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#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)

Posts: 5

I had originally posted this on Europe forum by mistake

Leaving on April 24th.  Wondering if those of you who have stayed in these hotels could respond as to wifi in hotel rooms/common areas and also give me an idea about amount of free time.  We will be staying

Istanbul     Grand Hotel Gulsoy
Canakkale   Akol Hotel
Izmir         Kaya Prestige
Antalya      Porto Bello Hotel
Cappadocia Dinler Hotel Urgup
Ankara       Swissotel

Travelling with two others - we are doing most of the tours but are undecided about the last tour in Istanbul to the Spice Market and Bosporus cruise.  We really want to have some time to shop and wonder how difficult it would be to see Spice Market on our own - and is the cruise a must do?  We will be arriving in Istanbul at noon the day before the trip starts so maybe we will have some time after we get to hotel to browse etc.

I am not doing the balloon ride but my friends are.  We are all doing the Cappadocia day tour.  Wasn't sure if I would have any time while they are gone but thought I would ask for suggestions about what I can do

One more question -  about getting cash.  I have a Chase debit card and their fees are outrageous - $5 fee for use of international ATM and then 3% foreign currency charge.  It is the only checking account I have.   They offered to exchange money for me into lira before I go but the rate they quoted was .53 and when I looked at the rate was .467   How much cash did you really need over there.  If we stop for a beer do they take credit cards as readily as they do in US.  What about in the Grand Bazaar - credit cards or cash?  I wanted to use the ATM in Turkey but wondering now if that is smart.  I would just as soon charge everything I possibly can

Thanks for your help


Thanks for your help -
#2 Posted : Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)

Posts: 685

Pam, I know a kind poster named Meli posted some great information for you.  Hopefully I can add a bit more.  We did the Turkish Treasures two years ago.

First, whether an option is a "must" is pretty much in the eye of the beholder.  I took the Bhosphorus cruise, and I did like it.  You cruise past the many mansions, hotels, go under the bridge, etc.  It was not the greatest tour ever, and was my least favorite of the trip.  So, if you are really pressed for time, skip it.  It would be a shame to miss the spice market, however.   Perhaps you can find your way there.  It is very interesting.  It is near a main bridge, and is easy to find.  Any taxi driver would know it.   Note that it was included in the tour at no extra charge two years ago.  The river cruise was a stand alone option.

Your hotel in Istanbul is within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar.  Walk there the afternoon of the day you arrive for your shopping.   The stop with the tour is only an hour or so, and is not enough.  There are ATM machines outside the Bazaar.

You will not have time to shop while the others are on the balloon ride.  It begins at sunup (or before.)  We were there in May, and the balloon riders were at breakfast when we went down to eat at maybe 8:00, already back.  So the balloon ride happens way before shops open.  The early timing is what kept us from doing it, even more than the cost!

Money:  Your debit card is really expensive.  You must find something better if you are going to make a habbit of international travel.  I use our NC State Employees Credit Union debit card.  There in no intl. exchange charge, and the ATM charge is 75 cents.  Find something like this.  I would try local credit unions that you may be eliegible to join. 

Turkey is internationally known (especially in the banking community) for all kinds of credit card scams.  My advice is to use the card ONLY in ATM machines, and for major purchases at recognized firms, such as the rug store you will be taken to, for example.  I would highly suggest using cash elsewhere.  Get as much as you are comfortable traveling with (or locking in hotel safe) each time to limit your card charges.  You can use your card at some merchants in the Grand Bazaar, but I sure would not do it.  Be careful with ATM machines, also, ensuring  there has been no sleeve inserted in the slot.  Google this scam, designed to entrap your card.  Be SURE to let your bank know ahead of time you are going to be in Turkey, because there will be an automatic block on your card.   It is one of a few countries that has this honor.  You must let them know to unblock for the dates you will visit.  In my case I had to call all three banks back home, as none of my cards would work, and this is after I called each one before we left!  I guess they thought I was joking about going to Turkey, or else they are REALLY hesitant about allowing a live card to roam around Turkey. 

ATM machines will give you money at almost the official exchange rate, and as I remember the charge you pay to use the machine to the bank that owns it is fairly low, but I don't remember exactly.

Nobody can advise you how much cash you need.  Everyone's spending habbits and tastes vary wildly.
Randy and Deanie
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#3 Posted : Friday, April 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)

Posts: 681

If you use Capital one there is no exchange fee, "don't go anywhere without it" I use it exclusively for purchases.  Wifi was free in every hotel altho some only available in the lobby.
Sharon ~ Florida, USA

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Similar Topics
Turkish Treasures - questions about wifi availability, free time (Europe)
by Sieburgp 4/12/2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
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