I’m not one to push my ‘gay agenda’ but sometimes being what Daniel and I are can create friction by just the near sight of us. Let’s be realistic that not everyone is cool or comfortable.
Daniel and I have just got back from Europe where we explored Italy, Greece and Turkey. Knowing that our lifestyle directly conflicts with the strong belief system of other countries, we were worried about our personal safety. Should we have been worried? Absolutely! You are a guest of other countries and need to be respectful and discreet.
Without feeding you any baloney, we were scared walking alone in Istanbul Turkey because of the 15 million residents that are practically living on top of each other. It’s a very dense and over crowded city. We had walked a few streets and were extremely nervous as we were constantly haggled and approached to give money, buy things and etc. We gave into fear and returned back to the safety of the ship to ease our nerves.
Part of saving the tremendous amount of money that we did was to hire to private tours in Turkey with Pride Travel of Turkey.
I know what you are thinking… gay pride parades and flaming queens flying everywhere! Let me be the first to correct this misconception. This goes beyond that stereotype. It’s about your personal safety and more.
The tours are private so you are given a guide where you will explore a region or location within Turkey. The guides are aware before they ever meet you that you are unique. They are professional and don’t openly discuss your homosexuality. This prevents you from receiving a guide that has a personal issue with your lifestyle that sets for an very uncomfortable tour. They offer tips and keep you safe while exploring. You don’t need to worry about other guests on the tour because it’s just yourselves and your guide. You do not need to worry about other tourists in the same tour that have a problem with you.
The guides know the language and know when a taxi driver, restaurant owner and etc may be snow jobbing you trying to rip you off. The guides are honest about what areas to avoid, even if you aren’t gay but just to stay away from shady areas. For this alone, it’s money well spent. Your guide most likely won’t be gay but is just open minded doing their job professionally.
We arranged 3 tours with this company while in Turkey. They handled us with such professionalism and took care of all of the details of our tours. You skip past the long lines waiting to get into the attractions as your guide is licensed. We skipped so many lines by just walking in. Your guide takes care of the transportation and entry fees as you are essentially paying for that with your tour rate.
Being just you and the guide, you can ask any questions you wish. We found many people who were not happy with their large bus tours eaves dropping on our guide as they were learning far more and not straining to hear what the guide was saying.
Even if you are not gay, I highly recommend Pride Travel of Turkey to handle personal tours while exploring. They were much cheaper than the bus tours offered by the Cruise Ship and other mega tour companies. You have the comfort of not riding along with a bus of other people who can quickly ruin a tour by their rudeness or non-respect of others during the tour.
I mentioned earlier about being scared to walk by ourselves. Once we did our private tour the 2nd day in Istanbul Turkey, I realized we could have walked within certain areas without too much fear. Our guide was very honest and helped us. In retrospect, I would have done a tour first and then walked in certain areas knowing the region better. I would have left my camera on the cruise ship and just explored with limited cash and not have anything that is easy to grab.
Due to there being so many people, it’s easy for you to be bumped or squeezing by people. Someone can have their hands in your pockets or purse stealing as you believe you are just being bumped as a distraction. You will realize at a later time that you were robbed.
Anyway, I thought I would share what we did on our vacation to help us save money and keep us safe. You may find this advice helpful.