So Britain is out. Not sure we can call it Great Britain much longer seeing the new probabilities of Scotland and Northern Ireland wanting to become independent now more than ever. Political impact aside, what does this mean for us travellers? Or more specifically, what does it mean for British travellers and expats? Brexit and travel, what does it entail?
Nothing much might change with Brexit and travel in the next two years as the politicians have to sort through the red tape and realign laws and regulations. So far, the legalities have been rather tangled up and need to be separated now. So Brexit has mainly a long-term effect on travel.
1) Finances & the Pound
There are two ways this can go. Either, as it seems today with the dramatic weakening of the pound, England will lose economical and financial importance, the Pound will weaken, taxes will rise and jobs become less stable, then holidays will be more expensive. However, if Brexit leaders prove correct and Britain will strengthen from it in the long-term, the pound will rise in value and people would be more affluent and thus more likely to afford more holidays.
2) Visa Requirements
I seems unlikely that British citizens would need to apply for a visa to enter the European Union. Both the UK and EU would surely love a continued exchange of tourists. However, travellers would of course have to go through passport checks, which would be stricter than before (but it would remain the same for ferry and channel train travel). A scary thought is the breaking down of the E, which would threaten the Schengen agreement. Thus, border controls might be the future again.
3) Airfare Prices
Let’s face it Budget Airlines have allowed for super cheap inter Europe travel. That might be a thing of the past for UK citizens. Budget Airlines were made possible in the first place thanks to the removal of bilateral restrictions on air service agreements and the introduction of competition between cross-country routes. The continuation of this depends on negotiations right now.
4) Airfare & Airport Taxes
Another factor that affects Brexit and travel are taxes. So Brits might have to pay the same taxes hat, for instance US citizens travelling to the EU pay. On the upside, British citizens had to pay EU taxes even when flying within the UK (every departure from a EU country lead to taxing), which might be removed now.
5) Delayed Flights
The EU cared for relatively high levels of compensation for delayed flights to proteec the customer. Now that these regulations will be discontinued for the UK, the British Airline Lobby might try to decreased the level of compensation. This doesn’t only affect British citizens as a British flight company could also be delayed and you would have to seek compensation through British law henceforth. This would pose a big obstacle for non-British Citizens.
6) Customer Protection
Another regulation that is affected in the Brexit and travel sector is the customer protection for packaged holidays. This allowed EU citizens help in case they were not stranded anywhere or lost money when a travel company went bust. The British government might still adopt this in their own laws but will definitely not benefit from the EU Package Travel Directive, which will be implemented in two years time.
7) Travel insurance
A very good thing which I love about the EU is the European Health Insurance Card. It allows EU citizens free or reduced-cost health care treatment in all EU countries. Even if you have no extra travel insurance. There will be negotiations as well to see if there would be a European health cover for Brits.
8) Custom Limits
Apparently, a lot of Britons like to go on stag and hen dos and return with lots of cheap alcohol from Germany or maybe cigarettes from Poland. Until Brexit, Brits (and other EU citizens) were allowed 800 cigarettes, 110 litres of beer and 19 litres of wine to bring into the UK. Maybe that will be reduced to the outside-of-the-EU limits of 200 Cigarettes, 6 litres of beer and 4 litres of wine.
Also a very good thing that the EU has done in the past and is currently rolling out is the abolishment of mobile phone roaming charges. You know, those pesky costs that dramatically increase once you receive a call or make a call from abroad. You might end up like me with a 100€ bill instead of the usual 4€ when I travelled to the Caribbean. Now the UK might not see the end of roaming charges in June 2017.
10) Work and Study Abroad
If you not just travel but want to work or study abroad, you freedom of movement wil be restricted. I studied in England and worked in Sweden and there was no red tape to hinder me in my cross-border movements. That will change between the UK and Britain. Also, the Erasmus programme will no longer be available for British students, which is a real shame. I think it is a brilliant institution. Partner programmes with British schools and universities will suffer. Casual summer jobs abroad will also be difficult to get.
11) Water and Beach Safety
Another interesting aspect of EU regulations affect bathing water quality as well as beach pollution. The latter has gone down dramatically over the last quarter of a century. The improvements so far as regards England might stop here if the UK discontinues this process for lack of interest. I remember when I first visited Blackpool, the whole beach front was being ‘renovated’. Maybe money for such projects will now go elsewhere.
12) Duty Free
Apart from customs, duty free will return. When you travel within the EU you cannot buy duty-free products, but if you are travelling from a country that isn’t a EU member, that is still possible. Soon there probably will be a duty free option but reduction of custom allowances and possible surcharge on bottles purchased.
13) Tourist Masses
We all know that the British people love to travel especially to Mallorca and other party destinations (just like we Germans). And they do not travel solo generally. So what will happen when the masses of party people ebb away? A lot of formerly booked out beds will be available again, which will benefit travel companies from other countries.
14) Retirement & vacation homes
If your retirement plan saw you lazily lounging on a warm beach in Southern Europe until the end of your days, then you might have to rethink it. So what will happen to the people that have retired to another country and are currently taking advantage of the Social and Health System? Will expats to Spain or Germany have to be deported? Will people have problems buying or selling their vacation properties abroad? Only time will tell.
Another factor with Brexit and Travel is the vital level of security. In the case of terrorism in Tunesia, for example, the EU countries quickly got together to come up with a crisis plan and provide support. Now that the EU is no longer part of the package, the process might become more complicated.
16) Car Rental
If you want to rent a car to travel across Europe, at the moment you are insured not only in the county where you rented but also – albeit to a lesser degree – in the other EU countries as well. UK citizens would need extra contracts to secure insurance for short-term Europe trips.
Well, that was quite a lot that is affected – and this only in the field of Brexit and travel. I don’t even want to touch upon all the other areas that Brexit will bring change to. Whether you like it or not, the Brexit has been decided upon and we can only hope for the best. Let’s at least make the most of the two coming years and travel the country. After all, the pound has fallen dramatically (even though it rose again during the day of the announcement), and visiting the UK is cheaper than ever.
What are your thoughts on Brexit and travel? How will this affect our holiday planning from now on? Let’s discuss!