Tight budget? Here’s how you can travel to Greece without much money and still have an awesome experience.
As you browse through your friends' Instagram accounts, who appear to live off traveling to exotic places (rather than being cooped inside an office), you can’t help but think that that sort of lifestyle is way out of your reach. You’re wrong.
It’s normal to believe that a holiday to one of these destinations, such as Greece, is bound to break your bank account, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are seven easy tips that will help you with your budget and allow you to experience all the amazing things Greece has to offer. Ready for the adventure?
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Aim for the low season
Yes, this is incredibly obvious but it certainly applies to the Greek islands. It’s far cheaper if you travel during the low season, which stretches from mid-October to mid-April. One of the biggest (and most evident) advantages of heading there during this timeframe is that you’ll encounter fewer tourists and smaller crowds. This means you’ll be able to book hotel and hostel rooms at a cheaper rate—and, if you’re savvy, you can ask for the room with the best available views.
Now, there are two things you have to keep in mind if you go at this time. First: the weather is not perfect. It can be quite chilly and rainy. So if your dream is to dip into the cool, azure waters of the Aegean sea, then you best head there during late May and early October when it’s warm, sunny, and definitely crowded. You win some, you lose some!
Second: many businesses, especially in the smaller islands, may not be open during low season. Now, this doesn’t apply to Athens, since restaurants and shops are open year round. So, you should do some research beforehand so you don’t need to hunt for shops or restaurants that are still open.
Preparation is key
Plan your holiday beforehand, especially if your only option is to travel during the high season (late April to August). If you plan a few months (or maybe weeks)ahead, you’ll get reasonable prices.
In this instance, technology is your best friend. Download travel apps such as Skyscanner and get flight alerts so you can get good deals on plane tickets. Having flexible travel dates is a great option since ticket prices fluctuate based on which day of the week you travel. Here you can easily save a few dollars. Fridays or the day before a mayor holiday (when most travelers decide to fly) are when the prices skyrocket.
If you’re already in Europe, then you can opt for a flight to Athens and book it through a budget airline like Ryanair and EasyJet. If you plan ahead, you can easily find flights that cost up to 80 dollars—a bang for your buck. One quick thing, though: make sure that you consider the extra cost of luggage and additional baggage insurance. Many of these budget airlines don’t include this in their initial prices.
Ferry or Plane?
If you’re already there, perhaps you’ll want to visit other Greek islands, besides Santorini. You should definitely head to Crete, Corfu and Mykonos. Ferries, on the one hand, cost between 30 and 40 euros, and some of them are quick (and naturally more expensive). It’s up to you to evaluate which one is more convenient for your budget. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of taking a bus, my suggestion would be to rent a car—since you’ll be far more comfortable and able to make as many stops as you want at your own pace.
The idea is to travel on a budget, so if you’re thinking of flying from island to island, this may be a bit risky and expensive. However, if you prefer to fly, then you can actively monitor or place alerts on Sea Jets, Golden Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways, Aegeon Pelagos, Dodekanisos, and Blue Star.
The Cheapest Islands
Yes, you should definitely go to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Delos, but also bear in mind that the cheapest islands are Poros, Milo, Sifnos, Tinos, and Syros.
Eat cheaply...and deliciously!
It’s possible to eat cheaply and deliciously in Greece, so don’t worry. You can gobble up the typical gyros sold by local street food vendors, and you should definitely try out the pork or veal skewers called souvlaki. If you have to splurge, then do it with local delicacies such as olives and olive oil.
And if you’re thirsty, opt for water or even wine, because the soda is super expensive and not worth it. A great tip if you’re traveling during the low season is to use foursquare and use Google to find out which restaurants are open and have good reviews. Instagram is also a great option to find local restaurants that have amazing dishes (they should have the photos to prove it).
Once you've bought your tickets, don’t wait to book your hostel or hotel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that Greece is not so expensive when it comes to accommodation, and Airbnb has turned out to be a great option when it comes to pricing.
Just a quick thought: bear in mind the location of the places you’re going to stay. If you have to spend money on transportation or walk for miles, then the cheap prices are definitely not worth it.
These little seven nuggets of wisdom are but a few of the things you can take into consideration when traveling on a budget, and they can be easily applied to any destination, really. Now, plan your itinerary (or at least have a vague plan of the places you can’t miss).
Visit the ancient city of Knossos in Creta, the springs of Sariza in Andros, the Royal Palace in Corfú, Balos beach in Crete, the coves of Ikaria island, the Rhodes Acropolis, the ruins of Delos, and Poliochni in Limnos, considered to be the oldest city in all of Europe. So, begin packing and enjoy the wonders that Greece has to offer without denting your wallet!
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