This blog post was updated on July 23, 2021.
It was almost two years ago that I was in Greece on my honeymoon. The financial woes had quieted across popular media, leaving me with little fear that these newlyweds would run out of cash as the result of ATMs being out of service or banks failing to shell out cash. And while the crisis was softening, many islands that I visited only wanted cash payment, looking at my credit card as if I just handed them the plague.
Now, the situation is escalating a bit with the U.S. State Department recently issuing a travel alert regarding travel to Greece. The country’s financial woes are creating some panic among travelers who have plans to head to Greece with news of banks closing and limits on how much cash will be available. While the Greek financial crisis might just be Greek to you and me, it doesn’t have to put your trip to Greece on hold. Here’s what you need to do about the financial situation in Greece if you are headed to the country in the near future.
Don’t Cancel Your Trip: No one is telling travelers to cancel their trip to Greece over the current financial situation. In fact, many Greeks are pointing out how traveling to Greece should be a good deal for travelers as costs are expected to drop significantly. Tourists are a big money maker for the Greek economy so the country will
do its best to keep tourist areas without problems or issues. If you are concerned about banks closing and having no cash in Greece, you need not worry too much. Credit cards from non-Greek banks shouldn’t have trouble withdrawing cash.
Bring More Cash Than You Usually Would: Whenever I go on a trip abroad, I generally just take out cash when I get there. However, the U.S. State Department is advising travelers to bring some cash with them. More specifically, the government advises travelers have more than one type of payment on hand such as a mixture of cash, credit cards and debit cards. It is also wise to bring some extra cash for emergencies or any other problems that could come up if they do. By having some extra cash with you, you have a back up plan in place when you need to pay for items on your trip in cash.
Pre-pay Hotels, Car Rentals, Etc. Online: If you are truly a nervous wreck that Greece will have no functioning ATMs, you can always pre-pay for certain parts of your trip online. Also if you are worried about your own cash flow, pre-paying online can put your mind at ease that you don’t have to open your wallet as much in Greece. Many car rentals and accommodations can be pre-paid online. Whether you are leaving tomorrow or in a month, you can always do a quick check to see if your previously booked reservations can be paid now while you are home to avoid any issues when you get there.