With Greece in a financial meltdown, and the summer holidays just around the corner, many holidaymakers that are due to jet off to the Mediterranean will be nervous about how the situation will impact their getaway.
So, as Greece votes ‘Oxi!’ to austerity and it’s continued use of the Euro looks unlikely, here’s a little financial advice on how to be best prepared if you’re visiting Greece this summer.
The media coverage surrounding the financial situation is almost exclusively negative, with the Greek residents looking restless and disruptive. For many tourists, it can simply feel like the only option is to cancel your trip and re-book elsewhere or at a more stable time.
But should you wish to rearrange, your cancellation won’t be covered by your travel insurance policy. Your insurance cover is in place to cover your inability to travel through illness, any loss of possessions or any medical emergency while you are away. Simply cancelling due to the uncertainty in the country will not allow you to make a valid cancellation claim.
Greek residents have a tiny cap on how much they can withdraw each day from cash machines around the country, and while these same restrictions aren’t applicable to non-Greek residents, many cash machines have been emptied and some of the more remote locations could take days to be re-filled.
Taking enough cash for your holiday is a necessity at present, particularly for paying taxi drivers and tipping (which is customary).
Get a Credit Card
Many restaurants and stores in Greece are supposedly requiesting cash payments wherever possible, however credit card payments are still a possibility so it’s worth getting one if you can. They’re a good back up, and pre-paid cards especially are always recommended when travelling abroad.
Their charges are often a lot less (or even non-existent) compared to a standard debit card, and with a pre-paid card you can load it before you go if you are concerned about debt management or cannot get accepted for credit.
All purchases over £100 are protected too, so if you’re looking to book day trips, hotels or car hire, do so on a credit card.
While it’s essential to have travel insurance whenever you travel abroad, it’s even more essential if you’re planning on taking a lot of cash with you.
The standard cap on replacing cash should it be lost or stolen is £250. Should you be planning to take more than this then it is essential that you take advantage of any security safe available in your hotel or villa and only take out as much as you need.
Certain insurers have temporality increased the amount of cash they’re willing to replace for those travel to Greece this summer; check your policy and be smart and safe while you’re abroad.
It’s understandable that you be concerned about the crisis that’s occurring in Greece at present. While protests have been reported on by the media, the majority of the unrest is centred in Athens, on the mainland. Some of the more popular islands resorts – Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Kos – are much less likely to experience disruption of this kind.
And while it looks like there could be a ‘Grexit’, with Greece discontinuing the use of the Euro and switching back to their own Drachma, the changes could take up to a year to come into force.
(Guest Post by Ryan Smith. Ryan is part of the content development team at Local Financial Advice, connecting people with independent financial advisors in their area to help them achieve their financial goals.)