To the Editor:
After reading a Letter to the Editor here entitled “Visiting Greece Is More Expensive This Year” (June 18), with the writer being from New York City, my personal experience is totally reversed. My family and I just returned from a fabulous 10-day stay in Crete and found the food at restaurants to be remarkably inexpensive. Five people eating a multi-course meal in a wonderful oceanside location was under $100 euro, including drinks and offered endless shots of the establishment owner’s personal raki stash. They have no theft because, as the establishment owners explained, the word of thefts among tourists is very bad for business. One German woman at our hotel had her purse returned with everything intact when she accidentally left it at a beach overnight.
Sure, the cost of airline tickets doubled from a year ago, but they doubled for all destinations, domestic locations included. And, it costs the same for airline tickets no matter how long you stay, so staying longer isn’t an issue, except if you’re in a 5-star hotel instead of out and about in the villages where things really happen.
Gasoline costs about $2.50/liter if you rent some wheels, but that’s all over Europe, not just Greece. You can rent an electric car from Hertz if the gas price bothers you. We rented ATVs for $55/day and filled the tank just once the entire stay. My wife, who has never been on one loved the experience, including milk and cheese a local shepherd gave us. He milked his goats and made the cheese while we waited… heavenly.
The U.S. dollar is as strong as it has ever been with respect to the euro. It cost only U.S. $1.08 per euro at Bank of America. That’s a huge benefit. Just change your money at your bank before you leave to avoid the ATM or airport exchange fees in Greece. Use a travel type credit card so there are no exchange fees, too. The correct bank exchange rate is applied every time you use the card.
My only complaint was renting a one-way car and driving to JFK to catch a flight to Athens when our flight was cancelled in Boston. What should have been an easy commute was hours longer because of heavy traffic and had us sweating the whole way, thinking we wouldn’t make our flight. A cardboard nothing sandwich and soft drink at a JFK canteen (no scenery, love or raki there for sure) cost $47, and there wasn’t a single shepherd to be found all the way from Boston. Compared to New York City, Greece is hardly “expensive.” After all, what isn’t more costly than last year?