...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Final Istanbul thoughts list

Here are my final thoughts concerning my first time visit to Istanbul:

1. Things are relatively cheap: meaning, I could get a Coke for $1 US, and overall prices on most food products were reasonable.  Restaurant cost depends on how much you are willing to spend, but overall, not terrible across the board.

2. The mass transit situation is easy: Getting from Taksim to the Old City was not a problem via the funicular and tram.  The only confusing part was trying to decide whether to buy tokens or find an Istanbulkart location.  There is a small kiosk on the square that sells them...will remember that for next trip.

3. Watch out for tricky beggars and vendors: I got duped when a shoeshine guy dropped his brush and kept walking away (making me think he accidentally dropped it).  When I grabbed it and got his attention, I was duped...and I imagine he was surprised and upset when I didn't pay for anything as a result.

4. Tons of kebap options mean that doing restaurant research ahead of time (I used Tripadvisor.com) is critical to find good places that have well-cooked food (as to avoid any gastrointestinal problems).

5. Planning out your day is key. That way you know how much time you have and how much admission prices are.  The earlier you can start in a day, the smaller the lines.

6. I highly recommend Suntransfers for transportation from the airport to your lodging.  The price was reasonable and there was never a concern about missing a connection or figuring out an unknown transit system.

7. Prepare to spend a lot of time at the Grand Bazaar.  The deals just keep on comin'.

8. Start shopping for next Thanksgiving travel deals soon!  February/March tends to be the sweet spot, and more deals will be available for the taking!

9. If you're looking for easy Visa options for visiting various countries, I can also recommend Travisa - easy to get a Turkish e-visa and other countries for a reasonable price

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