Earl Starkey planned a fantastic trip for us with excellent guides that went out of their way for us. We were a group of 10 and Earl made sure there was cold bottled water at all times in our van. The van was always clean and the guides were always on time. Earl planned our trip exactly to our specifications. All the hotels were perfect and his recommendations for restaurants were spot on. Originally, I did not want to go on a boat for the day in Bodrum and now I am very glad I did. Actually, the fresh fish on the boat was one of the best meals we had. When there were any bumps and/or mishaps, Earl and his staff were able to take care of things immediately. Our guide in Istanbul, Adnan Duvenci, was exceptional and if I go back to Istanbul I would request Adnan again.
So far, every travel agent I have found from Wendy’s WOW List has been excellent.
We recently returned from a trip to Turkey arranged for us by Earl Starkey. We were combining this with another trip and had just five days to spend in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Earl helped us make the most of it. We went back and forth on the things we wanted to see, and Earl gave us good advice on the pros and cons of different sites and experiences.
We’ve found that a key factor in our enjoyment of a trip is the guide. And Riza, our guide in Istanbul, was fantastic — deeply knowledgeable, very energetic, passionate about his country, and fun! We also had an excellent guide in Cappadocia, Basri, who on the spur of the moment got us tickets to see the whirling dervishes and recommended a great restaurant for us. Both guides were wonderful at asking us if we wanted our photos taken — something I forget to ask guides to do. With Riza and Basri, I didnt have to remember. They just did it.
For more than a decade, we’ve used Wendy’s recommendations for planning our trips and we experienced our first WOW Moment on this vacation. We cruised the Bosphorus on a beautiful private yacht. Lovely. Just lovely.
We traveled to Turkiye in late September 2022. Earl Starkey outlined an excellent literary and experience. We first considered enlisting in a group tour, but decided to go with Earl’s services as we wanted more individual attention than one typically receives with a group tour. To our surprise, this personal experience was less expensive than the group tours we considered. The individual guide and driver services exceeded our expectations. Such personalized service was excellent, as it was crafted to our desires and interests. From beginning to end, our experience in both Istanbul and Cappadocia could not have been better.
Our guide in Istanbul was Reza. He spoke perfect English, and provided a warm and friendly welcome. He openly discussed many of the issues in his country that we were curious about. He was quite engaging in his telling of the story of Turkiye, its history, and its relics from the long past. He knew the best times to go to each venue, got us in ahead of the crowds, and was one of the best and most informed guides I have had the good fortune of working with.
Our guide in Cappadocia, Basri was excellent—a very friendly and personable individual who assumed responsibility for taking care of us. He was informed by his lifelong residency in the region and provided some of the best experiences we have had while traveling in a foreign country. He brought us to a place in the country where we met with a family with whom we had tea, and we got to see spots that are not typically offered in group tours. Going to lunch was something that was also a great experience. We had him order for us, as we had tried with some dinners and it was hit and miss. He ordered some of the most fabulous food I have ever eaten, and our service was exceptional. His personal knowledge of the region gave us a passport to an adventure of a lifetime.
In summary, the quality of the services were the best we could have experienced. I highly recommend Earl Starkey and his team to show you their part of the world in a friendly, safe, and entertaining way.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Earl Starkey was very easy to work with and met all our expectations. The guide he assigned to us in Istanbul was named “Erkut.” Erkut is extremely knowledgeable, excellent English, and very much wanted to meet our needs. It was a perfect addition to our stay in Turkey. The only minor complaint was our Hotel rooms were very small, but hotel service and location was excellent. Earl with Erkut created a great and enjoyable trip for us. Thank you.