If you are planning a trip to Turkey, you will want to read this Turkey packing list and tips for what to wear in Turkey for every season!
Turkey is a vast country and it also experiences very hot summer weather and snow in the wintertime! Depending on the time of year, your packing list for Turkey will be very different!
Turkey is also a muslim country. However, it is quite a liberal country and beachwear on the coastal beaches is the norm! However in smaller towns, and in the country in general, modest dress is typical, for locals and tourists.
Turkey also enjoys a summer and winter, so what to wear in Turkey in October or November is going to be a lot different than what to wear in Turkey in June and July!
Turkey Packing List and What to Wear in Turkey
Compared to Western Standards (and most other countries in the world), Turkey is quite a cheap place to shop! Whether you are looking for new luggage, polo shirts, shoes or purses, you can find it all at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or in markets in other large towns such as Izmir.
Do not worry if you find yourself short on clothes, you can easily grab a few tshirts, or new sandals (yes, I broke mine and replaced them for USD4), especially in Istanbul!
What you are going to pack for Turkey is going to depend on the season and where you plan to go! What to wear in Istanbul is quite different that what you need for Pamukkale.
What to Pack for Turkey: The Basics
Regardless of where your trip to Turkey takes you, you are going to want to pack these things when you visit.
A travel adapter is something that I recommend for every packing list for Turkey. Turkey uses 220 Volt European 2 pin style plug. If you are traveling from outside of Europe, grab one of these before your trip! I love how this one has USB outlets as well (and you can use it anywhere in the world)!!
One thing to watch out for is Hotel rooms that have energy saving sockets where you need to insert your room key in order to turn on things like air conditioning, or the lights. In these rooms, your devices will NOT charge when you are not in the room! Keep that in mind when you go out for the day! I had made the mistake thinking everything will be charged when I returned! This is a super popular travel gift and one I love to grab for my friend’s first international trips!
Reusable Water Bottle With Filter
I am a fan of Grayl Water Bottles, but any water bottle with a good filter will do. Lifestraw is another good brand. Imagine how many water bottles you are saving by using tap water while you are in Turkey! Do the math and it will probably surprise you!
While your phone battery may last you all day at home, knowing that you will not run out of battery while filming over Cappadocia or wading through the hot thermal pools in Pamukkale is not a problem if you carry an extra battery pack! They are not very expensive. You can see which one we use here.
Small First Aid Kit
Just because you do not know if one of the sharp limestone rocks in Pamukkale might give you a scratch or you end up with blisters from walking so much, it is worth it to have at least a few bandaids with you when you travel. I personally have the basics: Bandaids and some Polysporin, Second Skin (for blisters), needle and thread, and a few tampons!
Microfibre Travel Towel
I take one of these on every trip. They are small and lightweight and work for the beach, for a budget hotel, as a picnic blanket, as a travel blanket, or any unexpected need for a towel or blanket! They are inexpensive and do not take up much room at all!
If you are visiting in the winter, you are going to want a hat for warmth. If you are visiting Turkey in the summer, you are going to want to keep the sun off your face! The beaches are so bright and hot and the reflection from the water in Pamukkale requires you to be covered for sun protection!
Sunscreen, Sunglasses and Chapstick
If you are packing for turkey in the late Spring to early Fall, you are going to want the sunscreen and sunglasses!
Pack of Kleenex
This is not something you actually need in your Turkey packing list. But if you do not have some, pick up a small bag of kleenex or wipes when you get to Turkey. They are cheap, about one lira, and you can find sellers on the street with them. Otherwise they are even cheaper in stores. You are going to want them for some washrooms that do not have toilet paper.
One thing that I liked about eating in Turkey was that almost every restaurant gave you wet wipes after your meal! I collected these for my kids when they had sticky hands!
Shoes to Pack for Turkey
Shoes are an important part of any Turkey packing list based on the activities you plan to do while you visit this vast country! Just about every traveler is going to need a couple pairs of shoes. Here is what I suggest in your packing list for Turkey
Comfortable Walking Shoes
These are the most important. There is a lot of walking, whether exploring Cappadocia, or wandering around Istanbul. You will likely be on your feet for most of the day! If you have a great pair of hiking sandals and you are packing for Turkey in the summer, your sandals can do double duty, but most people are going to want comfortable shoes for walking and trekking.
If you are visiting Turkey in Spring, Summer or Fall, you are probably going to want sandals for the Turkish beaches or when you visit Pamukkale. Sandals are great for everyday wear in Turkey in the summer, but the uneven streets and cobblestones make it really easy to break one (trust me, I did it). Thankfully, there are plenty of places to shop in Turkey and I was able to hit a mall in Istanbul and replace them very cheaply!
Turkey Packing List for Women
Turkey is a muslim country and while beachwear is acceptable at beaches and pools, modest dress is expected in the rest of the country, whether summer or winter. Leave your short shorts and short dresses for the beach resorts only and pack breathable and flowing fabrics or linen shirts to cover shoulders and arms when visiting most cities in the country.
The basic principle is the less skin the better. Even fully covered, some women can attract unwanted attention, that is just the unfortunate part of being a woman in certain countries (and maybe even your home country), but dressing modestly is not just about keeping unwanted attention at bay.
Modest dress is important to respect the local culture of the country you visit. My goal is always to look like a local. It does not always work when I am carrying a suitcase, but blending in like a local is always my best advice. Women do not show off their bodies in modest countries, and it took me a long time to wrap my head around that as a woman.
Longer shorts and t shirts will be seen in large cities like Istanbul and Izmir and in the hot summer months in a group of tourists you will not likely stand out. However you would not see a local in shorts. I try and balance my own comfort (sometimes it is HOT!!!) with local standards and you will see some photos of me in short shorts in the middle of the day.
Women are still blamed for being raped in many countries around the world, citing that they “asked for it” based on what they were wearing or how they acted (something as simple as dancing). While it is not my place to judge or try and educate people on my travels, I have learned that fitting with with local norms is usually the best advice to give women traveling in culturally different countries than their own.
With modesty and cultural sensitivity in mind, here is what should be on any Woman’s packing list for Turkey
- shawl or scarf (to cover hair in religious sites and for modesty)
- swim cover up
- comfortable shoes
- dresses (for beach or evening)
- long pants / trousers (I like linen pants for summer and even jeans)
- layering shirts such as long sleeve linen shirts
- tank tops for layering or beach days
- t shirts
- hat and sunglasses
- sweater / light jacket for evening
- Workout gear (for hotel)
Winter considerations for Women’s Packing list for Turkey
If you are visiting in the winter, your packing list for turkey in winter is going to include
- Winter Jacket / Rain Jacket
- Wool Socks
- Warm Sweaters
Turkey Packing List for Men
Men can get away with shorts and tshirts in a lot of places. If you are wanting to know how to dress in Turkey to look like a local, you will notice that most local men will be in long pants almost all of the time. Beach resorts and towns will find men shirtless and enjoying the water, but for the most part, long pants are the norm, even in summer. Feel free to wear shorts, but note that when visiting religious sites, you should have pants and shirts with sleeves. Long shorts will be allowed in some places, but best to be on the safe side and if you plan to visit any mosques, just wear pants.
Here is my list of what men should pack for Turkey:
- comfortable shoes
- long pants
- shorts (knee length is best)
- t shirts
- hat and sunglasses
- boxers / briefs
- workout gear (for hotel)
Winter considerations for Men’s Packing list for Turkey
If you are visiting in the winter, your list of what to wear in Turkey in Winter will include
- Winter Jacket or Rain jacket depending where your Itinerary takes you
- Wool Socks
- Warm Sweater
- Winter Boots
Things to put in your Turkey Day Pack
When venturing out for the day, here are some things you should pack in your daypack when visiting Turkey
- camera / phone
- extra battery pack
- water bottle (as mentioned, I love GRAYL ones)
- sunglasses / hat
- passport and wallet (ensure you have copies in your luggage)
Planning your Trip to Turkey
I get a lot of questions about packing for Turkey as well as practical advice for traveling in the country! I have put together some advice to help you with your visit.
How do you get around in Turkey
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the short answer! There are lots of small airports to fly from Istanbul. I found it hard to fly from small city to small city however. It was much more practical to book a bus ticket from the local stations! They were VERY cheap. Even cheaper, is taking the train! Most do not have reserved seating, so if that is a big issue for you, the bus might be a better bet!
Is Turkey Safe?
Mainstream media makes almost everywhere in the world seem dangerous. As a female traveling with two small children, I never felt unsafe in the country. There is a small security force that is visable in Istanbul, but they are not intimidating and offer assistance if needed (if they understand you).
Is English Widely Spoken?
Yes and No! In Istanbul and in 5 star hotels, you will have an English speaking staff! However, in a few small hotels in Izmir, the front desk person spoke no English. We got around it with Google Translate! But in small places like Pamukkale, the family owned hotels had English speaking staff!
Be flexible, try not to get frustrated and everyone I came across was as helpful as they could be!
What Should you see in Turkey?
If you are reading this Turkey packing list, I am assuming you are booked and visiting this wonderful country. However, I HIGHLY suggest some time at the Mediterranean, a trip to Pamukkale, Cappadocia and time in Istanbul! I regret not making the journey to Cappadocia, but I guess I will need to go back to Turkey soon!
If you are visiting in the winter, try out one of the ski hills! You are not going to find better prices for skiing ANYWHERE!
Where to Stay in Istanbul?
We wanted to be right in the middle of the action! The Eresin Sultanahmet is where we based ourselves and the service could not have been better! They also have some amazing artifacts inside the lobby! Well worth checking out if you are looking for a boutique style hotel right in the tourist area!
What to Buy in Turkey
Turkey is a shopping paradise! Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is more than just shopping, it is an experience in itself! Make sure to get some locum (turkish delight) and check out the knock offs! You can read all about what to buy in Turkey in this post.
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.