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TRAVEL Q&A

Travel Q& A - Camping in Turkey, Tipping Wheelchair Attendants

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By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, January 4, 2009

Q. My family would like to visit Turkey. We have camped in Greece and all over Europe, as well as in the United States. Are there campgrounds in Turkey, and is it safe to camp there? When is the best time to go?

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Dot Hartley, Bethesda

A. It is possible to camp in Turkey. Just don't expect the same level of service you've experienced at commercial sites and national parks in the United States and Europe. Although the Turkish tourism office publishes a brochure listing more than 450 campsites, many are underdeveloped, and the standards aren't as high as those of U.S. and European campgrounds, according to several experts. Still, the country's gorgeous seacoasts and otherworldly interior provide spectacular settings, and camping can be a good way to see parts of Turkey rarely explored by tourists.

"The Turks are just not big campers," said Tom Brosnahan, an experienced Turkey hand and author of the Turkey Travel Planner Web site (http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com). Roughing it was popular 30 or 40 years ago, he explained, in part because there were few hotels. But after the economic boom of the 1980s, many campsites converted to cheap pensions or bed-and-breakfasts. "There are few organized campsites now," he said. "In Kappadoccia alone, there used to be dozens, but not any longer."

Still, Brosnahan said, people do hike the St. Paul Trail and Lycian Way and camp along the route. "Rough roadside camping is theoretically possible, though it's always best to seek out the landowner if possible and get permission. I suppose safety could be an issue, as roadside campers are not a common sight."

To find campgrounds, check the commercial tourism site Turizm.net, which has a good list at http://www.turizm.net/turkey/tips/tur_camping.htm.

The tourism office's camping brochure, available by calling 202-612-6800, also has info on facilities, as well as regional tourism information bureaus, with details on camping in national parks.

For recommendations from fellow travelers, check the readers' forums on Turkey Travel Planner. For example, Akcakil Camping (http://www.akcakilcamping.com) on the Turquoise Coast, open year-round, has tent, RV and bungalow facilities with hot showers and toilets, a restaurant and 24-hour security. Some sites have electrical connections, and there are mature shade trees on the grounds. The cost for two is about $17 for an RV (caravan) or $70 for a bungalow with breakfast in high season.

High season is June through October, but beware the heat of July and August. Feriha Ishtar, information officer for the Turkish Embassy, said that even then camping is possible, because "it's a dry heat, not humid." Just make sure the site you choose has shade.

For basic information on Turkey: Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, http://www.tourismturkey.org.

When I travel by air, I need to use a wheelchair. Can you inform me of the tipping amount in the United States and in South Africa, which is my next trip?

Ann Dalgety, Whitesboro, N.Y.


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