Your travel questions answered: Eurozone holidays

We recently asked you to send in any travel-related questions you had. Our travel expert Bob Atkinson gives his answers...

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Q1 - I’m going to Zante, next Friday - should I be worried? Is it going to be very expensive now? (Sara)

Well first off have a great holiday, because I’m absolutely confident that you will do. And despite all the media coverage, Greece is very much operating as normal so expect all the resorts in Zante to be completely fine, restaurants open etc. As far as whether it will be expensive, costs have risen in the Greek islands over the last couple of years, but it is still very affordable and is very much on a par with the big Spanish resorts.

Q2 - Will the same happen in Spain as in Greece where the ATMs dry up of euros? Will I need to get my euros here? (Jane)

To date we actually haven’t seen any problems at all in Greece with getting cash out of ATMs. It was something that was put around in the media as what might happen if Greece comes out of the euro. And as far as Spain is concerned, it’s very much business as usual, so you’ll be able to get cash out of a hole in the wall, just as you would have done on any other visit before. But do be aware that if you’re using any of your bank cards to do that you will be paying charges to do so, so you may want to explore getting hold of cash online or getting a prepaid card and loading that with euros – that’s where you will get the best deal overall.

Q3 - I am going to Crete in August this year, but I am not sure what to do about currency. What would you suggest? (Ray)

For anyone travelling to Greece, if you’re going last minute then there is no problem at all in terms of getting hold of Euros or loading Euros onto a prepaid card to use while you’re away.

But if you are travelling later in the year, because there is still some uncertainty about what will happen in Greece, I would advise holding off until nearer the time and then organising your finances at that point. However, anybody going to Greece should ensure they take good supplies of cash in small denominations just in case there are any problems while they’re away.

Q4 - Is the euro crisis affecting Cyprus as a holiday destination? (George)

Now there has been some talk in the last couple of weeks that Cyprus might also need a bailout, purely because its banks are very, very linked in with those of Greece. However, holidaymakers have not seen anything at all to concern them over Cyprus – everything operating completely as normal and my advice would be to forget about those problems for now and just plan on having a great holiday. I’m pretty certain you won’t see any issues at all.

Q5 - We are going to Cyprus in October - should we be concerned while Cyprus is teetering on bankruptcy? (Phil)

Really to answer this it’s very similar to my last answer in that yes, Cyprus does have problems but I really don’t think you should be concerned. At the end of the day if anything does happen and Cyprus had to change its currency or anything like that, you’re still going to be able to spend in Cyprus. Cyprus still needs tourists to go there on holiday, so holidays and everything will go ahead as normal, the only possible change could be a change to the currency and I really don’t expect that would happen. So keep an eye on the news, and I’m sure you won’t have anything to be concerned or worried about.

Q6 - We are going to France in August and I am concerned about the euro, should I wait and see what happens regarding Greece etc or will it be safe to go ahead and purchase euros now? (Susan)

Well in between submitting your question and us actually recording we’ve seen that Greece has had its election, and it’s said that it’s going to try to continue with the austerity plan, and that’s good news for the markets. So, for travelling to France, you’re highly unlikely to see any issue actually going through to France because of the economic problems.

But, you’re asking when you should buy or not. The rate is currently hovering around the 1.20 mark (correct at time of filming) and some experts have said it may get better through the summer, others have said it may not, so really it is a gamble on what the rates may be when you’re ready to go. If you’ve got spare cash now, get hold of some euros either in cash or on a prepaid card, and top up with the extra amount you need when you’re ready to go away. Or, failing that, keep your money to one side and actually buy nearer the time.

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