Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Turkey on $14/person/day.

Turkey was definitely expensive. Even in the low season most hostels were pricey and didn't have kitchens so we were forced to eat out a lot. (World's tiniest violin, I know, I know...) Tours were also pricey, and we did a lot of tours in Turkey.  And we saw a lot of the country - which just means additional transportation costs - but we did take two overnight buses which helped reduce our lodging costs.

We countered the costs with our Help Exchange gigs in Burdur and at the aforementioned rescue horse livery in Üzümlü. Not only did this give us some insight into small Turkish towns and allow us to see some really unique places, it reduced our out-of-pocket significantly and allowed us to rest up for a while (six weeks, to be exact).

Here's the breakdown with some details...

Initial budget: um, we didn't really do a budget beyond Central Europe (BAD project manager!), so we'll just call it $100/day, $50/person/day
Actual cost: 63 days at $1776 ($28/day, $14/person/day)
Approximate cost without Help Exchange: 20 days at $1776 ($88/day, $44/person/day)

So even without our volunteer gigs we were still within our general budget - not bad! Here's the breakdown with some details...

note to self: don't draw pie charts at 5:30am

  • Lodging: $584 - 17 nights at hostels averaging $17/person/night
  • Transportation: $361 - flight from Bucharest-Istanbul, overnight buses from Istanbul-Göreme/Göreme-Burdur, buses from Burdur-Fethiye/Fethiye-Pamukkale/Pamukkale-Selçuk, train from Selcuk-İzmir, nominal dollars spent on public transportation everywhere
  • Groceries: $138 - delicious figs from the Fethiye market accounted for at least a third of this, otherwise mostly snacks for day trips
  • Meals: $334 - eating out can be fairly cheap but we had to do this at least once a day when we weren't Help Exchanging, and we also splurged on Thanksgiving and monthiversary meals
  • Tours: $187 - Green Tour and Open Air Museum (Göreme), Ghost Town (Kayakoy), Saklikent Gorge (Fethiye), Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Ephesus (Selçuk)
  • Alcohol: $39 - it is a Muslim country, after all... but we were there for New Year's Eve
  • Gear: $1 - batteries
  • "Misc": $90 - $40 to enter the country, $44 on entertainment (hookah in Istanbul, hamam in Fethiye), otherwise public toilets and random other things
  • Gifts: $35 on Turkish delight - we LOVED it, you're welcome

Other fun Turkey facts...
  • Cities visited: 8 (Istanbul, Göreme, Burdur, Fethiye, Üzümlü, Pamukkale, Selçuk, İzmir)
  • Cute cats encountered: A BAZILLION
  • National parks visited: 1 (Göreme National Park)
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited: 3 (Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Historic Areas of Istanbul, Hierapolis–Pamukkale)
  • Ancient wonders of the world: 1 (Temple of Artemis)

We loved, loved, loved Turkey. We highly recommend adding this beautiful, friendly country to your list of must-see destinations. And we hope to come back someday... the Lycian Way is calling!