Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Traveling to Greece During Crisis

What to Know

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Greece of the possibility of disruptions to banking services – including credit-card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece in light of developments within the local economy.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry more than one means of payment (cash, debit cards, credit cards), and make sure to have enough cash on hand to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.   Learn More ...

 Demonstrations & Other Risks

The alert also cautions about being aware of your surroundings at all times.   There might be scheduled and unscheduled political demonstrations as well.  Whenever you are traveling, you should follow this guideline anyway.

It is common knowledge that travelers are being advised to keep extra money with them, which increases the chance of being a target of unsavory individuals or groups looking to take advantage of the situation.    There are various safety methods that you can put in place to keep you and your money safe.

  • Divide the funds among members in your group
  • Only carry enough with you that you will need that day
  • Leave extra money in safe of cruise ship or hotel room
  • Use money belts to hide money on your person
Travel Insurance

Hopefully you purchased travel insurance when you booked your cruise or land vacation to Greece.   In our recent blog post, Insurance Awareness Day 2015, we talked about the value of travel insurance protecting against the unexpected.   You might be tempted to cancel your trip, but be aware that unless you purchased a "cancel for any reason" policy, this would most likely NOT be a covered event.   Even so, there are other benefits of the insurance policy which could come into play during your trip, if you were to lose valuables or be injured for example.

Potential Itinerary Changes

As of this writing, cruise lines with upcoming cruises have not altered their plans but we are certain they are keeping a close watch on developments.   The cruise lines number one priority is the safety of ships, passengers, and crew, so should there be any escalation in the wake of the bank closings, plans could be altered.     In similar situations like this, sea days or alternate ports were substituted, often with very little notice.   Be sure that you have provided contact information to your travel professional or cruise line as appropriate.   Should there be cancellations or changes that we become aware of, we'll share that information with you.

Additional Resources

One of the more important ways that U.S. Citizens can keep informed while traveling abroad is by  enrolling in the U.S. Department of State's STEP service.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.

Additional travel information can be found on International Travel (static tab on blog) and Travel Tools (on our website). Topics include: Tips for Traveling Abroad, Travel Warnings, Country Specific Information & Travel Alerts 

We encourage all cruise passengers to be familiar with travel alerts, warnings, tips, and country specific requirements before leaving home.  Make sure that you leave your itinerary with someone at home and that you are adequately protected by travel insurance.

Enjoy Your Cruise to Greece

We were fortunate to travel to Greece a few years ago during our 12-night Mediterranean voyage.   For information about the ports we visited see our blog post:  Diary of Cruise with Chris to Greek Isles

Safe Travels

We highly suggest that you monitor the situation in Greece before and during your visit there.  We wish you safe travels, and for the wonderful people of Greece, we hope that this current financial situation can be resolved quickly.

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