To avoid any nasty surprises when your departure date arrives, make sure you’re prepared for potential travel changes post-Brexit.
One thing we don’t know for certain yet is whether or not we’ll leave the European Union (EU) with or without a deal. One thing we do know for certain though, is that there’ll be changes on how we can travel either way.
So, to help you prepare for your summer getaway, here are some important checks and considerations to bear in mind.
1. Your passport
As it stands, to travel to another country within the EU all you need is a passport that’s in-date, and will be in-date until the day you return.
However, if we leave without a deal, that could all stand to change.
In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Germany plan to introduce two new sets of rules. The first is that your passport must have at least six months left before it’s due to expire, and the second is that you can’t cross their border if your passport’s older than nine years and six months.
If we leave with a deal though, it’s expected the EU’s current passport rules will remain the same until at least 2020.
2. European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs)
EHICs entitle you to receive the same treatment as locals in state-run hospitals and GPs in EU countries. So, if locals are required to pay, you’ll have to pay. If locals get treatment for free, you’ll get treatment for free.
A no deal Brexit will likely draw a line under EHICs and a deal would probably keep them valid until at least December 2020.
3. Length of travel
At the moment, people travelling from the UK enjoy free movement within the EU, but, after Brexit, that’ll come to an end. Once the Brexit deadline has been and gone, if you’re visiting the EU, your stay will be limited to 90 days at a time in any given 180-day period.
You could also be quizzed a tad more when you’re crossing the border. It won’t be anything too intrusive, but you can expect questions like: how will you support yourself for the length of your trip? Where will you be staying? And do you have your return trip booked already?
4. European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)
As you’ll know if you’ve already been to the EU, you don’t currently need a visa to enter EU countries. Once the transition period expires though, you’ll need an ETIAS to enter – this would come into force in 2021.
Here are a few important facts about ETIAS’:
- They must be completed at least 72 hours before you travel;
- They cost €7 to register for;
- They’re valid for three years; and
- They’re not a visa, but a visa waiver (similar to the US’s ESTA visa waiver).
5. Brexit-related flight cancellations
Although the government have said all flights “should” continue as normal if we leave the EU without a deal, the International Air Transport Association have contradicted this by warning some flights could, in fact, be cancelled. Basically, there’s no real way of knowing what will happen at this stage.
While travel insurance normally covers you for cancelled flights, you might not actually be entitled to EU flight delay compensation, and the reason for this is because the cancellation’s probably not going to be down to the airline itself. It’s not all doom and gloom, though – you’ll still be able to claim a full refund or alternative flights.
Each travel insurance provider will have their own policy around this though, so if you’re planning on taking a trip to the EU on or round March 29 – or whenever we depart – it’s definitely worth giving your insurance provider a call beforehand to see what their policy is.
6. Driving abroad
Currently, we can get behind the wheel anywhere in the EU with the UK driving licence alone, but a no-deal Brexit could put an end to that perk.
There’s a possibility it could mean you’ll need an international driving permit, and these cost £5.50 and can be purchased from your local Post Office before you set off.
So, if you’d like to hire a car while you’re away, make sure you avoid disappointment and get your permit before you head overseas.
7. Exchange rates
When it comes to exchange rates, there’s rarely any certainty and that’s always been the case - whatever currency you’re looking at.
With Brexit on the tip of everyone’s tongue though, uncertainty around the euro is particularly high. Sadly, this is another post-Brexit area no-one can predict.
All you can do to make sure you still get your money’s worth is do some thorough research to find the best rate, and don’t leave exchanging your money until the last minute (especially not at the airport!).
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.