It’s teetering on the edge of a default and potentially leaving the Eurozone. But will you spend any summer nights in Greece this year if it means you’ll get a cheaper holiday deal there?
On our Which? Travel advice phone-in day earlier this month, one of our members asked me: ‘I’m thinking of going to Greece this September. Can you tell me if the country will still be in the Euro then?’
Well, I can deal with many travel questions, but if I knew the answer to that one, I’d be a rich man. It’s the million Euro question in politics at the moment following the inconclusive Greek elections earlier this month, and everything may become clearer after the next elections there on 17 June.
Holidays to Greece
In the meantime, amid the uncertainty, tour operators such as specialist Sunvil have seen a drop in the number of Brits booking packages to Greece. This could be partly down to holidaymakers’ concerns that they could be affected by strikes, hotels going out of business and stuck with euros when they suddenly need to pay in a new currency.
But if fewer Greek holidays are currently being sold, it’s likely that travel companies will have to resort to offering big discounts over the next few weeks, making this summer a good time to go to the home of the Olympics.
And the fact that we can now get up to €1.25 for £1, the best rate in around four years, is an added bonus – as long as Greece does keep the Euro as its currency.
High Greek costs
Once you’re there, though, the day-to-day costs are less of a bargain. When the Post Office compared the holiday costs across various countries in April, it showed that countries such as Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal and Turkey were all cheaper than Greece for a basket of holiday purchases. And compared to 2011, Greece’s total cost was 10% higher. If the country returns to the drachma, costs could become a lot cheaper, though.
Experts say that even if Greece does withdraw from the Eurozone, this could take several months. Plus, there will still be money changers offering a good rate for your leftover Euros, so this shouldn’t be a worry.
And if the country defaults on its debt, its banks would close for up to five days, so I’d suggest taking some Euros in cash with you, in small denominations, just in case.
Are the upheavals in Greece putting you off holidaying there? Or would the chance of a cheap deal there entice you?