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Supposed itinerary, greece, October 2018

I am posting my revised supposed partial itinery in a new thread instead of at the end of my other thread. Here I am not listing every museum or site. But I do have a more detailed itinerary written I can post. I want to first see if this is makes logistical or rational sense. I am not going to rent a car.

Last Saturday of September: airplane from Detroit to Santorini (have not bought tickets yet. Don’t know what my flight plan will be. Don’t know whether I will end with a flight to Santorini, or to Heraklion and take a boat to Santorini, or some other arrangement. Would be happy to take small airplanes if the prices and times of day are good)

Sunday: Santorini. Sleep on Santoirni.
Monday: Santorini. “ “ “
Tuesday: Santorini. “
Wednesday: airplane and bus to Delphi. Sleep in Delphi. Don’t know whether I will have time to see anything the day I arrive.
Thursday: Outdoor site; museum. Sleep in Delphi again.
Friday: Bus to Nafplio. Sleep in Nafplio.
Saturday: walking tour; possibly archaeologu museum. Sleep in Nafplio.
Sunday: Day trip to Mycenae. Sleep in Nafplio.
Monday: Buses to Athens. If possible, see Acrocorinth and/or the canal on the way.
Tuesday: Athens. Walking tour. Acropolis museum?
Wed: National archaeology museum. Ancient Agora if haven’t seen yet.
Thu: Jewish museum. Benaki Greek museum? Roman forum if haven’t seen yet?
Fri: Museum of city of Athens? Museum of Greek popular instruments. Panthenaic stadium?
Sat: Airplane back to Detroit.

Are there other ways to fit in the sites outside Athens that would make more sense?

I would not eat in archaeology sites, but would I be able to smuggle food in so I can eat just before entering or just after leaving? Or do the sites have coat rooms or lockers? I am on a radically restrictive diet consisting of mainly fruit but I can’t or won’t not carry around food or go too many hours without eating just because I worry that restaurant food is unhealthy.

I am going to greece just to take a trip and because I vaguely think ancient Greek cultures were so influencial and grandiose. I only have minimal knowledge about ancient Greece but I plan to do some background reading between this week and before my trip.

My story is the same as before. I am a man traveling alone. My budget is ~$2,900-$3,100 US dollars, or less. This amount is supposed to cover airplane tickets, loging places, food, sites, transportion, and so on. Some of you have more experience than me in traveling; and my method of traveling might seem weirdly different from you and I don’t think I would have a better time if I stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels and ate in restaurants every day.

Posted by
1111 posts

my method of traveling might seem weirdly different from you

First off, no need to justify yourself for anything! This is your trip, and you should be the one to enjoy it.

So you'll have at least two, possibly three full days on Santorini. That's good, and I am sure you will enjoy those days.

For Athens, it looks like you have a pretty good schedule. I like the smaller things along the way you put in there, like the museum of Greek popular instruments. We went there too!

I can't really comment on Delphi etc. because I haven't been there.

would I be able to smuggle food in

I don't think you need to worry too much about not being allowed to eat in Greek archeological sites. Greeks are usually pretty relaxed about these kinds of things. Nobody will mind if you have some food in your backpack.
The only problem you'll have is if you look so conspicuously self-conscious about your backpack that you make them think you've got explosives in there. :-)

One thing that you really should take along wherever you go, especially on longer sightseeing tours, is water.

I am on a radically restrictive diet consisting of mainly fruit

Another thing you don't need to justify yourself for! It's your choice, and it's your life.

Posted by
668 posts

Does my supposed itinerary logistically make sense? Would it be too difficult to see the canal at corinth and possibly some ruins nearby? Does my supposed itinerary involve too much time wasted on buses? Have any of you taken an airplane to or from Santorini? Am I planning to move aroung too much or too little?

Posted by
1111 posts

I have taken airplanes to and from Santorini. What's your question about that?

I'm sorry I can't comment on your other mainland destinations since I haven't been there.

I currently eat fish sometimes

I am relieved to hear that. Greece is a great place to eat fish. And I'd encourage you to try not only cooked fish but grilled fish. It's excellent in taste and - what may surprise you - prepared exactly according to your diet: no oil, almost no salt. Ask them to give you some vegetables on the side instead of the usual french fries.

Posted by
714 posts

The canal is near the town of modern Corinth, which is some distance from the ruins of the ancient city and even further from Acrocorinth, the hilltop fortress. There is a bus that takes you from modern Corinth to the ruins ... but don’t know the details, I know I read about on the forum; it might’ve been one of Janet’s posts.

Posted by
668 posts

I am thinking of skipping the ruins at or near ancient Corinth. Would it be too complicated to try to see the Corinth canal?

If you were me would you search for airplane tickets by searching for a multi-city flight plan from Detroit to Santorini (Thira), Thira to Athens, and Athens (back) to Detroit? The list of results will contain various flight plans that might involve changing airplanes in various cities. For example, as of today my current best search result involves changing airplanes in Philadelphia and in Athens, Greece. Earlier, I had thought I should search for a round trip flight from Detroit to Athens, and buy round trip tickets from Athens to Santorini, separately. For round trip tickets to Athens, the best flight plan seems to inovlve changing airplanes in Toronto. To minimize you complianing about what I am writing or worse, or to minimize accusations that I want somebody else to plan my trip for me, I probably already know what tickets I want, I just want to see if what I want is the same as what somebody else might suggest, and I won’t argue for the opposite of what you write just to be ornary. My theory is also that I want to buy directly from an airline, but I have no loyalty to any specific airline. I don’t pay attention to accumulated airline miles. I just pick the whichever airline offers the best flight plan or the best combination of price and duration and which cities I change airplanes in.

Do you think I am planning to move around Greece too much or too little? My interests are ruins, history, scenery, museums; not beches, unless to sit on a beach briefly if I just happen to be near one; walking with breaks to sit for a few minutes every so often but not an excessive amount of time sitting when I could be seeing sites or monument sor scenery.

Posted by
668 posts

Orbiz dot com is the only site I saw so far - including airline websites and airplane ticket/hotel booking sites - that provides a flight plan for sale for Detroit to Thira, Thira to Athens, and Athens to Detroit. All the other sites give no results, or charge much more just for Detroit to Athens round trip.

Posted by
1472 posts

I just booked flights through to Santorini from U.S. and found it much cheaper to book round trip to Athens on one ticket and then to buy a separate ticket to Santorini from Athens.

Beth

Posted by
2265 posts

Mike, lots to comment on here, but I will only mention one thing. I spent 3 weeks in Greece this past June, and I was very impressed with the high quality of the English language of many people in Greece, of various ages and backgrounds. I think you will find it easy to ask questions and strike up good conversations with Greek people during your travels. Of course, that would take some initiative on your part. Happy travels!

Posted by
668 posts

Yesterday Orbiz offered Detroit-Thira, Thira-Athens, Athens-Detroit, for under $900. Now the price on the same site went up to over $2,000.

Posted by
2583 posts

That's what happens mike when you dither & hesitate. Us Greek-flight vets know, when u see a rate under $1000, POUNCE.

Posted by
19217 posts

Mike, I suggest taking the Thira-Athens hop out of the equation. I don't think you'll benefit, price-wise, by including that domestic leg that falls in the middle of your trip. It's likely to be the international flights that are bouncing around a lot.

Posted by
3492 posts

Two quick observations. The Ancient Agora, in my opinion, is an absolute must see. One of the best preserved temples in all of Greece is there. Second, Mykonos is not on your itinerary and that's ok. It's good in and of itself, but a side trip from there to Delos (aka "The Island of the Gods" or "The Birthplace of the Gods") is really great. Google it, see it holds any interest, and see if it will fit into your schedule.

Posted by
668 posts

When you see a good price on an airplane ticket, you do not pounce. You look up the flight again and read the website very carefully to see if what you think you are going to get is what you are going to get if you enter your credit card number. The just under $900 price is for a one way ticket to Thira, even though I got that price clicking multi-city and entering 3 flights.

Posted by
6758 posts

It's way too early, but I would consider Turkish Air. You'll have to go through Istanbul but the flight will be (likely) direct overnight from Detroit to Istanbul, then a quick connection to Athens. I don't think you need to pounce on anything either, you have plenty of time to make a good decision. Prices will continue to go up and down, no need to stress over a single jump in price.

Posted by
1472 posts

My daughter and her husband got a 800+ flight from Atlanta to Athens via Istanbul on Turkish Air. But the same flight out of Miami was more than $400 more with a too long layover. Delta, United, and American were less out of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale than Atlanta. So it seems that it isn't just the airline but where you are flying out off.

You do have to be careful on the consolidators as sometimes they switch the dates and what seems like a good buy is actually for different dates than you wanted.

That said, I saw really cheap flights from Miami to Athens last summer but did not buy them as I was still trying to figure out the trip. I was thinking they would reappear but they did not in six months of watching. I finally got sick of the whole search and bought tickets a week ago for next May.

One advantage of waiting is I realized what a challenge an early morning flight was going to be in Athens. The cheapest flights at least from here leave at 6 or 7 pm and it is about an hour to the airport from central Athens. So in the end, I bought tickets for flights leaving at 11:30 am. So consider the departure time when buying a ticket. Taxis in the middle of the night are expensive and the hotel at the airport is expensive.

Beth

Posted by
668 posts

The best or most appealing flight plans I saw offered for sale are:

under $800 US dollars - if this isn’t suspicious - purchased from air Canada, leaving Detroit at 2:30 pm, to Toronto to Athens at 9:20 Athens time, only 1 hour and 2 minutes to transfer airplanes in Toronto; and

Under $1500, from American airlines, from Detroit leaving at 1:15 pm, to Philadelphia to Athens, arriving 9:15am Athens time.

I took 2 (round trip) airplane flights in my life (4 flights total, both alone and within the past 3 years: Detroit directly to London, England, and Detroit directly to Rome, Italy). Is there such a thing as missing a connecting flight?

Posted by
2583 posts

Mike I take the Philly flight all the time because that's where I live ... but Air Canada is miles better! Better seats, nicer flight attendants, better service period. If you worry about the short layover, your checked bag will be automatically transferred by Air Canada. IF you are worried about you yourself making the connection you could do one of 2 things:
• Sit at home and worry and stew and work yourself into a frenzy, or
• Telephone Air Canada, speak in person to a respresentative, and tell him/her about your connection concern. Tell this person that since Air Canada is selling a ticket with this short layover, they must of course have arrangements to assure the connection. Ask them whether you will need to go through security in Toronto, or whether "through passengers" can go directly to the Gate of the overseas flight. Ask what arrangements are made when the Detroit plane lands in Toronto, for the Greece-connection Passengers to be quickly escorted to the overseas-flight gate. (I have had flights in which the Airline provided such escorts).

Additionally, it is also prudent to book a seat as far forward in the Detroit plane as y ou cn... and also to tell the flight attendant, once you are aloft, that you have a close connection, and need to disembark the plane at "the head of the line" if possible. I have also asked that in the past, and have always had cooperation. Once the flight attendant came and got me when the flight neared completion, and put me in an empty first-class seat riht by the exit.

I have faith in Air Canada because of its record of superb customer service and satisfaction, if you do as I suggest. I realize that worry is your natural instinct -- but this time, sensible optimistic ACTION is called for.

Posted by
3 posts

Just a couple of comments:
In addition to Rick Steves I got a lot of great information from Matt Barrett at greecetravel.com. He lists a taxi guy named George that can set you up with a driver to take you on an Athens tour or to Delphi and other places which we took advantage of. There are probably many like this.

Nafplio is a great place to visit. If you get a chance you may want to visit Epidaurus on the way back to Athens. It has the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece. Very cool.

Also in Nafplio there used to be a guy named Aris that had a sail boat at the harbor. You could sign up with him and he will take you out sailing for the day. Must sign up a day in advance. He shows you how to sail the boat. This was several years ago, so not sure he is still there, but we changed our travel plans to do this and had a great time.

Posted by
668 posts

The best flight plan I saw offered for sale, for me, looks like the flight operated by American Airlines that costs $1,486, which (every Saturday) Leaves Detroit at 11:08 am, arrives at Philadelphia at 12:40pm, 3 hour 50 minute layover; next airplane leaves 4:30pm, arrives in Athens at 9:15am. ... Leaves Athens 11:45, gets to Philadelphia at 3:55 pm, 2 hour 7 minute layover, next plane leaves at 6:02, arrives in Detroit 7:49pm. The same flight plan is operated every day, and approximately $100 cheaper leaving and arriving on Tuesdays, the day my mother is off work; it is objectively not worth it to me to lave on a Tuesday instead of a Saturday.

The same airline has another flight plan that is the same price and the same Philadelphia to Athens flight, but the Detroit-Philadelpia flight is from 1:15pm-2:55pm, leaving only a 1 hour 35 minute layover.

Air canada offers another trip that is Detroit (10:30am)- Toronto (11:38am), 5 hour 2 minute layover instead of the other trip they are selling, with only a 1 hour 2 minutes layover. Leaves Toronto 4:40pm, arrives in Athens 9:20am. The round trip cost is cheaper, $1,479, with the option of paying $10-30 extra per flight to select a seat. The return flight plan arrives in Detroit at 10:03pm, past my parents normal bed time, not worth it to just save $7. At first I saw a price of $717 for this trip and l wanted to think that was the round trip price, but that is just the price for the outbound trip. The return trip is $762. Even if Air Canada is objectively somehow is a nicer experince in terms of space between you and the back of the seat in front of you, or better for other reasons, an airplane ride is just an airplane ride to me and American Airlines departure/arrival time are objectively better for me.

Prices for my trip are not bouncing around. Sometimes, when I see prices of trips on a website, which are under $800, these prices are just the outbound trips; if I (you) want this trip, you would select it, and then you would see another list of return (inbound) trips and prices for just the return trips.

An acquaintance told me that the cheapest way for me to get to Greece would be to take a Greyhound bus to Toronto, get transportation to the airport, then fly round trip from Toronto-Athens. Not worth it to me, even if this travel sceme could save me $300 or more.

I saw tickets for sale from other sellers that go from Detroit-Washington, D.C.-Istanbul-Athens. But this sort of trip has 3 flights; I would prefer one of the trips with just 2 flights, even if the cost of a 3-flight trip would be up to $500 cheaper. I won’t make my trip excessively long or exhausting just to save a few hundred dollars.

Delta is selling trips from Detroit to Athens, starting at $1,512, that involve changing airplanes in Paris, France or Vienna, Austria. I don’t see any advantage to this over the American Airlines flights.

A co-worker took a 6 day trip to Spain with her family in December, last month; she wonders why I need two weeks in just one country. Should I just cut my trip down to one week and just make due with seeing fewer sites and fewer museums?

Posted by
19217 posts

With all due respect to your co-worker, I would never fly all the way to Spain and stay only 6 days.

On the outbound trip, if I have to change planes, I prefer to do it in Europe. If I somehow miss the connection I am at least in Europe and there are probably lots of flights that will get me to my destination the same day. Of course, I would need the cooperation of my airline to get re-booked. Sometimes in a pinch you can hop on a train and still get to your first-night destination on time. (Obviously, that won't work when you're heading to Greece.)

If you miss a connection in Philadelphia, NYC, or some other US airport, there won't be very many later flights going to your European destination that same day--perhaps none on airlines belonging to the same group as the one you were scheduled to take. In that situation, it is possible to lose the first day of your trip.

Posted by
668 posts

(Just to make sure I am not going to spend more money than necessary on my airline flights, even though I am 90% sure I picked the best flight for me and now I am just waiting to actually buy the tickets), what if I tried buying separate tickets from:
One way from Detroit to some major city in Europe,
that city to Thira,
Thira to Athens,
and Athens back to Detroit (searching and buying this as one trip and then this trip will just happen to involve changing airplanes once, in Europe or in the Eastern USA)

Or perhaps I could get a round trip ticket to some major city in Europe, then separately, buy tickets from:
That city to Thira,
Thira to Athens,
and Athens back to the city my transatlantic round trip flights arrives and leaves from.

Would any of these speculations save me money and if so would it be logistically possible? And even if such a travel plan looks logistically possible, what kind of problems could it cause me?

Posted by
19217 posts

There are two kinds of airlines flying across the Atlantic:

  • Traditional airlines that make buying one-way tickets cost-prohibitive. For them, you'll definitely need to buy a round-trip ticket, but it doesn't necessarily have to be in and out of the same city. So you could go Detroit-Santorini / Athens-Detroit. Or something like that. Putting those flights on two separate tickets will double your cost, or more, on United, Delta, American, KLM, Lufthansa, etc.

  • Budget trans-Atlantic airlines that price their tickets so that one-way fares are about half the cost of a round-trip fare. The ones I'm aware of are Icelandair, WOW and Norwegian Air Shuttle. With those guys, yes, you can travel to Europe on one ticket and back on a different ticket, probably with no price penalty.

HOWEVER, when you start talking about splitting up your trip from the US to your first stop, or the trip from your last stop back to the US, you're on shaky ground. When you plan to use two (or more) tickets for what would logically be thought of as a single trip, you have an "unprotected connection". That means that it is 100% on you to make the second flight. If something goes wrong with the first flight (canceled or significantly delayed) and you miss the connection, no one is going to give you any money back. You are now in some place you do not want to be, and you have to buy a new ticket at the spur-of-the-moment fare, which can be very, very high (could be three, four or five times what the ticket would have cost if bought 60 or 90 days earlier).

It is not all uncommon for airlines to make significant schedule changes in the months leading up to departure. Sometimes flights are even canceled. What are you going to do if your flight from Detroit to London (just an example) is canceled and the airline puts you on a flight departing 3 hours later and you've already bought a ticket from London to Santorini? Answer: You're going to have to buy a new ticket to Santorini. And if you have bought a round-trip ticket London-Santorini-London, you've lost the whole thing. When you don't show up for that original flight out of London the airline will cancel the return ticket, too.

What this means is if you want to use two different tickets to get to Greece, you have to allow a great deal of time in your connecting airport. And no one can tell you what is a safe amount of time (because no amount of time is 100% safe).

So: Don't do it. Keep your trip to Greece on one ticket. Keep your trip back home on the same round-trip ticket unless you're flying WOW, Norwegian Air Shuttle or Icelandair.

It's OK to separate travel legs that are a couple of days apart. Probably even one day apart will work out on the trip to Europe. I would want more than 24 hours on the way back, because it will cost you a great deal if you have to buy a replacement one-way ticket back to the US from anywhere in Europe. So something like this would be OK:

Ticket #1: Detroit - Athens (changing planes anywhere) and Athens - Detroit (changing planes anywhere) OR Detroit - Santorini and Athens - Detroit

Ticket #2 (at least 24 hours later): Athens - Santorini one-way on a budget airline (if you don't fly straight to the island).

Ticket #3 (at least 48 hours before your flight home): Santorini - Athens one-way on a budget airline.

Posted by
1472 posts

I was never able to get a combination of cheap flights to work to Athens, despite having made a gallant effort. I think it is much more difficult than to many other European cities to get a really good buy.

Beth