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Shopping tips

The essence of shopping in Turkey is not shopping in western style shopping malls or department stores although very good examples of these do exist.

The real excitement in shopping is getting lost in historic bazaars which date back to five hundred years; of bargaining with shop-keepers whose great-grand fathers have kept the same trade and sold the same wares; to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the hawkers, merchants and the salesmen at every corner; and ultimately to obtain some authentic Turkish souvenirs.

Favorite souvenirs include hand-woven Turkish carpet to last a lifetime; good quality of leatherware and accessories, fine embroidery and jewellery, folk costumes and fashion in cotton, leather, silk and wool; craft items made of brass, copper, wood inlaid with ebony and mother-of-pearl, evil eyes, precious metals and stones. Colored tiles and pottery are a Turkish specialty, as is carved meerschaum, often made into cool-smoking pipes.

Do not buy old Greek or Roman coins, statuary or pottery as it is illegal to buy and/or export antiquities; penalties are severe. Goods up to 100 years old are usually not considered antiquities. If you buy a carpet, keep the receipt to show to the customs officer upon departure.

Regarding payments; besides cash, hotels, shops, car rental companies, airlines and most restaurants accept major credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club.

Tipping

Tipping has gradually become a necessity on any tour for guides, drivers and transferman.
On regular bus tours $5.00 per person per day for guide and $3.00 per person per day for driver should be anticipated and budgeted by clients. Where the number of passengers is less than 6 people a minimum of $25.00 per day for guide and $15.00 per day for driver should be taken into consideration. As for transfers between hotels and airports $10.00 for transferman and $10.00 for driver are sufficient.

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