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  >  Destination guide   >  How to Plan a Trip to Greece

This post explains exactly how my friends and I planned our trip to Greece. I have included the details and prices of flights, accommodation, domestic travel and the VISA application.

From my experience, you have more opportunity to reduce costs when you plan everything yourself. The other benefit of planning everything yourself is that you do not need to pay a lump sum of money all at once but instead will make payments step wise over an extended period as you follow the 6 steps listed below.

This is the 7 step to do list:

  1. Pick a destination
  2. Finalize dates
  3. Finalize who is going
  4. Buy flights
  5. Book accommodation
  6. Book domestic travel
  7. Apply for Schengen VISA

Step 1: Pick a destination

Price is a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a destination. My friends and I that we wanted a beach vibe. We then narrowed the list of options down to either Maldives or Greece. We ended up agreeing on Greece because it came out as the cheaper option after a quick browse of prices.

Mykonos

Step 2: Finalize dates

Select a date that allows enough time for planning and saving. Always consider the weather at that time of year. We chose the start of autumn (08 to 17 October) which is after peak season. This has it’s pros and cons – I will share more on that in a separate post.

Step 3: Finalize who is going

A lot of people will be keen at first because the sound of an island getaway is appealing to most. However, due to other commitments, finances or any other reason, people might pull out and that’s fine. You will never go on vacation if you try to synchronize 10 people’s calendars, finances and destination preferences. Since destination and dates are finalized at this stage, everyone should be able to confirm whether they are in or out. We traveled as a group of four.

Me and my girls at Paradise Beach in Mykonos

Step 4: Buy flights

There are numerous websites that allow you to compare flight prices quickly and efficiently. We used cheapflights.co.za. On this website, you select a destination and dates and it lists different flight options according to price, flight duration and number of stops.

We chose to fly with Emirates which meant one stop in Dubai. Emirates is my preferred airline because of the comfort of their seats, their wide selection of movies and series on board, the USB connections available for charging your phone and I love the fact that they have WIFI.

Note that you don’t need a VISA to book a flight. All you need are your personal details and money. We booked our flights 4 months in advance. This was the biggest expense of the trip.

Return flight price : R8500

Step 5: Book accommodation

We used Airbnb to book all of our accommodation. For R600 off of your first Airbnb booking use my Airbnb promo code.

We decided on three destinations in Greece for our trip. We chose Athens (city), Mykonos island and Santorini island because these locations each offer a unique experience and are close enough to each other to fit into a 7 day trip.

  • Athens for 2 nights – R1600 (R400 per person)
  • Mykonos for 2 nights – R4286 (R1072 per person)
  • Santorini ย for 3 nights – R7984 (1996 per person)

The lounge in our accommodation in Athens

Views from our private rooftop at our accommodation in Mykonos

The main bedroom in our Santorini accommodation

For more information about Airbnb and other useful accommodation tools, read my blog post titled How to Find Great Accommodation Everytime.

Total cost of accommodation per person: R3468

Step 6: Book domestic travel

You can either travel by ferry or by flight to get from one island to the next. We chose to predominantly travel by flight because this significantly reduces travel time and because if booked in advance can be well priced. For example, it takes 5 to 9 hours to travel by ferry from Santorini to Athens but 45minutes to travel by plane.

The ferry to Santorini

  • Athens to Mykonos using Aegean Airlines for R950
  • Mykonos to Santorini by ferry for R1051
  • Santorini to Athens using Aegen Airlines for R1398.

Total cost of domestic travel: R3348

Step 7: Apply for a Schengen VISA

South Africans are required to have a Schengen VISA in order to travel to Greece. You can only apply for a VISA at this stage as you are required to supply proof of accommodation and flights. The list of VISA application requirements including the application form can be found on the VFS Global website.

The VISA office only opens on weekdays. The application process can take as quick as 15minutes if you have all of your documents. Remember that you have to schedule an appointment before going.

It takes up to 15 calendar days to process your VISA application. They then call to notify you that your VISA is ready for collection. I recommend booking an appointment sooner rather than leaving it till the last minute. You are allowed to apply for a VISA as early as 90 days before departure.

Cost of VISA application: R1280

Done!

The total cost is R16 596

For those looking to spend less, note that you can by reducing your Airbnb accommodation budget or by booking your flights even earlier than we did. Alternatively you can choose to travel between locations by ferry or even travel to fewer locations to cut costs. I will be writing a post soon on how I save up for travels ๐Ÿ™‚

Feel free to ask me any questions ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy planning!

Comments:

  • Emmah

    October 20, 2017

    This was really eye opening ..thank u

    reply...
  • Smanga

    October 20, 2017

    Eye opening and a great post Fari
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    reply...
  • Siza

    October 21, 2017

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that piece. Greece is on my list for a while now but due to cost factors i always pushed it back. Maybe settling for Air BNB is a better option to hotels. Thanks so much @Gophariโค

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  • October 21, 2017

    Yes girl! How I love you. So real. Anyway,yes,Greece has been on my list as well. Been budgeting around that figure,glad to see that should be fine. ALSO I wanna know how you do the saving? Can’t wait for next post. I always move my savings to other things unintended(commitment issues…lol!).Mwa

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  • Ntombi

    November 7, 2017

    Thank you very much Fari,this is very helpful.

    reply...
  • Anthony

    November 10, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing… very detailed. I’ll have to give Air BnB a try. Have you ever tried using DreamTrips for your travel/experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts. Where to next?

    reply...
  • Baphiwe

    November 11, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time as we’re planning for Greece with friends as well.You’ve really narrowed it down. Love your pics, very interesting blog. โค๏ธ

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  • November 15, 2017

    This is incredibly helpful!!Thanks for breaking it down so well.

    reply...
  • Mangi

    January 5, 2018

    OH MY ๐Ÿ™‚ This couldn’t have come at a better time…I was browsing Instagram, then I saw a photo you posted and saw all other beautiful pics your posted and immediately followed your instagram account…wow!!! Then clicked on your bio…and viola…I have am celebrating my 40th in June and I thought of going to Bali, but now I am definitely going to Greece, thank you for these exquisite photos… Have you ever traveled. I want the experience and have never done it…your thoughts on solo trip to Greece…

    reply...
  • Phindile

    February 1, 2018

    Thanks so much for this! Planning a trip to Greece with friends in October this year, i believe that’ll be Autumn. How was the weather for you? Did it get cold at any point? Also, you promised to do a post on the pro’s & con’s of travelling outside of peak season. Hope that post will be up soon!

    Loving your blog!

    reply...
  • Tshepang

    October 23, 2018

    Your blog is so insightful my gosh. I’m glad I came across it. I just wanna find out when it comes to money do I have to exchange my Rands to the currency of the country I’m visiting and at what point do I exchange it.

    reply...
  • November 8, 2018

    Thank you so much, this was super helpful. The R16 500 doesnโ€™t include food or any activities hey? I guess that also person specific but i im curious is food is generally South Aftican or Anerican prices? US food is hella expensive, we were shocked when we arrived. And did u do any nice activities? Thanks Again. Mpho Zim

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  • Karabo

    January 2, 2019

    Thanks for sharing

    I am planning to go in March

    Any tips on the itinerary based on your 3 suggested locations?

    reply...
  • Athie

    September 21, 2019

    Thank you for sharing these tips. We are planning a trip to Greece.

    reply...
  • October 30, 2019
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