With Greece Set to Vote on Bailout, Here's What Travelers Need to Know

Athens // Photo by Juan Salmoral via flickr

There have been several reports that tourists in Greece are not being heavily affected by Greece’s current economic crisis. The tip that is being repeated to visitors headed to Greece is simple — bring a lot of Euros.

The Greek Reporter says banks will remain closed in Greece until Monday, July 6, but there is no guarantee the banks will reopen on the July 7. Greece has imposed "capital controls" in order to prevent the banks from collapsing. Geek citizens can withdraw up to 60 Euros per day from ATMs, but USA TODAY reports that that cash-flow limit does not apply to foreigners.

However, finding working ATMs may be a problem, as people are emptying the money machines because of the upcoming July 5 referendum vote, explains USA TODAY. At that time, the Greeks will vote to either accept or reject the latest bailout deal. If the vote is a “no,” Greece may withdraw from the Eurozone, says USA TODAY.

“Some concern was cited about potential short-term problems with the ability to make ATM withdrawals to access Euros due to long lines, but many tour operators are advising clients to bring Euros with them, in line with the recent security update from the U.S. State Department,” said the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) in a release. 

The New York Times reports that “the Greek government has indicated to its creditors that it is willing to accept many of the terms of a bailout package that it had previously rejected, if they are part of a broader deal to address the country’s funding needs for the next two years.”

According to USTOA members in a USTOA release, if Greece leaves the Eurozone after the upcoming vote on Sunday, the adjusted exchange rates may favor Americans.

InsureMyTrip, the online travel comparison site, advises travelers that wish to cancel their upcoming trip to Greece to purchase the travel insurance benefit called “Cancel For Any Reason.” With this benefit, travelers may get up to 75 percent of their trip costs refunded.

There are several steps that visitors can take to protect their money and vacation if they plan to travel to Greece in the near future, said QuoteWright, another travel insurance comparison site:

1. Book with reputable sources. Meaning, only book with tour operators and airlines that are part of the USTOA.

2. Use credit cards. Federal credit regulations allow travelers to file credit disputes if a service wasn’t provided because of bankruptcy.

3. Purchase travel insurance that includes “default” protection for the bankruptcy of their tour operator or airline. Make sure to read the policy, as some insurance is time sensitive and coverage may only be available if the traveler buys it within two to three weeks following their first trip payment. 

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