Karen’s was a great company to work with!
And we found about it by the advice of the great Wendy Perrin!
We had a two-day private tour of Istanbul with our 5-year-old Sophia and it was just G R E A T !
Wonderful meals, locations, guide….
If you like to travel and experience diverse culture, food, and history, and enjoy meeting welcoming people, then Turkey is not to be missed! We worked with Karen, and her wonderful boutique travel company focused on Turkey, to curate and customize our adventure. From the moment we landed in the beautiful and ultra-modern Istanbul International Airport until the 11 short days later when we departed for home, the drivers and guides made sure that we had a beautiful experience.
We started with a three-day Gulet voyage on the Prima Donna. We were welcomed aboard to a gorgeous Turkish spread of nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and vegetables as a light afternoon snack. Captain Nihat and Deckhand Mesuit had us quickly underway for our first ever overnighting on a sailing vessel. Our chef, Zekai, was a wonder unto himself as he quietly turned out fantastic food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Just over-the-top fun. Every meal was a delicious surprise and felt extra-special with incorporation of local fresh items. Since it was May, the ocean was a bit chilly for swimming though sea kayaking was fun.
After the relaxing Gulet we did a whirlwind tour of Ephesus, which was not to be missed if you enjoy ancient history and beautiful ruins. Our guide, Guler, made it extra-special by bringing the past to life in a fun and playful way. The Terrace Houses were a delightful surprise with the color and some of their splendor showing through even to today. Plane-hopped to Cappadocia via Istanbul to enjoy four days of this magical land.
Cappadocia was a place of pure joy for us. The fairy landscape with the “mushroom” capped chimneys and cave churches and dwellings provided a much-needed bit of exercise with short hikes. Our guide, Faruk, was excellent at tweaking our daily events for our level of fitness and adapting to lesser traveled areas. Our sunrise balloon experience was pure early-morning magic. The 8-person gondola was piloted expertly over the otherworldly landscape. Even after seeing photos of how beautiful it could be, in-person was jaw-dropping. Floating among the 100 other balloons into the morning sky and across the landscape watching the YouTube and TickTock streamers set up on the ground was tons of fun. Photographer and videographer’s delight for sure.
Bouncing from the balloon ride to the underground city was a bit jarring. This was primarily because the underground city was wildly packed when we were there and felt unsafe with just one way to exit if something were to happen. We did an audible and diverted from the mass ahead and behind us to enjoy a respite in an offbeat section of the Kaymakli. The underground city is a maze that makes it easy to see why raiders would get lost and easily defeated within the crisscrossing tight tunnels that would suddenly open to larger areas. We toured the Kapadokya Ceramic shop and throughly enjoyed the experience of watching a master potter create a functional work of art before our very eyes. Then our 21-year-old son got to try his hand at the craft ;). We even ended up purchasing several pieces that were shipped home for us to enjoy. All too soon it was time to head back to Istanbul for our last three nights of our adventure.
We typically aren’t much for big cities and were surprised by the playfulness and welcome vibe of Istanbul. Our guide Cenk helped make this very memorable with his quick wit, fast pace, and love of the city that shined through his every story. Our foodie tour was a blast with a mix of local tasty bits, drinks, and followed up with some sweets from one of his favorite shops. The history just permeates the entire vibe of the city and feels vibrant and modern while mixing seamlessly into structures that are 1,000s of years old. The Hagia Sophia is a marvel to behold, along with the ancient Basilica Cistern. Our special WOW Moment was extra special—reminiscent of Skyfall on the roof of the Grand Bazaar. We found ourselves wishing for more time at almost every stop in Turkey and can’t wait to return!
WOW—we just returned, and Wendy Perrin and her team of specialists didn’t disappoint. We were referred to Karen Fedorko to plan our trip to Turkey. Karen and her staff were super helpful, attentive to the details and made sure we were well attended to during our time in Turkey. I recommend Karen for sure. We had seamless airport transfers and excellent English-speaking guides in both cities, We loved Tuley, our guide for 3 days in Istanbul—she was fantastic. In Bodrum, Julie, a local with interesting stories, was really awesome as well. Thank you so much to Karen, our guides, drivers, and the entire team—and to Wendy Perrin for making our experience in Turkey a memorable one.
Karen and her team planned an absolutely flawless vacation for my husband and me for 3 days in Istanbul and a 6-day cruise on a gulet along the Turkish coast. From our initial contact, they listened to our likes/dislikes and put together an itinerary that suited us perfectly.
Our incredible guide in Istanbul, Sinan, not only showed us the tourist highlights, but out-of-the ordinary places we would never have found on our own. He also introduced us to real Turkish food, even going so far as booking a dinner reservation and pre-ordering a menu that suited us perfectly. It was also very nice that Karen and her associates took time from their schedule to come speak with us personally.
From Istanbul, we flew to Bodrum and boarded our private gulet. We had never toured via a gulet, but it certainly exceeded our expectations. The crew was professional, accommodating, and went out of their way to make the trip special. The stops were beautiful and the food amazing. We also had the pleasure of our most memorable WOW Moment in Datca, being the first and only guests at a hotel just prior to the opening! We had the facility to ourselves, were served a gourmet dinner that was overseen by the General Manager and Food Service Manager, and offered a gorgeous suite for an overnight stay; to say this was very, very special is an understatement (thank you Wendy, Karen & Mustafa).
They even made our departure seamless, with assistance at the airport with check-in, security and ensuring we had access to the Club.
Karen and those that work with her obviously have an in-depth knowledge of Turkey. This certainly made our trip both exciting and relaxing, both of which we requested. We would absolutely give Karen our highest marks, and would definitely use her office again.
Karen and her team planned a 9-day trip for me and my family to Istanbul and the Turkish Coast. We spent 2 full days in Istanbul touring all the major sites with Karen’s most informative and pleasurable-to-be-around guide Saleem. Istanbul is busy and overwhelming and Saleem navigated us seamlessly throughout and we learned so much from him too! Next, we flew to Bodrum for a 5-night cruise aboard a Turkish gulet. The excitement and joy on my 11-year-old son’s face when he saw the cruise we were about to embark on was a memory I wish to cherish. Captain Nihat and the rest of the crew on the boat were professional and the service was high-level. It is rare to get service like this in the States, or anywhere we travel. The cruise was gorgeous, the food was amazing, and we had the best time. Karen checked in with us throughout the trip, left of goodie bags of lovely gifts at every new destination we arrived at. It was a trip we won’t forget!
Our trip to Turkey this past May, planned by Karen’s office, went extremely well. My wife, 22-year-old daughter and I visited Istanbul, Ephesus/Izmir, and Cappadocia, and then back to Istanbul for 2 days to relax at the Four Seasons Bosphorus. Late May was a nice time of year to visit. All of our guides and drivers were very good and provided some nice personal touches along the way. The airport transfer assistance, especially in Istanbul where it was most beneficial, was exceptionally helpful and made things much easier — truly VIP service. Highlights/pleasant surprises included: In Istanbul, while the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace are impressive and important to see, pleasant surprises that we really enjoyed were the Basilica Cistern, Bosphorus boat ride, and just relaxing on the patio along the water at the Four Seasons at the end of the trip. Our guide did a very sweet thing by noticing that our daughter was interested in some small bowls in a market but didn’t end up purchasing them. So, unbeknownst to us, our guide purchased the bowls on her own time and money and surprised our daughter the next day with them. Very thoughtful! Also special was that Karen met up with us and treated us to lunch one day. The Terrace Houses at Ephesus were also a pleasant surprise. Most of the tourists didn’t visit these, even though they are at the same location in Ephesus, because it’s an extra ticket so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The sunrise hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia was amazing and worth getting up at 3:30 am. The entire hot-air balloon experience is just great, from the scale and professionalism of the operation to the natural beauty as the light changed from dark to light. Beyond just the balloon ride, whether it’s hiking or driving around, Cappadocia’s incredible natural beauty, calmer feel and cave residences make it a must-see. Our guide in Cappadocia (who was wonderful) also treated us to some very local experiences. For example, we passed by a very small farm as we hiked into a valley around the fairy chimneys, and our guide just started chatting with the farmer and asked if he could show us what crops he was growing as well as his beehives. The farmer then generously carved off chunks of honeycomb dripping with honey for us to enjoy. In addition, by that point in the trip we were looking for simpler, mostly vegetarian food for lunch, and our guide took us to his favorite local “home-cooked food” restaurants, which was just what we wanted.
Turkey is a gem. We did just over 2 weeks April 29-May 15, 2023 with an itinerary of Istanbul-Ankara-Cappadocia-Alacati-Bodrum (4 night Gulet). Karen is really good — I first contacted almost a year in advance, but she advised that they were really swamped (I think we know this is true for all travel arrangers right now) and if I could wait until September to dig into the details — which I could. I really liked all her hotel suggestions and we received upgrades at every property she booked. It’s really tricky to do the hot-air balloon in Cappadocia due to the weather and our first reservation was cancelled, but we were seamlessly rebooked for the next day and were able to go! Great drivers and guides and escorts and vehicles throughout. An added perk was the restaurant reservations they made throughout — all great! They also very kindly made arrangements for another couple (our friends) to join us on a number of excursions and transfers. Karen had welcome gifts that were such a thoughtful touch. She called us upon arrival in Istanbul and on the Gulet (Mustafa) to check in on us. We highly recommend Karen and Turkey — really good food, surprisingly great wine, excellent shopping and the kindest people!
This was a wonderful trip to Istanbul from start to finish. It was very well planned out and covered all the historical sites. Our guide Salim was extremely knowledgeable and pointed us in the right direction for shops and other areas of interest. The restaurant recommendations were also very good and the food delicious. We appreciated the VIP transfer through the airport upon arrival after traveling for 12 hours on a flight. Our driver was exceptional and drove very safely in crowded traffic. Very pleased and will be booking our next trip through Wendy Perrin as well.
My friend and I are active 60-plus-year-old women who enjoy traveling and immersing ourselves into the countries that we visit. We don’t want to just see a UNESCO site but want to meet the locals and see how they live…which is what we get when we use Wendy’s specialists.
Our first leg of our yearly adventure was a stop in Istanbul, Turkey. We used Cranky Concierge to use our miles and book our flights with Oman Air and Ethiad Air. Both were EXCELLENT airlines. Cranky Concierge was VERY efficient. We arrived in Istanbul on March 5, 2023; we used Esra Korkmaz from Karen’s office for the Istanbul trip. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Istanbul, which was nice, and met our guide, Tulay Ozcan, who was a retired professor, guide of 30 years, and spoke several languages. She was pleasant, informative, explained all sites prior to going in with her VERY detailed pamphlets on each site. She listened to what we were interested in, explained the culture and offered to take photos of us at each site. We started the tour with a sunset tour of the Bosphorus, which I highly recommend to get the lay of the land. We saw all the Istanbul sites in two full days of touring. The Basilica Cistern is a must! Food highlights — Milka restaurant for a rooftop tasting menu and the Sunset Grill and Bar was AMAZING food and view! Don’t forget to try the Salep and Turkish Boza during your visit to Istanbul. We tried it at the Park Hyatt bar.
Trip planners are so important in these kind of trips. We do a lot of research prior to our trips, so when we plan with the specialist we are the most efficient with our time. Key factors for an AMAZING TRIP — a good travel planner, experienced guide with a passion for their country (as you are with them daily) always spend time with the locals…cause, hey, after a while the scenery looks the same but the connection to a local is priceless! And lastly be open for new experiences…as they could be the highlight of your adventure!
Karen Fedorko and her team did an excellent job planning our trip to Turkey. Every transfer and tour pick-up was prompt. The drivers and guides were excellent. We loved the hotels—The Four Seasons on the Bosporus was elegant and comfortable and the view spectacular.
Late December/early January turned out to be a great time to travel to Turkey. It was chilly (although luckily for us, it was a few degrees above normal, at least in Istanbul) but the sun was shining. In addition, there weren’t large crowds even at the most frequently visited sites.
We enjoyed the restaurants that Karen recommended, and appreciate that she switched restaurants between two evenings to avoid a traffic jam due to a soccer game being played along the route from our hotel to one restaurant. The tour plan was perfect and we maximized our time sightseeing. I would definitely recommend Karen to anyone going to Turkey.
We just returned from a fabulous trip to Turkey crafted by Karen. We were so happy that we visited at a time that wasn’t crowded and the weather was still good. We really got to see Turkey, not just Istanbul. The first week we spent on the water on a luxury sailing yacht with a crew that was excellent that Karen had used many times before; we certainly got all that was promised. The water was still pretty warm and the sun was out every day. A glorious week being waited on hand and foot. The second week Karen had us staying in lovely boutique hotels in the wine county, at a gorgeous seaside resort and in small villages with shopping at amazingly low prices, and all relatively empty at this time of year. Honestly she pretty much delivered everything promised at the planning stage and if there were issues she was “Johnny on the spot” to handle it immediately. It was so nice to be around guides and drivers that spoke so highly of her and her clientele.
Karen Fedorko Sefer and her team planned and flawlessly executed a fantastic trip to Turkey. Communication from inception and through the trip itself was clear and thorough. We requested a stress-free trip, free from needing to make decisions, thus Karen planned and included every aspect to tailor the trip to be as stress-free as possible. She exceeded expectations by arranging escorts at every transition between cities, as well as to restaurants that required transportation, who ensured we had the best tables and everything we needed. The lodging at each destination continued to get better and better, with room upgrades and service discounts that we didn’t anticipate. The guides at each city were knowledgeable and brought each city and its history to life. We could not have imagined a better trip. In summary, Karen delivered a flawless experience that exceeded expectations!
Karen’s staff was amazing! The whole team was a pleasure to deal with.
We are glad we decided to travel to Turkey when we did. It was not overcrowded, we never felt unsafe or worried about Covid. It was an amazing trip that our whole family enjoyed.
We wish we had spent one less day in Istanbul, but other than that I am very pleased with timing, destination, and experience. The trip planner was fantastic.
Karen’s team was a dream to work with (Ceren was our main contact). She made excellent dinner reservations, the hotels were wonderful. I had mentioned taking public transport and she advised that it would be safer from a Covid perspective to hire a car and I’m glad we listened to her. She made outdoor reservations at all restaurants.
They added significant value to the trip. The guides they chose knew just what to tell us about to entertain a tween boy while also discussing history, buildings etc. that was interesting for the adults. The itinerary they originally suggested was perfect (we are the ones who chose to add a day and should have listened to them!)
Other travelers should if possible request tour guide Murat Erogul in Istanbul. He is so knowledgeable and kind, and quickly adjusted the touring plans based on our interests. My son said the best part of his trip was making friends with Murat. I was initially hesitant about the visit to the carpet weaving store Ciran in Cappadocia, but that also turned out to be a highlight. Recommend for everyone interested in colors, textiles, or local handicrafts.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had an amazing time in Turkey! Karen made sure every site on our list was visited and peppered in some exciting additional experiences. We learnt so much about the country, its history and the people.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Turkey. I have been dreaming about it since 2014. It exceeded my dreams. I had originally contacted Karen in the winter of 2020 and we had started working on an itinerary that combined our love of history and love of culture and water, especially water. Then Covid came and plans were dashed. I was a little hesitant to commit in early 2022 but spoke with Karen and her team and decided it was worth it. Also followed Wendy’s advice to get Medjet.
So the trip expanded in time because you only live once as Covid has taught us. Amazing, fabulous, and dream-fulfilling.
Each guide was so well versed and genuinely interested in us and our interests. Our guide in Istanbul took us to get local pizza, pide. And a real handmade Turkish rug. Our Ephesus guide actually worked on the excavation. The guide in Bodrum helped me buy a rare Turkish mineral zultanite ring. The Alcatsti guide helped us with wine and the Dacia guide took us to the local market. The drivers and driver guides were professional and always on time.
Now for the private gulet. Over the top and I felt so spoiled. Attentive to our requests, needs for naps after wine at lunch and the special attention to food and presentation. I want to go back!!!
Karen and her team are outstanding. Can I give 10 Stars? yes
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My family is so happy that we went to Turkey. The timing was perfect. We went at the end of May to beginning of June for 2 weeks. It was not hot or cold. Karen put together a perfect itinerary for us. We wanted to spend more time in Istanbul and less on the gulet. She helped make that possible by changing the itinerary and the flights. She added so much value by choosing the guides and hotels in each city. We went to Istanbul, Cappadoccia, Izmir, and Bodrum. Tulay was our amazing guide in Istanbul with so much knowledge. She kept my 21- and 23-year-old adult children so engaged. They were so sad to say goodbye to her. She became part of our family.
Everyone should definitely experience the gulet. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mehmet, Ahmed and Mustafa were terrific. We were given a five-star experience on a boat, by the food we were given, the way we were taken care of and felt so safe. They went above and beyond for us. We want to go back next year!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Karen and her team planned a perfect multigenerational trip to Istanbul for our family! From the moment we arrived we felt the special treatment. We were met off the plane and moved swiftly through the airport with VIP service and then transferred to our vehicle with not only a driver but also an escort (separate from our guide) who we saw throughout the trip–he even accompanied us to dinner to make sure everything was fine with our reservations. We were greeted with a welcome bag including perfectly curated mini guidebooks with information you would not be able to find on your own, covid-related items like extra masks and sanitizers and little gifts which were so appreciated, especially by our ten year old. A really nice touch. All of our activities were private and felt safe–from a cooking class to a river cruise on the Bosphorus (which I definitely recommend to get an overview of the city when you arrive). We had the same driver each day in an immaculate vehicle equipped with wifi and always bottles of water. Our guide Cenk was fabulous, so knowledgeable and he knew all the hidden gems to take us to–even diverting from our planned itinerary once he got to know us and had a better idea of things we would enjoy. When we had a couple of covid-related challenges that required an immediate change it was handled quickly and effectively by both Cenk and Karen’s office. Most of the trip was not that different from how it would have been pre-pandemic, other than the mask wearing. We found that most people (tourists and locals) wore masks both indoors and outdoors which made us feel safer. In our short trip we were able to hit most of the highlights of the city without feeling rushed, thanks to Cenk. Usually I like to research where to eat every meal and snack, but this time I went with Karen and her team’s suggestions and they didn’t disappoint! A couple of months before the trip we weren’t sure if we felt safe traveling to Istanbul at this stage in the pandemic, so I reached out to Wendy. Wendy suggested I speak with Karen and I’m so glad I did!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL A few months ago, Wendy Perrin had a special seminar, via Zoom, where she interviewed her travel agents about foreign travel after the Covid-19 vaccinations. During the week-long seminar clients were introduced to agents from across the globe. A handful of countries were allowing foreign travelers inside their borders, others were about to open, and others still were closed, or very difficult to take advantage of their respective cultural offerings. This is how we were introduced to Karen Fedorko in Turkey.
We found Karen to be at the very top level of the esteemed WOW List. I think Wendy might want to consider adding another tier to her famed WOW List. In a nutshell, the only way to describe the type of service we received from Karen, is that Karen is a hostess to her adopted country. This is the only word that comes close to describing how we were treated by Karen and by her extraordinary staff. We felt like we were spending time with an old friend in her home.
From the initial email questionnaire to a final dinner with Karen, we were catered to in the most professional, timely, and thoughtful manner. I am not speaking of a five star/Four Seasons type of service, which we did receive. I am speaking of a very personalized, yet unobtrusive, excellence; something more on the lines of Downton Abbey. We felt at home in a sea of luxury, yet all the while maintaining a down to earth respectability.
All the Mercedes vehicles had a clear plastic partition separating the driver and guide from our party of two. The vehicles were always spotless and disinfected after every unloading and reloading of passengers. We were given countless individually wrapped sanitizer wipes. Every morning we were given pocket sized sanitizer spray bottles. I loved these sanitizer spray bottles, the sanitizer never left my hands sticky, or with a thick coating of film, as many do. They even smelled fresh like the outdoors, yet the scent was very mild and never heavy. In general, I hate heavy fragrances. Of course, we were always offered bottles of cold still and mineral water. We were also provided with boxes of new face masks for our use. Karen’s staff were all very conscientious of their hands and cleansed them constantly. Moreover, their new fleet provides Wi-Fi, as well as multi-international charging cords. Bottom line, we felt very safeguarded against Covid-19 and never felt at risk.
I can go on and on about how fantastic Karen and her team treated us, but that would take a small book to fully explain. Instead, I will write down a few memories, which might encapsulate our experience in Turkey. It was an extraordinary itinerary.
Originally, we were a party of three, the third wheel was our female cousin, an elementary school teacher. I love knowing that she takes her experiences of foreign travel and explains the cities and sites to her young students during history lessons. Through her, we feel that we are helping, in a tiny way, to expand the minds of these many young people. At least we hope that is the case. This is another reason why Karen is so important, her recommendations help to influence the ideas and understanding of the world and our place in it. As it turned out, sadly, our cousin took a bad fall while we were in Croatia. After an MRI, the sports medicine doctor recommended immediate surgery. We had to send her back home to the USA.
A little background: We were taking her for the summer, a month in Croatia and then a month in Turkey. We would spend the third month without her in Africa to see the gorillas in Rwanda. Now, here is the unexpected thing about Karen. Normally, as is standard, when a person is injured during their holiday the saying is, “That is how the cookie crumbles.” Knowing this, we always purchase travel insurance and Wendy’s recommended Medjet. During this ordeal, Karen was so helpful and considerate, even though the Turkey portion of our trip had not begun. Karen came through unexpectedly, obtaining refunds from some of her vendors (even though our contract with Karen clearly indicated no refunds available after a certain date).
Did I already mention that Karen was always available to meet via Zoom? She even held a last-minute meeting with us on a Sunday morning. We had clarification questions. You must remember, this was at the tail end of Covid vaccinations, and Turkey was just opening for US travelers. Karen put the entire trip together in about a week.
After an initial email questionnaire that we filled out we set a time to meet via Zoom. The meeting took as much time as she needed to understand what kind of trip we wanted, what types of accommodations we prefer, our food allergies, our intellectual interests, our artistic sensibilities, our wishes, our desires for this trip, did we like antique shopping, what about the spice market, the Grand Bazar, music, mosaics, pottery, fabrics, boating, wine tasting, cooking class, baking classes, meeting with a world renown olive oil maker, etc., etc. The Zoom meeting allowed her to get a sense of us. In this way she was able to best match her guides, drivers, dinner escorts (a Turkish speaker is helpful when entering a crowded restaurant) to our unique personalities. Karen discovered exactly what type of guide we wanted: Did we like chatty guides, relaxed guides, guides who knew how to keep their distance, or guides who were more personal, joking, professorial types? Our initial Zoom conference with Karen was amazing: it was more like getting together with friends and sharing our mutual interests with each other. There was a lot of listening going on: We always find great agents are also extraordinary listeners. Never once did we feel rushed during our Zoom meetings. Each one lasted for as long as we had questions.
A bit of insight into Karen. We learned that she had been a top executive of an international clothing company. Among her responsibilities was going to third-world countries and establishing clothing factories from the ground up. Karen oversaw all the factories around the globe. I don’t think she will mind me saying, she came to Turkey for love of her husband, a highly intelligent Turkish man of a long aristocrat lineage and a hugely successful businessman in his own right. After leaving her executive position, Karen brought her immense international business skills and knowhow to the travel industry. Karen single handedly carved out the luxury segment in Turkey. Everyone we met knew her, or of her. I mention a bit of her personal story in the hope that potential clients might have an understanding of the caliber of professionalism they will receive with her and her team. The highest levels of dignitaries and biggest A-list celebrities can rest assured they are in the very best hands with Karen.
We wanted a special “experience,” in the hope that upon our return to the U.S., we would retain a part of Turkey with us forever: Its people, food, culture, history, and its unique sensibilities, or humor. We also wanted to have a lot of FUN. Well, what can we say: Karen delivered all of this and much, much more.
Once we developed an exciting itinerary, Karen provided an extensive outline, which was easy to follow, setting forth the costs of each service and hotel. We rarely find an agent who breaks down each hotel and /or service cost. This made it quite easy to upgrade or downgrade, depending upon costs. It also showed Karen’s negotiated rates with the five-star hotels, which were substantially less than what was shown on the hotel websites. This is another great perk, adding special value through her agency. At our request, Karen even sent a recommended book list of history, travel, fiction, and essays of Turkey.
As promised, there was a surprise around every corner. Thanks to Karen, we were able to experience Turkey on many different levels; from the viewpoints of many different individuals, all experts in their fields. And all with amazing food experiences. And above all: IT WAS FUN.
Our final itinerary did not resemble anything like our initial thoughts about visiting Turkey. Without Karen, we would have missed the real Turkey.
We could go on and on about the sensitivity and enjoyment of our trip. Bottom line: Karen and her amazing team sit on the highest level of recommendation we have ever provided for a Wendy Perrin WOW List agent.
Karen, thank you and your team, so much for the trip of a lifetime. And thank you, Wendy, for putting us together.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had an amazing time exploring Istanbul with our guide, Esin. Istanbul is a massive, sprawling city that would have been difficult to navigate on our own. Our itinerary was perfect, and it was clear that it was carefully created to minimize time in transit, crowds, and to give us a snapshot of historical timelines (i.e. visiting the Topkapi Palace and then the Dolmabahce Palace). Esin has an amazing command of Turkey’s history and shared so much information with us that made all of our experiences more engaging.
Every experience we had in Istanbul was enjoyable and easy because all of the logistics were taken care of for us. Our driver was amazing and made moving around Istanbul stress-free. Esin enriched every experience and made it frustration-free for us as we never stood in a line, didn’t have to check schedules, hours of operation etc.
We were traveling as three generations of women and Esin had an excellent ability to appeal to all of our interests. She was incredibly flexible and patient. My mom was dealing with a foot injury and Esin was extremely protective of her, always scouting for an elevator and ensuring she was okay. In general, she was protective of all of us at all times, which made us feel very comfortable exploring a country that was new to us. She taught us about cultural norms and traditions, helped us negotiate at the bazaars, and made sure we had a good plan for dinner every evening before leaving us at the end of the day.
I don’t often use travel agencies as I like to research and figure things out on my own. Because of the enormity of Istanbul though, I decided to use Wendy Perrin (referred by a friend). I am so thankful that I did. Karen’s team made excellent recommendations and arrangements throughout our stay. The hotel and our cruise were two of my highlights. The Bank Hotel was fabulous and had the boutique feel we wanted. It’s a beautiful, clean hotel with supreme service. Another highlight is the private yacht cruise we took. It was a great way to view the city and was certainly not something I would have known was an option without them. Karen added to our trip in so many wonderful ways and Esin was the perfect guide for us. We are so thankful!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My daughter and I traveled to Turkey on July 5 – July 14th. We visited Istanbul for 4 days and then flew to Izmir and spent 2 nights in Alacati and 2 nights in Sirince. We worked with Karen Fedorko. Everything was very smooth and we felt really very taken care of from the minute we stepped off of the plane. Karen listened to my ideas for what I wanted from the trip and translated them perfectly into a special trip for my 18-year-old and me. Our guides were top notch and both of us liked them very much. I would strongly recommend Karen to anyone thinking of heading to Turkey and why not go while most people are not traveling there at this time.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Our family of four traveled to Istanbul in June of 2021 with the help of Karen Fedorko and her team. We had a phenomenal trip.
My wife and I were vaccinated; our two kids (ages 9 and 3) were not, and so we really wanted a trip that would be safe and easy to control (with respect to social distancing and covid protocols) as well as exciting and fun and everything else a trip should be. In researching potential destinations, we got comfortable and excited about Turkey because it was more likely to be open (including for our unvaccinated but safe and covid-negative kids) than EU destinations and because the country had prioritized the tourism industry in its vaccination roll-out (so that most everyone we would come into contact with at hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites would be vaccinated). Karen was wonderfully helpful in providing us all the information we needed (from primary sources like the Turkish health authorities) and making arrangements for private and covid-safe activities throughout the trip. Of course Istanbul is also a fascinating city and one that we’d always wanted to visit.
We decided on just under a week in Istanbul—and left other locations in Turkey for a future trip. Staying in one place and avoiding extra flights made sense for a shorter trip, especially with our kids.
The trip was incredible, and we couldn’t be happier with the planning. Karen’s team arranged for sightseeing visits where we practically had the sites to ourselves (one benefit of reduced tourist traffic during covid) and set up great activities (including a private cruise on the Bosphorus and a cooking class). Our guide Tülay was wonderful and understood the pace we needed to keep the sometimes short-attention-spanned kids engaged. Everyone we met was warm and friendly and couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. We felt entirely safe from a covid perspective and can’t wait to get back!
Our guide in Istanbul was fabulous and the restaurant recommendations outstanding! Our hotel in Bodrum was perfect! We had a wonderful family trip and Karen’s team, especially Ugur, went out of their way for us.
Beginning with the Istanbul-based tour managers, Ugur, Merve, Ekin and, of course, Karen Fedeorko Sefer, and extending to our professional guide, Esin, our excellent driver, and our evening “chaperone,” Mary, Karen’s group provided a carefully planned and flexible custom itinerary. I found the staff was prompt in returning emails and I received exemplary advice. Their arranged services were fairly priced and included a centrally located boutique hotel (House Hotel Karakoy) and cutting edge restaurants (must go-to: Mikla Restaurant). Representatives readily made themselves available during the initial travel planning phase, our arrival into Istanbul International Airport, tour throughout Istanbul and our departure from Turkey. Arrival and departure customs, passport and luggage handling were expedited at the new Istanbul International Airport via the company’s arranged transfer service.
For us, the face of Karen’s team was our professional guide, driver and other assigned attendants. At no time did we ever feel endangered (although Istanbul drivers and pedestrians should be “commended” for synchronized on-road gymnastics/ choreography). Esin is a gem: an incredible asset/representative for both Karen and Turkey. At once, a valuable resource and fount of insider information and worldly anecdotes, she always maintained a vital, kind, warm and very human (sincere and humanistic) side that she freely exhibited. Esin is so very passionate about Istanbul and its citizens, the attractions visited, its present, past and future. As a world traveler, I felt as though I experienced cosmopolitan Istanbul on an intimate human scale coming away with an appreciation for its history, culture, and, most of all, its people. As a former high school art instructor, I was beyond thrilled when Esin arranged a most special one-on-one meeting with internationally renowned Turkish artist, Ms. Gulay Semercioglu whose artworks have been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC). This would not have been possible without Esin as our guide. I am eternally grateful.
Thank you for creating a journey of a lifetime.
We want to thank you for a nearly perfect first visit to Istanbul! The arrangements prior to our arrival were flawless, the transport from and to the airport comfortable and relaxing, the hotel and its amenities superior, our farewell visit to your office gracious, and Sinan… we keep saying we need a “Sinan” in Lisbon. We are all embarrassed to know so little about the culture, religion, politics, geography, and history of the region and city and inspired by Sinan to learn as much as possible. We could not have asked for a better introduction! So, we are delighted to express our gratitude and appreciation for all that was done on our behalf. I believe we could not have had a better introduction to the quality of services provided by Wendy Perrin’s WOW advisers.
My family of four (spouse and two daughters 15 and 11) had a great trip to Turkey. We chose to go over the holidays which is something we would not do again as the weather impacted our enjoyment of the trip. With warmer weather we would have enjoyed the trip appreciably more. With that said, the arrangements and itinerary were excellent. We went to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir and back to Istanbul for New Year’s Eve. Due to snow in Cappadocia our flight from Istanbul was canceled. Ugur (part of Karen’s team) rearranged our entire itinerary and even though we arrived in Cappadocia a day later than planned, we were still able to do everything on our original itinerary. This involved moving four flights, changing dates on two hotel reservations and juggling our guides and activities. We went from panicked/depressed to incredibly impressed in two hours. We were given great suggestions for restaurants and offered a variety of hotel options to suit the needs of our family. Every trip we do “3 best things of our trip” and my highlights for my girls were “seeing the underground city” “the library at Ephesus” and “eating a ton of Turkish sweets” My wife and I loved the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia even thought it was freezing cold (14F at take off) and the private Bosphorus cruise from our hotel. Both are must do’s. We highly recommend Karen and her team, they were great.
We had limited time at the destination so it was great to have everything pre-arranged and organized. Loved the expedited airport service—I think that is unique. We had a lot of questions about the safety of the destination (unfounded of course) and having a guide and driver provided a needed feeling of security. Also visiting markets with a guide is critical as they can curate what could be an overwhelming experience. A perfect short break! Thank you.
Turkey was all new to us and Karen and her staff made the journey effortless, educational and at points exciting! We cannot commend our 3 guides enough in the three spots we visited, Istanbul, Cappadocia and Izmir for their knowledge and professionalism! We would recommend this agency without hesitation. Ask lots of questions in the planning process and they will be able to tailor your visits directly with your interests.
A great trip!
I had such an amazing first trip to Turkey with Wendy and her Istanbul partner that I planned my second trip 4 weeks later! Nothing is left to chance, the guides, pre-trip planners are nothing short of brilliant. I look forward to planning my next trip!
My multi-generational family had a fabulous trip with Karen Fedorko in July 2018. After finding her on the Wendy Perrin WOW list I gave her a call and was very impressed with her knowledge of Turkey and how quickly she understood my vision of the trip and quickly sketched out an initial itinerary. I was immediately confident in her ability to create the perfect experience for us and I was not disappointed.
Our guide for the Izmir area and Istanbul was Tulay and she was wonderful! Tulay was always professional, caring, attentive, keen to make sure we had everything we needed and willing to put in very long days. In particular, she was the perfect guide for my 83-year-old mother because of her patience and warmth. Tulay loves Turkey and is passionate about guiding and her enthusiasm was infectious. Also, her perfect command of the English language and teaching background made complicated histories easy to understand. When we think of this trip we think of Tulay with her happy laughter and the many good times we had with her.
Andy, in Cappadocia, was very good too: he organized a home hospitality meal for us through our driver, Selim, which turned out to be a highlight of the trip. He also managed to find a wheelchair for my mother and was helpful in pushing it and finding areas for her to rest when she was tired.
The drivers were excellent as well and were all very likable, helpful and charming. In addition, the large twelve-seater vans for a family of five were a pleasant surprise and very welcome as we had so much space and comfort. Finally, Karen did a great job in selecting our hotels which were to a high standard and contributed to the success of the trip – we especially loved the unique Museum Hotel in Cappadocia.
Altogether we had a great time and I do not hesitate in recommending Karen to anyone considering a trip to Turkey.
Karen planned the most amazing trip to Istanbul for us. From the VIP airport service to our hotel, private driver, and guide, the arrangements were perfect. We toured the main attractions, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, at the best times — something we would have had trouble figuring out on our own. Our guide, Cenk, planned our tour of the Spice Bazaar just as it opened — no crowds —then we went to Topkapi Palace (finishing in time for lunch at the palace restaurant, view of the Bosphorus) and then to the Grand Bazaar. Had I planned this on my own, I might have done both bazaars one after the other. He took us to his favorite shops at the Grand Bazaar that offered quality scarves, towels, pillows, rugs, etc. He was knowledgeable and full of stories about the city.
We were thrilled with our private cruise on the Bosphorus, which was in a large luxurious yacht! No comparison to a ferry… Cenk pointed out landmarks and explained the history of the city. (I’d love to return and book the yacht for a whole day.) We were also thrilled with our food tour: the pickle store, the baklava store, the Turkish coffee and tea were favorites.
My daughter celebrated her 20th birthday while in Istanbul and Karen suggested I surprise my daughter (and treat ourselves) with a Turkish Bath/Spa Experience at Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamami. It was fantastic. Karen also selected wonderful restaurants with fantastic views of the Bosphorus.
I was worried about traveling to Turkey from the US, especially given the political exchanges in August. I called Karen to speak about safety, etc. She was very available to talk, gave me her cell number in the USA while she was here, and assured me that all would be fine. I’m glad I didn’t let politics prevent me from experiencing this lovely country. We are looking forward to returning to Turkey.
We’ve fallen in love with Turkey—and we have no doubt that this was exactly Karen’s plan! She meticulously planned our trip balancing the unmissable sights of Istanbul with off-the-beaten-path sights, neighborhoods, and experiences. We loved the opportunity to explore Istanbul like a local while still visiting the must-sees that we had read about. During our time in Cappadocia, we also were able to see so much more than we would ever have been able to on our own and throughout our time in Turkey, we had a knowledgeable guide to ensure that we learned the history and context of everything we visited.
When the only glitch of our trip occurred, a weather-related hot air balloon ride cancellation in Cappadocia, Karen’s team sprung into action – finding us spots on the next day’s sold out balloon flights.
Karen is a true gem in the travel world! We’ve worked with several travel specialists and she is hands-down the most professional, personal, and detail oriented specialist we’ve worked with. When we go back to Turkey (when not if), we’ll surely turn to Karen to put together another flawlessly executed adventure!
It is my first time in Turkey, and I am glad I got in touch with Wendy. She connected me with one of her Turkey experts, Karen Fedorko Sefer, and Karen was there every step of the way. She was instrumental in planning our very last minute trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia. She listened carefully and created an itinerary that covered not only major points of interest but places off the beaten path. Our guide in Istanbul was knowledgeable, friendly and confident talking about her county from ancient to current times. We traveled during a holiday week so lots of tourists but we able to avoid the crowds and travel comfortably. The trip was exceptional and we found Turkey to be safe and friendly – no security issues whatsoever. I’m already planning my next two trips with Wendy for October and November.
Excellent travel specialist. Karen helped in the short term planning of my two trips to Istanbul. Both times I gave her little time to organize and still she ensured that I had a memorable experience. The guide assigned was excellent, not only knowledgeable but extremely friendly. I would certainly use the services of Karen again.
My experience with Karen was excellent. I decided to book a tour just at the last minute. Karen made very good suggestions which I then adapted to my wishes. The guide for the day tour in Istanbul was not only knowledgeable but very nice. I am now again in Turkey for a couple of days and have booked again a day tour with Karen. I would not hesitate to contact them again.
Karen exactly understood the kind of experience we were looking for on our second trip to Istanbul. She arranged an itinerary with lots of personal contact and explorations of the city well beyond the Byzantine / Ottoman core. We especially appreciated Karen’s recommendation to invest less money in a hotel room and more for activities. The hotel she chose was perfectly located and elegant. Preparing a meal with a chef in her home on the Asian side was a highlight. Our guide, Anka, was deeply knowledgeable, enthusiastic and lots of fun. A perfect fit. The logistics were flawless.
Karen and her staff were well informed and especially attentive to all our needs. Whenever a change was needed, they were on top of everything. She did great job picking the best guide in Istanbul especially . If there is anyone travelling to Istanbul or to Turkey WITH kids, the only names you need to know are Karen Fedorko, and our guide Ms. Tulay (Ms. Tulay-she was outstanding at keeping us and kids entertained at all times). Parents can rest assured that parents and kids alike will absolutely love the trip. Her guide Tulay made our experience with kids excellent. We are itching for the next trip. Thanks so much to Wendy, Karen Fedorko, and Ms. Tulay our guide.
Our four days (late April 2016) in Istanbul were perfection! Our guide – Tulay is superbly outstanding and engaging. Istanbul’s fascinating rich history comes very much alive with Tulay’s narrative. It was a wonderful experienced navigating the iconic landmarks of the city with a walking historian….thanks Tulay!!
Also, thanks to Karen Fedorko Sefer and her associate Damla for an exceptional itinerary service, your promptness and professionalism in responding to all my queries (who’s counting really). And thanks to our driver – Chief & Mike who met us in the airport – so seamless service.
Karen’s relationship with The Four Seasons Sultanahmet is commendable. We could almost touch the historic Hagia Sophia from our room balcony. It was a bliss!!
Thank you Karen for a lifetime of memories…..you are highly recommended!!
Anka, our guide, was outstanding and professional. She expressed great passion for the history, architecture, culture and food of Turkey. She was spontaneous, altering our plans as needed based on the weather and our interests, which really enhanced our experience.
The driver and the airport guide “Mike”, Mr. Ugur Sert, were both excellent. We had problems with Turkish Airlines at our departure and Ugur went way out of his way to advocate for us, for which we are truly thankful.
We will gladly recommend Karen and her team to our friends and would absolutely use her on our next trip to Turkey.
Karen did a fantastic job of arranging our tours and managing our logistics during our visit to Turkey. Every detail was managed perfectly and we were able to relax and really enjoy our time visiting a very fascinating country. There suggestions were perfect and we were able to see so much more than would have been possible on our own. I would highly recommend their services.
What an awesome experience using Wendy’s recommendation for a guide in Istanbul. Spent the day, with our 2 teenage sons, 15 and 17 with Cinan ~ truly the BEST guide we have had. Interesting, knowledgeable, and accommodating with our jet lagged 4-some. Would use Wendy’s recommendation anytime!
We recently (Sept) spent two days in Istanbul and the trip was as perfect as a trip can be. Evren was our guide and he was very knowledgeable and personable. We would absolutely use this travel expert and Evren again.
She was extremely informative, but most of all she was flexible and willing to change it up when we wanted her to. Always arrived early and the escort through the Istanbul airport was well worth the money. We will be back!!
It is our pleasure to provide a recommendation for Karen Fedorko. We are seasoned travelers, having traveled extensively both for business and pleasure. We have always planned and executed our own private itineraries. However, when we decided to visit Turkey in October 2014, we opted to engage a travel specialist because we had no prior experiences in Turkey and our proposed itinerary included visits to multiple areas. We referenced Wendy Perrin’s list of recommended travel specialists for Turkey, interviewed several and were immediately impressed by Karen’s approach and knowledge. She took the time to understand our interests and expectations including hotel and dinning preferences. The Private Anatolian Tour that Karen designed for us was perfect in every way. Her guides were very well-educated, exceptionally knowledgeable, always prompt and spoke perfect English. Her recommendations on lodging, sites to visit—even a private cooking session with a chef—met all of our expectations. I was also impressed with her hands-on approach—checking in with us during the 15-day trip to ensure all was going as planned. Our thanks to Karen and her staff for many wonderful experiences in Turkey!
Karen Fedorko and her team arranged a four-day trip for us this past October 2014 from Istanbul to Cappadocia before our cruise departure. Our time in Cappadocia was wonderful, in large part due to the professionalism, compassion, and care of our guide Gokhan and driver Selim. The vehicle was comfortable and spacious and we were always picked up on time. Gokhan especially was mindful of my husband’s mobility problems and did his best to make sure we saw everything and my husband was able to navigate most areas. He is a most engaging young man and very knowledgeable and we enjoyed his company. He was more than willing to make any adjustments to our sightseeing or lunch venues that we wanted. From pre-trip contact, to the detailed itinerary (always at our discretion) to the Museum Hotel stay and our return to Istanbul, all was expertly arranged. Karen and her staff deserve all the accolades they receive.
We hired Karen in October 2014 for 4 travellers based on Karen Fedorko’s reputation (read in Conde Nast) and because although we travel a lot were nervous about travelling near the Syrian crisis.
Karen assisted us with making an initial plan tour and to assure us. She excelled at this. Gulsen, in the office then groomed the plan to meet our needs, and was awesome at communicating via email. The entire planning process, and trip were seamless. The details were exactly as promised, yet there was amazing flexibility to alter to accommodate for crowds, tired backs, exploration of markets we wanted to visit, etc.
The best attribute I think Karen’s team offered was their amazing guides…we had a local one for each area in Turkey we visited. Their knowledge, pride and passionate enthusiasm was remarkable. All were different from one another but equally exemplary.
I have returned from a wonderful trip to Turkey and have made a point of recommending Karen to our acquaintances and to those who listen to me!
It’s a pleasure to be able to tell you how much we enjoyed the tour on September 12 of this year.
Our guide was so knowledgeable about every place we visited—an incredible wealth of background historical information. Moreover, I appreciated the fact that he was a listener—he was patient with our questions and we gradually felt that we were with a very articulate old friend rather than a tour guide.
I obviously would recommend Karen to anyone visiting Turkey—friendly, helpful people and marvelous sights.
We spent a week in Istanbul and hired Karen for our tour guides. For 4 days, Met was our fearless leader. He was impeccable in his knowledge and ability to change our itinerary to suit our requests. We have already recommended Karen, and Met, to several people.
Excellent, friendly, reliable service.
Communication to set up the tours was easy, secure and efficient.
Tugba in the office—outstanding.
Let them pick you up from the airport and deliver you on your departure day.
When we left, we felt that Met was a friend.
When we go again, it will be Karen with Met all over again! Thank you!
Our trip to Turkey started in Istanbul on October 13th and ended on October 22nd. We toured Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus.The trip was well planned and the guides were either good (Istanbul) or very good to excellent (Cappadocia and Ephesus). The best hotel, by far, was the Tomtom, although we were pleasantly surprised about how nice was the Turkish Air hotel at the Istanbul airport. In the Istanbul office, we dealt primarily with Tugba who was very responsive and easy to deal with—even when she was away, someone stepped right up and took care of us.
The VIP service was worth every penny, and being met on arrival at each airport by one of Karen’s representative, often our guide, was a nice and welcome touch. We don’t know if VIP service is available for departures from Istanbul, but it would be nice to avoid the chaos at the departure gates in Istanbul—and this was so even though we were in business class.
A special thanks to Karen who arranged to meet us early on in our trip to address our safety concerns raised by the notices from the US Embassy. She explained which areas of Istanbul we should avoid (none of them were even close to the usual tourist sites). The vans (which I believe are owned by Karen) are very upscale and well maintained.
In summary, we wholeheartedly recommend Karen.
I chose Karen and her team because a good friend had used their service (with great success) for an earlier trip to Turkey. We traveled to Turkey in October 2014 with a group of six adults. From the moment I contacted Karen by email to begin planning our trip, until the day we left Turkey, I felt that everything was first class. We arranged a VIP pick-up from the airport upon arrival and immediately I could see why Karen’s company has such a good reputation. Each and every person that works with her is excellent, including drivers and transport personnel. When I first contacted them I worked out the parameters of our trip with Karen, then I worked with Cigdem, a sales associate, to arrange all the details. Cigdem and Karen were great—I always felt like we were in good hands and there wasn’t ANY question too small or not worthy of an answer. Once we arrived in Istanbul our guide, Esin, showed us the old city and other parts of Istanbul—she couldn’t have been better! She was knowledgable and personable and we had the best time. Esin made last-minute itinerary adjustments to avoid the large cruise ship crowds: We still saw everything on our itinerary, just in reverse order! Karen’s company is great for folks wanting the experience of staying at the Four Seasons in Istanbul or small boutique-type hotels as well. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or using a travel service for the first time (as was the case for us) I highly recommend them. They will not disappoint!
Karen Fedorko Sefer and her team are absolutely first class. They worked with me to plan a 12-day trip to Turkey in June of 2014 for my family (my wife and I, two 17-year-olds, an 11-year-old, and my 76-year-old mother). I chose Karen and her team specifically because she lives in Turkey. From the moment we arrived until the moment we left I felt like the team was looking over our shoulders making sure everything happened when and how it was supposed to. Our family has traveled extensively and I can honestly say no trip has ever gone more smoothly. Drivers were where they were supposed to be, guides were ever present, and excellent with the children and the adults. The suggestions—which gulet to rent, how long to stay, where to stay and why, where to eat, activities to do—were all spot on. During our trip, Karen’s team made numerous last-minute itinerary adjustments and reservations. Karen called me personally one of the days to make sure all was good. If you go to Turkey there is only one company to work with and it is Karen’s. She and her team have got Turkey wired for the high-end traveler.
I have no words to say except thank you to Karen for sending her guides Onder and Mutlu to us. Each has his own personality and his own way of sharing historical knowledge, his love of his country, and pride in his job. We were truly sad to see each one go. The wonderful parts were when Mutlu would suggest we take the longer walk or skip something, knowing we would rather see something else that was more important to us, and Onder sharing villages with his personal touch.
Karen has spoiled us. Truly, we may never travel by ourselves again.
I’ve used several of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts (for a safari, for Alaska, and most recently Karen for Turkey) and been very happy with all. Shelistened to what I wanted to do, took my interests, budget, and timing into account, and gave me a terrific itinerary. They were honest with feedback—explaining whether there was time to do something in my packed schedule, or making a suggestion about some hidden gem I would not know about. Very nice hotels and excellent guides, especially Bill our archaeology professor in Ephesus. Transfers were seamless—very helpful at the smaller regional airports. The responses from the office over our several months of planning were very quick and thorough. We had one problem that was no one’s fault at a hotel in the middle of the night, but Karen personally called us and resolved it for a full refund. Excellent customer service, personally tailored itineraries, and thoughtfulness about the individual experience made for a wonderful trip. I would recommend Karen to anyone, whether seasoned traveler or neophyte.