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Should I be concerned about travel to Greece?

Should I be concerned about travel to Greece?

Old May 16th, 2012, 01:12 AM
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Should I be concerned about travel to Greece?

Aloha all, my wife and I have been planning a trip to Greece and Turkey in June. We will be traveling for about three weeks. We plan to visit Istanbul for a week to visit friends there and then to Crete, Santorini and Mykonos for the following two weeks. My question is... Should we be concerned about travel to Greece? There is talk as of today that Greece may possibly be exiting the Eurozone as early as June. Please understand I put a lot of emphasis on POSSIBLY. I am never a timid traveller but just don't want to have to deal with civil services being shut down, strikes etc.... Please tell me I'm crazy.. Or am I ??
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:29 AM
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If you are reading the news then you are as up-to-date and informed as anyone on here is likely to be.

Any other information is only speculation and fear-mongering.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 02:55 AM
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According to news reports the likely date for another electoral vote by the Greek population is around June 16th. I am travelling to Greece in June and this has not altered my travel plans since I think a few bargains can be had due to most of the travel industry still desparate for trade.

Just a thought - Although Santorini and Mykonos are OK they are THE most expensive Greek islands since they are extremely tourist orientated. You could be much better off visiting the lesser known islands. Maybe not as easy to get to but the ferry services in Greece are much more reliable these days.

For example you could get to Tinos only 30 mins from Mykonos and there are ferries that go to both Amorgos and Milos direct from Santorini. I think you can also get to these islands direct from Crete as well.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 03:23 AM
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The elections in Greece will take place either on the 10th or on the 17th of June, the exact day has to be decided in the next couple of days.
Mykonos and Santorini are the most expensive Greek islands indeed, but not because they are tourist orientated, but because they have chosen to offer another level of services many years ago, that distinguished them from the other islands.

Santorini is only expensive on the caldera side, the flat side of the island offers accommodation at much lower rates, like on any other island.

Of course there are many more islands, lesser known in this forum, where always the same advice is given... as if Greek islands were only Naxos, Mykonos, Santorni and Paros..
I totally agree with chiliclun, Milos, Tinos and Amorgos are beautiful islands,as are Sifnos, Andros, Kea , Anafi and Koufonisia.....

IMHO OP should visit Greece, relax and enjoy the beauty of Greece without paying attention to the horror stories of the media, that are reproducing the same stereotypes over and over again.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 03:58 AM
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I was in Greece twice last year, May and October. I had a great time. In October there was a bit of disruption with strikes that closed archaeological sites. Definitely frustrating but I would return without any hesitation.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 04:01 AM
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No one can guarantee there will be no strikes, but from my experience the islands are little affected by actions on the mainland and in Athens. When there are ferry strikes, the vessels with home ports on the islands usually run as normal. The main connection between Crete, Santorini, and Mykonos is FlyingCat 4, and its home port is Heraklion, Crete. This catamaran is seldom, if ever, cancelled by industrial action.

Don't worry too much about the supposed exit of Greece from the euro. Even if it does, it will take many months to complete, and in the meantime the euro will continue to be used.

If you are flying out of Athens at the end of the trip, it would be wise to arrive there a few days before your flight home. If your outbound flight is from an island, e.g. Mykonos, save the last few days of your trip for it.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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Greece's exit from the euro now looks likely - but far from certain - but highly unlikely before the election (whose date is still to be announced) and before the results of the post-election negotiations (it's currently improbable any one party will be able to form a government without agreeing a coalition with others.)

IF the next government decides on withdrawal, it's not at all certain "it will take many months to complete". Most people who've thought about it agree fast withdrawal is essential, and it's not at all impossible that the ECB is secretly producing proper contingency plans and printing an alternative currency, now the Eurozone's major players are creeping out of their denial. The EU, whether Greece remains in it or not, needs Greece to stay stable and has the only functioning bureaucrats nearby able to organise this kind of thing.

The most likely problem for visitors in mid to late June is heavy speculation about euro withdrawal and the bank holidays (and frozen ATM systems) likely to go with it, rather than violence or strikes: there's only any point in strikes if there's a government taking unpopular decisions, and that's impossible until a new election.

The moment a government announces an intention to withdraw, expect a catastrophic hiatus in the entire banking system. Any bank from that point handing you euros, or accepting credit card transactions in euros, is running up a debt to other people in a currency that's going to zoom in value against the New Drachma, and could be bankrupting itself as a result. The only way to defend itself will be a temporary total freeze of business.

IF that happens, having small denomination euros will be a benefit (the New Drachma will end up considerably devalued against the euro, so many will be keen, while devaluation's going on, to accept euro notes).

That will be screamingly obvious to most Greeks, so banks are likely to be seeing heavy cash withdrawals just before the election. Plan to keep more cash, in euros, than you would normally - and don't worry too much about spurious "heightened risks" of robbery. Greeks aren't familiar with dollars.

I quite like Greece, in spite of its infantile electorate. If I had a holiday booked for the second half of June, I'd go but take lots of hard currency - preferably euros. If I didn't have a booking I'd go somewhere else till the currency issue stabilises.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:10 AM
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While I was writing the above, the elections were confirmed for June 17
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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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I'd still go to but be aware of what's going on. I was in Athens/Attica/Arcadia in the spring of 2008. I don't read or speak Greek so had little awareness of what was in the news. It turns out there was a strike that spread and before long there was no gas at gas stations, no buses, no taxis and me with a rented car 30 KM from the airport with the gas gauge pointing to "E". ;^(

Made it to the airport... just. Looking back... I should have engaged people we met and found out a bit more about what was going on. The hotel staff was excellent at both hotels but it never occurred to me to talk to them about local current events.

So knowing that things are in flux... pay attention to what is going on locally... I was so wrapped up in ancient ruins I paid too little attention to the present.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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My guess is that if Greece withdraws from the Eurozone it will continue to use the € as its currency for a time while a new drachma is being created. It's not unprecedented for a country to use a currency other than its own. The euro won't disappear overnight. That's what i meant by "it will take many months to complete".
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Old May 16th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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1) I'd still go to Greece as it is very civilised and visitors will be well treated.
2) If they come out of the Euro it will be fast and without warning (as per most other currency splits in last 50 years) normally currency is overprinted (probably in the bank with a big rubber marker, it is seldom more sophisticated than this) but I saw that DelaRue shares went up this week so I guess someone is planning on a big cash note print run.
3) If they come out of the Euro it will probably be over a weekend when the banks are closed.
4) If this happens you will need cash for the rest of your duration and you will need small notes rather than large ones (you don't want to argue about what sort of change you will be getting), however I guess dollars will be more than acceptable. Cards normally lose their value for a few weeks after a change as access to bank accounts more or less stops or is restricted.
5) There already is a sort of run on the Greek banks going on as cash is leaving Greece for UK/Germany/Sweden this week in very large quantities.

Heimdall, you could be right but there will be a lot of pressure on Greeks about what to do with overprinted-Euros and not overprinted Euros. I assume clean Euros will disappear into mattresses asap until the mess is over, so cash on the streets will be a problem. When Slovakia left Czech it all went well as the currency was over printed and the Slovak currency held up pretty well to the Czech but here we are talking minimum 60% devaluation possibly more so.

Good luck, keep your family close and your cash closer and wathc the weekends . It may never happen but that would require high quality politicians in various positions throughout Europe....
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Old May 16th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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The islands themselves are usually unaffected by strikes. However, if you have to catch a flight to an island, it may be an issue. Last year we barely made it to our flight to Santorini. Due to the strike at the airport, our flight from JFK to Athens was delayed for several hours. I saw a woman flying to another island who missed her flight because her plane arrived late from Moscow for the same reason. It will alll depend on the circumstances at the moment. You may be lucky.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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I will be in Athens June 16-17 staying in the plaka with my girlfriends for 1 night before we leave athens airport to go to santorini at noon June 17. I have read what you mentioned above about the cash situation, so i will plan to bring plenty of euro with me before I arrive. everytime i go to greece it just so happens that the metro is striking the same day i need to get to the port or airport, so i will assume that on june 17th, my luck will continue and i will need to get a taxi to the airport. is it safe to say that even with the elections going on during the day of june 17th, i should have no problem getting a taxi. i think that is the only thing im concerned about-i just want to be able to get my flight to santorini!
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Because of the elections of 17/6 there will be NO strikes in Greece on that day.
Strikes take place in order to put a government under pressure.

Reading previous posts about Greece leaving the eurozone.
There is no legal process in the eurozone that would expel a country from the eurozone and the common currency.
The only fear is that the elected government of the 17/6 elections, might not accept the austerity measures,that were forced upon Greece from the EU, ECB and the IMF, and will put them in question, or not recognize the previous agreements.

If this will happen ( which i doubt),will only be answered after the elections.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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thanks im excited to finally get to use the metro and save some $ getting to and from the airport.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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You are right there is no legal process for expulsion of a memeber of the Euro. Nor is there a process to manage what happens when a government runs out of money and cannot borrow anymore. This is normally what we might call bankrupt.

This moment could arrive before the election and has not been helped by, after giving a massive haircut to most of its bankers, those who refused to take a haircut have been paid off in full. Based on that, who is exactly is going to lend the government money at a reasonable rate?

Still, we are entering areas that have not been legislated for. Just because there is no legislation does not mean we will not go there.

For the OP enjoy the trip, chill out and have a great time.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 02:49 PM
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Bilboburgler, your mention of "overprinting" notes arouses my curiosity. I think you meant "overstamping", though, as overprinting is something entirely different.

I always thought a euro was a euro, although I realise they are printed in different member countries. The only way you can distinguish where the note was printed is by the initial letter in the serial number. Apart from that, unlike euro coins, the design is identical.

Just out of curiosity I checked three euro notes left over from my trip to Greece last September. Of the three, two were issued in the Netherlands and one in France. Would the banks overstamp all the euros coming into their possession, or just the ones issued in Greece? What about the coins? Would a Greek €1 coin be worth less than a German €1? The whole idea seems unworkable to me.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 02:55 PM
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Thank you and Aloha to everyone for your reply's. I so appreciate all the thoughts. We chose the more populated islands because I am a very active type A personality and can't sit still I am however totally into hotels so if anyone has a favorite? I want stunning! LOL I would love to hear your suggestions.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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As long as Greece has not yet voted for a new government, it will have no financial problem, on the contrary, the EU has paid 4,2 Bi. of Euros as planed and also 19 Bi. for the re capitalization of the Greek Banks, something that was planed to be paid at a much later stage.
Greece has enough funds till the beginning of August,so that the chances that this could happen before the new elections are nil.
On the other hand the EU has to respect the democratic elections in Greece,and honour the stability pact, as Greece hasn't violated any rules so far.
It is uncertain if those who refused the haircut will be paid in full, this happened yesterday in just one case, which isn't affecting the rest. The advice of yesterdays Eurogroup was actually not to pay it....
Greece will take a final decision after the elections on this matter.
(
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Old May 16th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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mokolea, by the time you have booked your hotels, you will also have a PhD in economics.....just by reading our posts...
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