Greece debt crisis Q&A: How will your Greek holiday be affected this summer?

Travel operators are currently not offering refunds or the possibility to change trips

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The Independent Travel

The Greek public has voted against further austerity measures. The referendum has added to the turmoil, but while the economists and politicians ponder what will become of the nation, what does the outcome mean for a summer of planned holidays in the tourist hot-spot? Here are some answers.

Should I still go?

If you’ve already booked your holiday, there's little you can do should you wish to cancel without incurring charges. Travel operators are not offering refunds or the possibility of changing trips as there’s been no official word from the Foreign Office that this is necessary, nor is it likely.

You should check with your travel insurer prior to departure as to what the cover is if the situation in the country changes.

What about money?

At present, the Greek government is limiting ATM cash withdrawals from cards issued by Greek banks to 60 euros a day. With international banks, in theory you should be able to withdraw up to your card’s allowance, dependent on whether ATMs have been adequately filled up with cash – be prepared to queue.

Card machines in shops, restaurants and hotels are still working, but there are reports that around the country, business owners will only accept cash. In short, take sufficient cash, in euros, to cover the duration of your trip and any unexpected circumstances or emergencies (medical bills, taxis and so on).

Read our Greece crisis live blog here

At the moment, there are no limitations to bringing your euros back out of Greece at the end of your trip. 

Will I be safe with all that cash?

Carrying a fortnight's-worth of euros in your wallet has security implications. Currently there has been no indication of any danger other than that usually posed by pickpockets in tourist areas, however you’re advised to keep money in a safe and be as vigilant as possible if carrying large amounts of money. Check your travel insurance to see how much cash is covered in the event of theft, since some policies have limitations. It is worth making sure that your accommodation has a safe, or somewhere secure to store cash if you don't want to carry it with you.

Alternatively, tour operator Olympic Holidays is currently offering its customers the option to "withdraw" cash from its reps, using credit or debit cards.

What about protests?

Ongoing demonstrations have been taking place in Athens and around the country, so it’s possible there may be more. You’re advised to avoid all demonstrations and follow local authority advice depending on where you’re staying.

Should I book a holiday there now?

Reacting to a slump in demand, many travel companies are offering cheaper package holidays to Greece. Booking an Atol-bonded package, rather than a DIY trip, will protect you should any aspect of your holiday fail.  For example, Thomson is offering a week's self-catering on the popular island of Mykonos for £199pp, with flights departing Gatwick on 17 July, the start of the school summer holidays.

As for those who have already booked holidays, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go – for example, Monarch's official statement is that it's "business as usual" with all holidays operating normally. However, the situation in Greece is fluid, so it’s best to check what coverage your insurer will provide and what contingencies are in place should circumstances change, for example, if demonstrations escalate.

 

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