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Need help with logistics -- Chicago to Cappadocia to Istanbul -- and back

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Hi, everyone,

We are visiting Turkey in October for the first time. Original plan was to spend a week in Istanbul (leaving October 18), but then decided to add a day to accommodate a day trip to Ephesus. Now you all have convinced us to spend a few days in Cappadocia, too. You are good Turkey travel ambassadors!

My first thought was to add on the Cappadocia days at the end of the week in Istanbul, but since that would be very late October, I've decided to do that before the week in Istanbul (don't know how much difference in the weather between mid- and late-October, but figure earlier is better).

My current question concerns the travel from Chicago to Cappadocia. I can get flights on Turkish Air direct from Chicago, leaving 10:20 PM night 1; arriving Istanbul 6 PMish evening 2; doing a 3 hour layover at Ataturk, and then flying on to Kayseri, arriving 10 PM there. So with an hour or more to Goreme or Urgup, we'd arrive about midnight, night 2, assuming we can get transport that time of night (we are not renting a car).

The other option is to fly from Chicago to Istanbul, spend night 2 in a hotel near the airport, and then proceed on to Kayseri the morning of day 3. The airport hotels don't get the best reviews and are relatively pricey. And would involve getting and and out of airport, etc. But would give us a break in traveling.

We will fly Turkish Air from Chicago, as they do the only non-stop flights to Istanbul. Using Turkish Air for the whole thing (Chicago-Istanbul-Kayseri/Kayseri-Istanbul/Istanbul-Chicago) results in fares amounting to about $235/person RT for the Istanbul-Kayseri legs. I haven't priced those legs on, say, Atlasjet or Pegasus, but get the drift that they would be cheaper (at least by a little) than the $235 on Turkish Air.

Questions: do we slog on through to Kayseri, arriving 10 PM on day 2, or do we spend night in airport hotel and continue on the next day? And, is convenience of using TA for all flights (and possible accommodation for missed connection) worth the possibly extra dollars?

For a little context, DH and I are reasonably fit middle-aged travelers who tolerate time changes reasonably well ... but don't sleep well on airplanes.

Thanks!

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