Many American travelers dream of visiting Greece. The history in Athens is a draw, and the beautiful vistas in Santorini make it a once in a lifetime type of destination. Travel to Greece has its upside. In a time when the country’s economy has suffered, it’s cheaper for Americans to get there and enjoy what the country has to offer at affordable prices.
Once an unaffordable island for only the most affluent, Santorini has now become much more budget-friendly. We even found a Hotels.com discount code that made the whole trip about 40% cheaper.
If you’re going to make the journey, there are things you need to know. These tips will help improve your experience.
1. Air travel within Greece is quite cheap
If you can get yourself to Athens, moving from place to place within Greece is easy and affordable. Flights from Athens to the popular island of Santorini, for instance, can cost as little as $15. While not all places in Greece are easily accessible by plane, there are always affordable ferries to get you to the outlying islands. This convenience can make it easy to see all that Greece has to offer without breaking the bank.
2. You’ll often encounter a two-tier economy
On many of the outlying Greek islands, the economy operates in two tiers. At the resorts, which are largely populated by European and American tourists, prices are in line with what you’d expect at a major vacation destination. Americans might end up paying more than $100 for a meal. Just down the road, though, you might uncover the economy geared more toward locals. It’s not uncommon to see seven dollar beer prices at your hotel and 50-cent prices at the local store down the road. Brides who’ve come to the Greek Isles for a destination wedding have found that flower prices can range from a few hundred Euro to only a few bucks depending on whether they’re shopping at a store geared toward tourists or one designed for locals. If you want to save money, be sure to seek out local stores that don’t seem to be targeting travelers.
3. Prepare for price haggling
Both in Athens and in the outlying areas, price tags are sometimes not relevant. You might walk into a pastry shop and end up in a discussion over the price of an apple strudel. On the islands, taxi cabs don’t have meters, so you’ll need to negotiate a price before getting into the cab. It’s possible to save yourself some money if you’re willing to spend a few seconds negotiating a better price. Not every good or service is negotiable, but many will have a price floor and ceiling you need to recognize and navigate.
4. Wi-Fi is widely available
In America, most people use the data plans on their phones to browse the Internet or send messages. In much of Europe, including in Greece, it’s typical to use a Wi-Fi connection for these purposes. Many stores know that American travelers need Wi-Fi to operate their phones. With this in mind, restaurants, bars, and even stores will advertise free Wi-Fi in hopes of luring travelers in. Take advantage of this so you don’t run up a high cell phone bill while overseas.
5. Allot more time for travel logistics
Finding a cab can be difficult in Greece, and unless you’re in Athens, you won’t be able to summon an Uber driver instantly. In addition, the airports can be quite slow. While American travelers might be used to getting off of planes and right into the terminal, many Greek airports will transport travelers by bus from the plane to the baggage area. If you’re trying to make a tight connection in or out of Athens, this can cause major problems.
Greece is a beautiful place with much to offer. Between the history, the beaches, and the unique culture, it is easy to understand why so many take the long journey to spend a week or two there. Still, it is a foreign destination, so American travelers should heed these tips if they want to have the most pleasant and efficient experience.