Monday, October 17, 2011

Cost of a 2-month trip to Istanbul/Turkey



It has been a little over 4 months since my trip to Istanbul ended and finally I am doing a round-up on how much money I spent there.

All in all my time in Istanbul was not my best trip. Several factors contributed to this:

1) The weather sucked. I spent 59 days in Turkey (April and May) and most of this time it was rainy, windy or cloudy or a free combination of those. Only the last 10-14 finally reminded me it was spring.

2) I had bad luck connecting with people over couchsurfing. Again, until about the last 2 weeks when I became part of a delightful group of people, both Turks and foreigners. Alas, it was time to leave soon.

3) In order to save money, I chose the cheapest accommodation available and it was a mistake. I went after the cheapness of it, not after location or who I was going to live with. Granted, it was far from being the middle of nowhere, but there was no connection to the central European area of the city. Last combination of boat+bus was leaving at about 21.30, last direct bus from Taksim was at midnight.

I lived with a couple of newlyweds, in their shiny spotless new apartment. They went to work and watched TV. They were sweet. But I had a bed and a wardrobe in my room and that’s about it, I was literally forced to be either in the living room or the kitchen. Part of the deal was that I spoke English with them thus they had some language practice, so basically my 75EUR per month covered only gas, electricity and other utilities, so it was quite a deal for Istanbul. Except it was NOT worth it. My advice to anyone doing a similar trip would be to live in Europe, pay more and enjoy life more.

4) I also had a lot of unwanted male attention. That really unnerved me and brought me down for quite a while.

In other words, my expenses were quite low, but that came at its own price.

59 days in Turkey, including 53 days in Istanbul and 6 days on a trip to Izmir, Cesme, Ephesus and Selcuk amounted to the following sum (in TL, Turkish Lira):

Tickets ------------------------------->   225
Accommodation ---------------------->  333
Food --------------------------------->  436.22
Entertainment ------------------------->  138.25
Transport ----------------------------->  266.9
Clothes ------------------------------->  20
Travel (intercity bus/train)--------------> 165.5
Visa-----------------------------------> 30
Other (e.g. cell phone)---------------->  98.29

--------------------------------------> 1713.16 TL

At the time 1TL was 1.5USD or 2.22EUR, so the total in American dollars would be 1142USD, in Euro it would be 772EUR.  

Daily expenses: 29TL / 19USD / 13EUR 

(My 3 months in Europe last winter cost me 27.5EUR daily, a recent summer 3 months stay only about 19EUR per day, report coming up.)

As is obvious from the table above, I did not do a lot of partying. Please refer to points 2) and 3) in the beginning of the post for the reasons. I’m pretty happy with how my food costs turned out, but I did not eat out much. I mostly cooked and every once in a while had some food from a stall. Now, what I am not happy about is the transportation expenses. In Istanbul you have to pay for every change of transport and sometimes you have to change from bus to boat to bus to subway to get somewhere, so it all adds up and money disappears pretty fast. Cost of one trip ranges from 1.65TL to 3.3TL. If you have an Akbil, you can get discounts on every second trip, but it will not be a huge save nevertheless. I tried walking around. It’s virtually impossible to get anywhere by foot. Think long distance and think hills.

My trip outside of Istanbul cost me so little, because I only had to pay for several buses and a train, two nights in a cheap hostel and an entrance fee to Ephesus. The rest of the time I couchsurfed (with a great American guy in Izmir) and had two overnight buses.

...Next time I’m visiting Istanbul (and that will mark my third time), I plan for “entertainment” to surpass all other areas.


3 comments:

Maria said...

I'm just intrigued that you actually love doing this. I must admit it would really unnerve me to share other people's homes...but I don't even like hotels. Getting persnickety in my old age....

chris brown said...

Hey its Chris Brown from UK, great blog, keep sharing. For cheap tickets for Istanbul visit euroafricatravel.!!

Tom Watson said...

Looks interesting, ill be sure to check it out. Cheap property in Turkey

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