About our family trip to Turkey

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My family travelled around Western Turkey & this site tells our first hand experiences.

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Read about our holiday experience in Sri Lanka, Egypt, China, New York and Niagara, Yellowstone and Montana, Turkey and Bosnia

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We love to travel and have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places. We often look for unusual destinations but often there are places where many tourists visit but just don't really explore. That was how I felt about Turkey.

I've got 3 children and they all have different ideas of the perfect destination. My youngest son loves America and cities particularly, my daughter loves Africa and anything that is a wilderness but my middle son likes places he can relate to. It was his suggestion to try out Turkey because one of his XBox Games - Assassin's Creed, is set there and many of the famous landmarks are included in the game, including the Blue Mosque, Galata Tower and the Grand Bazaar.

With the children still "reasonably" young I always book through a tour operator but never through and international one. I seek out a local agent who can provide us with knowledgeable guides and the reassurance of knowing we'll be staying in good accomodation as well as helping me ensure I'm seeing all the right locations.

For Turkey we selected Amber Travel who are run by a husband and wife partnership from the UK who have lived in Turkey for a long time. Karen and Mike helped us organise a fantastic itinerary and all the guides were amazing - Yasemin (Istanbul), Tim and driver Bayram (Gallipoli, Cannakkale, Troy, Assos, Pergamon, Selcuk and Ephesus) and Necip (Cappadocia) were all fantastic and I can't thank them enough for their friendly knowledgable guidance throughout the different areas of Turkey.

Our itinerary in Turkey looked a like this:

Two days in istanbul - the first focussed on the mosques, museums and bazaars and the second focused on Topkapi Palace and the Bosphorus

Then we travelled by ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Cannakkale to see the memorials of the Gallipoli campaign

Then we gradually made our way south down the western coast of turkey taking in Troy & Assos, Pergamon and Selcuk, Ephesus, Sirince and St John's Basilica before driving aout 6 hours down to Kas on the Southern "Turquoise Coast".

An overnight private boat trip from Kas, plus some relaxtion in Kas and Kalkan and a bit of paragliding before we travelled to Anatalya for the flight to Cappadocia.

In cappadocia we enjoyed a sunrise balloon ride, a few hikes around the amazing landscape before visiting the famous undergroud cities and seeing the Whirling Dervishes and then travelling back via Istanbul.

This whole itinerary was booked for us by Amber Travel. All the tours were private (including the exclusive use of the boat in Kas with our own captain and cook!) and the price worked out at around £1500 per person including all the hotels (but excluding the internal flights which I booked seperately).

The international flights were a bargin. I very nervously booked through a company offering cut-price Turkish Airlines tickets - Traveloworld. Having found tickets for 4 people at £900 GBP (about £225 per person) flying into Istanbul SAW and back out from Istanul Attaturk I checked the reviews of this and other cut-price companies. The reading wasn't good. I can't say I read a single good review. However the discount vs the best alternative (£1400-£1600) was substantial so I braved booking with an operator in Traveloworld called Gavin.

I took a few additional steps. I actually called Gavin to say that I wasn't able to book through him because of all the bad reviews. He offered to book the tickets provisionally and give me the booking reference which he did. That meant I could actually see the booking on Turkish Airline's own website. This gave me some more confidence. Then I prepared a set of questions such as "Is the price you're quoting the final price or are you going to come back to me saying I need to pay extra?", "Once booked, are my tickets guaranteed?" and "How long will I need to wait to get my e-ticket numbers".

I called Gavin and recorded my conversation on my phone. I specifically made it clear that if I didn't have the e-tickets within 48 hours then I would cancel my booking and I would not expect to pay anything. He confirmed that if this was the case then there would be no charge. So I paid by credit card (there was a charge of £18 but it was worthwhile for the additional peace of mind). But the e-tickets came through within two hours and I was able to confirm the tickets on the Turkish Airlines website so it all worked out.

So the full price for my holiday was basically: £6000 for the tours and accomodation, £900 for the international flights, £300 for the internal flights plus I spent around £2000 on food and souvenirs! So this works out at around £9,200 all in, about £2,300 per person for a 16 night holiday - £143 GBP per person per night. This compares to around £8000 for Egypt and £7000 for Sri Lanka and more than £10000 for both China and Yellowstone/Montana.

It is expensive to do the holidays the way we do - all with Private tours - but to be honest it is fantastic to have total flexibility and our own guides. Its just the way we do it (suspect we'll get more self sufficient as the children get older!). We had a fabulous time and I always wish there were more websites that told me exactly what to expect in the countries I'm visiting. That's why I always write down our experiences. So please read the rest of the website if you're interested and I hope it's helpful. Remember that not all the factual information about history etc may be perfect - its just what I remember - the point of the site is more to give your an idea of what to expect.