How will Brexit affect your holiday?
Last updated: 16th September 2020
After all the uncertainty of the last couple of years, Brexit finally happened on 31st January 2020.
For trips up to the end of 2020, there's nothing to worry about at all. We negotiated a transition period with the EU that takes us up to the end of December, during which we can travel to the EU just the same as before Brexit. So holidays for the whole of the rest of this year shouldn't be directly affected by Brexit.
What do the latest political developments mean for Brexit?
Last updated 16th September 2020. The negotiations which were once proposed to ratify and iron out the details in the Withdrawal Agreement are one step short of being abandoned, as the UK government passes domestic legislation allowing it to renege on that agreement and the EU declines to change the negotiating position it has held more-or-less unchanged since 2016. An EU meeting in October that once intended to discuss Brexit has taken the matter off the agenda for want of progress at the negotiating table, and all parties appear resigned to the likelihood of a no-deal exit. With only a few weeks of negotiations to go, and deadlock around the table, the very best case now is a thin deal that passes the Withdrawal Agreement into law; the more likely case is an exit on 31st December with no deal at all.
What are my travel rights after Brexit?
We're in a transition period that takes us up to the end of year, during which travel continues uninterrupted. What happens after that in 2021?
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.
That leaves two possible options for trips to Europe. First, the EU has already declared that short visits from the UK - for example business trips or holidays - won't need a visa, so long as the UK reciprocates and permits all EU visitors into the UK also without a visa. So if we pass such a rule, holidays to the EU should continue visa-free, even if there's no deal.
The second option is that we do not pass that reciprocal rule. In that event, UK visitors to the EU and the Schengen bloc will - from 1st January 2021 - need a Schengen Visa. Schengen Visas cost E80 for the over-12s (E40 for ages 6-12 and free under 6). It's possible in the longer term to apply for a multi-entry Schengen visa that lasts for up to five years, but if we need Schengen Visas after we leave on 31st December, in the short term we'll only be eligible for the single and double entry visas which means an extra E80 per adult per trip to Europe, or almost £250 for a family of four. The hope, therefore, is that our government takes up the EU's offer, passes a reciprocal visa-waiver for EU members and we can continue to enjoy visa-free trips to the continent.
If we do leave with no deal, the 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. Recent statements by the EU also suggest that - in the event we leave without a deal - British travellers will need to queue up for a passport stamp and may have to answer questions about their trip.
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.
And finally - 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.
Depending on the deal (or no deal), you might need additional travel documents. From 20202 the new European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) will cost E7 (or currently about £6.30), if we sign up to it. If we don't, from 2022 you will a Schengen Visa, which costs 80 Euros.
If we leave with no deal, or a deal that doesn't cover driving licenses, you'll also need an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe as the British driving license will no longer be recognised. These cost £5.50 and can be bought over the counter from many Post Offices (but no longer via intermediaries). There are four different sorts of IDP depending on which countries you plan to visit, so please check you get the right one(s) - if you drive from one IDP jurisdiction to another you'll need both.
Currently we can travel to the EU with an EHIC card and enjoy the benefits of health care. There is now almost no chance of a deal, if we agree one, replicating the EHIC arrangement so EHIC will very likely no longer operate after December 31st and travellers will be advised to take out their own medical insurance to travel to Europe. Since its always advisable to take out a good insurance policy whenever you travel overseas this shouldn't add any significant costs to your trip. Holiday Extras offers single trip insurance to Europe for as little as £30.76 for two people. For more information about travel insurance after Brexit, check out our page of policies that that ranges from medical insurance to driving insurance and more.
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 we leave with no deal on mobile charges, which is very likey now, 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
If we leave with no deal, or a deal that doesn't cover driving licenses, you'll also need an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe (see above). The Association of British Insurers also warned UK holidaymakers on 16th January that if we leave without a deal, to drive legally in Europe after Brexit it may be necessary to have a "green card" to prove possession of valid motor insurance - and since the cards take about a month to turn around, it may be necessary to move quickly on this one. Worth keeping in mind if you plan to bring your own car, or any UK-based hire car to 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?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) guarantees all people living in an EU country entitlement to the same health care as locals when visiting a member state.
It is very likely that neither the EHIC card nor any close equivalent will operate from 2021 onwards.
Having said that, even in its current state the EHIC card is no substitute for a proper travel insurance policy. We would always recommend you buy a comprehensive holiday insurance policy before venturing abroad.
What about travelling after a "no-deal" Brexit?
Even if we leave with no deal at all, the EU has already declared theyll keep the skies and the airports open as part of their no deal contingency plan for 12 months after Brexit, and continue to recognise aviation safety certificates for nine. They've agreed that - so long as the UK reciprocates - we can continue to enjoy visa-free travel, but recent statements on the preparations for "no deal" also say we'd need to wait in the "other countries" passport queue, get our passports stamped and possibly answer questions about our visits, all of which would slow British holidaymakers down compared to the current situation.
So solutions have already been found to make sure our holidays can go ahead even in the event of "no deal" while the politicians work out what they want to do next - in practice, even in a "no deal" Brexit the UK will necessarilly start immediate negotiations on a deal with the EU in November anyway. With a few simple precautions and a bit of planning you can book your next break without worrying what sort of deal our next few Prime Ministers and Brussels manage to agree either before or after we leave the EU.
Other tips and tricks to Brexit-proof your holiday
If you're still worried about the impact of Brexit on your travel plans after October, 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 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
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Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport? We want to help you travel hassle-free! At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.
We're here to help.
Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport?
We want to help you travel hassle-free!
At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.