How Will Brexit Affect Travellers?
With the final outcome of Brexit remaining to be seen, many people are speculating what impact Britain leaving the EU will have on our future travel plans.
There is no denying that with Brexit we could very well lose the principle of free movement that allows us to move without restriction among the other 27 member states. Although it’s tricky to know all of the ins and outs, we’ve created a short list of ways that travel could be affected post-Brexit so you can be prepared.
Airports, Flights & Ports Chaos
After the 29thof March 2019, the UK passport ceases to be an EU document, so those travelling to Europe might experience longer queues at airports and ports.
The Government is warning that there will be disruptions to travels in the days after Brexit. This will affect flights, coaches, cross border trains etc. The Airline trade body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned there’ll be disruptions to flights as some may be cancelled.
To travel or not will highly depend on your individual situation. If you are inflexible when it comes to holiday timings than book your holiday with caution if that is your only time off. But if flexible, moving travels around that time earlier or later might be best.
Whether the situation will calm down after a few days or not, for those of you travelling on the first few days after Brexit, it’s a good idea to check flight status constantly, set off early to ensure that any additional waiting or processing time doesn’t make you late or result in you missing your flight or connection.
Although we don’t know for sure, some travel gurus have been predicting that we might need at least three months left on our passports to allow us to enter Europe. But the situation can be worse than that as both Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert.com and travel company Tui, suggests that if you have less than six monthsleft on your passport, you will not be able to travel to the vast majority of the European Union.
Whichever the case, those with less than 12 -24 weeks might not be allowed to travel, and you can’t have a passport that’s older than nine years and six months. So, it’s a good idea to renew your passport as soon as possible if it’s due to expire shortly.
With so many people renewing their passports now to avoid any issues post-Brexit, you might have to wait a little longer to receive your new passport in the post, so just bear this in mind if you decide to renew now.
However, if we leave with a deal then status quo remains until 2020.
As of 2021, us Brits will have to apply for a visa in order to visit mainland Europe. Known as the visa waiver, this form can be completed online and costs £6 per person. It will last three years, so you can enter mainland Europe as many times as you like during this period.
The European Commission has confirmed this, so if you’re planning ahead for your 2021 travels, this is something to bear in mind.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
For those of you who are smart enough to have applied for an EHIC card that entitles you to the right to health care in Europe means when you go to the EU, you’re entitled to the same treatment at state-run hospitals and GPs. With no deal Brexit, these benefits will cease to exist for Brits.
According to the NHS, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country.
Driving in the EU
Your driving license will not be valid, instead, you will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) currently costing £5.50, which you can get from the Post Office before you travel.
Brexit is certain to have an effect on exchange rates, so it might cost you a little more for your holiday spending money after March 2019. If the UK should leave the EU with no deal, it is expected that the Sterling rate will fall meaning that you’ll need to pay more for your foreign currency. However, should we get a deal, the rate may rise, making it cheaper for you to enjoy those ice lollies on the beach.
Nothing-new here when we say, who knows! If you worry that things may get unaffordable on a pending trip, buy half now, the rest when the time comes. Get the first half at today’s best rates and the rest at the time you spend. To play safe, ask yourself if the current rates are acceptable and if yes, buy more now, then ignore rates later so hindsight bitterness doesn’t ruin the whole trip.
And if you decide to worry when the time comes, specialist overseas cards are the cheapest way to spend abroad, as you get near-perfect rates on the day that you spend.
Using Your Mobile
Surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU will no longer be guaranteed and entirely up to the individual providers. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has confirmed that mobile operators will be able to implement roaming charges if they want to. The costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after March 2019.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, of the big mobile providers, only Three has stated definitively that it won’t reintroduce roaming charges in the event of no deal. EE, O2 and Vodafone have only said they “hope” to preserve free-to-roam.