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Turkey Tour Operator or Travel Agent -- August 2009

Turkey Tour Operator or Travel Agent -- August 2009

Old Jun 20th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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Turkey Tour Operator or Travel Agent -- August 2009

My friend and I are planning a 15 day trip to Turkey in early August. We have some flexibility on the dates but were thinking about doing a Fri departure and returning 2 weeks later on Sat. We've done alot of research on tour operators and can't seem to find anyone with trips that fit our schedule, and that aren't incredibly budget or incredibly expensive. We contacted a tour operator in Cappadocia to plan our trip . . . I just received the first draft and one or two of the hotels got pretty sub-par reviews. I checked the prices on them for the dates of the itinerary and they were pricing at anywhere from $75 to $140 per night total (which I consider pretty inexpensive) but yet the tour quote was't inexpensive . . . so I guess the operator is making a pretty hefty premium. I almost wouldn't mind booking more premium hotels myself but we would like to cover alot of ground so we definitely need someone to coordinate all of the arrangements as far as touring, guide, choice of hotel in the smaller locales (we know places we would like to stay in Istanbul and Cappodocia) transport, etc. We are also worried that if we use a travel agent type of person who puts together a bunch of separate tours -- rather than a tour operator -- the end result may be disjointed and we may end up seeing similar sites in different places. Does anyone have any suggestions?

We are two single, professional women in our 40's who are active, adventurous, well educated and accustomed to four or five star travel. In general, when I've traveled five star, I've made the arrangements myself so there was never a premium.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 27th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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I usually travel on my own, but as a single woman the first time in Turkey, I decided to go on a tour. I just returned from a fantastic tour to Turkey on GAP travel in May. Have you checked them out? They are a Canadian company and very reasonable. They limit their tours to 15 people. Everyone on our tour had a great time! Several of the people on our tour were on repeat tours with GAP. I am going on another tour (Classic) with them in September. I was on the comfort tour which is still very inexpensive and the ages ranged from late 20's to early 70's with most people somewhere in between. Several of the people on the tour who had been on GAP tours said that the classic tour accommodations are almost as good but tend to cater to a bit younger crowd. If your in your forties, you'd fit right in to either one. http://www.gapadventures.com/ Keep in mind, August will be HOT!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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You may have already decided on what to do but here is an insider view;
Tour operators are wholesellers and yes their rates may be cheaper than a travel agency, however their concern will be numbers not your preferences really and mass tourism effects their travel style they offer. there are some specialist travel agents who will tailor your tour and spesific arrangements according to your time, wish list and conditions etc and also more towards your interest rather than what is available. A typical travel agency makes about 10% on hotels and tours can be different as what kind of vehicle they use ( a sedan car or deluxe minivan makes a big difference both on the cost and comfort ) quality of the guides being used ( if the guide will let you strall around on your own and meet you at the museum gate or actually will take you to the places and give you all the history and stories and make your life easier to sopt things you may not spot on own ) if the driver will keep AC on or will use it only sometimes, places you will be having lunch etc. makes a big difference on the costs as well. I would consider all the points before deciding and checking references, details of the itinerary........

Good luck with your choices and enjoy your trip.

Murat
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Thanks, Murat!! We are actually still working on our plans, and our new dates are 8/28-9/13. I've traveled to many exotic locations and thus far, Turkey has been the hardest to plan -- annoyingly so! Based on the opinion of one particular travel agent, this is the itinerary we came up with:

Fly to Turkey, Overnight Plane
Arrive Istanbul, Roam Around, Sleep Istanbul
Istanbul -- Tour, Sleep Istanbul
Istanbul -- Tour, Sleep Istanbul
Fly to Cappodocia Early AM, Tour, Sleep Cappodocia
Cappodocia, Tour, Sleep Cappodocia
Fly Cappadocia to Izmer as early as possible. Transfer to Kusadasi, Roam Around on our own, Sleep Kusadasi
Tour Ephesus, Transfer to Bodrum, Sleep Bodrum
Bodrum, Roam on Our own, Sleep Bodrum
Bodrum, Roam on our own, Sleep Bodrum
Car Rental Morning, Outskirts Bodrum, Drive Fethiye in Evening, Sleep Fethiye
Fethiye with Car, Sleep Fethiye
Fethiye with Car, Sleep Fethiye or Fly to Istanbul Late
Fly Istanbul early or if there already, fine. Shop, Sleep Istanbul
Istanbul, Shop, Sleep Istanbul
Fly NY

We would prefer to stay consecutive days in Istanbul in the beginning rather than spending two days at the end, but apparently the direct flights from Cappodocia to Izmer are only on Wed, Thurs and Mon. We also had originally thought about skipping Izmer and Kusadasi, and doing a day trip to Ephesus from Bodrum to limit the change of hotel, cost of transfer, etc. Our travel agent suggested going through Kusadasi instead.


Does this itinerary make sense to you? The idea is to hit Istanbul for 4 full days, Cappodocia for 2, visit Ephesus, and spend suitable time in Fethiye and Bodrum. (Hopefully, Fethiye and Bodrum are different enough that a trip is warranted to each.) We would do private tours wherever there is reason to, but we would be happy to join a group tour if the quality and itinerary are similar. (If we are able to minimize private touring expenses, we are hoping to splurge more on the hotels.)

I know time is running out, and I am not even certain the optimal flights will be available and reasonably priced. What to do? Please help!!!
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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hii Sue,
if you did not decide yet about your turkey trip,l would like to offer you an itnerary.. could you please send me an e-mail so that l can send it to your private mail?
thank you and kind regards

ERCAN ULU

THA TRAVEL

[email protected]
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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Also checks Sammys I used them and they were great we went where we wanted sans rug outlets that seem to be a part of major turkey tours\guided events.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 05:58 AM
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Hi Sueblue;

You can do all the sights and yes Bodrum and Fethiye are different. I always suggest travelers if they have early flight back home it is better to arrive Istanbul a night before also depending on time of year.

Splurging at hotels is a good idea but at each location except Bodrum at least a day guided tour is recommended and rest you navigate on own if you like to.

Make sure you really have at least two full days in Cappadocia if not try to add another.

I do not advertise my services here on board but as a travel professional I can help you to take the stresses out of your shoulder. Or contact your agency to revize the itienerary.

Another option is; depending on your arrival, continue to Cappadocia or Bodrum and leave Istanbul at the end of your stay saving time for you for the rest of the vacation.

Happy Travelling,

Murat
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 02:02 AM
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You could also try Byzas Tours at http://www.byzastoursturkey.com for custom or private tours, as they have been very good in tailoring a specific and interesting program that we wanted for our upcoming trip to Turkey.

Unlike you we will only have a little over a week to spend on our trip - I wish we had more time!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Hi sueblue. We spent almost 3 weeks in Turkey in May and loved it. I can also highly recommend Murat's advice and his company. We met Murat and his wife Pinar on our first day in Cappadocia and they are genuinely great people to work with. They run a highly professional agency in Urgup, know their country very well and work hard to ensure their clients have an exceptional travel experience. Although we had already developed our own travel itinerary we did use their services to both rent a car and book a balloon ride. If you have time I would also second his advice on staying longer in Cappadocia ... it's a very unique and beautiful part of the world. Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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Thank Nlspirit for the nice words. ( I am blashed You are always welcome for more and I am just doing my best to be an ambassador of my country.....

Greetings,

Murat
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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Thanks Elsa and NLspirit. I just checked Byzas' website and it sounds like they would have been perfect for us. Murat was also very helpful. Unfortunately, we had already started with someone -- they didn't really understand our needs very well so we ended up doing alot of work and reading on our own. We are looking forward to a great trip, however!
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Old Jul 25th, 2009, 12:44 AM
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Have a wonderful time in Turkey Sueblue....Glad you are developing your itinerary....

Happy Travelling,
Murat
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Old Oct 31st, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Murat, Please give me your web address or your -mail so I can send you my plan and maybe have you plan our trip to Turkey in May.
[email protected]
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