Showing posts with label Istanbul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Istanbul. Show all posts

September 5, 2016

Istanbul Taxi Scam

We spent an awesome day in Istanbul last month on the way to the Conrad Maldives.  We walked from the St. Regis down to the Bosphorus, across the Galata bridge, and up to the Grand Bazaar.

On the way back to the hotel, we were tired and hot after all the walking.  We decided to grab a cab from the base of the Galata bridge to the St. Regis.  We hopped in a cab and I showed the driver the address of the hotel and location on a map.  While he didn't speak much English, he nodded and seemed to know where he was going.

The ride started off fine until we made a right instead of a left (Pro tip:  Google Maps in offline mode is a huge help in these situations).  We were headed in the complete wrong direction.  He turned around and we seemed to be back on track.  We crossed the bridge and we were essentially retracing the steps from our walk earlier in the day.  He pulled over and said "this hotel?" as if to insinuate that we had arrived at our destination.  Nope...we were still 2+ miles away.

I showed him our hotel on the map with directions and he sped off in frustration.  Until we arrived at the Ritz Carlton across the park from the St. Regis.  "This hotel?" he said.

Nope.  "This hotel" both Emily and I pointed to on the map.  "Ahhhhh" was the next response from the driver.  We pulled up to the Hilton still a mile away from our hotel.

We had finally had enough and asked him to pull over so we could get out.  But first we had to sit at a red light...all the while, the meter was running.  The light finally turned green.  We paid the driver and  got out of the cab for the mile walk back to our actual hotel.

All in, the cab cost us $7 USD.  While we certainly could have hopped out of the cab earlier, we honestly weren't sure we were being hustled.  We initially thought the driver was just confused as this is a new hotel but started to become concerned once we headed in the wrong direction a couple of times.  I'm not sure we would have realized what was going on without watching our progress on our phones.

It was a memorable return to the hotel and one we've laughed at more than a handful of times.  I'm glad we made it back to the hotel in one piece (especially in Istanbul).  This is why I prefer trains.

September 4, 2016

Top 7 Pictures From a Day in Istanbul

Upon returning from any trip, there are pictures.  Pictures from phones, picture from camera, pictures from the GoPro.  All in, we took almost 1,500 pictures this last round the world jaunt.  That's a record for us.  We try to have a system of "you take this picture with the camera" and "I'll take this picture with my phone."  We try to delete on the fly but it's a futile exercise.  Device space is at a premium and yesterday, I spent several hours uploading, editing, deleting, uploading, deleting, from the trip.

Side note:  if anyone has a complete picture management process/routine, please comment below.  There has to be a better way.

I've focused ATRP on tips and tricks to acquire and redeem miles and points.  Ultimately, that is a means to an end to be able to meet your travel goals for pennies not the dollar...whether that means flying to Florida to visit family or a trip around the world.  While I'm not changing the focus of the blog, I do want to start sharing a bit more about the places we visit.  Part reward for my photo management process, part inspiration for all of you.  Enjoy!

January 5, 2014

2013 Year in Review - Hotels

I spent some time over the holidays compiling a few stats from 2013.  We stayed in some awesome hotels (and had some great flights) all over the world.  There was less business and more personal travel  I ended the year with 55 total nights across Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, and IHG.  About 8 of the nights were business travel and I earned 10 total "night credits" with my Starwood American Express credit cards.  I closed out the year with four "mattress runs" to re-qualify for Starwood Platinum for 2014.

The four incremental stays brought me to 25 nights and cost about $250.  I'll have more on on the value of Starwood Platinum in a future post but for me...the combination of the renewal gift, free internet, upgrades, and free breakfast during each stay for the next 14 months far outweighs the $250 spent to re-qualify at the end of this year.

Here are a few of the highlights and pictures from 2013: