What is the currency of Turkey?
The official currency is the Turkish lira (TL); One lira is 100 kuruş. You will also see that there are 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 lira bills; and coins of 1 lira and 5, 10, 25 and 50. The approximate exchange rate is 2 lira per euro and 1.5 lira per dollar, although this may fluctuate.
Change money in Turkey: the Grand Bazaar
Hotels and airports are not the best places to exchange currency. The best thing is to exchange only a few liras there, enough to get to the Grand Bazaar area in the centre of Istanbul, where you can go to an exchange bureau. It is there where you will get better treatment, since there is a great competition between these establishments which favours the buyer.
You can check the daily exchange rates online.
Also make sure that the banknotes are in good condition; otherwise they will not be accepted.
What means of payment are preferable?
The first thing: if you are going to use travellers checks, keep in mind that they will charge you high commissions and that the change will be unfavourable. Using other means of payment is better.
For cards, it is advisable that you inform your bank beforehand that you are going to travel and ask if they have a banking partner in Turkey (this will minimise the fees). MasterCard and Visa debit and credit cards are accepted in most establishments (American Express is reserved for upscale restaurants and hotels).
As for ATMs, they are abundant in this country. You will find that exchange rates and commissions are usually favourable at ATMs. Of course, try to always use ATMs in bank branches, since you will be exposed to scams if you use the street ATMs.
In tourist areas, usually euros or dollars are accepted without problem, although, for the exchange value, it is preferable to use the local currency. In the souks and places outside the tourist route, the only cash they accept is the Turkish lira.
Haggling, as in many places, is an art. In fact, prices are always inflated up to 50%, because the buyer is expected to offer less. We recommend that if you really like an item, do not show interest: look at many things pretending to be distracted, be amazed at the price they give you and make a counter offer for less than half. Keep in mind that you are in control.
Prices: food and transportation
Istanbul has higher prices than other areas of the country. To give you an idea: a double room in the centre can cost you 100 lira or more; a taxi from the airport will be 35 lira; A tram ticket, 2.75; A meal for 2 people, 40 lira in an average restaurant; A cup of tea or a 1/2 litre water bottle costs 1 lira and a 1/2 litre beer costs about 6 lira.
In short, it is worth visiting Turkey. With these tips that we have given you, you will have a very pleasant trip.