Turkey on your own

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Hello. This article is a collaborative effort between our team of holiday experts in Turkey. I want to say “thank you” to these wonderful travelers:

  • Dasha, who knows everything about excursions.
  • Daniel, who will tell you everything about car rental.
  • Anthony – he is well versed in transfers and taxis.

They will tell about what they understand better than others in the rest of the article.

Turkey on your own: the most important things

Do not want to thoroughly study all the available resourses, but you want to go on vacation? No problem! We’ve already gathered and briefly retold the most important info in this block:

What kind of vacation do you want?
An unforgettable journey always starts with an idea and goals. Be honest with yourself about what you want to get out of your vacation. For example, “I want to swim in a cool sea, taste delicious cuisine and get the best tan in the city” or “I’ve been fascinated by the eastern culture since childhood, I want to feel it in reality.”

Once you decide on this, planning a trip will become much easier. It will be clear which resort to choose, when to go and what budget you can fit into. For example, if you just want to get away from the “dullness” and work from a beautiful place with a comfortable climate, you can go in the spring or autumn. It is not at all necessary to overpay for a vacation in the summer.

If suddenly you find it difficult to get your unique idea, you can see our examples.

Buy air tickets.
Traveling to Turkey should begin with the purchase of air tickets. So you know exactly the dates and the resort. Then you can book hotels, excursions, transfers, car rentals and everything else.

You can search for tickets on various websites like Aviasales.com, for example.

Book a hotel.
After paying for the tickets, you can start looking for a hotel. Usually, the sooner you do this, the more good options will be available. After all, people are looking for the most profitable offers in the first place.

A good site with hotels is called Booking.com. Everyone knows it anyway. It’s worth checking the price on Hotellook.com. It happens that Booking prices aren’t the lowest, so you could save a few bucks. Apartments and flats can be found on AirBnB.com.

Choose excursions.
Flying to Turkey on your own just for the sake of a good hotel and beaches is simply not profitable. Then it’s easier to buy a ready-made tour.

Excursions that can be bought on the spot are usually not something special or remarkable. We heard much more negative feedback from friends than good ones. Therefore, it is worth taking care of your leisure in advance.

You can find a lot of tours and activities on GetYourGuide.com and Viator.com.

Do you want to rent a car?
I have to say, good excursions in Turkey are expensive. And cheap ones are of such “high quality” that you don’t want to go there even for free.

So what to do if there is no “extra” money, but you want to see the country? There is an answer! Rent a car for 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ per day and travel to your heart’s content.

A good site for car rental in Turkey is called Localrent.com. It is very simple, clear and offers really competitive prices.

But the competition does its job. There are discounts on other websites too. Therefore, check the price on Rentalcars, Economybookings and Discovercars.

Are you afraid to rent a car? Read Daniel’s article. He tells in detail how to rent and what to do so that no one will deceive you.

Book an airport transfer.
Taxi drivers at Turkish airports often overcharge and drive in circles. It’s easier to book a transfer in advance and leave for the same money (or even cheaper) in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan.

Take care of mobile communications.
Roaming in Turkey is expensive, and buying a local SIM card is a whole quest. Get a tourist SIM card.

Vacation is ready!
Congratulations! Your ideal holiday in Turkey is ready. If you have time, you can study our tips:

Experienced travelers should have enough of this short guide. But for beginners who want to try a vacation without a tour operator for the first time, you should read the article to the end. It has many more useful ideas and unique tips.

How to travel to Turkey on your own? Step-by-step instruction

Planning a vacation on your own is not at all as difficult as it seems at first glance. Especially in Turkey. Everything can be booked online: from hotels to transfers or a car without a driver.

Even if this is your first vacation abroad, don’t be frightened. Just carefully follow our step-by-step instructions and you will succeed.

Action plan

You need: travel ideaair ticketshotelexcursions or car rentaltransfersinsurancemobile connectionyour perfect vacation is ready!

Why fly to Turkey?

Every good journey starts with a goal. Because it’s one thing if you go to see ancient sights, but it’s quite another if you dream of a sun lounge by the sea and unlimited supply of food with all kinds of alcohol you can imagine.

Therefore, try to honestly answer yourself one very simple question: “I decided to fly to Turkey in order to …”:

  • … swim in the sea, sunbathe and relax.
  • … eat so much free food that the Turks will go broke.
  • … fly in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia.
  • … feel all the luxury and flavor of the East.
  • … work from a place with a beautiful sea view.
  • … visit ancient cities and amphitheatres, excursions.
  • … take a break from the crazy city rhythm, slow down a bit.
  • … escape from cold and dampness to a warm and beautiful country.
  • … visit a real eastern bazaar.
  • … relax, lie on the beach, have fun. I worked all year. I deserved it!
  • … add some great photos on my Instagram. Let everyone envy!
  • … enjoy SPA and massages every day.
  • … have an amazing shopping experience.
  • … enjoy the nightlife: discos, clubs, bars.
  • … find inspiration and strength for new achievements and victories.
  • rent a car, find a beach without people and sunbathe there with your loved one. And maybe not only sunbathe ;-)
  • … and 1001 more options. Türkiye is an amazingly diverse country.

Of course, this list is not complete. And usually you will have several goals for one trip at once. That’s the way it should be. The main thing is that before choosing a resort and hotels, you have to know exactly what you want.

It is possible that after thinking it over carefully, you will understand that it is better to go to Turkey on a package tour. If you plan to just lie on the beach and enjoy unlimited food, it will be cheaper and even slightly more convenient.

It also happens that after weighing the pros and cons, people decide to change direction. And they fly to Montenegro, Cyprus or even Georgia. This is also normal and even very good. Travel to your heart’s content!

Resorts in Turkey: which one to choose for a vacation?

Since you already know why you are going to Turkey and have not changed the country, you can start choosing a resort for your vacation. The entire tourist part of Turkey can be quite conditionally divided into three main areas:

Раз вы уже знаете ради чего едете в Турцию и даже не поменяли страну, можно начинать выбирать себе курорт для отдыха. Всю туристическую часть Турции можно довольно условно разделиться на три основных направления:

  1. Istanbul. It is the largest and most interesting city in the country. Rich history, eastern flavour, many attractions and guides.
    The main disadvantage is that the beaches here are rather mediocre. For the sake of rest on the sea it is worth choosing other resorts.
  2. Resorts on the Mediterranean. First of all, this is Antalya: good hotels, many attractions. But if you are more interested in the sea than the “ancient ruins”, take a look at Kemer, Belek, Side and Alanya.
    These resorts are more suitable for tired tourists and offer exactly the kind of vacation that most people associate with Turkey.
  3. Resorts on the Aegean Sea. These are Marmaris, Bodrum and Izmir. Rest here is a little different. You can’t even explain what exactly differs from others. It just revolves less around the sea, beaches and free food. More “intelligent” or something …
  4. Cappadocia. People come here for hot air ballooning, stunningly beautiful mountain valleys and interesting cities carved right into the rocks.
    There is no sea in Cappadocia. Therefore, it is worth combining the trip here with something else.

Istanbul or seaside vacation?

Contrary to popular belief, Istanbul also has decent beaches. But, of course, they cannot be compared with the coast of the Mediterranean or Aegean Seas. The Black Sea is dirtier and the nature there is not so beautiful at all.

Therefore, people most often come to Istanbul for the sake of its and history. And people go to the south coast for the sake of beaches, sea and sun. Which sometimes, if you have an adventurous nature, you can dilute it with excursions to small old towns.

If you are flying with a transfer in Istanbul, it would be good to plan your route so that you have a few free days between flights. Just take a longer transfer and normally have time to see everything between flights. This way you will see something interesting, and you won’t get too tired.

Flights to Turkey: how to find them cheaper?

In short:

Look for tickets at Aviasales.com. Buy them in advance. Better at least a month before departure. It would be wise to check neighbouring dates and different arrival airports.

As soon as you decide where, when and for how many days you are flying, immediately start looking for air tickets. A very simple rule usually works here: «It is more profitable to buy tickets in advance. The sooner, the cheaper».

Yes, sometimes there are discounts on the last day. But this is downright rare. And all the savings will be “eaten up” by a more expensive hotel booked in the last second, car rental and excursions that will have to be bought at the last moment.

But tickets bought a month or two in advance will usually be 10-300% cheaper than if you decide to fly at the last moment. It works in 9 cases out of 10.

How to find cheaper tickets?

If the vacation is scheduled for specific dates, just buy tickets as early as possible. Almost always, the longer you look for something, the more expensive you end up paying for the flight. So go to Aviasales.com or some alternative, look for the price and take them as soon as possible.

But if you just want to relax in Turkey and are not tied to specific dates, you can try to search a little and “catch” a ticket a little cheaper:

  1. Check nearby dates. Ticket prices are not fixed. For one date, the flight can be expensive. And in two or three days there is a cheaper flight.
    This is especially true if there are some holidays on the dates you need.
  2. See different airports. It happens that it is unprofitable to fly from your city to a specific airport: there are no direct flights or the ticket price is higher than the wing of the aircraft. But you can check flights to nearby airports. And take a transfer from there.
  3. Compare the cost of the transfer. It so happens that you found flights a little cheaper, but with an arrival at the airport farther from the desired city. All the savings on the flight will be “eaten” by an expensive transfer or a greedy taxi driver.
  4. Calculate another resort. Do you really need to go to Belek or Bodrum? And why? Just because Emily from the accounting department flew there last year?
    If there are no cheap tickets to the desired resort, look at the neighbouring ones. Most likely, it will not be worse. Especially if you use the money saved to take a better hotel, rent a car on Localrent.com or buy a guided tour.

Turkey has a lot of airports. Here are the ticket prices for the most popular ones:

Search tickets on Aviasales

Where to book hotels and apartments?

As soon as you have bought tickets, start choosing a hotel. The same rule applies here: “the sooner, the cheaper”.

There are many hotel websites on the Internet, but we would like to recommend you three. They are from our personal experience. We advise you what we use ourselves:

  1. Booking.com — the most popular site for hotels and apartments. Here you can rent everything down to the Turkish barn. You can choose between hotels and apartments.
    Booking has a loyalty program for regular customers. The more you book, the lower the prices will be. Also, this is where hotels first of all publish discounts and “last minute deals”. There is a chance to catch a very good price.
  2. Hotellook.com — Did you find a good hotel on Booking? Check the price on Hotellook. Sometimes this service can find a good deal on some other website.
  3. AirBnB.com — great site if you want apartments, rooms and apart-hotels. Sometimes you can save a little on housing.

We want to warn you against booking on various little-known sites. Apartment and hotel scams are one of the most popular in Turkey. You can lose everything in pursuit of a huge discount.

Things to do: excursions, car rental, entertainment

It may be a good idea to lie on the beach all vacation, but then it’s completely unclear why you should go on your own? It will be easier and cheaper to buy a ready-made tour and then the tour operator will take care of everything.

Excursions in Turkey with guides by car
Just a photo to motivate you to go on excursions. And it’s not even Antalya. Just a place around Izmir.

Independent rest means that you want not only to enjoy the sea, the sun and healthy air, but also to see something interesting. Below we will briefly tell you how you can organize your travel in Turkey.

But in short, there are cool excursions with guides in cars. And if you need to save money, you can rent a car and see the country for a penny.

Excursions in Turkey: individual with guides or group by bus?

In short:

We advise you to buy group and individual excursions on the GetYourGuide.com and Viator.com websites. They have thousands of activities, so you can find almost anything you’d like.

The cheapest excursions in Turkey are usually of such quality that all our friends spit after them and say that they will not go again on any excursion whatsoever.

There are three types of tours in Turkey:

  1. Individual with guides by car. The best there is in Turkey. The guide will pick you up by car, take you along an interesting route and tell you everything. There is only one disadvantage: the price for an amazing whole day excursion can reach even 300-500 € ≈ 315 $, 258 £, 1158 Dh, 5472 ₺, which is clearly not cheap.
    The easiest way to find guided tours is through the GetYourGuide or Viator websites. There are many cool guides, interesting routes and reviews of real tourists about each excursion.
  2. Good quality bus tours. Sold on the same Viator and GetYourGuide. If you don’t have enough money for an excellent tour with a guide, it’s a good option.
  3. Cheap bus tours. You can buy them in local agencies “on the street”. Such excursions have a very low price. And a complete lack of quality. You will spend more time in expensive stores than in sightseeing.
    I won’t blame the last option for a long time. I’ll just say that of all my friends who bought such excursions, no one praised them. People are either silent or angry.

Ready excursion tour instead of excursions:

Alternatively, you can purchase a tour on the Tripsider.com website. The route has already been worked out there, guides, transport, hotels and even locations for photos have been carefully selected to meet all your needs.

The prices seem to be high. But if you calculate how much it will cost to repeat such a trip, then even we, with all our knowledge of Turkey and rich travel experience, will not be able to organize it cheaper.

Read more about such author’s tours.

Focusing only on the cost of excursions is not correct. A high price does not guarantee quality. But at the same time, cheap excursions have never been of high quality, as I recall it. Normal prices for Turkey are as following:

  • Istanbul in a group: 15-40 € ≈ 15.75 $, 12.9 £, 57.9 Dh, 273.6 ₺.
  • Istanbul with a guide: 150-200 € ≈ 157.5 $, 129 £, 579 Dh, 2736 ₺.
  • Istanbul by car with a guide: 250-350 € ≈ 262.5 $, 215 £, 965 Dh, 4560 ₺.
  • On a yacht on the Bosphorus: 100-300 € ≈ 105 $, 86 £, 386 Dh, 1824 ₺.
  • Bus tour outside the city: 45-60 € ≈ 47.25 $, 38.7 £, 173.7 Dh, 820.8 ₺.
  • Out of town with a guide: 200-400 € ≈ 210 $, 172 £, 772 Dh, 3648 ₺.
  • Tour for a week: 500-1000 € ≈ 525 $, 430 £, 1930 Dh, 9120 ₺.
  • Hot air balloon flight: 300 € ≈ 315 $, 258 £, 1158 Dh, 5472 ₺.

The most popular tourist regions of the country are Istanbul, the Mediterranean coast (Antalya, Kemer, Belek, Side and Alanya) and Cappadocia.

May come in handy: best excursions in Turkey with tips and life hacks

Car rental in Turkey: cheap and high quality!

In short:

In Turkey, it is especially profitable, convenient and interesting to travel by rented cars. For example, you can find a car for less then 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ on Localrent.com. And it will be a good, reliable car.

Check out the price on Rentalcars, Economybookings or Discovercars.

Yes, we have to admit that good excursions in Turkey will be quite expensive. And everything that is cheap is not of good quality. There is a feeling that money is wasted after the trip. It seems like you spent the whole day, but did not get pleasure from it. And there are no good memories.

There is an answer! If you know how to drive a car, instead of a guide, you can travel everywhere by yourself. It is very simple and about 10 times cheaper than excursions.

The easiest way to rent a car is using Localrent.com. You can find a decent car for only 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ per day even in the season. And the rental conditions are very loyal. You’ll need:

  • Driver license
  • Card of any bank
  • Passport

That’s all! They do not require an IDP (international driving license) in Turkey. And it is not at all necessary to freeze the deposit on Visa or MasterCard cards. For some cars, you can leave a deposit in cash. Return it in the same way. Sometimes it’s convenient.

May come in handy: step-by-step instructions for car rental in Turkey

Why is renting a car profitable?

Because rental prices are very low and there is no such problem with parking as in other resort countries like Montenegro, Cyprus or Prague. Gasoline in Turkey is also not expensive, 2-2.5 times cheaper than in Europe.

The country itself is very interesting. There are places to go. You can see the old cities with ancient architecture. Or go to the mountains. It would be a good idea to go to the beautiful beaches outside the city, where the water is especially clear and there are very few tourists.

Conclusion: renting a car in Turkey is cheap, convenient and very interesting.

We will briefly guide you where to rent a car. Of all the sites we used, Localrent.com was my favourite. It has a very user-friendly interface without “small print”, English-language support and low prices. It is especially captivating that all the terms of the rent are clearly spelled out and understandable.

But it’s not a fact that it will be the cheapest on your dates on Localrent. If you want to save as much as possible, check the prices on Rentalcars.com, Economybookings.com and Discovercars.com. These are also good, reliable services. They may offer cars from other companies. So prices and conditions can be very different from Localrent.com.

Three tips for car rental in Turkey
  1. Think about renting a car for the whole vacation. To get a car at the airport, travel everywhere and return it there.This way you wouldn’t overpay for transfers that cost as much as a couple of days of car rental.
  2. At the booking stage look not only at the cost of rent, but also at the amount of the deposit. It can be either 75 € ≈ 78.75 $, 64.5 £, 289.5 Dh, 1368 ₺ or 750 € ≈ 787.5 $, 645 £, 2895 Dh, 13680 ₺ or even several thousand.
    When will you take the car, do not hurry. Read the contract. Check that all conditions match those in your voucher. Do not be too lazy to transfer all dents, scratches and chips to the inspection card. It is very important.
  3. In some cases, car rental can only be paid with a credit card. Make sure you have money on it.
Rent a car in Turkey on Localrent.com

Alternatives: Rentalcars | Economybookings | Discovercars

How to get from the airport: taxi, transfer, bus

In short:

I recommend booking a transfer in advance and not messing with deceiving taxi drivers. Good websites: intui.travel, GetTransfer, 12go.

After arriving in Turkey, it will be necessary to somehow get to the city. Taxi drivers here are same as elsewhere: they drive in circles and constantly try to deceive you. Not all of them, and not always, but quite often. Personally, I have come across deception more often in Turkey than in Montenegro, Bulgaria, Prague, Georgia or Cyprus.

And even so, you can count on a free car with confidence only at the airports of Istanbul and Antalya. In other cities there are usually not enough cars for everyone. And a cheap taxi “goes” with the most experienced tourists.

The easiest way to get to the city is a pre-ordered transfer: you will be met at the arrivals area, escorted to the car and taken directly to the hotel.

Normal sites with transfers, where I usually order it for myself:

I will compare the cost of taxis and transfers to popular destinations. I entered the actual prices in the table. They are not calculated “according to the formula”, but this is approximately what honest taxi drivers actually take.

Route Distance Taxi* Transfer Order link
From Istanbul Airport to Istanbul 55 km from 26 € ≈ 26.25 $, 21.5 £, 96.5 Dh, 456 ₺ 26.07 € ≈ 27.3735 $, 22.4202 £, 100.6302 Dh, 475.5168 ₺ Book it!
From Istanbul to the airport 55 km from 25 € ≈ 26.25 $, 21.5 £, 96.5 Dh, 456 ₺ 27.28 € ≈ 28.644 $, 23.4608 £, 105.3008 Dh, 497.5872 ₺ Book it!
From New Airport to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport 85 km from 42 € ≈ 44.1 $, 36.12 £, 162.12 Dh, 766.08 ₺ 39.39 € ≈ 41.3595 $, 33.8754 £, 152.0454 Dh, 718.4736 ₺ Book it!
From Sabiha Gökçen International Airport to New Airport 85 km from 49 € ≈ 51.45 $, 42.14 £, 189.14 Dh, 893.76 ₺ 38.83 € ≈ 40.7715 $, 33.3938 £, 149.8838 Dh, 708.2592 ₺ Book it!
From Antalya Airport to City 20 km от 20 € ≈ 21 $, 17.2 £, 77.2 Dh, 364.8 ₺ 16.47 € ≈ 17.2935 $, 14.1642 £, 63.5742 Dh, 300.4128 ₺ Book it!
From Antalya Airport to Belek 45 km from 40 € ≈ 42 $, 34.4 £, 154.4 Dh, 729.6 ₺ 19.98 € ≈ 20.979 $, 17.1828 £, 77.1228 Dh, 364.4352 ₺ Book it!
From Antalya Airport to Side 75 km from 55 € ≈ 57.75 $, 47.3 £, 212.3 Dh, 1003.2 ₺ 33.91 € ≈ 35.6055 $, 29.1626 £, 130.8926 Dh, 618.5184 ₺ Book it!
From Antalya Airport to Kemer 65 km from 55 € ≈ 57.75 $, 47.3 £, 212.3 Dh, 1003.2 ₺ 32.07 € ≈ 33.6735 $, 27.5802 £, 123.7902 Dh, 584.9568 ₺ Book it!
From Antalya Airport to Alanya 125 km from 75 € ≈ 78.75 $, 64.5 £, 289.5 Dh, 1368 ₺ 45.30 € ≈ 47.565 $, 38.958 £, 174.858 Dh, 826.272 ₺ Book it!
From Bodrum airport to city 40 km from 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ 45.76 € ≈ 48.048 $, 39.3536 £, 176.6336 Dh, 834.6624 ₺ Book it!
From Dalaman Airport to Marmaris 100 km from 70 € ≈ 73.5 $, 60.2 £, 270.2 Dh, 1276.8 ₺ 54.57 € ≈ 57.2985 $, 46.9302 £, 210.6402 Dh, 995.3568 ₺ Book it!
From Izmir Airport to City 20 km from 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ 28.83 € ≈ 30.2715 $, 24.7938 £, 111.2838 Dh, 525.8592 ₺ Book it!

An alternative option is public transport or a shuttle. You can take them at intui.travel, GetTransfer or GetYourGuide. It’s a little cheaper, but it will take you longer.

Bus tickets are sold at the airport. You can pay with Turkish lira (the exchange rate at the airport is terrible) or Visa credit cards | MasterCard.

We visually compared the speed and convenience of different transport types using the example of the route from the new Istanbul Airport to the city:


  • 🚶
    5-10 min
    Get to the parking lot
  • 🚕
    50-70 minutes
    Get to the hotel or apartments
Time: 55-80 minutes
Price: from 31 € ≈ 32.55 $, 26.66 £, 119.66 Dh, 565.44 ₺
Best if: you need comfort, you value your time, you stay with children


  • 🚶
    10 minutes
    Find parking
  • 👍
    15 minutes
    Bargaining with a taxi driver
  • 🚕
    50-90 minutes
    Get to the hotel or apartments
Time: 75-115 minutes
Price: from 30 € ≈ 31.5 $, 25.8 £, 115.8 Dh, 547.2 ₺
Best if: you need comfort, forgot to order a transfer

Car rental

  • 🚶
    10 minutes
    Get to the parking lot
  • 👍
    10-15 minutes
    Accept the car
  • 🚗
    70-90 minutes
    Get to the hotel or apartment
Time: 1,5-2 hours
Price: от 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺
Best if: you need a car, want to explore the country

By bus

  • 🚶
    10-15 minutes
    Get to the bus stop

  • 10-50 minutes
    Wait for the bus
  • 🚌
    60-90 minutes
    Get to Istanbul
  • 🚶
    10-30 minutes
    Walk to the hotel
Time: 1,5-2,5 hours
Price:8 € ≈ 8.4 $, 6.88 £, 30.88 Dh, 145.92 ₺ per person
Best if: no suitcases and children

Draw your own conclusions. Some people want to get there quickly and conveniently, while others are ready to sacrifice a little comfort for the sake of a little savings.

May be interesting: detailed article about transfers, taxis and buses in Turkey

Travel insurance for a trip to Turkey

It will not be a bad idea to purchase good insurance. This makes sense even if you are on a regular tour. Because it usually includes only the cheapest, purely nominal insurance, which is unlikely to help in case of serious problems. Since there are many insurance companies, we simply recommend that you use one that you know and trust.

Mobile internet while traveling

If you plan to travel a lot around the country in a rented car, it will not be out of place to think about mobile communications in advance. Options:

  1. Roaming package. Roaming is unreasonably expensive by default and the Internet that is offering is not enough. Carefully study the website of your mobile operator. Perhaps you can buy an internet package for 10-20 € ≈ 10.5 $, 8.6 £, 38.6 Dh, 182.4 ₺ for 7-10 days?
  2. Travel SIM cards. It is something like DrimSim or Airalo.com. Buy a SIM card and you will have Internet almost all over the world.
    You pay for traffic, not for a package. It is beneficial if you do not plan to watch Youtube or scroll 100 km of Instagram. For a month in the “get directions” and “view restaurant reviews” mode, it cost only 1-2 € ≈ 1.05 $, 0.86 £, 3.86 Dh, 18.24 ₺.
  3. SIM card from a Turkish operator. It used to be a good idea. Now it makes sense to buy a local SIM card only if you come for a month or longer. Because it is worth somewhere about 5-10 € ≈ 5.25 $, 4.3 £, 19.3 Dh, 91.2 ₺. Plus pay for the tariff about 15-25 € ≈ 15.75 $, 12.9 £, 57.9 Dh, 273.6 ₺.
    But that’s not the worst part either. There are 2 more difficulties that are rarely seen:
    • They won’t sell you a SIM card. Because it must be tied to a passport. It is possible, but the process is complicated. Sellers are lazy and refuse. To buy a SIM card with a good rate, you need to go around a dozen sellers.
    • Phone taxes. There is such a thing as CEIR. The point is that with a local SIM card, any phone only works for 120 days. And then either pay “customs clearance” about 150 € ≈ 157.5 $, 129 £, 579 Dh, 2736 ₺, or the phone is blocked and will no longer work in Turkey. You will need a new phone for your next trip.This only applies to local operators. If you use roaming or DrimSim, you won’t even know about such subtleties.

Conclusion: it is easiest to use roaming. Buy if you want to save money, buy DrimSim, Airalo.com or any other similar SIM card.

Independent vacation or ready-made tour?

If you associate your vacation primarily with a beautiful hotel, beach and All Inclusive, then it’s really more profitable to buy a tour. Sometimes you can find a tour with not the coolest hotel at the price of an air ticket.

There are many sites with tours to Turkey: Tripadvisor, Expedia or loveholidays. If you look carefully, you can “catch” very tasty prices.

Life hack: tour + independent travel

It’s a pretty good idea to buy a tour purely to get relatively inexpensive accommodation and flights. But do not buy group tours at the hotel. Book them yourself on Viator.com or GetYourGuide.com. Or rent a car on Localrent.com.

Independent travel is always either about comfort or about some unique experience: traveling around the country by car, seeing unique places, tasting national cuisine and feeling the eastern culture.

Only a self-planned vacation allows you to see the country: live in different cities, swim in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, ride a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. Or maybe even finish your vacation in Istanbul, from where you can fly back home.

In general, that’s how we see it in terms of best impressions you can get. But it’s worth talking about comfort. Naturally, tours are not cheaper. They save on everything they can. And even a little on things you shouldn’t save money.

The easiest way to explain is with an example. Let’s compare a tour and an independent vacation:

Ready-made tour Independent vacation
Air tickets Usually these are charter flights. Because they are cheaper than “regulars”. As a result, there are constant delays.

For hours, if not days, you sit on your suitcases at the airport. Tour operators do not always adequately take care of tourists. I’m talking about meals, overnight stay…

Then you arrive a day later. You lose a whole day of vacation, for which you paid a lot. Starting at 100 € ≈ 105 $, 86 £, 386 Dh, 1824 ₺. And as compensation they can make, for example, an individual transfer that cost up to 20 € ≈ 21 $, 17.2 £, 77.2 Dh, 364.8 ₺.

The airport may also change. And instead of “30 minutes and I’m at the hotel” you will spend about five hours.

Regular flight. They are canceled much less often. Yes, and they almost never delay them.

In case of which, normal airlines will provide meals and arrange overnight stays. And then you may get compensated through sites like Compensair or AirHelp.

Hotel You can choose any of the list that the tour operator gave. The list is large, there is no problem in this.

But overbooking happens regularly during the season. You arrive, but there is no place for you. And the tour operator settles in a completely different hotel. Sometimes better, but often noticeably worse than you booked.

For example, instead of an excellent 5-star apartment they can give you a 4-star hotel. Or 5-star, but not so good.

Then you make a scandal for half of the vacation and, perhaps, the tour operator will give up and move you to a normal place for the last 2 or 3 days.

You almost always get exactly what you paid for. Overbooking also happens, but not so frequently. And you can consider that you have pulled out a lucky ticket in this case – the hotel will do everything to make you satisfied.

Why is that? Because Booking severely fines them if you are not settled or settled in a room worse than promised. Yes, and bad reviews greatly affect the number of future bookings. So, most likely, you will simply be given a room much better than booked: with a sea view or a higher class.

Transfer On a large bus, which takes tourists to dozens of different hotels for a long time. You can drive in half an hour, or you can spend two hours on the road.

Oh yes, at first half an hour the bus “gather” tourists. And all this time you sit and wait.

Comfortable minivan. The driver will meet you at the airport, help you carry your suitcases and take you directly to the hotel. No extra stops along the way.
Insurance It is usually purely “nominal”. Like “we pay only one visit to the doctor, and even then only if there is a full moon and storms on Mars.” I exaggerate, of course. But not very much.

By law in most countries, you cannot sell a tour without insurance. And they try their best to keep the price low.

You choose your own insurance. If you want, buy an expensive and reliable one. You need to save money – take a purely nominal one or fly without insurance at all.

The editors advise you to buy good insurance for any trip. Especially for kids. But the final decision is yours.

Special requests All tours are standardised. You can choose a hotel. Perhaps also a flight, but even then not always. You can plan anything. Up to a trip across the country with a yacht ride along the sea.
Additional payments Most regular. Either you pay extra for the “exchange difference”, then the “fuel surcharge” or some other incomprehensible garbage. Sometimes the fees are big.

In Turkey, it is customary for package tourists to pay at the hotel “for a good room”. You haven’t put a few dollars in the passport – they can give out a room with mold and a view of the landfill.

Haven’t dealt with extra fees. You buy flights, hotels and all other services at a fixed price. And even if the exchange rate doubles, it will not affect you in any way.

A good room will be given to customers from Booking anyway. Because they are very afraid of bad reviews.

Risks and dangers Oddly enough, booking a ready-made tour is risky:

  • The risk of “closing” Turkey. Like during COVID, for example. Tour operators did not return the money and only endlessly postponed the deadlines. But airlines, hotels, etc. made us a 100% refund without any problems.
  • Risk of rescheduling a charter flight. Lose a few days that no one will return to you.
  • Hotel change risk. Not the fact that the “new” hotel will be suitable. Usually everything is quite the opposite – tourists argue about bad living conditions for a long time.
  • Tour operator bankruptcy risks. The last few years have been very difficult for them. There is a chance that not everyone will survive. Tour operators go bankrupt just at the height of the summer season. Before that, they also give very low prices, attracting especially many tourists. This happens every few years.
Yes, you can run into scammers. There are many such stories on the Internet. But usually the tourists themselves are partly to blame. They are “seduced” by simply fabulous prices and bought tickets on an unverified website. Or they booked a cool hotel in Instagram with 80% discount.

Fairy tales don’t exist. If you book everything on trusted sites, then you will not have any problems.

For example:

See reviews, don’t believe cheap offers.

And that’s it, in 99% of cases you will not have any problems.

Attitude towards customers All is well until when there are no problems. But in case of any difficulties, the attitude towards clients depends on the specific manager and is often not the best.

Difficulties arise more often then you think. Just because there are a lot of things where something can go wrong: charters are delayed, hotels often overbook.

We won’t even remind you how tour operators behaved in 2020 or 2021. I think everyone has friends who still swearing about it. The vacation was postponed, the money was not returned, they constantly demanded all kinds of additional payments and documents.

For comparison, with a self-organized vacation, the money was returned to us. In the form of refunds to our bank card. Some offered to choose a voucher at 120% of the face value. But it was purely voluntary.

You book everything yourself. So, you get the attitude you paid for:

  • You took a good regular flight – you will fly comfortably and without a delay.
  • Booked a decent, beautiful hotel on Booking – get first-class service.
  • You’ve chosen a transfer by minivan – you will arrive quickly and comfortably. Without “companions”.

From personal experience, we can say that even the same hotel can treat clients from Booking.com much better than “packaged” ones. Because there are reviews on Booking and every bad review clearly harms the business.

After re-reading the table, we noticed that it turned out to be slightly one-sided and clearly in favour of independent rest. It’s because that’s how we spend our vacation.

But the tour operator has two big advantages: price and ease of purchase. You came to the travel agency with passports. And already, a pretty girl will pick up and arrange everything for you. Or you can not overpay, but look for it yourself on the websites like Tripadvisor, Expedia or loveholidays.

So choose for yourself what is better for you: organise your own perfect vacation or take a “typical option”, but cheaper.

Tips for a safe holiday in Turkey

Turkey is safe. But you must understand that in any country they earn money from tourists. Unfortunately, this is normal. It is worth accepting this reality in advance and adding an “extra” 5-10% “for cheating” in the budget.

And so that you are less deceived then other tourists, read the tips below.

Do Turkish people understand English?

English is not very common in next resorts: Antalya, Alanya, Kemer, Belek and Side.

The situation is slightly better in Istanbul and Trabzon. You won’t be lost either if you only speak English, but sometimes you have to explain yourself with gestures, drawings or through an online translator, like Google Translate.

Knowing English helps a lot not only in Istanbul, but in Cappadocia and on the Aegean coast: in Marmaris, Bodrum or Izmir.

On the Mediterranean Sea (Antalya and other resorts), English is also known, but not as good as in resorts I mentioned above.

“In the outback” the majority does not speak English. Only Turkish. True, tourists do not go there. So it’s not much of a problem.

Cheap = bad and deceitful

Contrary to popular belief on the Internet, Turkey is not a budget country at all. Yes, you can find really cheap excursions here. But they will not take you to interesting and beautiful places, but to overpriced shops. Purely so that the “guide” receives a commission from your purchases.

And this applies to almost everything is here: the cheapest hotels will be in a bad area, and even with mold. If the restaurant is suspiciously cheap, they can cheat. If someone offers to rent a car for 5 € ≈ 5.25 $, 4.3 £, 19.3 Dh, 91.2 ₺ per day, the deposit will not be returned. I don’t even see the point to write about “gifts”, that are not free. Everyone understands everything, right?

If you see a suspiciously profitable offer somewhere, do not hope that you are so incredibly lucky. Get out of there right now!

A good service in Turkey will be expensive. Except maybe car rentals. It is really possible to find a good car on Localrent.com for 35 € ≈ 36.75 $, 30.1 £, 135.1 Dh, 638.4 ₺ per day or even cheaper. No cheating or any pitfalls.

What currency to take money in?

You have to pay in Turkish liras in most hotels, restaurants and shops in Istanbul and other large Turkish cities.

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, guides are usually happy to accept payment in euros or dollars. As well as some sellers in the most touristy places like the “Grand Bazaar” in Istanbul.

But even there it is much more profitable to pay in lira. You can live without local money only if you lock yourself in a hotel and don’t go out at all.

Holidays on the coast and local currency:

In Antalya and other resorts on the Mediterranean Sea, guides, taxi drivers and even sellers in souvenir shops quite willingly accept dollars and euros. But their rate is always 5-10% worse than in a good exchanger.

If you are staying in Antalya, Kemer, Belek, Side or Alanya, I advise you to change a small amount. If the seller calls the exchange rate too bad, you will pay in Turkish lira. If the exchange rate is adequate, pay in foreign currency.

In Marmaris, Bodrum, Izmir and other resorts on the Aegean Sea, they’re also willingly accept foreign currency, but the exchange rate can be described as “predatory”.

Turkish exchangers accept dollars and euros. They do not change other currencies almost anywhere. And even if you find such an exchanger, the exchange rate will be 10-30% worse than if you bought dollars or euros at home and handed them over in Turkey. Also, many exchangers accept bank cards.

Conclusion: bring dollars or, in extreme cases, euros.

How to change money in Turkey?

In practice, this is not such an easy task. The exchange rate is usually bad at the post office and at the bank. Exchangers at airports are no better in this regard. Guides in hotels also “cheat”: they say that it is only profitable to change at their place and they give 10-20% less than the exchanger across the road.

It is more or less profitable to change money only in exchange offices at hotels and on the streets of large cities. But here there is a nuance:

It happens that they cheat in Turkish exchangers. They can shortchange, give counterfeit bills or take a large commission for the exchange.

The exchange rate is not favourable in many exchangers. You can lose up to 30%!

Small hints can be found even on the plates with the exchange rate:

The easiest way to find a profitable and honest exchanger is with Google Maps. Just open the map and enter in the search: Döviz, Doviz, Change, Exchange or Currency. Find exchangers nearby with a rating of 4.5 and at least 20-30 ratings. They will almost always be normal.

How to lose less on currency exchange?

Not ready to look for a good exchanger for a long time, but at the same time don’t want to lose from 5 to 30% on a bad exchange rate and fake banknotes? There is an exit!

Book everything in advance with full prepayment. You can also pay for a hotel, transfer or some excursions from home. You can make a partial prepayment for car rental, guided tours and many other tourist things.

By paying online in your own currency, you will get a much better exchange rate than in any exchanger. And you will know for sure that everything is already planned. No need to frantically search for something on the spot.

Why is it more convenient to pay from home?

Because you choose everything in a calm environment. You can read reviews and compare offers from different companies, choosing the most profitable one.

There will be no problem with payment when the bank suddenly blocks your card abroad and requires you to come to the banking center to clarify the situation. There will be no oddities with the confirmation of online transactions, when the bank sends an SMS, but it does not come to Turkey. You want to pay for service, but you can’t.

Most travel companies accept any card. But there is nothing to be done about this misunderstanding on the spot.

Whenever possible, I try to take cards from several banks with me. Even if one fails for some reason, there will always be a spare.

How much does a solo holiday in Turkey cost?

A really interestingly organized independent vacation in Turkey is unlikely to turn out to be very budgetary. Middle price segment, I would say. Not Iceland, of course. But more expensive than “budget” Georgia or Armenia.

We would compare the cost of a holiday in Turkey with Cyprus, Montenegro or, in extreme cases, Bulgaria. But it’s all poetry. Let’s look at the numbers:

Normal vacation:

Short vacation for two in Istanbul in May for 4 nights with a city tour.

  • Inexpensive hotel apartments: 150 € ≈ 157.5 $, 129 £, 579 Dh, 2736 ₺.
  • Transfer from airport: 50 € ≈ 52.5 $, 43 £, 193 Dh, 912 ₺.
  • Modest food: 100 € ≈ 105 $, 86 £, 386 Dh, 1824 ₺.
  • Tour of Istanbul: 60 € ≈ 63 $, 51.6 £, 231.6 Dh, 1094.4 ₺.
  • A little shopping: 200 € ≈ 210 $, 172 £, 772 Dh, 3648 ₺.
  • Inexpensive insurance: 8 € ≈ 8.4 $, 6.88 £, 30.88 Dh, 145.92 ₺.


Holiday cost:
568 € ≈ 596.4 $, 488.48 £, 2192.48 Dh, 10360.32 ₺

excluding air tickets

Good vacation:

A good holiday for two at the sea in Antalya. 7 days and 6 nights in July.

  • Room in 4* hotel: 600-900 € ≈ 630 $, 516 £, 2316 Dh, 10944 ₺.
  • Transfer from airport: 34 € ≈ 35.7 $, 29.24 £, 131.24 Dh, 620.16 ₺.
  • Normal food: 200-300 € ≈ 210 $, 172 £, 772 Dh, 3648 ₺.
  • Nice tour with a guide: 300 € ≈ 315 $, 258 £, 1158 Dh, 5472 ₺.
  • Car rental for 3 days: 60 € ≈ 63 $, 51.6 £, 231.6 Dh, 1094.4 ₺.
  • A few souvenirs: 100 € ≈ 105 $, 86 £, 386 Dh, 1824 ₺.
  • Normal insurance: 20 € ≈ 21 $, 17.2 £, 77.2 Dh, 364.8 ₺.


Holiday cost:
1500 € ≈ 1575 $, 1290 £, 5790 Dh, 27360 ₺

excluding air tickets

Luxury vacation:

Holidays for two in Antalya for 14 days and 13 nights with comfort.

  • Room in 5* hotel: 1500-2000 € ≈ 1575 $, 1290 £, 5790 Dh, 27360 ₺.
  • Transfer from airport: 34 € ≈ 35.7 $, 29.24 £, 131.24 Dh, 620.16 ₺.
  • Good food: 400-600 € ≈ 420 $, 344 £, 1544 Dh, 7296 ₺.
  • Two excursions in Turkey: 550 € ≈ 577.5 $, 473 £, 2123 Dh, 10032 ₺.
  • Car rental for a week: 150-200 € ≈ 157.5 $, 129 £, 579 Dh, 2736 ₺.
  • Decent shopping: 500 € ≈ 525 $, 430 £, 1930 Dh, 9120 ₺.
  • Expensive insurance: 40-50 € ≈ 42 $, 34.4 £, 154.4 Dh, 729.6 ₺.


Holiday cost:
3500 € ≈ 3675 $, 3010 £, 13510 Dh, 63840 ₺

excluding air tickets

Airfare is not included in the price. Because its cost will, well, very much depend on the place where you live. It’s one thing to pay for a short direct flight, but quite another to fly with a transfer across half the planet.

But the price takes into account all related costs: food, souvenirs, car rental, transfers, excursions and insurance.

Also, we did not try to “calculate” the lowest possible price for you, as some bloggers do. You will definitely fit into our budget. Most likely, even 10-20% of your money will remain. And if you know how to save, the amount of money saved will be even higher.

Сергей Smolin редактор Tip-to-Trip

Steven Smullen
Chief Editor

Hello. I am Steven Smullen, the Editor-in-Chief of Tip-to-Trip.com,
the travel portal you are currently reading.

It is impossible to be an expert in everything. But I can find people with really rich experience. Therefore, this website has a lot of information from travelers who know what they are writing about.

I hope the article was helpful. If so, show this site to your friends. And in exchange I'll give you links that helped me in Turkey:


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