Greece – Know Before You Go

Greece – Know Before You Go

photos of Greece

7 Tips for the BEST family adventure in Greece!!

Preparation before any 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.  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 vacation in Greece?

ancient column against blue sky, Greece know before you go,

Greece – Know Before You Go –  #1 Greece uses the Euro.

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 with euros for Greece.

Letting the kids handle cash is a GREAT idea. Handling the local money will give them a richer cultural experience and strengthen their money skills as well!

Read more  tips on kids and learning about money here.

Oh, and it might go without saying, but just in case – traveler’s cheques are antiquated and not used anymore!

Keep the money you carry around when you travel SAFE from pick pockets. We love to use a money belt and other ways to carry cash safely.


Greece –  Know Before You Go –  #2 Toilet Info

Bathrooms – restrooms – toilets, whatever you call the facilities, 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. In this part of the world – put your toilet paper in the trash can like everyone else.

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 and raising global citizens and this is a great place to start. I think we can all agree the world would do better with more of tolerance, 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 for help

Greeks are pretty straight forward people and love to help. BUT, they won’t ‘bother’ you by offering to help. If you are standing there consulting a map with a confused look on your face no one assume you need help. Instead, they’ll assume you’ll ask for help if you need it. So…if you need help ask and you’ll find Greeks to be friendly and receptive. They prefer to err on the side of letting you have your space in case you might not want assistance.

What if you don’t speak Greek? Well, I assume since  you are reading this post that you speak English and you’ll find lots of English spoken in Greece.

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 sun safety. A bad sunburn would put a damper on anyone’s vacation AND increase the chances of skin cancer. 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.

Here is my all time favorite travel hat – The Barmah Canvas Drover Hat. I love it! Buy it in black, brown, tan or khaki. I’ve taken this hat everywhere and it travels like a dream.

The Educational Tourist in front of Evzone in Athens, Greece

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.

I love Keen shoes. They are cute and super comfortable. I have this pair in black and they have seen many a cobblestone path.

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.

Hello    charete

Thank you    efcharisto

Please   parakalo poly

I’m sorry   sygnomi

“Old fashioned” phrase books still work GREAT!

This ‘phrase’ book has to be the easiest one ever! Just find the photo and then point. This is universal.

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 8067 page book on ancient history when all you need is the main stuff?

Books about Greece

If your family adventures take you to the sunny and wonderful Greece you’ll be interested in these related posts.

Greece – Get ready to take the KIDS

Greece Food is a Big Part of the Travel Fun

Santorini – Tips for the Island of Thira

Vacation starts when the plane wheels go up!  Don’t fear the electronics ban. Keep your kids busy and happy on a plane.

Activities for KIDS – Long Plane Rides

The Educational Tourist and kids in Turkey, Travel Activities for KIDS using paper,

OPA! Happy Greek Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo

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5 Responses

  1. Rajkumar says:

    Hey thanks for the post. As it is Greek for you you made it understandable for others. That was a great thought.

  2. Adventorama says:

    Hi Natalie, I am from Greece and I can tell you that your “Know before you go guide” is pretty accurate!
    Kudos about the toilet info! And teaching children about each country’s differences in general. In almost every toilet there is a sign that says “Don’t throw anything in the Toilet” with big red letters and yet almost everyone ignores it.
    For some unknown reason we have very narrow pipes here in Greece. But then, on the other hand this gives more work opportunities to our plumbers. So, thank you for that, haha.

  1. July 11, 2017

    […] Greece – all you need to know before you go! […]

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