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end of tour recommendations

I am taking the Rick Steves October tour which ends in Kusadasi and looking to possibly extend my stay for a couple days to unwind. Any suggestions either in Turkey or another neighboring country with easy connections back to the US.
Thank you.

Posted by
1956 posts

Leddy,
Which October tour are you taking? I'm on the October 15 tour. Can't wait. We are returning home after the tour.

Posted by
1956 posts

My friend and I are arriving on Thurs. Oct. 11, giving us 4 days to explore before the tour begins. Then we fly home on Sun. Oct. 28, leaving the 27th a day to travel to Istanbul. We bought our flights a few weeks ago.
Do you plan to arrive early?

Posted by
6 posts

We have not booked flights yet as we were trying to decide if we wanted to go someplace after the tour. We plan to arrive at least one day early in Istanbul. Since you'll already have the lay of the land we'll have to meet up before the tour. We plan to stay at our first hotel if rooms are available for the nights before our tour.

Posted by
14335 posts

I took the tour several years ago, late October. Most everyone on the tour flew back to Istanbul from Izmir. It's probably easier to sightsee in Istanbul after the tour, once you're more familiar with the city. Of course, it's a good idea to arrive a day or two early to get over jetlag before the tour.

I'd stay in Turkey and fly Turkish Air - it's very good.

Posted by
1956 posts

Yes, it would be fun to meet up before the tour. We booked our flights on Turkish Air, RT, Atlanta - Istanbul. We are planning to take the flight from Izmir to Istanbul on the last day and fly home on the next day.
We will book the tour hotel for the pre-tour nights.

Posted by
6721 posts

I don't know what the ferry schedule is like in October, but Samos (Greece) is close by. Bodrum is very nice too (I stayed there for a few days) and I've heard the same about Çeşme (both are resort towns). You'd probably find easy bus options to both because they're popular areas. If you're looking for something a lot less slow, Istanbul doesn't get old (I spent over two weeks there and was busy every day) and I doubt the tour spends enough time there given how large it is. Bursa, another large city, is also interesting. I'd get a Lonely Planet, National Geographic, or similar Turkey book from the library and just read up on your options, there's plenty to choose from.

Posted by
12391 posts

I just looked into flights on Turkish Air from Houston to Istanbul and then a week later to Budapest and after another week back to Houston. I compared the cost with RT to Istanbul thinking buying the connection to Budapest might be cheaper on a discount airline. The difference was $10 between going to Budadpest and just staying in Istanbul. They were just under $900.

I ended up using Turkish Air through Istanbul to Lviv, then Budapest home back through Istanbul. Still under $900 I'll fly UIA to reach Budapest. Point is that Turkish Air has great prices and Istanbul is a great hub. So expand your thinking.

Posted by
14335 posts

James - you know Turkish has several flights a day to TLV - less than 2 hours and the guest room is vacant . . . .

Posted by
1956 posts

Our flight on Turkish Air, RT, nonstop, Atlanta to Istanbul was $1,127 with $78 each way, for leg room. Without leg room, $971!! We thought it was bargain and nonstop.

Posted by
6721 posts

I'd hate to say this, but I will for the benefit of someone who will read this. Tracking flights and sales over some time period, waiting to buy, and not jumping the gun really pays off. Turkish Air has several sales throughout the year. It's worth it to be patient and not to strike too early, especially for off-season travel. I've flown Turkish Air twice to Istanbul and paid $524 for June and $763 (yes, with all taxes included) for October travel. I see the sales come up seasonally and, when they do, the flights to Istanbul are rarely above $850 for an economy ticket whether it's Istanbul or another European city. Often they are much lower than that. Caveat: this is from the Washington DC area, although they have sales from just about every market they serve (Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, etc). Turkish Air doesn't advertise their fall sales this early in the year (no airline that I know of does either).

October is not considered high season, and Turkish Air has prices that should beat any legacy airline by a few hundred dollars. The only time I paid $1,100 to get to Istanbul was when I didn't know Turkish Air existed and I flew Lufthansa (and booked the ticket literally one week out for summer travel - it was a spontaneous trip).

Posted by
12391 posts

My trip almost got put on hold till June, but the currently listed rates for that flight went from $875 to $1500; so i did what i had to do to travel in April. Oh, given they have been in business since 1933, i consider Turkish Air to be a legacy airline company. Since the government owns about 50% of the airline the low rates may be the result of state subsidies. Still, they are consistently ranked as among the best, if not the best, in Europe.

Posted by
6721 posts

I shouldn't have said legacy company...I meant one that doesn't get state subsidies as Turkish does. Turkish has a different business model than the other airlines...I think it only has a single hub that it routes traffic through (Istanbul) so it can get really big volumes of passengers at that one hub from both the east/ Asia and the west. Plus they actually serve good food onboard. The subsidies may be worthwhile/necessary for them to grow market share at the expense of competitors (same as Uber), but the volumes and good service/food are needed for profitability, especially at those low prices.

Posted by
12391 posts

This will only be my third flight on Turkis Air. The other two were very okay. I like Delta a little more though; and i dont like going through Istanbul. But my trip on Delta would have been $1350. Something is propping up Turkish Air as they have been loosing money for years. Good thing they aren't in the EU (for a lot of reasons), because if they were the subsidies would have to stop. Getting caught taking subsidies is what killed the Hungarian national carrier: Malev. I loved Malev. What an airline would be like if it were run by your 80 year old great uncle. Nothing ever went quite the way it was supposed to, but no one expected it to and everyone was friendly and just a pleasure to be around.

Posted by
6721 posts

James,
Airline companies like Bombardier and Boeing have been getting government subsides for years for aircraft production. Subsidies are not new. But they are not used to subsidize airline operations in most places (that's why the small national country carriers are disappearing fast). Every mode of transport gets subsidized - roads, transit, freight rail...but not airline operations. They really can't be run like mom and pop (or old uncle) to compete these days.

Posted by
12391 posts

I was just referring to the EU law against subsides (dont know if was specific to airlines or what the details were) that killed Malev. Sad thing. But yes, in general, i am not a big fan of subsides; but the EU isn't my country so I have no criticism of how they run their stuff.