Is it safe to travel to Turkey after the Coronavirus lockdown?

by Fay

It has been months now since we are advised to stay home. We are becoming impatient with stay-at-home orders and I think is it time for some travel plans. Turkey is one of the first countries to start implementing post-coronavirus travel strategies. For sure, traveling won’t be back as we know it. The post-corona travel will include fashionable masks, weird social distancing, and a lot of hand sanitizer. We are totally aware of the risks but we are determined to continue our journey of discovering this beautiful country with caution.

A well-managed pandemic

Turkey was among the last countries to report the first case of Coronavirus even though it’s a popular tourist destination. Turkey also has managed to keep the fatalities low at 4,498 with aggressive testing and contact tracing strategy. Honestly, my husband and I were very concerned when the new cases exceeded 5000 a day and we believed we are at high risk to contract the virus considering we live in one of Istanbul’s most crowded districts. Fortunately, the cases started going down slowly and the recovery rate suddenly increased. Now, the daily cases are less than 2000 and the total active cases went from 160 000 to less than 50 000 in less than 2 months.

The new normal in Turkey

Istanbul is the busiest city in Turkey and apparently the most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic yet, it seems to be getting back to a new normal. Yesterday was the first day I went to a shopping center since the start of the pandemic. They were a lot of temperature checks and sanitizer stops but it didn’t seem to be bothering people who were actually enjoying shopping with their masks on.

Recently, Turkey announced resuming its national fights at the beginning of June and its intentional flights in mid-June. Turkey’s international fights will be limited to certain countries but very soon it will include others as the risk of the Coronavirus is slowing down and Turkey will welcome tourists again from all over the world. 

We are ready to hit the road

Our 2020 plan was to go on a one-month Europe itinerary together but at the moment, we are looking into our first post-lockdown trip to southern Turkey. We are actually feeling good about it and even excited. Turkey has implemented strict measures to restart the travel and tourism industry. The hotels will only accommodate 60% of their total capacity. The Turkish government also made it compulsory that everything in a room from air conditioners to TVs to be disinfected every time someone checks out. Moreover, 12-hours of room ventilation is also required after every checkout.

Although these measures are encouraging but we should take our own measures as well. We will be doing a road trip rather than flying even though the available low airfares are tempting. Driving will be less quicker but safer and more enjoyable. We are also thinking about visiting less popular cities in Turkey where we can avoid the mass touristy crowd and enjoy an empty hotel.

Packing with the pandemic in mind

We are planning a one week trip. It will require a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, hand sanitizers. We will not rely on buying them during the trip since there’s no guarantee they’ll be in stock wherever we’re headed. So better be prepared. We will be also packing so many outfits to change.

Limiting our stops as much as possible

We are aware that this post Coronavirus trip will be different than what we’ve ever experienced in Turkey and elsewhere. When on a road trip my husband and I love taking small stops everywhere. But it seems things will change now. We should be very vigilant and mindful of our surroundings. Also, you should always be prepared with hand sanitizer to use before and after visiting gas stations, and places to get food.

Restaurants are still closed in Turkey and the open ones are for takeaways only. But still, We don’t think that dining in restaurants will be a good choice when traveling. We will be opting for wide-open outdoor destinations with no crowd.

Planning Ahead 

Turkey has different restrictions rules depending on the area. That’s why research and planning were our first steps for a first post-lockdown trip. So, you also want to plan ahead and be prepared for wherever you are headed.

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