As of late, Greece’s financial crisis and economic decline has become a regular headline and common knowledge. Amidst all the chaos, many cautious travelers are panicking and wondering, “is it safe to travel to Greece during the financial crisis?”
There is definitely what to be concerned about, but like most things, the more knowledge the less worry. Knowledge is power!
As long as you take adequate precautions, any intrepid traveler will have a safe and enjoyable vacation anywhere in Greece.
So what should you know about the financial crisis before heading on your next Greek vacation? There is so much information theses days just floating around the internet that searching for information can become quite overwhelming.
For your convenience I have saved you, (my valued readers) the trouble of spending hours searching the web, comparing information from different sites, and then throwing your hands up in the air in frustration, still not knowing whether to book your flight.
- Book your flight:
It seems that since the economic crash and in spite of the headlines there has been a steady rise in tourism and low-cost luxury packages. In fact skyscanner.net reported a 16% increase in flight searches to Greece. In addition to a better value for your money, the weak economy will cause your local currency to buy allot more goods than it used to.
To illustrate, imagine the price tag on a souvenir from a Greek boutique that once would have cost $10.00 USD. Now imagine that very same item, only now you can take it home with you for just $5.00 USD-half price!!
Now apply that currency value to hotels, local flights, cruises, tours and any other locally operated item or service, and you could have the vacation of your dreams.
This is especially so if you are peddling British Pounds.
Since the start of the Greek economic crisis an ever-increasing amount of British tourists have flocked to take advantage of the increasing value of the GBP and low-cost Greek vacation packages.
Truth be told, life goes on as normal, and to most, the economic crisis hasn’t affected daily life-certainly not tourism.
Hotels, tour operators, restaurants, Greek attractions, and archeological sites are open, running, and have no plans to close (especially during the crisis). In times like these tourists can expect better service as local business owners are motivated to accommodate in hopes of attracted more customers and income with which to put food on their family’s table.
Greece needs us now more than ever!
Any unrest would most certainly not be directed towards tourists that bring hope and income to an otherwise sullen economic picture. In fact, most Greek tour operators agree that business will continue to go on as usual.
“If you were in Greece right now and you weren’t in the city center of Athens-or watching the news-then you wouldn’t even know that something was going on.”
- ATM Machines/ Withdrawing Money:
There are two factors of concern when it comes to withdrawing money:
Banks are issuing a daily withdrawal limit of 60.00 Euro per day:
I can understand why this is a valid reason to spread panic and mayhem to potential Greek holiday goers if not for the following reason:
The withdrawal limit does not apply to visitors and tourists with foreign bank cards!
Yes you heard correctly (but I will repeat myself for the sake of clarity).
The 60.00 Euro withdrawal limit is only applicable to the local Greek population holding local Greek bank cards.
Though all reports have confirmed that tourists have not been badly affected by the withdrawal limit, many businesses are no longer accepting foreign credit cards. In light of this, cautious travelers are advised to bring ample cash (preferably Euros) to avoid possible long ATM lines, or unexpected broken ATM machines.
“What if the banks collapse and close during my stay, what will I do?”
This is another valid concern for any country with economic unrest.
To the date, all reports have confirmed that banks are indeed up and running. However, it’s always advisable to prepare for the worst, and bring enough cash (preferably Euros) to cover your expenses and perhaps some extra incase of emergencies.
- Riots and crime:
There are a few things to be said about riots and crime.
Firstly as long as your country/embassy hasn’t advised its citizens to avoid Greece completely, fear of riots and or crime shouldn’t deter any happy holiday goer.
That being said, I advise on the side of caution that all visitors stay up to date with your embassy during your stay. If there is anything of concern, the embassy will be the first to know about it, and are always happy to update their citizens upon.
Riots are more likely in a major city center such as Athens than a peaceful island or countryside village. In the event that you ever find yourself in the midst of a riot, just head in the opposite direction. Remember that the Greek are a nice and peaceful people who are simply going through hard financial times.
Due to the current events of Greece it’s advisable to plan your travels with an open mind and a flexible schedule.
I’m not saying this to cause panic, just to empower my readers with knowledge and to remind them that if transportation strikes occur it may cause unwanted delays.
As far as crime goes, basic common sense will most likely keep you safe from any unfortunate circumstance. So far there’s no reason to be any more careful in Greece as one would be when visiting New York City or any large metropolis for that matter.
- Travel with a group or travel independently:
All Inclusive Holiday Packages:
Popular all-inclusive holiday packages offered at major tourist destinations such as Rhodes and Mykonos offer some of the most affordable Greek holiday prices. What many forget is that being apart of such a package means that you will oxymoronically be sheltered from Greece! If this sounds like your type of vacation, you can rest assured that you will be securely sheltered from the countries financial woes.
Organized Group Tours:
Organized group tours offer its customers more of an authentic Greek feel without being locked away from the country’s culture. If you plan to visit Greece as part of an established group tour then you will be sheltered from most problems (though it’s still advisable to bring Euros and beware of unwanted delays).
A “self-guided vacation” is when you visit a new place with your own itinerary and travel independently of any organized group or holiday package. This is my favorite way to travel, and there’s no better way for any experienced traveler to enjoy the beauty of Greece.
If you are planning a self-guided vacation Greece, it’s advisable to bring enough cash to cover the entire trip as well as emergencies, and of course be flexible with your schedule as there’s a small chance that you might meet delays.
It’s advisable to regularly check with your embassy for the latest updates and to be informed about demonstrations. Unless it is an emergency almost all relevant information can be found on the embassy’s website.
The bottom line is stop panicking!
While it’s true that as of late Greece’s financial crisis and economic decline has become a regular headline, Greece is attracting more experienced travelers than ever before. In addition to visiting one of the most beautiful countries, you will be privy to unbeatable low prices. Remember, knowledge is power!
So go ahead research away, and head to Greece for an adventure of a lifetime.