Yes, women have heavy purses. With the usual hand lotion, make-up essentials, passport, and wallet in my bag, these are the things I had when I traveled around in Istanbul:
The Istanbulkart is an all-access pass to the metro and trams around the city. You can also use this to ride buses and other public transport (except taxis) around the city. The card itself is 10 TL to buy, and you need to top it up immediately when you buy it. You can buy it on the small kiosks close to the tram stations and have it topped up there. Unfortunately, the machine at the airport weren’t dispensing new cards so we had to use Jetons (tokens) to get on the metro and tram (more expensive).
Though there are pre-paid Turkish sim cards available (Turcell, Vodaphone, and Avea) at the airport, the sim card expires after 60 days. What’s the big deal? Tourists always buy sim cards on their destinations. The problem is, Turkey registers your phone attached with the sim card. Therefore, if you use a new sim card on your mobile now then the phone will register with that phone number. Since we are planning to go back, hopefully sooner rather than later that would mean I won’t be able to use my old sim card, AND I can’t buy a new one since my phone will have the old registered number which has already expired. My solution…?
Alldaywifi is a company that rents a wifi kit to tourists or business people for wifi on the go. Though there are numerous places with wifi in the city, having your own kit is quite convenient to use to get around the city. No Google Maps here. It’s better if you use the Trafi app (link to the app on my previous post). It displays the tram or metro station you can get off or on, and it tells you when the train arrives or departs. Not too shabby! To find out more on renting your own, you may check out their site here. Wifi signal was strong, except for social media services during the Ataturk Havilamani bombing. Response is quite fast as I sent an email regarding accessing my social media sites. They restarted my router and speed normalized a few hours later (not their fault).
What are your travel essentials?