Brexit-proof trips for 2021
Four and a half years after we voted narrowly for Brexit, on December 31st this year our transition period comes to an end and we begin life outside the EU. With negotiations ongoing there's still much to be decided as to how this will affect holidays to Europe - but if you're planning a trip next year and looking for some options that are Brexit-proof however the negotiations go, this is the guide for you.
First things first. Most likely, when the Brexit transition period comes to an end onb 31st December - even if we leave without a deal - the UK government will accep the EU's offer of reciprocal visa-free travel and we can continue flying to the EU for our holidays without a hitch. There's no sensible reason to image our government putting stumbling blocks in the way of holidaymakers, just to keep the EU's holidaymakers out.
However...if you're at all concerned that leaving without a deal might interrupt trips to the EU somehow, there's plenty of options.
Our top three Brexit-proof picks
Last year, we could just pick places on the basis of whether they were in or out of the EU. Mexico, fine; USA, fine; Thailand, fine. Now, with Covid complicating travel plans, some destinations are off the table for a a week or two-week holiday because they're either closed to visitors or our government requires you to isolate for 14 days when you get back. With both those restrictions in mind - here's our top three picks for Brexit-proof holiday destinations that will likely be open for (largely) hassle-free holidays.
Travelling to Turkey after Brexit
Turkey is not a member of the EU or the Schengen area. Leaving the EU therefore shouldn't affect our rights or logistics for visiting. If you want a resort beach holiday the Turkish Riviera from Izmir to Anatalya has hundreds of miles of coast to rival the best in Europe; if you want a more exotic adventure Istanbul is just four hours from London and feels like another world.
Turkey used to require a visa for UK visitors, but even that has been waived for the moment, making it probably the single simplest place to visit for a beach holiday next year.
Travelling to Ireland after Brexit
Ireland is a member of the EU but not of Schengen, precisely so that it can maintain the Common Travel Area agreed between the Republic and the UK back in the 1920s.
While visits to Ireland are, like many places, currently complicated by its Covid quarantine precautions, Brexit shouldn't affect your right to visit so Ireland is another safe bet for a Brexit-proof trip in 2021.
We were in Dublin in2016 - see our guide to the city here
Book your holiday extras early
It pays to book your airport parking, airport hotel or your lounge as soon as you book your flights. Prices usually go up nearer the date you fly, and last year Holiday Extras saved our airport parking customers £100 each on average when they pre-booked their airport parking instead of paying on the day.Book my hotel and parking today
Travelling to Iceland after Brexit
Iceland is a member of Schengen but not the EU. Back in 2018 and 2019 when it first looked possible we'd leave without a deal, Iceland was one of the very first countries to step up and propose reciprocal travel rights for our tourists. Just three hours from London, determinedly independent and historically keen to invite our visitors in, Iceland is another nearby destination that shouldn't be affected by Brexit no matter how the negotiations go.
18 awesome things to do in Iceland - one of YouTube's top video guides
More post-Brexit travel picks
If you want a truly Brexit-proof holiday in 2021, stay at home!
In the nicest possible way. We mean, of course, holiday in the UK. There's boundless options for doing so - London is one of the great tourist cities of the world, Scotland one of the great adventures and inbetween are many of the most beautiful towns and best countryside on earth.
Travelling to Cyprus after Brexit
Cyprus is a member of the EU but not the Schengen area, so can make its own rules about who enters and leaves. With so much of Cyprus's tourist industry dependent on British visitors, there's every chance the government there will ensure we continue to enjoy hassle-free acess. Other EU members that are not yet signed up to Schengen have specific plans to join the area - Cyprus explicitly has no date set to join the free movement area, so there is no prospect of it doing so soon.
We were in Cyprus in 2019 - see our guide to the island here
Travelling to Barbados after Brexit
If you want a longer, Brexit-proof trip somewhere further afield - try Barbados. The country is very serious about keeping the virus out and rigorously enforces its Covid rules, requiring multiple tests and a long quarantine for visitors. But Barbados is also capitalising on this year's trend of remote working to encourage people to move to the island for six months or a year, and has run ad campaigns making that case.
Britain's overseas territories aren't going to be directly affected by Brexit. Nearest at hand is Gibraltar - a little slice of Britain on the southern tip of Europe, so far south that it is home to Europe's only indigenous monkey population and with the weather to match. Brexit-proof winter sun for 2021 doesn't come much more hassle-free than Gibraltar.
Also on the British Overseas Territories list are Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Both small islands, and perhaps not quite so cheap as a week in Spain, but both with exceptional weather, British living standards (and language) and - importantly if you're Brexit-proofing a trip - enjoying regular direct flights from London.
And finally, thr otther EU countries not in Schengen are Croatia (supposed to join in 2020 but delayed by the pandemic); Bulgaria and Romania (expected to join "as soon as possible" but with no specifics). So if you want an EU country not in the Schengen block, there's three more to pick from.
What do we mean by...?FCDO: The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the branch of the UK government that decides which countries are safe to visit.
FCDO exemption list (or simply exemption list): Currently, the FCDO advises against all non-essential travel to anywhere in the world. Some countries have been exempted from that general advice, so are said to be on the "exemption list", but during lockdown only a handful of specific purposes for travel are permitted. A country on the FCDO list, FCDO exemption list or exemption list is therefore one where the FCDO does not advise against all non-essential travel, which is ordinarily taken to mean the country is relatively safe for holidaymakers taking reasonable precautions.
Non-essential travel: If the FCDO believes UK travellers are not ordinarily safe to visit a country, it will "advise against all non-essential travel". The FCO does not define "essential" or "non-essential" travel - it is up to the traveller, and in some circumstances their travel insurance provider, to decide whether a trip is essential. The FCDO advising against non-essential travel will normally invalidate standard travel insurance policies, meaning if you visit such a country you may need a specialist travel insurance policy. Covid cases per 100,000: It is generally believed that the FCDO removes countries from the exemption list once Covid cases in a country rise above 20 per 100,000 people for seven days. Decisions are generally made on a Thursday afternoon and come into effect on the Saturday. We're therefore tracking those numbers and this article mentions the cases per 100,000 people for most countries.
Up Next: How Brexit will affect your holiday