5 years, 6 months ago
Video, words and images courtesy of The Planet D, exclusively for HouseTrip as part of our #housetripping series.
Istanbul, Turkey is arguably one of the most exotic cities in Europe. Straddling two continents, it is a destination filled with cultural diversity and ancient traditions. With a population of nearly 14 million people, Istanbul is a true international city that can be overwhelming to the first time visitor.
Some people may feel a bit of culture shock when they first arrive and this can put a lot of stress on your vacation. While part of the excitement of travel is to experience new things, it’s also important to feel comfortable while you see the sights.
Staying in an apartment rental can definitely help alleviate the stress of travel. Having the comforts of home at your fingertips can make you feel more relaxed and ready to take on the hustle and bustle of the day ahead. When you are comfortable in your surroundings, it gives you the confidence to explore the city.
While visiting Istanbul with HouseTrip, we came up with a few ideas to help get over that homesick feeling that you may get when travelling.
1. Meet the Locals
When you’re missing your friends and family at home, the best way to feel better is to make new friends. You’ll find that most people are very warm and welcoming, and if you open up and give a smile, people will be happy to say hello.
2. Cook at home
Cooking in your apartment is the best way to get into the swing of things. Exotic food can be wonderful, but sometimes you may want to eat your favourite meal from home. Head to the nearest supermarket and buy your food and drinks for your dinner and breakfast the next morning, Being able to stay inside for a night without having to search for a place to dine or find a taxi back home, can add that extra element of comfort that is so often lacking when traveling.
3. Go to the market.
A little retail therapy would never hurt anyone. Shopping at the local markets is fun and a great way to get to know the people who live there.
4. Go to the movies.
If you are traveling for a while or really feeling the culture shock, sometimes it is great to escape to the movies. Eating popcorn, turning off your brain and enjoying the air conditioning for a couple of hours can rejeuvinate even the most weary of travellers.
5. Learn the local customs.
Find out what makes the locals comfortable and try it yourself. In Istanbul, tea and coffee are a large part of their culture. Go into a local coffee shop and order a traditional Turkish coffee. It’s pure heaven. But don’t stop there, learn one of their favourite games like backgammon and if you are feeling truly daring, give a sheesha a try. Sheesha is a waterpipe used for smoking flavoured tobacco and you will see many people settling in for the night inhaling flavours like mint or lemon.
6. Visit a Home
Feeling homesick? If you visit a family you will feel right at home. In Istanbul, it’s not uncommon for a foreigner to be welcomed into people’s homes. There’s nothing more soothing than eating a home cooked meal and getting a hug from someone’s mom to make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.
Travel to a city like Istanbul doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming, if you keep your mind open and embrace the culture, you will find that it can be a very comfortable place to be. By following our advice and staying in an apartment to suite your taste, you’ll find that you are so comfortable, you may never want to leave.