takes time. You seem to be spread over the whole of Greece. Greece may not be huge but at ferry speed it will take time.

Depending on the island Greece is fairly cheap. You can often rent an apartment for what you'd pay for a hostel in other countries. Especially since you'll be going early in the season.

janisj Nov 21st, 2021 10:12 PM

Just quick . . . Re your item #1 . . . just forget about cars. You cannot buy one - you'd need a permanent address in the country in order to register and insure it. You can't likely rent one due at your age -- Well, you could but in Greece while 21 yo's can 'legally' rent, most agencies set a 23 lower age limit. If you can find a rental agency there would be a large surcharge. Same goes for Turkey.

You are only planning a month so there is really no need for a car for any of your legs and there is a lot more safety in Hostels than there would be sleeping in a car . . .

Croesus Nov 22nd, 2021 12:49 AM

The bus system in Turkey is excellent.

dreamon Nov 22nd, 2021 01:36 AM

We too found the bus systems in both Turkey and Greece to be very good. rome2rio site is a good starting point for working out how to get from A to B (but remember it is not exhaustive). If you plan to use them, it may pay to find out whether dolmus are running during these covid times. I have no idea.

If there is a place which you'd like to visit and for which there is no/limited transport, sometimes you can join up with fellow travellers and hire a car for a day or two together. Of course, you can't count on that but it's often possible.

Even if you plan to wing it, I suggest plotting out your itinerary (you've probably already done this). Doing that often reveals to me that I need more time or fewer places! You mention Crete - Crete is a large island and you will either need to visit just a small portion of it or spend a couple of weeks there.

neckervd Nov 22nd, 2021 08:37 AM

As to the car, I second the posts above. There is no somewhat interesting place that you couldn't reach by bus, minibus or boat.
But be aware that there are actually no ferries between Greek Islalnds and Turkey (since the Covid outbreak in 2020). That makes any planning particularly difficult.


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