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Sterling, Euros, and Dollars can be easily changed into Turkish Lira at all banks, post offices (PTT) and change offices. If buying furniture, curtains, and white goods etc. it is often possible to pay in Euros or Sterling and get a very favourable price.
At the airport and some tourist towns (like Antalya), shops price goods in Euros and accept Euros as payment. When paying in Turkish Lira in shops that price in Euros, ensure that the exchange rate is fair. Some shops in the airport on arrival use very unfavourable exchange rates. Note that shops that price in Euros usually have relatively high prices as they build in their own cost of exchanging back to Lira plus they are clearly aimed at tourists.
AT CHANGE BUREAUS ALWAYS SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST EXCHANGE RATE. MAKE SURE THE COMMISSION RATE IS NO HIGHER THAN 3%. Many foreign exchange bureaus in town do not charge commission whereas commission at the airport is about 5%.
If changing travelers chequessome exchange offices charge as much as 9%. A good place to change money is at the PTT (post office) you get a lower rate on cheques but no commission. The best option is to take cash and your bank card to withdraw money from cashpoint machines in a resort (use machines at banks if possible). You generaly get a better rate on your statement when you return home, (you could gain 10% - that's £10 for every £100 withdrawn). If you go with a bank such as Nationwide, you pay just 2% extra for withdrawing cash abroad, so you should look out for these things. Note though that travellers cheques are particularly hard to change even in the most populous of towns. Sometimes it may even be difficult to get a bank to change them for you. Use your debit card e.g. Maestro rather than credit cards because the credit cards usually have a cash withdrawal fee applied in addition to any other charges.
The Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira.There are banknotes in 5 , 10 , 20 , 50, 100 and 200 Lira denominations in general circulation. There are also 1 Lira coins. The Lira consists of 100 Kurus.
When shopping in Turkey you will still find people referring to "millions", instead of Lira, when discussing prices. The currency changed on 1st January 2005 and any old banknotes and coins ceased to be legal tender from 1st January 2006. If you are offered any banknotes with 6 zeros on them (e.g. 1,000,000 million lira) in your change, refuse them as they are old and no longer valid.
Many people also say "dollar" for "lira". So if you are told something costs "10 dollars" clarify they mean "10 lira".
There is often a shortage of small coins available in shops so don't be surprised to be given a sweet or two as change.
The majority of the banks have ATMs and there are a huge number of free-standing ones at strategic points. They operate in the same way as those throughout the USA and Europe. There is an option on most to choose the language and in some cases to choose Turkish Lira, Dollars, or Euros. Be careful in the free standing air conditioned booths - sometimes groups of men tamper with these - they can hide each other in the booth. It's often safer to use those in bank buildings - those in Bodrum often have a security guard nearby as well.
If you use a ATM in Turkey, use one that is located outside of a national bank and also during regular business hours. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. This way if you experience any problems with your card you can directly report it at the bank. Also do make sure that you advise your bank of your planned travel to Turkey. If not the bank may freeze your card after one or two transactions.
**Note, there is no where to change money at the airport in Bodrum. So if you fly into Istanbul then straight to Bodrum, make sure you get money in Istanbul first. If in a pinch, Hertz will change cash into Lira.
Getting the best rate: What's the best strategy? Do not count on the depreciation of the Turkish Lira over the course of your holiday. While many people recommend that you should only change currency every few days because the rates always improve, this is not always true and certainly has not been true lately (2012). Rates can go up or down and it is not possible to predict currency direction for the short duration of a holiday (2-4 weeks).
You can see for the FX graph on Yahoo that Lira rates are hard to predict for short periods of time. In fact during 2012 the Turkish Lira has tended to strengthen meaning you get less Lira per Euro/Dollar the longer you wait to convert.
The best rate is found by exchanging at places with (1) no commission and (2) that also have a very narrow price difference between the buy and sell price. When you find such places, you should change as much currency as you need. Try to budget so that you have minimal Lira to convert back to your home currency at the end of the trip as this will not generally be at a favorable rate (especially if you do it after immigration in the airport!).
In Istanbul, there are a number of exchange offices near the grand bazaar that offer favourable rates with no commission.