With the festive season well and truly underway and 2019 looming ever closer, many travellers are already thinking about next year’s holidays around the world. With that in mind, here at the Inspiring Travel Company we’ve put together the essential guide to how Brexit will affect your holidays, as officially advised by ABTA.
Read on for all the information you need for planning travel after the UK has left the European Union (EU).
If I book my holiday for after 29 March 2019, will Brexit affect my travel plans?
There is no suggestion that travel out of the UK to the EU will not go ahead post-Brexit. Clients of UK tour operators like the Inspiring Travel Company also enjoy the most comprehensive protection – package holidays are protected by the Package Travel regulations, so a full refund will be provided if your holiday cannot go ahead. As always, our team will be on hand throughout 2019 to provide around the clock assistance for our Inspiring Travel Company clients.
Will I need a visa for travel to the EU after Brexit?
You shouldn’t need a visa. As announced by the European Commission in November 2018, UK travellers can visit the EU without a visa (providing the same is offered to EU citizens visiting the UK), even in a no-deal scenario. From 2021, UK citizens must pay a fee (approximately €7) to benefit from this visa exemption.
Will flights still operate as planned after Brexit?
Regardless of the Brexit outcome (even in a no-deal scenario), flights will still operate between the EU and the UK, according to the European Commission and the UK government. If a deal is agreed, a transition period will mean everything stays the same until the end of 2020. In a no-deal scenario, routes between the UK and EU will still be able to operate.
Advice for Travellers
Whether travelling to the EU or beyond, it is vital to take out appropriate travel insurance ahead of departure. Always make sure your policy covers you (including existing and pre-existing conditions). If you have an annual policy, always check with your provider that you’re covered ahead of each trip.
European Health Insurance Card
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK citizens will find their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) no longer valid. ABTA’s official advice is that all travellers should always take out applicable travel insurance in addition to EHIC, as limitations apply.
Check the expiry date on your passport. After 29 March 2019, the government recommends that travellers to the EU ensure they have at least six months validity left on their passport.
Travellers also need to check when their passport was renewed. Ten-year passports that were renewed ahead of expiry may have had extra months added to their expiry date; these extra months don’t count toward the six-month minimum.
Driving in the EU
Currently, UK driving licence holders don’t need any additional licences to drive in the EU. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, this will likely change, and UK drivers may need to apply for the International Driving Permit; these £5.50 permits are available from the RAC, AA and certain branches of the Post Office currently. The government plans to expand the number of Post Offices offering the permit from February 2019.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK drivers taking their vehicle to the EU will have to carry a Green Card to ensure car insurance is also valid in the EU. In this event, Green Cards would be issued by insurers and may cost a fee.
Travelling with pets
Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, the requirements for taking pets to the EU will change. Travellers wishing to bring their pet into the EU from 29 March 2019 would be compelled to discuss this travel with an Official Veterinarian at least four months prior to the date of departure. Further instructions on pet travel will be issued by the UK government.
Data Roaming in the EU
Currently, as the UK is a member of the EU, the cost of sending messages, making calls and using the internet on your phone is the same as it would be at home. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, these benefits would no longer apply. Some UK phone providers have said they may continue to offer this service to their customers – check with your mobile phone company for more details ahead of using your phone abroad.