Greece – Know Before You Go
Greece – Know Before You Go
Tips for the BEST family adventure possible!!
Preparation before a trip is priceless. You’ll appreciate the country, the culture, the experience SOOO much more if you have a little bit of understanding before you go. AND tips before a trip will help you head off possible problems. For example, should you tip? In some countries like the US, tipping is expected in others..not so. Know before you go to feel comfortable and have a positive experience. Don’t waste time dealing with mistakes you could have avoided!!! You need to spend all your time enjoying, relaxing, de-stressing!
FOR example! Don’t do as I did! Know before you go!
In my early traveling days, I found myself in a small town in Italy in need of cash. I had credit cards and traveler’s cheques (Yes, I know I just dated myself because those things haven’t been used in a hundred years. LOL!) and was confident that when I needed cash I would just use the ATM machine. Well, little did I know that in this small town ATMs were often empty of cash. We went to 3 and found them empty. Thankfully I was with a friend who loaned me the money I needed till I found a place to get cash. Since then, I ALWAYS have a lot of cash available. (Shh…hope the pick pockets aren’t reading this. LOL!)
So, what do you need to know before you head to Greece?
Greece – Know Before You Go – #1 Money
Cash is king, or so the saying goes. Many places take credit cards and if you are like me, always happy to earn a few airline miles on the credit card for future travel, a credit card is always my go to. HOWEVER, Is is always a good idea to have cash on you in the local currency. Sometimes you get a better deal with cash. Sometimes the credit card machine isn’t working and cash is the only option. Sometimes the establishment might take OTHER types of credit cards and not the type you have. Be ready!!
Letting the kids handle cash is a GREAT idea. Handling the local money will give them a richer cultural experience and strengthen their match skills as well! Read more tips on kids and money here.
Oh, and it might go without saying, but just in case – traveler’s cheques are antiquated and not used anymore!
Greece – Know Before You Go – #2 Toilet Info
Bathrooms – restrooms – toilets, the need to go is always an interesting part of the adventure. My kids love to see the differences in how to flush and how to work the knobs on the sink. I remember the first time my son encountered an unusual sink situation. He was barely 5 and we were in Rome. You turned the water on by stepping on a button on the floor. He was just so excited to figure this out. We all agreed that is actually a great idea!
In Greece – toilet paper goes in the trash can. Yes, toilet paper goes in the trash can. This might seem weird and less clean or smelly or whatever to those who are blessed with wonderful plumbing.
PLEASE be culturally sensitive and obey this important rule. Toilet paper goes in the trash can.
Why should we care so much about this rule? Well, firstly it is a great idea to show the kids that not everyone does things the same way we do at home and THIS IS OK. We are teaching tolerance. I think we can all agree the world would do better with more of that, right? Be a leader and start the tolerance movement with your own kiddos! You are making the world a better place. Rock on, mom!
You do not want to be the one tourist who messes up the plumbing system! If you put toilet paper (or lady products) in the toilet and the plumbing can’t handle it…things will overflow….plumbers will have to be called and paid for…the toilet will be out of commission…. don’t give anyone a headache!! Just put the toilet paper in the trash can.
Greece – Know Before You Go – #3 ASK
Greeks are pretty straight forward people and love to help. BUT, they won’t ‘bother’ you by offering to help. So…if you need help ask and they are friendly and receptive. They prefer to err on the side of letting you have your space in case you might not want assistance.
Greece – Know Before You Go – #4 Sunscreen
Greece is one of the sunniest countries in the world! The island of Rhodes has 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. When we are on vacation we tend to spend more time outdoors than usual so we end up soaking up a lot of sun. Be careful about it. A bad sunburn would put a damper on anyone’s vacation AND future skin safety. I personally like to use a hat when I’m out and about. Read here about choosing the perfect hat for YOUR face and look fabulous in travel photos no matter what your hair has been through – sand, surf, wind, etc.
Greece – Know Before You Go – #5 Wear sturdy shoes
OK for once, it is actually against the law to wear high heels. Yes, you read that correctly, when touring around the ancient sites – high heels shoes are forbidden because they have been damaging the ancient sights According to the Director of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Eleni Korka,
“Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments. These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must realise that.’
There might be some discussion as to whether or not your heels (stacked heel? stiletto? wedge?) actually wound the skin of the ancient sight, but shouldn’t you err on the safe side? Wear something flat and give your feet AND the ancient sights a break.
If you want to wear high heels around modern Greece you are of course welcome to do that! But when it comes to ancient sites…. Let’s leave things looking great for the generations to come!
Greece – Know Before You Go – #6 “It’s all Greek to me!” Relax!
All Greeks study English starting in the 3rd grade so anyone under the age of about 50 will have a much better command of your language than you have of theirs! Those who deal with tourists all the time usually speak English as well as you do. BUT you should most definitely learn a few words and phrases to make your trip more fun and help you feel closer to the culture you have come so far to see!
Here are a few to start with: Google Translate is helpful with pronunciation.
Thank you efcharisto
Please parakalo poly
I’m sorry sygnomi
Greece – Know Before You Go – #7 READ
My number one tip for what to do before you visit ANY new destination is to read about it before hand. This is especially great advice for children. Learning a little about the culture, history, food, art – really whatever you like in general, will give you an even greater experience when you go.
Click for my carefully researched book list of KID’s books about Greece and keep in mind – they make great ‘cliff notes’ type research for grown ups. Why pour over an 867 page book on ancient history when all you need is the main stuff?
If your family adventures take you to the sunny and wonderful Greece you’ll be interested in these related posts.
Vacation starts when the plane wheels go up! Don’t fear the electronics ban. Keep your kids busy and happy on a plane.
OPA! Happy Greek Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist