Greece is one of the most popular destinations that British tourists choose to visit each year with more than a million holidaymakers planning a trip this summer.
But how will the current Greek economic climate affect your holiday?
Banks in Greece are currently shut and there are restrictions in place for how much money Greek nationals can withdraw. These are known as capital controls.
However, if you are a tourist, your credit and debit cards can be used at any functioning ATM freely. However, please note that such machines will be subject to queues and may only have small levels of cash in each. ATMs on the Greek islands are more likely to run out of cash than those on the mainland.
The Foreign Office has issued travel advice and is advising that whilst banks are closed, British holidaymakers should ensure that they take sufficient Euros in cash. A belt and braces approach should be applied so that any emergencies or unforeseen circumstances are covered.
British holidaymakers are also being warned to take the appropriate precautions against theft. Visitors are advised to use safes and deposit boxes to store cash and to split money between family members. There may be increased demonstrations around the country and holidaymakers should watch out for those.
In restaurants and shops, British holidaymakers should still be able to use their debit and credit cards to pay for meals and purchases as normal. There are reports that smaller shops and restaurants may be reluctant to accept credit and debit cards and may pressure customers to pay with cash, likely because they need the cash flow themselves.
If you are hoping to rent a car whilst on holiday, there have been reports that car rental companies have been looking for cash payments rather than card payments. Holidaymakers are urged to call in advance of their holiday to avoid any disappointment or inconvenience.
Pre-loaded currency cards, loaded with foreign currency, can continue to be used in larger shops and restaurants but again, smaller outlets may be reluctant to accept those. Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted in Greece so the advice is to not rely on those.
Some insurers offering travel insurance, including Aviva, have increased the cover for stolen money for people travelling to Greece only which means that holidaymakers are able to travel with more physical cash if they are worried about restrictions on cards. The move comes after insurers advised that they want customers to feel confident.
If you have travel insurance, we urge you to call your insurer and find out the maximum value of cash that you are covered to travel with.
Travel association ABTA has updated its advice stating that: “Holidaymakers should check how much cash their travel insurance policy covers them for and should take appropriate security precautions against theft such as using their hotel safe or splitting cash up between their party.”
Claiming your losses via your insurance
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has advised holidaymakers to always check the latest Foreign Office advice, prior to the cancellation of any holiday. An ABI spokesperson stated that those who have Greek holidays booked remain covered by their travel insurance, in line with the terms and conditions of their individual policies.
The ABI has indicated that that would only change if the Foreign Office changed its position and advised against Greek travel. In that case, holidaymakers would not be covered if they decided to travel, against advice, but they would be entitled to a refund, either from the travel agent or tour operator or ultimately, their travel insurer.