Should You “Grexit” From Your Greece Vacation Plans?3 min read
So, Greece has voted no on austerity, might “Grexit” the Eurozone, and is in the midst of a game of high stakes poker over the future of Europe. Forget the politics of what’s right and what might happen – the question we’re here to answer is whether you should keep your vacation plans for Greece.
For close to a generation, Greece has been in financial dire straits. The situation has edged close to the brink in the past, but this seems to be the furthest out on a limb the country has gone. On the ground today, there is uncertainty bordering on chaos. Getting money out of ATMs has become a roll of the dice, and the potential lack of available funds for citizens and travelers is something that could have significant repercussions.
Whether or not you move forward with a planned trip to Greece this summer depends in large part on your own risk tolerance and appetite for adventure. We’re not saying to cancel your vacation, but we are saying to proceed with caution, pay close attention to the news, and be smart.
Here are some questions you should be asking if you visit Greece this year.
Should I bring cash? Yes. Without question, yes. It’s very possible that ATMs will run out of cash, so the go-to source many of us take for granted might not be there. Additionally, with Greek banks in jeopardy, it’s possible your credit cards might not work. Even if they do, smaller merchants, hotels and restaurants might feel uneasy and switch to cash-only policies. Therefore, you should bring as much cash as you think you’ll need. Of course, this carries with it some security risk – flashing a wad of cash is an invitation to potential thieves, so don’t advertise that you have a lot of money on you.
Could I get stranded somewhere? That’s not in the cards right now. Tourism officials say the network of ferries that connects smaller islands to airports is expected to continue to operate, and there currently aren’t any plans to cancel scheduled runs. Other modes of public transportation and taxis are also expected to continue operations but, as with any situation in which there is uncertainty, travel logistics can go haywire in a hurry.
Is it safe? Right now, yes; there have been demonstrations but for the most part they’ve been peaceful. However, if you’re traveling to Greece consider it mandatory to pay close attention to news reports.
Is the healthcare system affected? It could be. There are reports of possible medicine shortages. If you regularly take any medication, be sure you bring enough with you on your trip. And, it’s wise to purchase travel health insurance for your vacation to help ensure that you get the best possible medical coverage should you be injured or sick.
Are there food shortages? It probably depends on what hotel or restaurant you go to – five star hotels are going to get their supplies. But don’t be shocked if you find a cute little out-of-the-way place that can’t serve half its menu.
Could the situation change? Of course. In fact, one way or another, it almost certainly will, and that could impact access to money, the logistics of travel and safety and security. Again, you must pay attention to the news if you’re headed to Greece.
By most accounts, Greece is one of the most spectacular places in the world to visit – filled with beautiful scenery, great food, a laidback lifestyle, and sites of monumental cultural and historic significance. It’s a great place to visit – and if you go in 2015, be sure to keep your eyes wide open.
Photo courtesy of CBS News.