This is perhaps less of a priority than many other potential economic Brexit effects. But seeing as jetting off for a quick European mini break is a regular habit for many UK folk, we’re going to take a closer look at some changes that could be on the horizon. Even though it now looks very likely a deal is going to be passed through Parliament, there are still so many unanswered questions about what will happen in the long term. So, if you’re forward planning, here are some tips and info on some of the things you need to take into account…
Short Term Post Brexit Travel
Worried about travel to Europe after 31st January 2020? Don’t. Even once a deal has been passed, a transition period will be put in place until at least the end of the year. This means everything will stay pretty much the same in regards to visas, passports and air regulations. So you can safely book your mini break to Paris, Amsterdam or Rome with some peace of mind if you’re planning a trip in the next few months.
Long Term European Travel Plans
However, if we’re talking a bit further into the future then things look a little more uncertain. Nobody really knows what the long term affects of Brexit are actually going to be, and it will all very much depend on the result of negotiations that will take place this year. Worst case scenario for travellers would be a no deal resulting in a suspension of flights, but even in the event of a no deal happening, the European Commission has said flights to and from the UK to the EU will still be able to operate.
Other areas where there are question marks are with travel visas and driving licences. There is a possibility that UK holidaymakers may need a European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) visa if they want to travel to the EU from 2021 onwards. However, there is a still a chance that the UK government and the EU will reach an agreement that does not require us to use this. But if it does come to pass, then it is likely to only cost a small amount (about £6.30) and will be valid for three years. There is also a possibility UK citizens will no longer be able to drive in the EU using their UK driving licences. If this does turn out to be the case, you will need to arrange an International Driving Permit before travelling (this currently cost about £5.50 and are available from the Post Office).
Will My EU Holiday be More Expensive?
This will all depend on the strength of the pound at any given time. Based on the currency fluctuations that have happened so far in the Brexit process, it’s fair to predict that any uncertainty is probably going to result in a weak pound. So yes, there’s a very good chance that your holidays and city breaks are going to cost you a bit more.
How Can You Reduce Costs and Risks?
Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to take away any of that uncertainty. But there are a few things you can do to not only cut your travel expenses, but also reduce worry when it comes to cancelled flights and dealing with medical bills whilst abroad.
Book a Package Deal – If you are worried about cancelled flights or holidays once the transition period is over, then one of the best things you can do to protect your money is book a package instead of arranging everything separately. This is because it offers you extra protection in the event of a cancellation as the travel operator must provide a refund or alternative. That’s not to say you won’t be protected by your travel insurance otherwise, but this very much depends on your policy (see below for more travel insurance tips).
Look for Discounts – Just because prices may become higher across the board, that’s not to say you won’t be able to find a good online city break deal, especially when you look online. Many sites and companies will still want to keep their prices competitive, and let’s not forget the bargain potential of both booking far in advance or at the very last minute.
Cut Costs in Other Areas
If we’re talking worst case price scenario, then there’s a chance that you will be paying more for your flights, hotel or package deal along with needing more spending money when you get to your EU destination (because a weak pound isn’t going to go as far). But that’s not to say all your holiday costs are going to rise. There are lots of things you can book in advance that you can find a better deal on…
Currency Exchange – There’s not going to be very much you can do about exchange rates, but there are a couple of helpful things you can do before you leave. Firstly, get you money changed before you get to the airport. Brexit or no Brexit, airport exchange desks are probably always going to offer the least favourable rate available. Secondly, if it looks like the pound is going to plummet further in the run up to your city break, lock in the current exchange rate by putting your money on a currency card. This is a prepaid card you can use overseas.
Check Your Insurance – Whatever the circumstances in which you are travelling, this is always something you should be doing anyway. But in a post-Brexit climate where there are going to be so many uncertainties, it’s even more important. Going back to some of the points we’ve mentioned already in terms of the risk of holiday and flight cancellations, you should always double check the details and how you are covered in this respect. Another important area you should be looking into is health cover. Many regular visitors to the EU have an EHIC Card which means they can access free healthcare in other member states at no extra charge. However, after the transition period, there’s a strong possibility these will no longer be valid unless they are part of any agreement. So in this instance, it’s vital your travel insurance gives you adequate medical cover.
Prepaid Holiday Costs – Along with all the big expenses, there are plenty of other holiday costs you can find a good deal on before you leave. It’s still possible to save huge amounts on things like car hire and travel insurance when you do your research beforehand, and airport parking is now another area where you can get a discount. Booking well in advance gives you much more choice when it comes to price, but you can also find cheap Heathrow airport parking at short notice too thanks to an increasing number of parking providers offering competitive rates. And here at Parking at Airports, we can find deals and savings for all major UK airports, not just the big hitters.
Much of this advice is helpful, whatever ends up happening with Brexit. Because you should always be fine checking those details and looking for the best deal. In the future, there’s a strong possibility that it won’t be as easy to travel to the EU as it is now. Of course, it’s still going to be relatively straightforward, albeit probably a bit more expensive. So now is the time to get into good habits – pay a bit more attention to your travel insurance, look for better deals on currency, flights and airport parking. And by the time Brexit is finally sorted (at some point in the next decade hopefully), all this will be second nature!