Europe • Brexit: A Holiday-Makers Guide

So you were about to book your summer holiday and then came the referendum? Or perhaps you took advantage of RyanAir’s Sale, which urged all those on the airline’s mailing list to vote ‘remain’ to keep our beloved low-cost airlines well, low cost! Either way, what happens next is the question on everyones lips. Whether it be British holiday-makers itching to head to The Med for their annual dose of continental culture, or whether you were planning on making a trip to Great Britain, you’re probably worrying that it’s about to get more complicated post-brexit.

Flights:  Since 1994, the EU has provided ‘Open Skies’ or to you and I, a policy that allows EU airlines to freely fly from one destination to another and ta-da… Low-cost flights! However, all isn’t lost if a negotiation is made within the European Economic Area. Norwegians, for example, don’t pay over-the-odds for flights just because they aren’t in the EU and theoretically, as London is such a universal hub, we shouldn’t need to worry about such negotiations being made. Some budget airlines might need to have a sit-down though. It is possible for EU countries to become protective of their own airlines, making their air-space more expensive to British airlines and cheaper for their own. So, if you’re flying to France for example, it could end up cheaper to fly with Air France. Make sure you shop around.

Using Phones Abroad: For EU customers, excessive roaming charges from mobile-providers were limited by the government and in fact, before the referendum, charges for phone use abroad were again limited even more-so by the government. Now, it’s almost impossible for the UK government to allow phone-companies to charge an un-capped amount for usage abroad just because we’re out of the EU. Therefore, by June 2017 these charges will be completely wiped, so whether Britain are in or out of the EU, calls, texts and data-roaming will not cost you an extra penny. Hurray!

Visas and Border Control: Many suggested solemnly that you’ll need to camp outside the embassy before you book your all-inclusive to Marbella or that mini-break to London. It’s a scary thought but as the UK has the second largest number of holidaying tourists in Europe (second to Germany, of course) in turn, the excess of what we spend abroad is more than what we earn from foreign tourists! So, it would seem slightly bizarre for the UK governments to create tougher treatment at the border, create visa applications, and thus, put tourists off spending here, with such a large tourism deficit. The suggestion that governments of EU countries would single out British tourists for tougher treatment is also unlikely, as the money Britons spend here is so rife. Some also argued that instead of travelling on an ID card around the EU, you’d need your passport, but how many people really risk travelling passport-free these days anyway? So no fear, the queues might take a little longer, but as always, just remember to pack your passport. 

Other Issues: For those considering visiting the UK, with a weaker pound, holiday makers from other countries will receive more Stirling for their currency, making the UK cheaper to visit. More tourism in the UK? Maybe. However, it’s good news and bad news for those who stock up in duty-free. Bad news is that those limits elsewhere in the world will be imposed on the UK (only 200 cigarettes and 1 litre of spirit)! Nonetheless, once the UK leave, proper ‘duty-free’ will return: currently any airline promoting ‘duty-free’ when travelling within the EU isn’t technically providing zero duty on anything! On the other hand, Brits better not spend too much on goods, because they’ll be filling their cars with special Stirling priced petrol… no taking advantage of that cheap EU gas anymore.

Despite various anxieties and scaremongering, we must now progress with the right attitude and make the best of the situation summing up all the pros and cons, which far exceed the number I’ve mentioned here. Don’t let Brexit ruin your summer holiday, just be a Smart Traveller: shop around, consider additional spends in currency exchange, and expect longer airport queues. Easy.

Photo Credit: Gary Knight

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