Istanbul Cost of Living
Istanbul has gotten a lot more expensive in the last few years due to financial investments from Wall Street and other finance capitals. The overflowing amount of cash caused prices to increase twofolds whether it is rent, hotel, beer or restaurant food.
This has happened around the world but in Istanbul inflation is particularly noticeable. Although with the global crisis unfolding prices are set to decline, still many of the goods and services cost as much as the more expensive capitals of the world. Once a cheap destination, Istanbul has become a moderately expensive European capital, but less expensive then Paris, London and Rome.
Yet, package holidays from major European countries are still cheap making independant travel more disadvantageous when it comes to cost of travel.
Credit cards vs. Cash: You can use credit cards almost anywhere but keep enough cash for emergencies. You can also withdraw cash from an ATM you can find anywhere in Istanbul.
An important note for the new banknotes. The 5 and 50 are quite similar so be careful!
Like any other country the best exchange rates are offered through ATMs which have the international card logos and stickers on them. This will save you the hassle of having to go through changing money.
To have a VAT tax refund for items you have purchased at select shops, have the shopkeeper sign the refund form for drop off at the airport. General VAT in Turkey is 18%.