Travelling Greek Islands
Travel insurance will cover the costs of cancellation for specific reasons, such as ill health, but not if you are simply nervous about travelling.
Is my money at risk?
When you book a package holiday, you are covered via the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) scheme that protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad if your tour operator goes out of business.
ATOL does not protect you if you book direct with a scheduled airline and arrange your accommodation independently, however. You may still be covered, if your airline or accommodation-provider goes bust for example, if pay have paid by credit card and the total cost is more than £100. But this will only apply to the service you’ve lost. Paying by Visa debit card may provide similar cover. Some travel insurance policies include cover for insolvency, while those that do will usually cover just the service you’ve lost, not the other services you have booked separately.
Will I be able to get cash from an ATM?
Most reports, according to Abta and our reporters on the ground, suggest that tourists have been able to withdraw the cash they need from ATMs.
The Foreign Office said: "The Greek government is limiting withdrawals using cards issued by Greek banks to €60 per day. At this time, you can continue to withdraw cash using your card as normal, up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system (usually €600), or the daily limit imposed by your card issuer - whichever is the lower amount, as long as the ATM has been replenished."
It still seems sensible however, to follow the Chancellor, George Osborne's recent advice that travellers take sufficient euros to cover the duration of their stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any delays.
Currency controls will limit the amount of Euros you can take in and out of Greece, but in such situations you simply declare how much currency you are bringing into the country so that you can take it out again on departure.
Will I be able to use my credit card?
Cards should still work, but some hotels, restaurants and shops may be unwilling to accept card payments and insist on cash. There are some reports from tourists of this already happening at smaller shops.
The Foreign Office advises that, "Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice."
If Greece does after all leave the euro (see below), Visa said it will adapt to this - it regularly changes, adds or deletes currencies from its systems and that when a country exits a currency, the system for processing payments is still in place while the new currency is added.
“While there are some issues that are outside of Visa's control, we work with all relevant parties to help ensure a swift transition to a new currency with the minimum possible disruption to consumers and retailers, ” said a spokesman.
VAT on accommodation will soon rise Photo: CAVO TAGOO
Will I be insured against theft if I carry extra cash?
Abta said: "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."
Post Office Travel Insurance, for example, said that its economy and standard policies cover loss of money for £250 (per person if booked by a couple). Its premier plan covers loss of cash up to £350 and its premier plus policy covers loss up to £525. The price of each policy depends on individual circumstances.
What if there are food or medical shortages?
Greece's tourist office has stressed that provisions of food and medical supplies in the country are fine, but Constantine Michalos, president of Athens Chamber of Commerce, made headlines by warning that there could soon be “shortages on the shelves” and tourists could be left without “basics”.
Elena Kountoura, the deputy minister for tourism, responded to this and said: "In reference to certain media reports, we wish to stress out that food and medicine in Greece is absolutely adequate.