Preparing for your trip
|Athens, Naxos & Santorini Adventure
Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!
Printed Mar 2, 2024. Please visit http://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1629 for the latest updates.
|Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date.
|Passport Pages. Ensure you have enough empty pages in your passport as per the entry requirements at your destination
|Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking.
|Within 5 days of booking
|Make your final payment, if any balance is due.
|See your invoice
|Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip.
|by final payment due date
|Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry.
|Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel.
|Prior to travel
|Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you.
|Prior to travel
|Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency.
|Prior to travel
In addition, if you booked flights with your package:
|Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!)
|After receiving your e‑tickets
|Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference.
|After receiving your e‑tickets
|Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket.
|72 hours prior to travel
|Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available).
|24 hours prior to travel
|Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime!
|3½ hours prior to departure
Documents & Entry Requirements
Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.
Greece Entry Requirements
Advice from our partner Sherpa
General Requirements & Guidelines
- In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
- if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
- Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
- Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.
Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!
Travel Insurance Documents
If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Flights, Transfers & Arrival
Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at
Tour Only Option
If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights into Athens and out of Santorini. The touring program will begin at the hotel in Athens on Day 2 of the listed itinerary and will end in Santorini on Day 10. Generally, hotel check-in time is at 3 PM and check-out is at 11 AM.
Find out what to do in case of arrival complications.
Flights & Tickets
If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.
If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).
Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.
Friendly Planet's toll-free number is 800-555-5765. The direct extension for our air department is 208.
Lufthansa Airlines Toll Free Number is (800) 645-3880
Turkish Airlines Toll Free Number is (800) 874-8875
Alitalia Airlines Toll Free Number is (800) 223-5730
Delta Airlines Toll Free Number is (800) 241-4141
American Airlines Toll Free Number is (800) 433-7300
That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:
If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).
If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.
If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.
You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.
You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.
Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.
If you selected flights with your package, you will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.
If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.
Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.
If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.
If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!
Scheduled airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage.
If you purchased the tour without flights and you submitted your flight itinerary no later than 30 days before your departure date, airport transfers will be provided. If you did not submit your flight itinerary or you are not arriving/departing from the same airport as the rest of the group, you will need to arrange your own ground transportation to the package start and end points. Note that there is no discount for any unused included transfers. Please send us your independent flight itinerary no later than 30 days prior to your departure date from the U.S. so that we can arrange your arrival and departure transfers accordingly.
We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:
- You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
- Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
- Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.
Packing & Luggage
Baggage allowance: Many airlines now charge a fee for checked luggage, and these fees must be paid directly to the airline. Please review your carrier’s baggage policy or contact the airline directly to verify their specific policy. If you are booked on an airline that charges for checked luggage, we recommend that you prepay for the checked bag by logging on to the carrier’s website. Doing so will streamline your check-in process at the airport.
Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.
Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.
Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.
What to pack: Check out our list of top 10 must-haves for international travel, as well as what not to pack. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.
What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.
While on Tour
What to Expect
This leisurely-paced, independent tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. This tour does not include a tour guide or escort.
Cash & Currency: The hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for street shopping, you will need local currency. You will be able to exchange US dollars to Euros in Athens. Although ATMs are available at the airport in Athens and at the different islands, we strongly suggest you bring enough cash.
Tourist Taxes: The Greek Ministry of Tourism has implemented a tourist tax on hotels/lodgings. We have included the tourist tax with the tour pricing, so that you will not have to pay the tax to your hotels upon check-in.
Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!
The hotels throughout Greece range widely and vary depending on location. The hotels used in this program are superior first class. They are neat, comfortable and offer basic amenities and facilities. Most of the hotels on the islands are strategically located to provide you with the stunning view of the island. Please note that we offer an option for hotel upgrade at a reasonable additional cost.
Outside of Athens, you will notice a dearth of the skyscrapers, high-rise buildings, and shopping malls typical in the U.S. On the Greek islands, life moves at a slower, more relaxed pace, but you can always find something delicious to eat or try something new and exciting to do!
Eating & Drinking
The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.
Greek cuisine is reminiscent of Ottoman rule, with dishes based on vegetables, fruits, olives, cheese, bread, and seafood. The Cyclades are known to produce some of the finest feta, olive oil, and wine in the world. There are many exceptional restaurants and taverns across Greece that serve authentic Mediterranean meals, fusion fare, and international dishes made from the freshest ingredients.
Coffee is a huge part in most of Greeks’ life. Locals gather together at any time of the day, over coffee to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. While in Greece, you may want to taste one of the most famous beverage in the country is the Frappe, a cold beverage made from instant coffee.
Non-Included Meals: Your tour includes breakfast daily. Your Athens hotel has a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Several restaurants and cafes offering variety of cuisines are located near your hotels. Average cost for lunch (not including drinks) in the local shops and cafes is about $20 - $30 per person, per meal. Average cost for dinner is about $30 - $40 per person, per meal. Your hotels accept major credit card payments for not-included meals. Most restaurants and cafes accept major credit cards.
Please see above for special meal requests.
You will be traveling through Greece in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. Naturally, tipping is personal and completely voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact.
The recommended amounts are as follows:
- Local guide on optional sightseeing tours: $6-7 per person per day
- Driver on transfers and touring days: $3-5 per person per day
- Restaurant staff: $2-5 per person per meal
- Porters: $3 per bag upon arrival and departure
- Housekeeping: $1-2 per person per day
- Public restroom attendant: $1-2
To enhance and make your visit more complete and memorable, we offer an optional excursion to Cape Sounion that can be prepaid. If you prefer to purchase the optional tour locally, space will be subject to availability, the local selling price may be higher and payment will be collected at the venue. Kindly note, no voucher will be required for the prepaid optional tour.
Your local guide will likewise offer additional optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. Payments for these tours should be made directly to your guide. Payment must be made by cash (US Dollars or Euro) or by credit card (MasterCard, Visa). American Express and Discover cards are not widely accepted. Please note that tours may be subject to minimum number of passengers, and rates originally published on our website may be subject to currency fluctuation.
Greece has about 6,000 islands and some of the most popular are the Cyclades, comprise of around 220 islands. The name was derived from the way the islands were formed encircling the sacred island of Delos in the Aegean Sea, believed to be the birthplace if the Gods Apollo and Artemis. The Cyclades group of islands boast amazing beaches with turquoise water, rich local culture, and historical sites.
Your Athens hotel is a short taxi-ride away and even walking distance from the Plaka. One of the oldest sections of Athens, the Plaka’s winding, cobbled streets are lined with taverns, cafes and shops. The shops range from stores that sell inexpensive souvenir items to exclusive artist-owned showrooms specializing in hand-made original pieces and copies of ancient museum pieces.
Naxos is a quiet and charming traditional island that is truly different from the rest of Greece. The largest and greenest island and one of Cyclades’ hidden gems. The island was previously called ‘Callipolis’, which means ‘the best city’ because it was the heart of center of Cyclades from the ancient times until the medieval era. The island caters to almost any type of traveler. It is a haven for those who love history and culture. The main town, Chora is home of the famous landmark Portara, believed to be the only remnant from temple of Apollo. A number of large fortresses surround the island and among the famous ones are the Tower of Glezos in Chora Naxos, Tower of Agia, and the Tower of Fragopoulos. Visit ancient structures like Castle of Naxos, Panagia Drosiani Church, and The Temple of Demeter. Several interesting museums can also be found in the island like the Archaeological Μuseum of Naxos in Chora and Geological Museum of Apeiranthos. Explore the exquisite villages of Apiranthos, Filoti, Halki, and Agia Anna to name a few to experience the vibrant food culture in the island and to better appreciation of the traditional way of life. Family friendly sandy beaches like the Agios Georgios, Mikri Vigla, and Plaka; the Ayios Prokopios, Alyko and Azalas beach for adventure seekers and nature lovers are accessible from the main town.
Finally, Santorini boasts of the best place in Greece to watch the sunset. Tour the delightful towns of this once volcanic island and get lost in Santorini’s whitewashed buildings, winding streets, and authentic Greek culture. This island is also long assumed to be resting place of Atlantis – the legendary island often known as the “Lost City” that sunk to the bottom of the sea. There are many archeological sites throughout Santorini that allow visitors to travel back through time and glimpse what life would have been like during the ancient civilizations.
We recommend that you ask the front desk for a business card of the hotel with the address and local phone number in both local script and English. Or take the name of the hotel and phone number - written in the local language and in English - with you so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. The hotel staff will gladly assist you with these translations.
Special Needs & Requests
Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!
Greece Fast Facts
|Health Precautions & Vaccinations
There are no health requirements for entering Greece. However, you might want to consider getting a hepatitis vaccination. Ask your physician when planning a trip to Greece.
Greece enjoys relatively mild winters and lovely, temperate autumn and spring. Average temperatures between January and March tend to range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with rain most likely during January. Rain is less likely during February and March. Average temperature in April thru August is about 80 to 90 degrees. In September through November temperatures can range from the mid 60’s to 80’s.
|What to wear
Since the weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella and take with you a lightweight jacket or sweater. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, by all means, take both pairs. Packing to dress in layers is another way to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Finally, remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel.
Please Note: Please dress modestly when visiting religious sites. Arms and legs should be covered. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not permitted. Covered shoulders and skirts below the knee for women, shorts below the knee for men are highly suggested.
A small gratuity to your guides and drivers will be greatly appreciated by them. The recommended amount is 7-10 Euros per person per day for the local guide and 2 Euro per person per day for the driver on optional day tours. It is also customary to tip the hotel staff. Our recommended amount is 1EUR per person per day for housekeeping. The same amount is recommended for restaurant staff. In general, tipping is, of course, a personal matter and an expression of your satisfaction with services provided to you.
|Money & Credit Cards
The official currency in Greece is the Euro. Major cities have ATMs. The hotels and some stores will be able to accept major credit cards. However, for street shopping, you will need local currency. You will be able to exchange US dollars to Euros at the airport, bank, or foreign exchange bureau. Although ATMs are available in major cities, we strongly suggest you bring enough cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Greece. If you intend to use traveler’s checks during your trip, please verify they are still accepted in the places visited on this tour.
Note for those on the Greek Isles Cruises: Upon boarding the ship, passengers are required to provide a credit card number that will be pre-approved for a minimum amount. At the end of the cruise, you will only be charged for what you actually spent. The ship’s reception can exchange a limited amount of USD for Euros.
Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.
You will certainly have time for shopping, and Greece offers a great variety of goods to satisfy different tastes and price ranges. It is always a good idea to comparison-shop, and exercise the “buyer-beware” rule, just as you do at home. Be sure to inspect the merchandise before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.
|Electricity & Power Adapters
The electrical current at the hotels in Greece is 230 volts with 50 cycles. On the cruise ships, the electrical current is 220 volts with 50 cycles. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.
Learn more about electrical standards around the world.
|Cell Phones & Internet
Cameras and video recorders are allowed almost everywhere in Greece, and in fact, you will want to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent panoramas you’ll encounter as you travel. Photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will also be readily available, especially in major cities.
|Did you know?
Notes & Fine Print
The Travelers Registration page must be completed, including all passport(s) information, within 24 hours of your reservation being completed. If we have not received this information, your reservation will be subject to a higher airfare and/or cancellation. A link to the Travelers Registration page will be provided via email when your reservation has been completed.
Additional charges for flights from cities other than JFK will be charged within 24 hours of your booking.
Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.
Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.