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Turkey, Istanbul: Practical Stuff

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Jan 24th, 2011, 01:19 PM
  #1
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Turkey, Istanbul: Practical Stuff

Packing

Clothes. Instead of trying to fit your entire wardrobe into a suitcase, pack light. Euros allow to check-in only one 20 kilo suitcase and a carry-on. During the summer, I recommend taking light casual clothes (dresses, skirts) and very comfortable shoes for walking (flip-flops or some cute flats) to wear during the day. Swim-suite is a must as you never know which Princes’ island you could end up at. A pair of high heels and a trendy evening outfit (stylish jeans with a top, or a dress).

Electronics. Bring a converter to be able to use your technological magic. Hotels and rental apartments – all offer free internet/Wi-Fi.

When I travel internationally, I also take an unlocked cell phone and buy a local prepaid SIM card to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on the roaming fees.

Currency

Dollars, Euros and Turkish Lira are accepted in Istanbul. Cash usually gets you better deals than credit cards (at least 10% off). I think that’s the fee that banks charge a merchant for the transactions. ATMs are everywhere, so getting cash should not be a problem (your account currency will be converted into lira based on the exchange rates ) .

Cabs

Most of the taxi drivers do not speak English or any other language besides Turkish. Most of them don’t know where they are going either. At first I thought it was my inability to communicate in Turkish, but later learned that it was not the case. Even when I showed the address to a driver, he would drive around asking people on the streets how to get to my destination.

Shopping

Bargain everywhere. Turks are amazing sales people. It is my belief that selling talent runs in their blood and they will try to sell you anything for as expensive as possible, so don’t be a fool. Don’t rave about being ripped off – you can bargain and set your prices as well.

Large shops offer VAT – just ask for the forms and requirements on the minimum spending amount to collect VAT in customs.

Dining and Wining

Delicious food is served in different variations from traditional to modern and most restaurants are open late for dinner. Alcohol is heavily taxed turning drinking into quite a pricey habit.

Hotels, Apartments

Do your research before booking. Prices vary from 600+$/night at Four Seasons to less expensive rates in some less known hotels. Short-term apartment rentals are also available – depends on your preferences.

http://gypsyandthecity.wordpress.com...sh-adventures/
bachity is offline  
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Jan 24th, 2011, 01:46 PM
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"Seal of Approval"

only do not try to negotiate in malls, designer stores, restaurants (except for fish), any store in Nisantasi area.
(except, you can ask the manager at Uterque to give you a small discount by mentioning my name, because she is my daughter's close friend)

Thanks Bachity.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Flip flops are not a very good idea..Streets and sidealks are uneven and less than clean..Flats are preferable. Skirts and tees are cooler that pants and shorts are not at all appropriate and are prohibited in many venues. Set your cab fare before going out and/or let the hotel desk handle it for you if possible. 10percent is what we got at our hotel,,Tash Konak in The Sultanhamet.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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shorts are prohibited only in churches, mosques and synagogues. My daughters wear shorts and mini skirts when they go out in the summer. However, i must admit that, my wife prohibits me from wearing shorts, whereas i cannot exercise the same authority over her.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 03:33 PM
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Great suggestions! I was wearing dresses and skirts as it was too hot in the summer to to wear anything else.

By the way, Blue Mosque provides free special fabric (forgot the actual name) to cover skin that is too exposed.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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The rental apartment looks fabulous on their website but what an illusion! Anyways, finding accommodation is more often than not a hit and miss affair, unless people give unbiased review of the place. So, I decided a fully prepaid deal is not a way to go for me anymore unless I have credible info that the place is adequate.

Istanbul is great to explore and I love to see more of Turkey someday.
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Jan 27th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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Bachity, thanks for your review. I'm going to Istambul soon, I think that your advice will be really helpful.

you mentioned to buy there a local SIM card, do you have any suggestions about it? I will have to call often European phone numbers (Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy), there is a specific operator offering good deals for international calls?
Thanks
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Jan 27th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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@at12am --- I agree! I also would like to explore the Southern part of Turkey as I hear it's stunning.

@Kentel --- local mobile companies there run specials from time to time. I would just go to any mobile store (or store that sells cell phones) and ask about the rates for each service provider. I'd suggest not buying anything at the airport as it's more expensive.

If you have a U.S. cell-phone, make sure it's unlocked, otherwise, it will not work with any of the Turkish providers.
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Jan 27th, 2011, 11:25 PM
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good tips
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