Travel to Greece – Are the warning signs out there?
In the past several days there have been several tour operators that have offered deep discounts, up to 50%, for trips to Greece. At the same time representatives of Greece have been meeting with financial representatives of the EU to try to avoid a massive financial default on Greece’s staggering debt load and to avoid Greece exiting the Euro zone – or as it’s being referred to as “Grexit”.
Can this effect travel to Greece? Yes, it might be a crystal ball foretelling impending doom. Historically, deeply discounted tours might be indicative of a destination or tour that’s in financial trouble and discounts are a drastic way of trying to increase cash flow.
What does this mean for those travelers planning a trip to Greece? It means they should take steps to protect their trip investment. Here are some ways they can minimize risk:
- deal with only reputable tour companies or airlines. See if they are a member of the USTOA and qualify for their tour protection bond.
- use plastic to pay for all pre-paid travel arrangements – Federal Credit regulations allow for credit disputes if services are not provided even if due to bankruptcy of the travel provide.
- consider travel insurance which includes “default” protection for the bankruptcy of their tour operator or airline. Many travel insurance plans automatically include default protection as part of the standard trip cancellation/interruption coverage however, some of the plans make it a time sensitive benefit that is only available if the traveler buys coverage within 2 to 3 weeks following their first trip payment.. Some plans also may include a waiting period after the purchase of a policy before “default” coverage becomes effective.
Consumer advocates strongly recommend buying travel insurance through a third party rather than from a tour operator, cruise line, or airline – the reason being that most of their plans exclude coverage for their own default or bankruptcy. When buying travel insurance it is always best to buy from a third party offers multiple plans and the ability to compare coverages before buying. It’s the only way a consumer can find the best plan for their trip.