My wife and I are planning to unwind on Samos after our RS tour of Turkey this fall. Recently I contacted a B& B on Samos and inquired what I had to do to hold a room. I was informed I should deposit the entire price in euros to a bank account at the National Bank of Greece. Is this normal procedure for Greece? Should I worry about being burned?
It's not uncommon for a hotel to request a bank transfer. Usually it's a deposit of 25-50%, so it's up to you whether or not you want to send it all. Go to www.tripadvisor.com to read the reviews and see if anyone has stayed there and what sort of experience they had.
Thanks for the quick reply. The B & B looks reputable and the reviews are all good. I've just never done a bank transfer like this before. Guess I've become used to using credit cards for everything. Has anyone done a bank transfer in euros? Are there any hidden bank fees I should watch out for?
Tom, One other option would be to use the services of one of the Greek Travel Agencies mentioned on This Website. I used that method on a visit to the a few of the islands following the RS Athens & Pelopponese tour. It was a bit of a "procedure" to arrange, but there were no foreign bank transfers involved. If you have any questions on the reliability of the Travel Agencies, send an E-mail to the author if the website. He was very helpful in providing additional information for my trip. Happy travels!
You will be charged fees for the transfer. I doubt they will be "hidden," but you should ask what the fees are before hand.
I try to avoid hotels that require wire transfers. I did it once, and the fees were almost as much as the deposit. A small hotel in Italy that I just booked allowed me to make the deposit using PayPal. You might contact your B&B and see if that is an option. You might also check booking services (i.e. Hotels.com) to see if your B&B is listed. I've made several reservations for my upcoming trip with no deposit; those same hotels required a deposit if booking directly. Once the room was even less expensive through Hotels.com.
We made reservations for hotels in Santorini, Naxos, Hydra, Athens, and several towns in the Peloponnese using booking.com. They all had free cancellation and did not charge any upfront fees. You might try that site.
Sorry, that's what I meant too ... booking.com, not hotels.com. Really easy to book (with no fees) and cancel if necessary.
Another vote for booking.com. I did all my reservations for Greece through this site and also many others. It is easy to keep track of and so easy to cancel. I tend to change reservations a lot if I find something cheaper so this way they are all in one place and I don't make a mistake. I have also checked rates numerous times and most often they are cheaper than booking direct.
Thanks to one and all for your replies. Checked with my bank this morning and it will cost 30$ to wire the money plus I not only have to have the routing numbers but I also have to have the address both of the bank and the recipient. Lots of legwork for a three night stay on Samos. I'll check out Booking.com.
Another vote for booking.com, to avoid that deposit annoyance. BTW, I always have found that those "deposit" hotels are usually the deluxe biggie ones, not the modest family-run lodgings. About deposits I've visited greece 10 times since '99, stayed almost everywhere you can imagine, 24 islands, Athens, Peloponnese, mainland, and have almost never had to pay a deposit. I usually travel either May-June or Sept, and stay at lodgings that charge 30-50 per room, modest but nice. If booking in advance, I do it by sending an e-mail inquiry with specifics. When I get a response with availability & rates, (even if there's something on a website about a deposit)I confirm by simply writing, here is my credit card information to hold the reservation, but when I stay at your place I plan to pay cash. Only time I can recall a deposit request was a hotel in Matala Crete that wanted me to use pay-pal. When I said no thanks, I'll book elsewhere, he said OK, just send a check (in a $$ amount of about $20 to reserve 4 rooms!!) to his cousin in Astoria Queens, lol.
I do as Janet does and have done so for over 10 years with no problems and I have only encountered one or two places that insisted on a full payment or a huge deposit and I did not stay at any of those places. Happy travels
Tom - You mentioned you were going to Samos in the Fall, but not exactly when... We went a couple of years ago from Kusadasi (Sept 23rd I believe) with no reservations and they were starting to slow down from the high season. There were plenty of rooms available, all less expensive than what we looked into reserving in advance. We stayed in Pythagoria right on the waterfront. Most of the places we looked into would take credit cards for deposits and then some would ask for cash payment. Actually, all the places we have stayed througout Turkey and Greece, whether big or small would take a credit card number for a guarantee even if they required cash only payment. I've never had to wire money. Our place in Santorini just wanted an email to confirm 2 weeks before we were coming and didn't even take a credit card for guarantee... I don't remember specifically where we checked in advance, but we got many hotel suggestions from several guidebooks (just looking at the bookstore) or on the web. Booking directly with the hotels via email or their own websites usually seem to be the cheapest option with the most flexibility.