My research on Turkey ahead of my two night stay in Istanbul was obviously very insufficient as I didn’t even know I needed a visa. That set me back 40TL from my Turkish money which I’d already had to dip into to finance my last day in Jordan as for some reason HSBC Mastercard didn’t work at any of the half dozen banks I tried in Amman. I just thought it was a problem in Jordan/The Middle-East and would be fine in Turkey but not so. Rejected and 90TL less (I exchanged 50TL in Jordan) than what I had hoped to have without even doing anything.
As it turns out HSBC blocked my card for security reasons. Good intentions and all that but that move could well and truly have put me up to my neck in it. With my debit card expiring at the end of June I was relying on my credit card. Its actually very rare for me to exchange Japanese yen into currency when I go overseas but this time I was at Narita Airport with friends Jessica and Mark (heading off to Thailand) who decided to get some money exchanged before the trip. With the Japanese yen going further than the British pound these days I thought I might as well get some money ahead of my trip. Inevitably they had no Jordanian dinar’s but they had Turkish lira so I got out 20,000 yen worth and ultimately it was that move which saved my ass.
Thankfully, its very cheap and easy to get from the airport to Sultanhamet in Istanbul which is home to the major sites and the backpacker area where I planned to stay. Bauhaus Backpackers Hostel was 38TL per night for a dorm bed and thankfully included breakfast which I was able to fill up on …… and make a cheeky lunch sandwich from too! Anyway, I won’t ever be so reliant on my cards again when entering a new country.