The best way to be safe is to stay alert and keep your presence of mind. List down important emergency numbers so that you can have access to it as quick as you need it. Remember, your safety is of utmost import.
Vaccinations are not usually necessary, although it will be useful to have yourself vaccinated against typhoid and (in some unusual cases, like the south-eastern section of the country), malaria. Street food should be eaten with caution. The most common illnesses that hit tourists are diarrhea and food poisoning. So be careful of what you put into your mouth.
Before leaving for Istanbul, check with your embassy for the latest travel advisory. The political situation is a bit volatile (but still manageable). When in Istanbul and in Turkey, try not to get yourself involved in political demonstrations. Keep a low profile. The good news is, petty crime is relatively low in Istanbul.
Some tips on keeping safe:
- Copies of important documents such as ID cards, passports, credit cards and others should be kept at home in case of loss.
- Keep your cell phone in a secure place other than your bag.
- Try not to bring too much cash when you are doing your sightseeing. The same goes for personal items such as jewelry and other personal effects – if you don’t really need these might as well do without.
- When withdrawing at the ATM, do so during daytime. Avoid withdrawals during the night and in crowded areas.
- Carry your bag close to your body, on the opposite side of the direction of traffic. The zipper to the bag should be facing the body.
- When eating or trying something out, do not leave your bag or put it beside you. The bag should be where you can keep your eye on it the whole time.
- When you are a victim of a theft, alert the others by calling attention to the thief. Call 154 to summon the police. Try not to slug it out with the thief. You life is more important than your money.
The amount you need to pay for travel insurance depends on a variety of factors – age, overall health situation, length of your vacation and the cost of the vacation. Check if you are already covered for eventualities such as medical expenses during the trip, lost luggage and cancelled flights. For cancelled flights, insurance is only covered for reasons such as force majeur situations (natural calamities), sickness or cancellations by virtue of an announcement by the State Department. As for medical insurance, most of these would require that you first pay for your medical bills and then the company will reimburse you when you return to your home country.
What to Do During Earthquakes
Istanbul stands on a fault. Thus, it is an earthquake prone area. It would help to be prepared in case of an earthquake.
- When in the hotel, one of the first things you should check is the nearest exits/escape routes. This is so that you can get out of the hotel building as soon as you can.
- Try to remain calm. When you are on panic mode, your attention to detail tends to go down.
- During an earthquake, place yourself beside a heavy object or an open doorway. Note, it’s beside and not below. Falling debris and parts of the building have the tendency to form triangles in this area, thus ensuring that the person lying in the triangle of life (as they call it) will be saved.
- Avoid the use of elevators. Take the stairs instead.
- Avoid lamp posts, telephone poles and heavy objects that may fall down during a strong earthquake.
Other Useful Numbers
International Operator 115
Toll Operator 131
Operator Assistance 118