My father in-law is 100% Greek. Raised in Chicago by a ginormous family of other 100% greeks, he bears the look of a salty Mediterranean mountain man who happens to have two Masters degrees and a BMW. He’s very connected to the Greek community in Chicago and as a result has been constantly calling me this week with doom-and-gloom predictions for his homeland in the coming weeks and months.
“It’s going to be so unstable.”
“There may be riots!”
“I don’t think you want to set foot in Athens…”
“You guys should really think about this trip.”
I’m pretty sure he’s doing this because we’re going to Greece without him.
Now to be fair, I wanted him to come with us. The man speaks Greek fluently, for starters. Also, he’s pretty fun for a father in-law. So I gave him plenty of opportunity to book his own flights and even did the research for him in case he wanted to cash in some of his AAdvantage miles. I told him about the food scene on Mykonos, which he repeatedly brushed until a fellow Chicago Greek confirmed my reports. Suddenly he was a little more interested in joining us. But in the end he never booked a flight. Instead, he chose to keep telling us why visiting Greece right now “might be a bad idea.”
I’m not worried.
For starters, there’s this great article from Vox that explains why now is actually a really good time to be a tourist in Greece. Basically, right now Greece is very dependent on a strong tourism trade to help alleviate their debt woes. That means if you’re bring cash into the country, people want your business. And if nervous travelers start (foolishly) canceling their plans, great deals on accommodations and tours could spring up.
Also, we’re not wandering too far off the beaten path since this is our first trip there. The first few days of our trip, in Mykonos, will probably just be spent on the beaches or in the bed adjusting to the jet lag. Athens will likely be museums, art galleries and parks. If we do any serious trekking around, it’ll probably be on Crete. I’m personally keen to do a bike ride or hike a few gorges on Crete, but the prices I’ve seen lately run around 100 euro for what amounts to a bike rental and a map. I’m hoping to find better prices when we arrive, since this trip is going to be very budget-conscious.
One aspect of staying budget conscious on this trip is spending less time in Mykonos than our other two Greek destinations. Mykonos is notoriously pricey, so we’ve only allotted about three days here as opposed to four like we planned for Athens and in Crete. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to be able to spend a week lounging on clothing-optional beaches by day and dancing till dawn by night, but we’re not about to spend through the roof to do it. So we booked our hotel using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, leaving local transportation, shopping and food as our only major costs. And sunblock. We don’t want to go burning the fun bits, now do we? We do not.
While bus fares around the island are around 2 euro each way and taxis a respectable 8-10 euro each way to most of the island, food and drink tend to pose the most danger to a budget. With Mykonos’ well-earned reputation as the sun-soaked playground of the Mediterranean drawing the decadent masses to its shores, beers often run north of 4 euro a pint and sit-down dinners can easily set a party of two back 80 euro. That means we have a bit of research to do if we want to eat well without breaking the bank. And so far, here are some of the best resources I’ve uncovered for making your way around Mykonos on a budget:
My Greece Travel Blog – 2015 Mykonos Restaurant Report
Lonely Planet – Affordable Greece
TripAdvisor – Mykonos Cheap Eats
InMykonos – Food & Drink
TripAdvisor – Gay Mykonos
Nomadic Matt – Greece Travel Tips
Do you have any favorite resources for budget travel in Greece? Share them in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list here.