Greece: September 9 – October 22, 2020 (42 nights, plus two travel days)
Financial Summary – in Canadian dollars
Pre-travel costs: $3933
Food & beverage: $2861
Fuel & transportation: $1542
Grand total: $11947
Pre-travel costs: flights, travel insurance.
Travel insurance through Medipac: $760. This is about $100 more than a regular travel insurance quote, as it included Covid coverage, but we felt it was worth the peace of mind.
Flights: Air Canada – three flights each way: Nanaimo/Vancouver/Toronto/Athens $3173 ( which included the cost of purchasing seats on four flights). We purchased aisle and window seats in advance hoping to avoid a middle seat traveling companion. This strategy was successful, but that extra expense was probably unnecessary as most of the six flights were between 40% and 60% full.
Total pre-travel costs were $3933.
Travel costs are broken into four categories: accommodation; food and beverage; fuel and transit; and miscellaneous.
Accommodation for 42 nights averaged $70/ night for a total of $2921.
We are budget travellers, which by our definition falls between shoestring and mid-range.
When we are planning and researching a trip, we find that accommodation costs will be a good indicator of what our trip might cost and that helps to determine our budget. Other costs such as flights, visas, required shots, etc. are also considered.
We look for our accommodation on either bookings.com (they often have great cancellation policies and competitive pricing) or Airbnb. Before we departed, we had our first 10 nights booked. After that, we booked as we travelled, in part because we wanted to keep our itinerary flexible and in part because Covid allowed us the luxury of doing that and still have great selection and price. We found most prices discounted by about 20%, but that could also have reflected shoulder seasons prices.
Our criteria in selecting accommodation is: central location, having a small kitchen, comfortable seating and good wifi. Outdoor seating is a bonus. We also look for mentions of “clean” and “quiet” and “comfortable bed” in the reviews.
Food and beverage costs for 44 travel days averaged $65/day for a total of $2861.
We tended to eat breakfast in our room: either it was provided or we brought in supplies. Lunch, snacks, coffees and dinner were usually eaten out. Restaurant meals were usually quite reasonable.
Interestingly, wine is cheap in Greece, but a mid-afternoon stop at a cafe with two coffees and a shared sweet could set us back $15-$17.
Fuel and transportation costs include ground transportation in Canada and Greece, one domestic flight, four ferries, a number of buses and three car rentals = $1542.
Car rentals for 16 days had an average daily cost of $21, with a total cost of $331. Gas in Greece is expensive, at $2.40 per litre, but most vehicles are small and fuel-efficient, and a fill-up goes a long way.
Ferry trips for Crete to Santorini, Santorini to Piraeus (Athens); Piraeus to Hydra and Hydra to Piraeus were $556.
Miscellaneous cost were $690. This included admissions to museums ( $5- 30 pp), sun beds ($10 for two sun beds and an umbrella), SIM card and phone plans ($20 per month).
The exchange rate is a significant (and hidden) expense that must be considered. The prices we have quoted for our expenses are all in Canadian dollars, but obviously everything in Greece is in Euros. The exchange rate varied from $1.60-$1.70 CAD to one Euro. A German or French traveller would pay 3.50 Euros for an iced cappuccino; the real cost to a Canadian traveller would be $6.00 CAD.