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.