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littlera  
#21 Posted : Friday, February 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

Christie,

Believe me, I don't mind helping when I can.  If I did not like to do it, I wouldn't have over 175 posts!  I also post on TripAdvisor and a few others, too.  I also blog some with respect to my other hobby, building and flying radio controlled model planes.  I am a retired aerospace engineer, so try to help other modelers from both an experience and engineering standpoint.  Gives me something to do in retirement (when we are not traveling!)

I should have been more clear about downloading photos - I use a 16 GB card that will hold thousands of photos, so do the daily downloads ONLY as a backup.  SD cards can fail, especially during data transfer - I have had it happen.  You can also have the camera get damaged or lost.  What if you drop the camera into the Bosphorus the last day? One lady on our Vietnam tour left her digital camera in the water puppet theatre the last night we were there.  She tried to recover it the next day from the theatre, and they claimed they never found it.  She lost hundreds of photos from the prior 15 days, and was heartbroken.  If you backup every day, the most you can lose if something goes south is one day's worth.

Turkey uses 220 volts, and type C and sometimes type E plugs.  These are the two round pin plugs, one with skinny pins and one with larger pins.  You may encounter both in Turkey.  If you do not have a set of adapter plugs, here is a good set almost identical to the ones I carry:  http://www.staples.com/Lenmar-World-Travel-Adapter-Plug-Set/product_575638  You can get these for under $9 online, and possibly locally at Staples.  Most modern mobile phones, cameras, computers, etc. can charge on 110 or 220V.  Check your chargers for these items to be sure.  For irons, hair dryers, etc, you need a transformer.   You can get these online or maybe Radio Shack.  It will be used in concert with your plug set. 

I never buy international data plans overseas.  Some do.   I keep in touch by Skype, and read stock reports and emails whenever I get free WiFi, usually at the hotel.  That is enough for us as we are retired, so normally don't have daily urgencies back home.  Should one occur everyone knows to simply call my mobile.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20; rebooked 7/21
Been there, done that:
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
Christie  
#22 Posted : Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Christie


Posts: 17

Hi, Randy!  I just realized I never got around to thanking you for all the great info you included in that last post.  I did actually order the exact converter plugs you mentioned (found them on Amazon for about $8), plus a small digital luggage scale and a portable battery pack for the iPad.  I think I have talked the DH into purchasing several small SD cards for the camera and change them out every couple of days, since we won't have the ability to upload to anything as back up.  I will have the iPad which is capable of some photos, of course.


We have had contact with other folks via Facebook at least on the Gate 1 TravelMates page.  Looks like quite a diverse group at this point, which is always fun and interesting.  We are in the throes of nailing down the packing at this point.  Trying to stay light, but also plan for the weather, which it seems will run the gamut at this point.


I did have a packing question for your wife (or you - if you like).  I'm wondering if we need to bring any sort of dressier clothes than what we will wear during the day for dinners?  As far as I can tell from the itinerary, dinners will be casual for the most part, but I don't want to be unprepared.  We are not doing the Dervish option, and as far as I could tell, that might be the only more dress-up occasion?  Anyway - small thing, but important to me.


Also we were wondering how much free time you actually had when you were in Turkey with Gate 1.  I have gotten some great recommendations from another travel forum on things to do/places to eat while in Istanbul, but am having trouble deciding if we will really have much time on our own to explore.  It looks like the rest of the itinerary is pretty tight, which we are OK with.


Again, Randy, thanks for all your great comments, suggestions and information!  Interesting that you mention you are a retired aerospace engineer.  We have a neighbor who is a retired aeronautical engineer and he actually has a small plane in his garage that he built himself!  He also loves helping folks with a variety of projects and always has wonderful ideas and suggestions - must be that engineering mind!  :)
Christie Z.
littlera  
#23 Posted : Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

Christie,

Thanks for your comments.  On the subject of being an engineer, sometimes this works against you.  We as a group are extremely analytical, and analyze everything to death before making a decision.  It tends to drive my wife crazy, but she is used to it after 40 years.  I think this is helpful in travel planning, but spontaneity is NOT my strong suit!  This is one reason packaged travel appeals to me so much.  I like to know in advance pretty much what the plan is.

Clothes:  You are on vacation, and this ain't no cruise ship!  You will need nothing other than what you feel is comfortable.  There are no "dress up" dinners.  Usually you will have a chance to clean up at the hotel before going to dinner (either on your own or as part of the group.)  We usually put on the clothes for dinner that I plan to wear the next day.

Your plan for extra SD cards is a good one.  Many people do that, and it works fine.  If you don't have a device to which you can download your card's data with you, this is the only other reasonable course of action, other than taking the risk of no backup.

I think you will have a reasonable amount of free time, especially in Istanbul, even if you are doing all the options.  I remember we walked to the Grand Bazaar for extra shopping on two occasions, one when we arrived there and once on the last day after we returned from Ankara.  We were in the Mosaic, which is only about a 10-15 minute walk from the Bazaar.

Have a great tour!   Please give us all a report about your adventures when you return.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20; rebooked 7/21
Been there, done that:
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
gotta travel  
#24 Posted : Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
gotta travel


Posts: 128

Randy, as always great advice. We did find that time was a little cramped on the last day (Ankara to Istanbul) as it's a little bit of a drive (boring to boot until you come into the city) and we arrived early afternoon and immediately did the Bosphorus 'cruise' then just shy of 2 hours on our own at the Spice Market before taking bus back to hotel.  About an hour and half or so to freshen up and off to last night farewell dinner.  Those who didn't opt for cruise do have about 4 to 5 hours free time to explore on their own though had to make their own way back to the hotel.
littlera  
#25 Posted : Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

gotta travel,
 
Yes, I see how this would have rushed your last day. I have noticed in the last year so that Gate 1 has moved the opportunity to visit the spice market to the last day.  When we went in 2012 we were taken to the spice market early on the first day of touring.   It was our first stop.  Therefore we had 2 - 3 hours to kill on the last day after the river cruise.  We used the time to go back to the Grand Bazaar.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20; rebooked 7/21
Been there, done that:
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
Christie  
#26 Posted : Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Christie


Posts: 17

Randy:  It's funny, but my cousin's husband (they are traveling with us on this tour) is also named Randy AND he's an engineer as well!  That one just occurred to me!  Serendipity - I love it! :)

I appreciate the comment on dressing - the DH loves it!  I figured with long bus rides and lots of walking, comfort would be the order of the day for the most part, but again, didn't want to get caught unprepared.  We are going as light as I can stand so that we can bring back as many tangible memories as reasonably possible.

Gotta travel:  I had a feeling we'd be pretty cramped that last day, as we are doing the Bosphorus option,  so we are hoping to do a short bit of exploring the first day once we arrive, before the welcome dinner.  Guess we'll just make the most of it, regardless.

Thanks to you both for the comments and yes, Randy - for sure I will post after the trip. I'm actually thinking of setting up a blog to chronicle the trip (I'm a closet writer and have done something like this for the last couple of trips we did to Ecuador, mostly for family and close friends).  If I set something up, I could send you the link?
Thanks again - or I probably should say "Tesekkürler!"  ::big-smile::
Christie Z.
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