How will Brexit affect your holiday?
Last updated: 7th January 2021
The deal is done. After four and a half years, we have left the EU with a deal.
We've now got sight of the deal, and it causes significantly less disruption to travel than if we had left without. Amongst the pleasant surprises are a rollover of the EHIC and no need for International Driving Permits to drive in almost all of Europe.
What are my travel rights after Brexit?
At time of writing, the UK is in lockdown with non-essential trips prohibited, and the borders of EU countries are closed to non-essential visitors as Covid regulations - that didn't apply to us during the transition period - kicked in on 1st Jan. So right now, there's no holidays to Europe.
Once things get back to normal after lockdown, we know that the deal we agreed with the EU means holidays can continue more-or-less as before. So long as the UK doesn't impose visas on EU visitors we can continue to travel, under normal circumstances, to the EU visa-free. The new EU-wide visa-waiver scheme - ETIAS - that was once planned for 2021 is now delayed until (currently) 2022. (We previously expected that by the end of the transition period the UK would roll into ETIAS. That will no longer happen so we can visit visa-free at least in 2021.)
The UK government advises you to make sure your passport is less than ten years old, and has at least six months left on it, before you travel to Europe.
Will Brexit affect holiday prices?
There's several different things to consider in terms of the impact of Brexit on the price of your holiday.
A weak pound has meant more expensive holidays. After the General Election in 2016 the pound rallied briefly but it's now back where it was, well below the pre-2016 level. Bear in mind that's just the headline exchange rate though - if you change your pounds at the airport just before you fly, you're likely to get a much worse rate than that.
If you're worried that the pound will fall between you booking your holiday and the date you travel, you can lock in your exchange rate with a currency card.
But remember - not all of Europe or the EU uses the Euro. If you want your pound to go a bit further, the sterling exchange rate with the Polish zloty is currently relatively strong, and Krakow is a beautiful city to visit any time of year.
Prices in Europe
Inflation in most of the major holiday destinations in Europe has been negligible since the 2016 referendum (and prices have even fallen a bit over the last five years in Greece) so the Euros you do take with you should go just as far as you remember.
From 2022 the new European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) will cost E7 (or currently about £6.30).
The Brexit deal includes a rollover of the old EHIC provision, so we can still make use of European (and other Schengen-area) health services. The EHIC (and its replacement, the new, seemingly-identical GHIC) are no substitute for a good, comprehensive travel insurance policy though, and we always recommend you take out suitable insurance as soon as you book any trip overseas.
Price of flights
Since oil is priced on the world markets in dollars, a weak pound may increase the cost of flights for UK travellers as airlines will want to recover higher fuel costs. Because of the Covid crisis oil is still much cheaper than last year, so currently fuel prices are less of a concern
Will Brexit affect my mobile roaming/data charges?
Currently, you can use your mobile phone in the EU for data and calls at the same price youd pay in the UK, because of European law. If the deal does not specify roaming charges, European operators will be free to make their own prices for UK mobiles used overseas. That said, most of the major mobile providers - including EE, O2, Three, Tesco and Vodafone - have said theyll keep their European mobile prices in line with prices here.
Driving in Europe after Brexit
You will not need an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe.
If you're planning to rent and drive a hire car within Europe, you will not need a green card. Don't forget that our experts here at Holiday Extras can give you all the advice you need if you're thinking of hiring a car in Europe. We work with only the most trusted suppliers to give you not only the best quality car hire service, but all at the best quality price.
Is EHIC still valid after Brexit?
Yes. It will in due course be replaced by the "Global Health Insurance Card", which replicates some of the benefits of EHIC. If your EHIC card runs out you can't get a new one, but you can now apply for the new GHIC as a replacement. Many EHIC cards run out this year so before you plan a trip to Europe we recommend checking your card.
Other tips and tricks to Brexit-proof your holiday
If you're still worried about the impact of Brexit on your travel plans after 2020, theres lots of things you can do to Brexit-proof your holiday.
1. Book a package holiday with a travel agent registered with either the Association of British Travel Agents or the Association of Independent Tour Operators.
If you make your own separate arrangements for flights and hotels, then if something goes wrong with just the flights (for example), you may be entitled to nothing back from the hotel, who can reasonably say its not their fault you didn't make it to the room you booked. ABTA says, Customers who book a package holiday with a UK travel company enjoy the most comprehensive consumer protection: if you book a package, your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, so you have a right to a full refund if your holiday can no longer be provided.
2. Book all-inclusive
If you're worried about the fluctuating price of the pound vs the Euro, you can book all-inclusive and lock in the cost of your whole holiday, including meals and often even drinks, before you fly.
3. Do your homework
You may well need a few new documents after Brexit. Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any medical costs if the EHIC card no longer works in the event of no deal. If you plan to drive in some Schengen countries not in the EU you may need an International Driving Permit. And you should plan how you're going to make sure your currency goes as far as possible - we recommend a currency card. But - as American luminary Britney Spears once said - none of this is rocket surgery. With a little bit of forward planning everything should go smoothly.
4. Research your destinations
If you're still worried about travelling to Europe after Brexit, there are plenty of destinations outside the EU just three or four hours from Londons major airports. Trips to Turkey, Ireland and Iceland, for example, shouldn't be affected by Brexit so if you want a Brexit-proof trip there are plenty of options.
5. Book your airport parking, airport hotel or lounge early
Nothing to do with Brexit, but if you're looking to save money for your trip you'll almost always get the best price for your holiday add-ons by booking them with us as soon as you book your flights. Holiday Extras is never beaten on price, which means you won't find the same deal cheaper anywhere else. So with the cost of holiday spending money up, and a few extra costs like driving permits and insurance to take into account, you're best to take advantage of the early booking rate for your airport parking, hotel or lounge as soon as you can.
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