Travelling to Europe after Brexit

Travelling to Europe after Brexit: will your holiday be affected? Travel expert Simon Calder debunks the myths and sets the record straight

Travel expert Simon Calder debunks the myths and sets the record straight on how travelling to Europe after Brexit will really change

By Simon Calder, Condé Nast Traveler

We're all in the departure lounge - we just don't know where we're going. The Leave decision in the EU referendum campaign, the battle about the Draft Withdrawal Agreement and the preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit has generated all manner of speculation about how British travellers will be affected. A lot of it has been tosh. Let me sort out what will change, and what won't, with an uncertainty scale from 0 to 10. Zero means it definitely won't happen, 10 signals it definitely will.

'You should get your holiday money now before sterling slumps further' Likelihood: 5

I'm a traveller, not an international financial dealer, and frankly even the professionals have no idea what will happen to the pound as 11pm on 29 March 2019, the time and the date for leaving, approaches. Some say the uncertainty about Brexit will drive sterling down further, others insist the currency's fundamentals are strong. You might want to hedge – buying half now, and the remainder shortly before departure.

The worse condition sterling is in, the more the need to maximise your money. So compare rates for euros and dollars online and consider ordering in advance and picking up at the airport – or shop around on the high street. For most other currencies, including Croatian kuna and Turkish lira, take cash and change it at your destination. And as for plastic: use a foreign exchange fee-free credit card, such as Halifax Clarity.



Sterling 'fell off a cliff' the morning after the referendum vote, and over the following days and weeks there were some reports of pounds and UK debit cards being declined. But foreign exchange is a profitable business for lots of enterprises, and however poorly the pound, it is a tradable commodity and there's money to be made.



Nothing changes in terms of documents or procedures until the day the UK leaves the European Union.



After Britain say a tearful adieu/auf wiedersehen/adios to the European Union, 'UK nationals will not be entitled to use the separate lanes provided for EU/EEA/CH citizens to carry out checks at border crossings and will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals.'

So why is the rating for this category a 9, not a 10? If your destination is Ireland, nothing will change – there will be no border checks. And at a sleepy Greek island airport it is possible that checks will take just as long, or as short, as they do now.

Within a few years, British citizens will be subject to the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which the EU is working energetically to impose by 2020. The system is aimed at reducing the 'migration, security or public-health risk' from nationals of visa-exempt third countries, which is what the UK will become after Brexit.

ETIAS is similar to the US 'ESTA' scheme. Prospective British visitors to the EU will be required to complete a form online including questions on health, employment and criminal convictions.
The fee of €7 (£6/$8) buys a permit valid for three years. On arrival at an EU border, 'Travellers would have their data verified, their picture or fingerprint taken and a set of questions asked,' said a recent EU briefing paper.



At present the UK is part of the European “open skies” scheme, which allows any EU airline to fly anywhere within Europe. If no replacement agreement has been signed by the time Britain leaves, in theory many planes would be grounded. But on 13 November 2018 the EU said it would “propose measures to ensure that air carriers from the United Kingdom are allowed to … land in the European Union and fly back to the United Kingdom” even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.



Expansion has been hampered by Brexit, with Ryanair – the biggest budget airline in Europe – saying it sees bigger growth opportunities elsewhere. If the UK economy slumps as a result of leaving the EU, planes may be moved to more profitable routes.

In particular, the very busy network of links between Britain and eastern Europe – notably Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria – will be affected by any reduction in the number of workers from those countries. Not only do they use the flights – so do their families and friends.


'We'll be back to the bad old days of £2-a-minute roaming charges' Likelihood: 2

After Brexit, the EU-wide ban on roaming charges for phone calls and internet use will no longer apply for people with UK mobile phones.

Mobile providers will be free to impose whatever fees they wish. But competition is likely to stifle any sharp increases in costs. Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three, says his firm is ‘committed to maintaining the availability of roaming in the EU at no additional cost following Brexit’.
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Travel Magazine: Travelling to Europe after Brexit
Travelling to Europe after Brexit
Travelling to Europe after Brexit: will your holiday be affected? Travel expert Simon Calder debunks the myths and sets the record straight
Travel Magazine
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