What the Greek exit from the Euro means for British holidaymakers

The risk of 'Grexit' is increasing: What does it mean for travellers?

Updated: 
60135.JPG Village of Naoussa Glen Allison "color,horizontal,exterior,center,transportation,travel,naoussa,village,community,worl

Greece looks increasingly likely to be leaving the eurozone. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing off with European leaders, refusing to accept the austerity cuts they are demanding in return for lending him the cash he needs to pay his debts. Without it, a Greek exit from the eurozone (or Grexit) looks highly likely. So what does all this mean if you are planning to travel to Greece this summer?

The good news

If you are concerned about not knowing what currency you will need - especially if you have bought euros already - then the good news is that even if Greece leaves the euro, they are unlikely to do so before the summer. Caxton FX Analyst Edward Knox points out that: "In the event of a Grexit, the practice of introducing and re-integrating the drachma will be a long, drawn out process, taking months, if not more, so it is unlikely to affect you if you plan to purchase euros to spend in Greece this Summer."

If you are yet to buy your euros, he adds that an announcement that Greece is about to leave the euro - with the change taking place after you travel - could end up working in your favour, as the euro is likely to lose ground against the pound, so you will get more for your money on holiday.

There is also the chance that other travellers will be concerned about going to Greece, so there may be some great discounts if you book at the last minute. If you have already booked, then you may still benefit from quieter resorts, and increased elbow room on the beach.

The downside

This doesn't mean that your trip is guaranteed to be unaffected by a few of the drawbacks associated with this kind of economic upheaval.

There will be travellers who are worried about the potential for unrest at a turbulent time. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not concerned, but it highlights that there are regular strikes at the moment, sometimes at short notice, which can cause travel disruption in and out of airports and ports. It means if you are planning to take a train or a bus when you arrive, you should have a Plan B in place just in case they are not running.

The FCO also points out that there's a risk of demonstrations in central Athens, so if you are travelling to the city, you should steer clear of any demonstrations, and follow the advice of local police.

It's worth checking with the FCO just before you travel, for any updated information, but at the moment, the country is considered no more dangerous for travellers than Turkey or France.

Money worries

Knox adds that in an economically turbulent time, there could also be an increased risk of Greek holiday companies becoming insolvent. He says travellers should look into the firms they are travelling with. If you are travelling with a tour operator, the operator will be responsible for finding alternative accommodation or flights if a supplier goes under. If you are staying with a local hotel or in a villa booked independently, you should beware of handing over large sums in advance without any protection.

It makes travel insurance essential, and it's worth checking the small print to ensure that in the event of insolvency, the insurer will pay for an alternative. It's also a good idea to pay for travel with a credit card whenever possible, so you can turn to your card company to recover the money if a business goes under.

Knox also suggests that in the event of a Grexit there is a chance there could be a run on the banks. If that happened, the government could impose capital controls, which could include things like shutting down ATMs and making it harder to use credit cards. It means that it makes sense to ensure you have enough cash with you to cover emergencies and unexpected delays - and to keep you going for a few days at least.

But what do you think? Are you worried about a Greek holiday, or do you see this as your chance to bag a bargain? Let us know in the comments.

Related articles

British holidaymakers warned to take cash to Greece amid debt crisis

European holidays just got even cheaper

Is it the end for all-inclusive holidays in Greece?

Best beaches in Greece

Best beaches in Greece


Greeks on a Possible Grexit: 'We'll Have a Big Problem'


The best Crete has to offer, from TripAdvisor users