Adventure, but not too much adventure
April 22, 2014 8:04 AM Subscribe
I am planning on going to Turkey at the end of November for just shy of two weeks and am looking for a couple of pieces of advice: Is a side trip to Cairo alone for two days a terrible decision? And are there lodgings in Istanbul where it is easy to meet other travelers that don't involve giant dorms and drunken twenty somethings?
posted by HonoriaGlossop to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am planning on going to Turkey at the end of November for just shy of two weeks and am looking for a couple of pieces of advice—I’ve Googled, but there is quite an array of sometimes-conflicting information. (And I am familiar with the Turkey Travel Planner site which has lots of great tips and suggestions, but the lodging info seems focused on a slightly older/creature comfort-seeking audience.)
1. I am thinking of doing a Cairo stop—I have always wanted to see the pyramids, and with Turkish Airlines I can do a multistop flight home to Cairo (via Istanbul) to Istanbul to home for just $30 more than a flight to Istanbul. On a scale of “Best decision you could possibly make” to “Are you out of your mind?” where might this fall? There’s an 85% chance I’ll be traveling alone, and I know Cairo can be iffy for lone women. (I've read other questions here and it has given me pause, but this is something I'd really like to do if it isn't totally reckless.)
I’d be arriving at the Cairo airport on a Tuesday evening, heading to a hotel for overnight, getting a (recommended, though if you have additional recommendations, I’m happy to take them) guide and doing the pyramids Wednesday, Cairo sites Thursday also with a guide and flying out Thursday night to Istanbul. I’d like to book this now because of the price, though I know the situation is ever-evolving. If things are dangerous when I go, I’m happy to forgo the Cairo leg, but would cancelling that portion invalidate my return home to Istanbul. (Alternately, I could buy a separate RT fare to Cairo from Istanbul closer to my trip, but that looks like it would be in the $350 range, and includes more airport to-and-froing, which I’d like to avoid.) Also, do I go through customs in Istanbul, or does baggage, etc. transfer to the Cairo flight? (Trying to figure out what kind of time I’d need to make a connection.)
2. My second question is does anyone have any good hostel or convivial guest house recommendations in Istanbul? This isn’t a budget issue so much as an opportunity to meet/hang out with other travelers. I’m in my mid-30s, so I don’t want a 16 person guest dorm with all-night drunken revelry, but some place with a nice mix of people and some sort of common area where people gather and chill is ideal. Private room a must, private bathroom a big plus. Ideally under $125/night if possible (though cheaper is better, just trying to keep options open). I prefer Beyoglu, especially Galata. I’ll likely be in Istanbul for five nights. (I've looked at Airbnb/used it for other trips, but I like meeting other travelers for sharing outings rather than just relying on hosts who are rightly going about living their normal lives/probably don't want to take a 2hr sightseeing ferry ride.) Triple bonus points for balconies/rooftops with amazing views.
I'm a reasonably experienced traveler/have experience traveling solo.