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Santorini, Greece landscape

In a nutshell, Greece has been dealing with a huge financial crisis after they were not able to pay back their debt to lenders. Banks have been closed, ATM withdrawals were limited, and many businesses stopped accepting credit cards. However, simply because Greece is having some money troubles, does not mean it is no longer a valid travel destination. The landscape is still beautiful, the beaches just as relaxing, and the people are still wonderful; just follow these tips to make sure you can still get the most out of your Greek islands holiday.

Bring extra cash

The Greece financial crisis has closed banks and ATMs and even halted the use of credit cards. It is important that travellers withdraw large amounts of euros in cash before heading to Greece and bring different forms of payment in case you are unable to use your cards or access an ATM. Even though the €60 (NZ$99) cap on cash machine withdrawals in Greece only applies to domestic account holders and not foreigners, many of the cash machines in Greece are out of money. The ones that are stocked with money often have long lines, and you will not want to spend your Greek holiday waiting for an ATM.

Plan ahead

If carrying large amounts of euros and extra cash around makes you feel uncomfortable, then pay for as many of your services as possible before you get to Greece. Usually you are able to pre-pay for your hotel, rental cars, day trips, tours and even museum tickets you may be using during your trip. Call ahead to any destinations you plan to visit during your travels in Greece and see if they offer reservations or pre-payment options. Paying ahead of time guarantees you can still enjoy all the fun activities you had planned while in Greece.

Stay alert

Several foreign governments have issued mild travel advisory for those who plan to travel to Greece, generally advising that travellers should carry extra cash. Overall, Greece is a very safe travel destination. However, in the midst of the financial crisis, protests and demonstrations have occurred in cities across Greece with little warning. Make sure you stay updated with the latest news and avoid all protests and demonstrations as they can turn violent. Sometimes these protests have affected transport, so in order to avoid any delays or disruptions, monitor the media. Purchasing travel insurance with cancellation or amendment cover can be very helpful in situations like these.

Know the benefits

This is actually a great time to travel to Greece. The financial crisis is an upside for budget travellers. Hotel prices are down, roads outside of Athens are essentially traffic-free because of higher gas prices, eating out is cheaper and travel fare is lower too. Even though there are some downsides like potential protests, or limited long-distance bus services, they are not enough to truly impact your Greece experience. Everything tourists are looking for in a holiday to Greece—blue water, beautiful scenery, wonderful weather, and incredible history—are still waiting for you but at a cheaper price.

The financial crisis should not postpone or even put a damper on your holiday to Greece. However, it can never hurt to be prepared. Buying travel insurance will allow you to protect yourself against any unforeseen mishaps like travel cancellations or delays.

While Smartraveller does not currently list any travel restrictions for travelling to Greece, check back regularly to ensure your trip is safe and hassle-free.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Antonio Castagna; cropped from original