The whole world knows about the current financial crisis in Greece. Banks have closed, ATMs have run out of cash, unemployment is at its highest (over 25%), and a lot of businesses are no longer accepting credit cards.
How does this situation affect foreign visitors?
According to tourists currently in Greece, not much.
Tourism comprises 18 percent of the Greek economy, and so far, it’s business as usual. There’s no reason, then, to cancel your scheduled trip there. However, there are some things you should know before traveling to Greece this summer. Here are some tips you should take note of prior to your trip.
Bring lots of cash.
Theoretically, you can still withdraw an unlimited amount of money in ATMs, unlike the Greeks who are limited to only €60 a day. However, it won’t help you if the ATMs run out of cash, like what has been happening recently.
A lot of businesses now ask to be paid in cash, as returns from credit cards take time. So before going there this summer, make sure to calculate how much you would need, including for hotel and food expenses, and bring extra for emergencies.
Make sure to bring cash in small denominations, too, as restaurants and local businesses may not have enough money to give change for big bills.
Be more vigilant.
With a lot of people laid off and unemployment still disastrously high, pickpockets and thieves are expected to target tourists. Keep your cash in separate places, and needless to say, don’t keep them in your purse or back pocket. If the hotel has a safe, put the bulk of your money there.
The current situation in the country means that there will be delays in services and long lines everywhere, from ATMs to supermarkets. Strikes and demonstrations can also mean that there will be disruptions in your travel plans, especially if you want to explore the Greek islands. Expect all these delays and just go with it. The Greek government is doing its best to make sure the tourism industry isn’t affected (as much), and disruptions would surely be brief.
Despite the current economic crisis in Greece, it’s still very much worth it to visit. Don’t cancel your plans to go there and just take precautions to make sure your Greek vacation will be a memorable one.