Greece & the “Grexit”. Should you stay or should you go?
Here at Bliss by Luxury Concierge Travel, we have daily conversations about which destination is the “hottest” right now. It changes from month to month but the top spots are consistently held by what I like to call “The Big 3”. They are (in no particular order): Italy, Greece & Thailand.
On any given day, we have clients in each of those places either on holiday or honeymoon. I dream about Tuscany, Santorini, Koh Samui…oh wait, I need to clarify…I dream about organizing the schedules, not actually being there! I can quote flight times between Chiang Mai & Bangkok like I quote the alphabet. I can tell you the way to experience these places the most do not, off the beaten path and with the real locals. I can say “Hi, this is Laura from Luxury Concierge Travel. Do you speak English?” in Italian, Thai and Greek with no problem.
All of that to say, Greece is probably our front runner this summer. We have more clients traveling to Greece between this summer than anywhere else, hands down. After years of people forgetting about this idyllic destination it seems like everyone got the memo this year. So obviously, a daily question at our office is “Should we stay or should we go?”. I have been in this business for too many years to make sweeping promises about flawless flights, uninterrupted plans and no bumps in the road, regardless of where you find yourself. However, I also know a thing or two about a disorder that most Americans suffer from…it’s called media driven anxiety. I don’t know if it’s really a “thing” but I think it just may be!
So here’s my professional advice about traveling to Greece this summer, sprinkled with a little bit of my personal experience and opinion. Take it or leave it. Or, better yet, take it and leave with it!
Stay or Go?
Go! Why not? It’s planned, its the destination of your dreams and since when are you going to let some financial instability stop you from doing what you want? There’s a little quote that’s floating around on the Internet and it’s perfect: “In Greece these things are NOT in crisis: the Greek sun, the Greek sea & the Greek history.”
You will most likely never know there is anything amiss, especially while on the peaceful and picturesque islands that Greece is known for. You will most likely not find demonstrators or unrest in these places. And in Athens? Well, every city has their protests and demonstrations, right? Do you go stand in the middle of a protesting crowd in NYC, D.C., Chicago, etc. and take pictures? No!!! So don’t do it in Greece (or ANYWHERE you go for that matter!). It’s not rocket science friends, it’s common sense whether in your own hometown or a million miles away.
Greece has always been and will continue to be extremely safe, incredibly welcoming and offer you the peace and vistas that you dream of.
You will more than likely find great prices on everything now as the Euro is weakened and as business owners lower prices as a way to keep their biggest industry (tourism) moving along at the fast-pace they’ve enjoyed over the past year.
Do I need Travel Protection Insurance?
Yes! Always, always, always purchase travel protection, regardless of where you’re going. You should protect your vacation investment against things that are unforeseen. At Luxury Concierge Travel, we always suggest this and offer it as way to have peace of mind in a world of unknowns. In fact, when you decline it, we make you sign your life away! So, it’s always important and a wise choice. However, in the event that things are interrupted, flights delayed, etc. it would be nice to have the security of knowing you are covered!
What about money?
We are definitely advising our clients traveling to Greece to prepare to travel with more currency than we normal would suggest. My suggestion is that you travel with enough Euro to get you through the bulk of your vacation, accounting for meals, tips and shopping. We always suggest that you pre-arrange your drivers to and from hotels, private guides and experiences. If you are using a top travel professional, these can be arranged and pre-paid with drivers and guides waiting for you with smiles everywhere you go and no money needing to change hands.
If Greece leaves the Euro, you will find that most places and the majority of business owners will continue to accept the Euro & U.S. currency, as strong currencies like these are always preferred. And even if the “Grexit” occurs, it will not happen overnight. The full impact of such a change will roll out over months, not hours and not days.
The banking system will remain unsure as this financial drama unfolds. It’s true that banks are closed and there is a limited on withdrawals. Hence, the suggestion to travel with more currency than you normally would. You will just need to be mindful of how you travel with larger amounts of currency and how you will secure it while at your hotels.
What should I pack?
Pack what you normally would take to one of the most beautiful destinations in the world! Fun clothes, a bunch of cute bikini, comfy shoes…you know the drill! AND definitely pack a good attitude, patience and a graceful attitude that most countries don’t expect from the traveling American public!
Do NOT pack your headline fed anxieties, your need for flawless perfection, your demand of “English only” and your stress. Leave those behind.
I read an article which quoted Yorgos Geniatakis, who is the general manager of the Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort in Crete. He said
“We Greeks are famous for our hospitality and we’re proud of that. Of course Greek people will be happy to see tourists. First and foremost because it’s our culture dating back to ancient times and no political situation could affect that. Secondly,Greece depends on tourism, so tourists will be welcome.” He then adds a statement that I wish all travelers would really grasp.
“If tourists arrive positive they will leave positive,” he adds. “It is the time to enjoy Greece.”
So I say, “GO”! Go anywhere and go everywhere! And yes!!! Go to Greece!
As always, we are here to advise you, guide you and help you design a travel experience that will be uniquely YOU! We will listen to your concerns, dreams, ideas, etc. and figuratively travel with you each step of the journey! Contact us with questions anytime! You can reach me (Laura Hildenbrandt) at 843-492-5123 or via email at Laura@LuxuryConciergeTravel.com. Connect with us on Instagram & Twitter: @BlissbyLCT or on Facebook to stay in the luxury & romantic travel loop!