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Travelling to Greece during the economic crisis

Booked a family holiday to Greece this summer? Read on for on-the-ground tips from Mumsnetters, plus official government advice for travelling to the country.

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Should I be concerned?

Broadly, no. The Greek Embassy has recently issued a statement reassuring holiday makers and advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is that the country is safe to travel to. Currently all UK based tour operators and airlines are operating as normal and word on the street from Mumsnetters in resort is also positive:

"I was in Kefalonia last week and everything was fine then - there was a 'No' rally in Lixouri on Friday night but that was the only outward indication of anything other than the norm. The local people I spoke to (not many it has to be said) seemed fairly relaxed."

"The only thing I'm slightly concerned about is the potential for an air traffic control strike. But if I worried about the likelihood of that, I'd never go to France or go anywhere that overflies France, as they go on strike more frequently."

"Don't believe the scaremongering, food in shops and no longer huge queues at ATMs. Believe it or not life has carried on as usual. Cafes full, markets busy over the weekend and the sun is shining."

Are things like food and petrol in short supply?

Right now, Mumsnetters in resort say there are no shortages and this is backed up by the travel industry trade body ABTA.  

"I have just been shopping, in a city in north-eastern Greece. I visited two supermarkets. None of them had empty shelves. There was plenty of pasta, rice, flour, toothpaste, whatever, to buy. The news told me the shelves would be empty - the evidence of my own eyes told me otherwise."

"No problem with petrol (we asked the hire car rep). The petrol station outside the main airport asks for cash - that's about the only hiccup."

Will I be able use ATMs and my debit/credit cards?

Both debit and credit cards are currently working as normal across the country. The €60 daily cap on cash machine withdrawals only applies to domestic account holders. You should, however, err on the side of caution and follow current government advice to take extra cash. 
"Hello from Kefalonia,the ATMs are fine (I asked the apartment owner). There were no queues for the three we walked past."

Extra cash you say?

Current advice from the FCO is to take more than one method of payment with you and "sufficient euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay." How much this is in terms of hard cash really depends on your circumstances: if you haven’t pre-paid for your hotel or car, and will be buying petrol you’ll need to carry a fair amount. Take smaller denomination notes if you can.   

"Buy money belts that you can wear under your clothes when travelling, share out the money between the adults. No one likes carrying around wads of cash but that is the safest option. Take it from someone who left their handbag on a plane once."

Can I cancel my holiday?  

You could do but as things currently stand you wouldn’t be entitled to a refund. This will only change if the FCO warns against travel to Greece.  

We’re just about to book – any final advice?

If you want extra peace of mind, it’s worth booking through an ATOL backed tour operator who has a duty of care for you whilst you’re in resort. If things do go wrong they will ensure you’re looked after and brought home. As always, take out an adequate insurance policy the moment you book. For extra peace of mind make sure you’re covered for supplier failure, cover for civil unrest and curtailment and abandonment of a trip. 

"I'm going in September and not worried in the slightest. I will take more cash than usual in case of problems with the ATMs, but that is my only concern. The Greeks need the money from tourists and will move heaven and earth to make sure nothing disrupts the tourist trade. What happens in Athens and what happens on the islands are totally different. Go and have a fab time."

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Last updated: about 3 years ago