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Money in Turkey

My husband and I are taking the June 25 tour to Turkey. Those of you that have been, did you take Turkish lira with you? Get them at the airport? What are the most efficient means of payment in Turkey? Thanks!

Posted by
277 posts

No need to get money ahead of time. There are plenty of ATMs at the airport and all over the city. It’s also easy to find currency exchanges for either dollars or euros, although you generally get a better rate through ATMs. As much as possible I use ATMs when I travel, but take some cash that can be exchanged as a backup. I also take a credit card that, in the case of Istanbul, I was able to use at the hotel (for any extras) and at some merchants and restaurants.

Loved Turkey! Have a great time!

Posted by
6847 posts

It is a modern country, and ATMs are the way to go.

Posted by
1135 posts

ATM's are all around, just get the money at the airport ATM. Most effective-we used cash for most small purchase and got a discount on our hotel paying in cash. For more upscale eateries we used credit cards.

Posted by
2312 posts

I’m in Istanbul now, arrived yesterday evening. Interesting experience getting money at ATMs at the airport. I first tried a Turkish bank ATM with my primary debit card, and it did not recognize my 4-digit passcode. Then I tried my secondary debit card, same result, did not recognize the passcode. I had no Turkish money and started to worry. Then in the main arrivals hall I saw an HSBC ATM and that worked with no problems. The Turkish lira has been dropping in a serious way. I received about 4.8 TL per dollar. Istanbul is very fine, people friendly and helpful. Today’s weather has been a little bit of sun, a little bit of rain, and mostly cloudy and warm.

Posted by
6853 posts

I was there last in Sept 2015 and got cash at one of the airport ATMs like my prior trips. No problems. I don't know how you'd take lira with you since I'm not sure banks could order lira for you (I may be wrong on this but lira is not like ordering Euros).

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the replies. Larry's answer is exactly why I always like to have some local currency in my pocket. Good to hear the exchange rate is so favorable!

Posted by
11280 posts

I don't know if it's different now, but when I arrived at Istanbul Ataturk airport in 2011, on the way out (after immigration and customs) there was a "chorus line" of 4 or 5 ATM's, one each from a major bank. I just picked one and it worked fine, but if it hadn't for some reason, I could have used one of the other ones next to it from a different bank.

And, if for some reason you don't want to (or find yourself unable to) get money at the airport, there as many ATM's in Istanbul as there are in a major US city - meaning they're everywhere, and you won't have to "find" one.

If you do want Turkish lira to bring with you, your bank can definitely order them, but I agree you can't count on the bank having them without advance notice (the way that if they deal in foreign currency, they probably have euros and British pounds in stock).

Posted by
2882 posts

This is one of those repeated questions. Bring local currency with you or go to an ATM. Do what makes you feel the most comfortable. The extra cost is minimal compared with the cost of the trip and your comfort. I bring some local currency with me so I don't have to worry that ATMs won't work, or wait in line after a long flight, etc. Yes, you can get Turkish Lira here in the states. It might just take a few days longer.

I recently walked past the airport ATMs in Schipol, for an example, and I wouldn't have wanted to bother waiting in line...which was much longer than picking up my checked luggage-which was no wait. YMMV
I like all my ducks in a row when I'm in transport mode.

Posted by
18 posts

Recent trip to Turkey this past May/June: When I transferred flights in Europe (Frankfurt), I got some Euros at an airport ATM. Euros seemed to be widely accepted in Istanbul until I got to an ATM for Turkish liras. There have been issues with ATM's eating cards, so I used an ATM in Istanbul that was at a bank.

Posted by
546 posts

I just came from Turkey and most above are correct. Don’t worry about it until you are in the airport in Turkey. ATMs are everywhere and the minute they sense your card they give you the option for English. They work fine.

I never get currency ahead of time. It is a waste of time and money.

Posted by
5 posts

Take English money with you and change in resort at shops/supermarkets.
You'll get a much much better rate than atms!

Posted by
5775 posts

Hope you held off on buying Turkish Lira. Lira crashed today. Down 16% and looking very unstable.
Turkey lira crashes as Trump piles on pressure
AFP Stuart WILLIAMS August 10, 2018

Istanbul (AFP) - The embattled Turkish lira tumbled over 16 percent to
new record lows against the dollar on Friday as strains with the
United States intensified, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
defiantly proclaimed Turkey would emerge victorious in an "economic

The lira was trading at 6.47 to the dollar at 1900 GMT, a loss on the
day of 16.6 percent. Earlier it had fallen as much as 22 percent.

"The Turkish Lira is in a state of crisis, as a result of investor
confidence in Turkish assets remaining at alarmingly low levels," said
Jameel Ahmad, Global Head of Currency Strategy & Market Research at