Travelling Turkey on a Budget – Ways to Save Money During Your Visit
Travelling Turkey on a budget is easy. Lucrative exchange rates mean tourists are getting more cash than ever before. Granted, prices in restaurants and shops have gone up as well, but many foreign tourists still remark on how cheap things are in Turkey for them. However, there are more opportunities to save money by being savvy travellers. But, first, you need to know about the Turkish Lira.
Turkey's currency is the Turkish Lira, although some places still use the TL abbreviation, and banks and credit card companies may also use TRY. Turkish lira banknotes come in 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. Each has a unique colour, but be aware because the 5 lira and 50 lira are remarkably similar. Coins known as kurus are in denominations of 5, 10, 24, and 50. It then progresses up to 1 lira, which is also a coin. So, with that in mind, let's look at saving money, in Turkey.
Travelling Turkey on a Budget
Exchanging Money into Turkish Lira
Never exchange currency in your home country or at airports. You will always get a significantly lower rate. Many ATMs in Turkey allow foreigners to draw Turkish Lira out of their foreign bank accounts but do check exchange rates, and charges with your own banks. Likewise, when using debit or credit cards. Otherwise, exchange Turkish Lira at designated exchange shops in Turkey, which by law, must show their exchange rates on large signs. Don't forget to take your passport.
Touristic shops, restaurants, and travel agents will accept most foreign currencies. However, by law, establishments cannot show prices in anything other than Turkish Lira. So, if you offer to pay in a foreign currency, they are under no obligation to provide current rates and can choose their own. This rarely works out in favour of tourists.
House Sitting Versus Hotels in Turkey
These days, all-inclusive hotels do a roaring trade by offering drinks, food, and accommodation for a reasonable price. However, it does not pay off for non-drinkers who spend days exploring. All-inclusive hotels mainly offer advantages to families with kids. Instead, choose bed and breakfast hotels or self-catering. Shop at weekly Turkish markets for fruit, veg, and dairy products if you choose the latter. Alternatively, join house sitting sites, where you look after people's pets when they go away in return for free accommodation. There are also work away websites to volunteer your time in hotels or tourist establishments in return for accommodation and food.
Tourists Versus Local Restaurants in Turkey
Stay away from tourist restaurants, especially those lining beachfront promenades. These establishments offer top-notch food made by excellent chefs passionate about their jobs, but they generally have higher rents to pay; hence menu prices are higher. Inside seek out traditional Turkish lokantas. They are full of Turks and feature basic furnishings instead of trendy and modern décor and design. Street food is also popular in Turkey, especially in big cities like Istanbul.
Save Money by Haggling
The thought of haggling over prices makes some tourists nervous. It is a time-honoured tradition, but people aren't sure where and when it is socially acceptable. Generally, as a rule, if prices are displayed, haggling isn't accepted. This includes brand name shops, excursion agents, restaurants, and bars. However, head to places where they sell souvenirs and haggle because vendors have already put their prices up because they expect it. Don't haggle over cheap items. Only negotiate on items of specific value, like leather, clothing, and souvenirs. It is simple to do. First, ask the vendor for his price. Counter it with a price that is 50% cheaper. Each party then continues with suggested prices until one accepts. Be aware that a handshake confirms the sale, and expect a lot of banter.
Peak Times and Budget Prices
Turkey's official tourism season runs from May to October. Anything outside of these months offers the best prices, but travellers compromise on weather, and in some places, tourist attractions close. July to August are peak tourism months when many Turks also travel for their holidays, and this is when prices do go up. So for the best prices, travel during May, June, or October.
Domestic Travel in Turkey
Taxis are metered but, generally, are more expensive options than local buses. Check out the Istanbul Kart for discounted local travel on buses in Istanbul. If travelling countrywide, for example, from Istanbul to Cappadocia, check the prices of cross-country buses and domestic flights. Sometimes, it is a hit and miss as to which one comes up cheaper. Don't forget that if choosing flights, you still need to arrange transport to your chosen destination from the airport, in which case, check for local HAVAS services.
Museums Cards and Tourist Passes
If one of your passions when travelling is to visit museums, check out the Turkish Muze Kart. Various options are available, but all offer discounted prices to museums across Turkey. In addition, the Istanbul e-pass gives discounted access to major attractions, options to beat queues, internet access, and airport transfers in Istanbul. So travellers who like to visit many attractions will save much money.
Internet Access in Turkey
Most bars and restaurants let travellers use their internet if they buy food or drink. Otherwise, purchase mobile hotspots which get delivered to your hotel. If you want to use your mobile internet, check with your mobile phone provider before leaving home for roaming costs. In most cases, they are pretty expensive.
Also, About Travelling in Turkey
Travel Apps for Turkey: Travelling around Turkey is more manageable with mobile phones and our apps. Gone are the days of paper maps, getting lost, language barriers and eating in the worst restaurants in town. Apps help make a trip around Turkey smooth and easy-going, turning it into an exciting journey. They also help people travelling Turkey on a budget to save money, and this article talks about the best ones to download.