Travelling to Greece with the Looming threat of Grexit?

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Greece is a beautiful tourist destination. From the historical sights of Athens to the clear blue waters of the Island of Corfu, Greece seems to have it all for holiday makers.
I adore Greece as a]]>

What is Grexit?

Grexit is the looming threat of Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. This has recently moved from being possible, to being probable, if Greece do not quickly secure a deal with it’s creditors.  According to the Guardian, increasing numbers of Greek residents are taking their money out of the banks, many stashing amount as high as €10,000 at home and at the office, because the trust in the Greek banking system has gone.

“With time fast running out to secure a desperately needed €7.2bn in new rescue funds before the end of the month, when Athens is due to repay €1.5bn in loans to the International Monetary Fund, anxious Greeks have begun withdrawing money from their country’s banks at an unprecedented rate.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/greece-eurozone-exit-athens-imf

But what does this mean for tourists? And how can those with planned holidays to Greece this summer take precaution to guard themselves against emergency situations in this looming financial crises?

Advice for Tourists Travelling to Greece in Summer 2015

Before I offer this advice, I would like to state that the purpose of this article is NOT to put people off going to Greece. In fact, quite the opposite – I would encourage tourists to continue to go, because it will bring much needed money into their economy. You might also find that as a tourist, you get a very cheap deal – many travel agencies have seen that the price of holidays to Greece has almost halved in recent weeks. Just be aware of what is happening in Greece and take the right precautions, and have an amazing time! [caption id="attachment_1243" align="alignnone" width="748"] Santorini, Greece
Image Credit: Mariusz Kluzniac
Creative Commons on Flickr[/caption]

1. Avoid Protests in Athens

When travelling to any potentially politically turbulent country, always check the political situation before you go. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently recommends avoiding political demonstrations in Greece, which are likely to take place in Athens.

2. Take cash in Euros and other forms of Payment

The good news is that although there is a threat of Grexit on the cards, AOL Travel have reported that this is unlikely to happen before summer 2015. The currency is still the Euro, and you won’t have a problem spending it, but avoid relying heavily on cash cards that usually work abroad! [caption id="attachment_1248" align="alignnone" width="750"] Euro notes.currency
Image Credit: www.TheEnvironmentalBlog.org
Creative Commons 2.0 on Flickr[/caption]

3. Take out Comprehensive Travel and Health Insurance

Be aware that Greek healthcare services have been compromised by the current financial crisis in Greece. The BBC have reported that “The government in Athens has called on public sector bodies including hospitals to surrender any cash reserves they have.” [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpqrl_oSGD0[/embed] Therefore, it is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance before you travel to Greece. As soon as you book your holiday to Greece, get your insurance in case of the need to cancel. Make sure that you pre-declare your medical conditions, because if you do not, your insurance cover may not be valid. The last thing that you want to happen is a medical emergency in a city that does not have enough ambulances or medical care.

4. Take your EHIC Card

If you are a UK citizen, your EHIC card will currently entitle you to free or reduced medical rates in Greece, according to the NHS. Carry it with you at all times. If you do not have an EHIC card, you can order one online for free here. Do NOT pay for your EHIC card or order it through another website, as some con artists are trying to fraudulently charge for this service.

5. Keep up to Date through the FCO Website

The best source of authority for British citizens abroad is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. They are always up to date in current affairs and will outline any threats to their citizens abroad. By following these precautions, Greece can be and currently is a safe place to travel to for British tourists.

Is anyone currently in Greece?

If you are a traveller or a blogger currently based in Greece, I want to hear from you! As we know, the way things are on the ground is often much calmer than the hyped up images we see through the media. Is anyone in Greece at the moment who can comment on this blog and share the reality to reassure or help British tourists? Please leave your comments below. *Disclaimer: I am not currently based in Greece, and this article has been based on articles from the BBC, Guardian and AOL Travel. As a British citizen, you should always check for up to date advice from the FCO and make decisions based on your own research.

Templeseeker

Hi, I'm Amy Trumpeter and I have over 25 years of travel experience. I love seeking out temples, Churches and other religious and historical buildings. I write mainly about Asia, Europe and North Africa. My BA (Religions and Theology) and MA (South Asian Studies) were gained from the University of Manchester. Come and join me on my templeseeking journey around the world!
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