TravelStories Episode 28: Turkey Travel

Tom and Trevor’s annual guys’ trip for 2024 led them to Istanbul, Turkey, and their experience was an absolute Turkish delight! They booked their tickets via Turkish Airlines just before the award chart’s devaluation, and they were relieved to still be able to use their points. In today’s episode, we take a look at Tom and Trevor’s Middle Eastern adventure, starting with their first experience of successfully transferring and redeeming thank-you points. The journey continues as we discuss the fleet at Turkish Airlines, some interesting events at Newark, Tom and Trevor’s in-flight experience, and everything that happened after they landed in Istanbul. We also learn about how Instagram deceived Trevor, the hotels that feel like home, their day out at the Grand Bazaar, multimodal travel, and the joys of being fully cleansed at the hammam. The trip home came with a silly customs mistake by Trevor, an underwhelming lounge, a Super Bowl cliffhanger, and everything you need to consider when looking for the right car rental agency.             

Key Points From This Episode:

  • [0:00:40] How we were lucky to book our trip to Turkey before its airline’s devaluation.  
  • [0:01:10] What Turkish Airlines’ devaluation means for future travel on the airline.  
  • [0:04:17] Our first experience of transferring thank-you points. 
  • [0:05:50] Exploring the Turkish Airlines fleet. 
  • [0:08:43] How we made our bookings for Turkey and some interesting events from Newark Liberty International Airport.   
  • [0:24:45] Our in-flight experience.
  • [0:30:01] Arriving in Turkey: Customs, Uber’s, Salt Bae, and the Park Hyatt. 
  • [0:36:08] How we tried to visit every restaurant and bar in the area, and what we paid. 
  • [0:40:40] What we liked about breakfast and what we think could’ve been better.
  • [0:44:21] Indulging Trevor and being pleasantly surprised. 
  • [0:47:47] The Grand Hyatt Istanbul – a home away from home. 
  • [0:52:52] Why we loved the hammam. 
  • [0:57:10] The ins and outs of our day at the Grand Bazaar, and the benefits of meal planning. 
  • [1:00:47] Our multimodal transportation adventure.  
  • [1:03:13] Bidding adieu to Istanbul. 
  • [1:06:55] The silly mistake that Trevor made at customs when leaving Turkey. 
  • [1:08:19] Why the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is not as great as it used to be. 
  • [1:12:17] What to keep in mind when departing from Istanbul Airport. 
  • [1:15:35] The flight back, Super Bowl ads, and arriving home. 
  • [1:24:00] A smooth Budget experience, and why we choose certain car rental agencies.   
  • [1:34:21] Final thoughts on the Turkish edition of our annual guys’ trip.  


“Folks talk about having to jump through hoops; if you’ve done it once, it is super easy – the reality of the matter is, you go through a little bit of pain but afterwards, it’s actually not that bad.” — @tmount [0:03:58] 

“Don’t print any checks you can’t cash.” — @TktweetsKim [0:07:46]

“Turkey is the number one producer of hazelnuts in the world.” — @TktweetsKim [0:28:04]

“[Salt Bae’s restaurant] just didn’t feel like what you see on Instagram.” — @tmount[0:58:11]

“In the future, we’re going to have to plan our meals a little bit better – just waiting for the random best option to fall into our laps has turned out to be a problem.” — @TktweetsKim [1:00:17]

“[On] our last day, we hit three continents. We did Europe, Asia, and then we landed in North America.” — @tmount[1:03:11]

“Uber is the way to go if you need to get a taxi. It’s a way not to get scammed.” — @TktweetsKim [1:04:48]

“When you’re on vacation [and] you can spend $20 or $30 to reduce some friction in your life, do it.” — @TktweetsKim [1:30:54]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Turkish Airlines 

Park Hyatt Istanbul – Macka Palas 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul

Nusr-Et Steakhouse  

Salt Bae on Instagram

Çatma Mescit Hammam 

Grand Bazaar


American Express 

Budget Car Rental 

National Car Rental 

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul

‘Episode 17: Annual Guys Trip to Rio’ 

The Milenomics Podcast Network

Thomas Kim on X

Trevor Mountcastle on X

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