July 13, 2011

$100 Weekend in Istanbul

Yes, the $100 weekend, during which, through sleight of hand, I amaze the world by having a great time in a major city for a preposterously small amount of money. After doing this in New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro, I have to come clean: I’m just an illusionist. Cosmopolitan metropolises are not the hardest places to live cheaply for a weekend; in fact, they can be the easiest.

Istanbul, like those other cities, is theoretically an expensive place, where a single meal, or even taxis to and from the airport, can run you $100. But all these cities have cheap food galore and free culture that’s yours for the Googling; they are also blanketed by public transportation and unpredictable enough to make delightful surprises almost inevitable. How do you kill two hours in Istanbul without spending a dime? Accidentally bump into a Senegalese music festival right in the heart of Sultanahmet, with the Blue Mosque as a backdrop.

The $100 budget doesn’t account for housing, but I try to stay in the spirit by finding a place to crash for free. This time, I used CouchSurfing, a site on which members post detailed profiles and ask other members to stay at their pads. Scoring a place can be challenging (though I suspect it’s easier if you’re a cute 23-year-old woman from someplace like Ukraine or Hong Kong) but I pulled it off, getting the thumbs up from Erol Fazlioglu, a self-employed engineer who was tickled that we had both memorized the world’s capitals when we were kids, something I had put in my profile. He offered an air mattress in a spare bedroom in his apartment in Kadikoy, on the Asian side of the city.

Read more on The New York Times: $100 Weekend in Istanbul


piter said...

It is quite affordable to spent weekend in just $100 in Istanbul. I think people can get full enjoyment to reduce their stress in that much money.

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