Before traveling to Greece this summer, I had heard very mixed reviews of it, especially when it came to budgeting. In spite of being in the midst of an intense economic crisis, Greece still manages to run on tourism. There are no shortage of pristine beaches and idyllic islands to choose from, and if you plan carefully, you can visit this magnificent Mediterranean country on a budget that won’t break the bank.
1. Stay in pensions
Being a country that is so heavily populated with tourists, normally wherever you go you won’t have any problems finding accommodations. Now with that being said, I should also mention that you can find any range of accommodation within any given city, from luxury five-star resorts to camping in the countryside, with anything and everything in between. What I found worked best for me was staying in low budget, small, family-owned pensions combined with booking them on last-minute hotel websites; almost always I ended up saving a lot of money with these deals. Definitely try to use the Internet to your advantage, especially with lodging in a country with more than enough hotel rooms to go around.
2. Brave the public transport
After over two weeks in Greece, I began to realize that their public transportation infrastructure is an absolute nightmare, which is why most people end up renting a car when visiting. However, unless you book far in advance and scour the Internet for deals, renting a car is almost never the cheapest option.
If you can build some flexibility and time into your vacation, you are much better off traveling by bus and ferry. It’s also important to remember that usually there are several boat companies that go out to the islands, some faster than others, so it’s important to ask around in the port before choosing one to make sure you get the best deal.
3. Go off the beaten track
Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens are all incredibly popular places to visit in Greece and are priced accordingly. In high season prices in these hotspots can double, not to mention the boat or flights to get out there. With so many islands to chose from, why not pick one that is equally beautiful but lesser known?
I decided to skip Santorini this summer and spend a few days relaxing in Paxos near Corfu, which to this date has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. With fewer tourists and lower prices, I was able to be very careful about how much money I spent. My suggestion is do some research before going and try to pick some islands or towns that are lesser known. Trust me, the prices drop drastically.
4. Avoid high season
Going along with traveling off the beaten track, without a doubt the best way to save money on vacation in Greece is to avoid going in high season, July and August. Because the majority of Europeans go on vacation in August, it can be incredibly difficult and challenging to find affordable accommodation and good deals on travel. By May the weather is fine and it’s warm enough to swim, and in June it already starts to get very hot. I spent June traveling around Greece and I found it to be the perfect time to visit, though many people I met also suggested visiting in September.
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