Concerns with using U.S. $ in Istanbul?

Old Sep 11th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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Why all this fuss over using local currency?

At Ataturk airport there are exchange booths where the exchange rate is quite good. In fact, this last trip, the exchange rate in the airport was the best I got - but I don't go out of my way to seek the best exchange rate. If it's reasonable, that's fine by me. My time overseas is a lot more valuable than the slight difference in exchange rate. People never count the hours wasted not vacationing but trying to find lodging, plotting a train schedule, trying to find the best exchange rate, etc. Some people pay so much money to go somewhere and then waste gobs of precious time on menial tasks to save a few dollars.

If your friend/relative is traveling from the US, tell them to take lots of cash dollars with them and do a one time exchange at the airport for TLs. In fact, come to think of it, the guy in front of me in line exchanged a bunch of Japanese yen for something like 10,000TL. Your friends can pay for hotels and major purchases with a credit card, but how much cash will they really need for "just a few days"? Wear a money belt, heck, wear several money belts - one around the neck, one around the waist, and one around the ankle.

BTW, one statistic I learnt this last trip to Turkey - the airport at Antalya (Turkey's largest sea resort) handles more traffic than both the Berlin airports combined; Ataturk Airport handles more passengers than Munich Airport. You're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. There are more high priced stores - Gucci, Ferragamo, Dior - in Ataturk Airport than in most US airports.

The most realistic post on this thread is otherchelebi's.
easytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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We went to Turkey ten years ago, and things may have changed, but we took some USD with us as emergency cash. After a few weeks there we wished we had brought more. We are very good negotiators, and quickly realized we'd get the best price on hotels and higher-priced goods in the following order: USD, lira, credit card.

That being said, we are experienced travelers and negotiators. I'm very wary of a "travel organizer" convincing an unexperienced traveler who can't even depend on an ATM to use USD in Istanbul. THAT part sounds outrageous.
christycruz is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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In case anyone refers to this posting for information, I just want to update outcomes from my relative's trip in Turkey in 2011. FYI... she was not confident with getting cash from ATMs and dependent on what the tour group organizer said. Traveling in touristy areas of Turkey, she was able to use USD currency when she didn't have enough Lira on hand. I doubt she got the best exchange rate, but it didn't seem to bother her since she was conservative with her cash spending.

Regarding my past problems with ATMs, it was simply related to my credit union and not having a back-up ATM card with another bank. The first time it happen, I didn't have a back-up ATM from another bank. I called ahead of time prior to the trip and even called to resolve the problem while I was abroad. ATM problem never got resolve, but thankful I had someone with me whose ATM card did work.

Second time it happen, both of my ATM cards from different banks just didn't work at the German airport - however it worked at other ATMs. Again, I was lucky to be with people whose ATM ard worked.

I am hoping that my Schwab ATM will be a better traveling companion (no foreign transaction or ATM fees) and will have some initial cash on hand.
lehcar is offline  
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