How will Brexit affect your holiday?

Last updated: 1st February 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. And if you want more information about how trips to each destination will work, just put your trip dates and destination into our Brexit Holiday Checker below.

How will brexit affect your holiday

What do the latest political developments mean for Brexit?

We've now left the EU, but for the whole of 2020 travel carries on exactly as before. That's because we're now in a transition period, negotiated a couple of years ago to give both the UK and the EU some breathing space in which to negotiate our relationship after we leave. So you can travel to Europe just as you could last year and the year before, use the same passport (and passport queue), take no extra paperwork and even take your pets with you without any channges at all.

Brexit Holiday Checker

Tells us where you're going and the dates you're travelling and we'll do the rest.

Our Brexit Holiday Checker takes the details of your trip and then tells you how Brexit will affect journeys to that destination, whether you're travelling before 31st January, during the rest of 2020 or even after the end of the transition period in 2021 and beyond.

What are my travel rights after Brexit?

how will brexit affect your holiday travel rights

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?

From 2021 you will (probably) need a new document, the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS), to travel to Europe. But that won’t affect anyone’s plans this year. The EU has agreed that, so long as we reciprocate, Brits won't need a visa. If we don't reciprocate, there's a different document, the Schengen visa, that we can use instead. It's more expensive at E70 and last for ninety days rather than three years, but either way we'll be able to get to Europe.

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.

FAQs for travelling after Brexit Day

If you still have questions about what'll be different after Brexit Day on 31st January, see our FAQ guide below.

Our Brexit Day FAQs has all the most common questions about travelling after 31st January and how leaving the EU will affect your trips this year. Whether you're planning a trip for 1st February or 2025; whether you're going to Europe or further afield, see our FAQs for all the latest advice.

Will Brexit affect holiday prices?

how will brexit affect your holiday money cost euro

There's several different things to consider in terms of the impact of Brexit on the price of your holiday.

Currency costs

A weak pound has meant more expensive holidays. After the election on December 12th 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.

Paperwork costs

Depending on the deal (or no deal), you might need additional travel documents. 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, you'll probably need a Schengen Visa, which costs 60 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.

Insurance costs

Currently we can travel to the EU with an EHIC card and enjoy the benefits of health care. Depending on whether we leave with a deal or no deal, and the details of any deal, the EHIC may no longer operate after October 31st so travellers will be advised to take out their own medical insurance to travel to Europe. Since it’s 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.

Total additional costs

Assuming all of these came to pass, a couple traveling to Europe and planning to drive while visiting would therefore be looking at an additional £105.50 for their trip in 2019 (almost entirely because of changes to the buying power of the pound). That doesn't include any additional insurance costs (because we assume you'd have sensibly been travelling with insurance either way!) and will probably go up another £6.30 each from 2021 with the ETIAS. So that's about £100 extra this year, and about £110 extra, for a couple holidaying in most of Europe, after Brexit.

Will Brexit affect my mobile roaming/data charges?

how will brexit affect your holiday mobile roaming data costs

Currently, you can use your mobile phone in the EU for data and calls at the same price you’d pay in the UK, because of European law. If we leave with no deal on mobile 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 they’ll 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?

how will brexit affect your holiday ehic health

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.

Post-Brexit, the validity of the card will depend on the deal struck, if any, with the EU. A no deal scenario probably means, at least in the short term, the EHIC card no longer offering us protection in Europe.

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?

A no-deal exit is still possible - if we get to the end of 2020 having agreed nothing substantial with the EU, then we leave without a deal. We'll know how likely that is by the summer, when our government will need to either ask for an extension to the negotiations or make the case that an extension isn't needed.

Even if we leave with no deal at all, the EU has already declared they’ll 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, there’s 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 it’s 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 London’s major airports. Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have all been seeing a resurgence in UK trips over the past year, and if you want an authoritative list of post-Brexit holiday destinations take a look here.

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

Next article: Planning winter sun in 2020

Our top winter sun destinations for 2020 - including even more top tips for some Brexit-proof holiday spots!

Winter sun 2020

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