Istanbul isn’t known for being a cheap destination like it used to be, but it has serious potential for a great budget destination if you play your cards right. If you decide to go full nomadic you can get around the city for $10 to $20 per day, or if you want a little more luxury you can expect to pay $35 and up. To help lower the cost of your trip more, here are some of the most important tips you should know before you go.

Photo by Kerem Kaynar via
Photo by Kerem Kaynar via
Haggle:Yes, you can haggle! A cool part of traveling to new cultures is experiencing new elements of life that people live on a daily basis. If there is an item that doesn’t have a set price on it, no matter what it is, you can try to negotiate a lower price. They may even mark up the products because they expect people to talk them down.

Enjoy Regional Mediterranean Food:

Being surrounded by water has its perks. It means that you’ll have a lot of access to fresh seafood for a lower cost than inland cities. Take advantage of the small regional restaurants that the locals enjoy. They are generally inexpensive and will offer the best experiences as far as culture and traditional food.

Take the Bus (or the Sea Bus):

Public transportation in Istanbul is wonderfully inexpensive. You can get across town for only $1 by taking the bus. The taxi’s and the Metro are also cheap and of course there is also the insanely cheap form of travel called walking. If you want a more exciting type of travel, you can hop on a Sea Bus to the nearby islands for about $10.

Explore the Prince’s Islands:

Moving on with taking the Sea Bus to local islands, it’s a fantastic way to spend one of your days. There are no cars on the islands and its home to a few baroque mansions. The best time to visit the islands is during the weekdays, but they stay pretty busy no matter when you go. It can get a bit pricey here, but it’s just as fun to walk around and take in the views of the harbor.

View the Museums:

Obviously Istanbul is famous for places with the likes of Hagia Sophia, but that doesn’t mean they are expensive. During certain times the museums will offer reduced or completely free hours or days to get more people to see the exhibits. You can’t go to Istanbul and not explore the famous artifacts and buildings.

Pack a Guidebook:

Before you head on your trip, spend an hour or two researching quality guidebooks. While not always relevant, they can be invaluable during certain times for extra budget tips, helpful phrases, and cultural tips. It’s important to not follow guidebooks too closely though, because that will make for a boring trip. Simply learn what you feel are the essentials.

Istanbul is an exciting place to be and experience. If you want more guides on Istanbul without the hassle of searching Google, scroll to the bottom of this page on Hipmunk.