GETTING MONEY FROM HOME
If you run out of money while traveling, the easiest and cheapest solution is to have someone back home make a deposit to your credit card or cash (ATM) card. Failing that, consider one of the following options..
It is possible to arrange a bank money transfer, which means asking a bank back home to wire money to a bank in Turkey. This is the cheapest way to transfer cash, but it’s also the slowest, usually taking several days or more. Note that some banks may only release your funds in local currency, potentially sticking you with a poor exchange rate; inquire about this in advance. Money transfer services like Western Union are faster and more convenient than bank transfers but also much pricier. Western Union has many locations worldwide.
US STATE DEPARTMENT (US CITIZENS ONLY)
In dire emergencies only, the US State Department will forward money within hours to the nearest consular’ office, which will then disburse it according to instructions for a US$15 fee. If you wish to use this service, you must contact the Overseas Citizens Service division of the US State Department (©202-647-5225; nights, Sundays, and holidays ©202-647-4000).
The cost of your trip will vary considerably, depending on where you go, how you travel, and where you stay. Tire single biggest cost of your trip will probably be your round trip (return) airfare to Turkey. A railpass (or bus pass) will be another major pre-departure expense. Before you go, spend some time calculating a reasonable per-day budget that will meet your needs.
STAYING ON A BUDGET
To give you a general idea, a bare bones day in Turkey (camping or sleeping in hostels/guesthouses, buying food at supermarkets) would cost about US$15; a slightly more comfortable day (sleeping in hostels/guesthouses and the occasional budget hotel, eating one meal a day at a restaurant, going out at night) would run US$25; and for a luxurious day, the sky’s the limit. Also, don’t forget to factor in emergency reserve funds (at least US$200) when planning how much money you’ll need.
Considering that saving just a few dollars a day over the course of your trip might pay for days or weeks of additional travel, the art of penny-pinching is well worth learning. Learn to take advantage of freebies: for example, museums are often free for students with ID, and cities often host free open-air concerts and/or cultural events (especially in the summer). Do your laundry in the sink (unless you’re explicitly prohibited from doing so). You can split accommodations costs (in hotels and some hostels) with trustworthy fellow travelers; multi-bed rooms almost always work out cheaper per person than singles. The same principle will also work for cutting down on the cost of restaurant meals. With that said, don’t go overboard with your budget obsession. Though staying within your budget is important, do not do so at the expense of your sanity or health.
Price ranges, marked by the numbered icons below, are now included in food and accommodation descriptions. They are based on the lowest cost for one person, excluding special deals or prices for travel in Turkey. In the case of campgrounds, we include the cost of a car. The table below is a guide to how prices and icons match up.
TIPPING AND BARGAINING
Even though Turkish salaries often do not take tipping into account as a form of income, it is widely expected and accepted. Leaving a bit of small change (around US $1 regardless of the total price) at your table after a meal or with a taxi driver or hotel porter is appreciated as a friendly gesture and a sign of gratitude. Fifteen to twenty percent tips are only required in very deluxe restaurants. In these establishments, service may be included in the bill (servis dahil), but an additional small tip is usually required.
Bargaining occurs in outdoor food markets, bazaars, some carpet and souvenir shops, and hotels. Walk in stores that stock conventional goods such as groceries, pharmaceuticals, and clothes have fixed prices. When bargaining, do not be the first to name a price; wait until the salesperson does. Generally, start from a price l that is lower than what you intend to pay, but don’t offer to pay less than half of the seller’s price. Proceed to haggle up from your initial price for something between the two prices. Do not bargain for items that depend upon a guarantee of authenticity or antiquity unless you are an expert in such matters.
Not all shops participate, but Turkey does have a 10-20% value-added tax (VAT) known as the katma değer vergisi or KDV. It. is included in the prices of most goods and services (including meals, lodging, and car rentals). Before you buy, check if the KDV is included in the price to avoid paying it twice. Theoretically, it can be reclaimed at most points of departure, but this requires much persistence. An airport tax of $15 is levied only on international travelers, but it is usually included in the cost of the ticket.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Bach year, thousands of visitors return home from Turkey with nothing but happy memories. Nonetheless, road safety is an oxymoron, and terrorist activity has been a problem in some areas.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS IN TURKEY
These 24-hour phone numbers can be dialed from any phone in Turkey. At card operated public phones, you can dial them without inserting a card. At coin operated phones, you must insert a coin, but it will be returned to you after the call.
Ambulance: © 112
Jandarma (state police in rural areas): ©156
Crime is mainly an issue in large cities in Turkey. Particularly if you are a woman, never admit that you are traveling alone. Extra vigilance is always wise, but there is no need for panic when exploring a new city or region.
To help avoid unwanted attention, try to blend In as much as possible. Respecting local customs (usually, dressing more conservatively) may placate would be hecklers. Low profile, conservatively dressed foreigners are less obvious targets for petty theft than gawking caniera toters. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings before setting out, and carry yourself with confidence; if you must check a map on the street, duck into a shop. If you are traveling alone, be sure someone at home knows your itinerary, and never admit that you’re traveling alone. You may want to carry a whistle to scare off attackers or attract attention if attacked; memorize the emergency numbers above. Whenever possible, Let’s Go warns of unsafe neighborhoods and areas, but there are some good general tips to follow. When walking at night, stick to busy, well-lit streets and avoid dark alleyways. Buildings in disrepair, vacant lots, and unpopulated areas are all bad signs. The distribution of people can reveal a great deal about the relative safety of the area; look for children playing, women walking in the open, and other signs of an active community. If you feel uncomfortable, leave as quickly and directly as you can, but don’t allow fear of the unknown to turn you into a hermit. Careful, persistent exploration will build confidence and make your stay even more rewarding.
There is no sure fire way to avoid all the threatening situations you might encounter when you travel, but a good self-defense course will give you concrete ways to react to unwanted advances. Impact, Prepare, and Model Mugging can refer you to local self-defense courses in the US.
If you are using a car, loam local driving signals and wear a seatbelt. Children under 401bs. should ride only in a specially designed car seat, available for a small fee from most car rental agencies.Study route maps before you hit the road, and if you plan on spending a lot of time on the road, you may want to bring spare parts. If your car breaks down, wait for the police to assist you. For long drives in desolate areas, invest in a cellular phone and a roadside assistance program. Be sure to park your vehicle in a garage or well traveled area, and use a steering wheel locking device in larger cities. Sleeping in your car is one of the most dangerous (and often illegal) ways to get your rest. For info on the perils of hitchhiking.