What to pack for your business trip to Istanbul

Istanbul at sunset

Make the best possible first impression on your next business trip to Istanbul. Pack your bags with the following items for a stress-free stay.

Smart-casual clothing

Istanbul residents are fashionably dressed, erring on the side of conservative. To blend in for business purposes, follow a smart-casual dress code. This means leaving behind your above-the-knee shorts, although women do wear short skirts and breezy sundresses on the hottest of summer days. The locals are more likely, however, to keep their arms and legs covered. If you're invited to an evening event, keep in mind that it’s common to change into more formal clothing for dinner or the theater. Men should bring a couple of button-down shirts and chinos as well as a business suit for meetings. Women can do no wrong in a classic black shift dress and shawl, which can do double duty as a head covering when visiting mosques.

People walking around Istanbul

Sturdy footwear

Navigating Istanbul’s many hills and cobblestone lanes is well worth it for the views and hidden gems around every bend, but it can wreak havoc on a regular pair of business shoes. Along with your heels or oxfords for business meetings, bring a pair of sturdy rubber-sole shoes for exploring. Socks are also recommended for visiting mosques, where you’ll need to remove your shoes for entry and walking on delicate carpets.

Documents and money

American visitors to Turkey will need a visa. This costs only $20, and you can apply for it online in advance. Be sure to print your visa or carry it on your smartphone for the smoothest transit through customs and immigration. If you do forget, you can also purchase the visa upon arrival. It doesn’t hurt to carry extra copies of your travel documents, including your passport and visa. That way, you can leave the original documents in your hotel safe and carry the copies with you whenever you leave our Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel, Istanbul. Don’t bother packing traveler’s checks, because they are not commonly accepted in Istanbul. Instead, it’s better to pack your regular debit or credit card and withdraw cash from an ATM. Ask your bank before you leave if they have an affiliation with a local bank that will minimize additional charges.

Istanbul Visa stamps in passport


You’ll find many of the same toiletries in Istanbul that you would at home, but several travelers at Virtual Tourist note that your familiar standbys can be more expensive in the city. You might want to pack a basic first aid kit, along with any over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol or Imodium, that you might need during your stay. If you're fair skinned, you'll want to bring a high-SPF sunscreen to shield yourself from Istanbul’s abundant sunshine, especially given that so much of the city is best explored on foot. Although office buildings and conference centers will be well supplied, it won't hurt to carry a packet of tissues as well as hand wipes and sanitizer.

A good camera

Don’t neglect to bring a good camera for your journey. Extra batteries and a charger are also a smart idea, but you’ll find a cluster of camera shops around the Sirkeci train station should you need any replacements.

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