If you’re on a budget when traveling in Greece, then here are some quirks I’ve noticed and might save you some money.
Meal Time Savings
Bread – Unlike North America, the bread basket is NOT free!
If you get tired of street food and simple gyros or kebab places, you’re bound to walk into a sit down restaurant for a bit of variety.
Typically after you’ve placed your order, the server will bring you your cutleries and a basket of bread.
If you don’t want to pay an extra 0.50 to 2.00 €, kindly tell the server you do not need them. If you’re hungry, enjoy them!
(I have only been eating at moderate to budget type restaurants, so the cost of bread may increase at more fancy restaurants.)
Water – Bottled water are brought to your table prior to or after placing your food order.
Again if you do not want to pay the surcharge of 0.50 to 2.50 €, speak up. Even if you left it untouched at the end of your meal, it will be charged onto your bill. If you paid for it, don’t forget to take it with you.
The surcharges on bread and water adds up after a few meals. You have to be proactive and aware if you want to stretch your money. Pay attention to your bill at the end of the meal and it’s okay to ask the server to explain the prices. Unless you can read Greek.
Hotels – Despite the economic crisis in Greece, the costs of accommodation has bounced back. Travelers from 2013 have mentioned to me the deals are gone.
I’ve noticed that Greece is not that much cheaper than other EU countries. Then there are not much hostels to choose from. My preferred price for each night is between 10 to 15€. Though some places I’ve had to pay more due to lack of availability.
To note early June is not quite the High season yet so my budget might not be possible at all come July and August.
On this trip in addition to using Booking.com, Hostelworld and Hostelbookers – I’ve also had to use Couchsurfing and AirBnB. When I stayed at an AirBnB with my travel companion, the host mentioned that he used to host Couchsurfers but seeing the option to make money with AirBnB – he switched.
If you want to be a CSer, try to plan ahead. My super last minute plans have been backfiring because I’m providing insufficient amount of notice to hosts.
If you want to make payments with your credit card, some establishments will charge a 5% bank fees. Be aware.
Flights, bus, trains, cars and mobile home rental are the typical choices.
Flights – Ryanair, Aegean airline offer deals for travel within the continent and Greece.
For example, I’ve found a one-way flights between Athens and Crete to be only 15€ more than a ferry journey (40€). Considering the travel time saved, it might be worth it. Though do not forget to consider the cost of the commute to and from the airports. The metro ride to Athens international airport is considerably more expensive than a regular metro ride.
Also to note, luggage surcharges on discount airlines can potentially double the cost of the flight. Remember to read the fine prints!
Bus – If you can sleep on a long distance bus with just a slighty reclined seat back then consider this method of travel. Return tickets on some routes offer discounts. If the return date is unknown, that is okay. Just ask the ticket agent how long is the ticket’s validity.
Trains – Some train routes are faster than the bus, though some take longer. Train travel may be a bit more comfortable for some as there’s room to walk around and stretch your legs.
Both the Bus and Trains offer great opportunities for solo travelers to meet locals and other fellow travelers. Face to face conversations are great for passing the time.
Car and Mobile home rentals – If you’re traveling with at least one more person and not too budget restrained, these would be great options.
Think of the amount of extra freedom you gain. No need to follow any schedules. No need to follow specified routes. You can make as many photo stops and rest stops as you wish.
Road trips are always extra fun for explorations.