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Tips for Istanbul

1. Getting a Turkish Visa

This is very easy to do and can be done ahead of time online. It costs $20. If you can’t print out your copy, they will accept it on your phone. As of May 2015, you could still get it on arrival as well, but they are phasing that out. It takes 5 minutes, do it online and go prepared. Save this multiple entry visa, just in case you go back while it is still valid.

2. Plan to Walk a LOT

Istanbul can be very overwhelming, because it is HUGE. You can drive for hours in every direction and still be in the city, that is, if you even make it anywhere in the horrid traffic. Traffic is horrendous, which actually makes getting around by foot the faster option sometimes, depending on where you are going.

3. Taxis in Istanbul

Taxis are cheap, so if you’re heading to the airport or somewhere further than walking distance, take a cab. Just make sure you ask for the meter before you go anywhere.

4. Bazaar Etiquette

Try things that people give you in the Spice Bazaar (i.e. Turkish Delight). They expect to give out samples to everyone walking by, so don’t be afraid to say yes, you won’t have to pay for it or be expected to buy anything. Also, don’t be afraid to bargain with the vendors. My bargaining rule of thumb is to try to start at half the asking price and work my way up from there.

5. Watch Your Pockets