Travel tips

Everything you need to know about travelling to Europe after Brexit

By Tasha Kleeman |

With Boris Johnson officially the UK's new Prime Minister, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely. 

No one knows quite how it’s all going to play out, but to help you prepare for every possible outcome, here’s everything you need to know about travelling to the EU after Brexit.

Brexit - what's the latest? 

Brexit is due to take place on the 31st October.

As of yet, no deal has been agreed with the European Union setting out the terms of our exit from the EU.

While the plan is to leave on 31st October with or without a deal, there are two cases in which this won’t happen:

  1. Brexit is delayed: The government could ask the EU for more time (e.g. to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, or to hold another vote).
  2. Brexit is cancelled: The European Court of Justice has ruled that it would be legal for the UK to revoke Article 50. This isn’t a likely option, but it could happen.

Ultimately, no one knows for sure what’s going to happen in October. Whatever the outcome, here’s how Brexit might impact your holiday plans.   

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?

The European Council and European Parliament have agreed that UK citizens you won’t need a visa for short trips to the EU after Brexit.  

If you want to stay somewhere for longer than 90 days, or to work or study there, you may need a visa or permit.

The specific visa rules for each EU country are yet to be confirmed, but you’ll be able to find specific information closer to the Brexit date for each country on the Government’s foreign travel advice website.

Whatever happens, travel to Ireland won’t change, so you’ll still be able to study, work and travel there the same as before.

Will I need a new passport?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal in October, new passport rules will apply:

  • You must have at least 6 months left on your passport to travel to most EU countries (i.e. your passport must be no older than nine years and six months on your day of travel to the EU)
  • If you have plans to travel to the EU and your passport was issued on or before 1st October 2009, you may well need to renew your passport. This can take three weeks to process, so make sure you plan ahead. Renewal can be done easily online on the uk website, and cost £75.50.
  • Passports renewed before the UK leaves the EU will be the same colour, but those issued after October will be blue and gold. As well as the new cover, these new passports will feature a stronger, polycarbonate photo page, intended to be more durable and secure.
  • As long as they aren’t damaged and are at least 6 months off expiry, the old red passports will still be valid for all international travel.

How will Brexit affect my travel money?

The value of the Pound fell significantly after the Brexit vote, and has been volatile ever since. Before the vote, exchanging €500 would have cost you around £350. Now, it will cost you around £450. 

If Brexit goes ahead in October, it’s possible that GBP will fall again, meaning you’ll get even less Euros and Dollars for your Pound.

Here are our top tips for getting the best value for money amid Brexit uncertainty:

1. Look outside the Eurozone

To get the most value from your Pounds, we’d recommend choosing a holiday destination with a good exchange rate, which might mean looking outside the Eurozone.

Destinations where Brits can enjoy excellent value include Turkey, South Africa, Poland, Romania and Morocco.

That said, there are still destinations within the Eurozone where you can expect good value for money despite a weakened Pound – you might just have to be a bit savvier about where you go. To find out more, have a read of our Alternative Europe travel guide.

2. Plan ahead

The best way to guard against any negative fallout from Brexit is by planning ahead. Given the volatility of the market, it’s a good idea to prepare for a further drop in GBP by ordering your money sooner rather than later. You’ll also find all our best rates online. 

3. Go cash-free

If you’re worried about exchange rates fluctuating amid Brexit uncertainty, you can load your money onto a prepaid currency card and lock in your rate.

How will transport be affected?

Most means of transport will still run as normal, regardless of what happens in October. The following will definitely be unaffected:

  • Flights
  • Ferries and cruises
  • Eurostar and Eurotunnel trains
  • Buses and coach services between the UK and EU
  • Airport security procedures for direct flights to and from the UK

It’s possible that bus and coach services to non-EU countries won’t be able to run in the case of a no-deal Brexit, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Will my EHIC card still be valid?

This will depend on if we secure a deal with the EU. If we do, your EHIC (European Health Insurance) card will still work. If we don’t, it may no longer be valid.

Either way, it’s advisable to buy travel insurance before you go away, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition, as there are limits to the healthcare covered by EHIC cards. 

Will Brexit effect data roaming?

If we leave the EU without a deal, you may no longer be entitled to free mobile data roaming.

To find out what the charges could be after 31st October, speak to your mobile provider.

Thanks to a new law, you won’t be charged more than £45 for mobile data abroad. When you reach this point, you can opt in to spend more to get extra data. 

Will I still be able to drive in Europe?

You’ll still be able to drive in Europe whatever happens in October. Just make sure you have your UK driving license and your V5C (log book) if you’re taking your own car. However, if there’s no deal, you’ll need some extra documents:

  • An International Driving Permit (this will only be required for some countries – find out if it applies to your travel destination here).
  • A free ‘green card’ (only needed if you’re taking your own vehicle. This can take up to a month to get from your insurance company).
  • A GB sticker (if you’re taking your own car).

See the gov.uk website for more information.

Will travelling with pets be affected?

If there’s no deal, you won’t be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you’ll have to follow a different process, which will take 4 months. 

The exact rules will vary depending on what status the UK is given by the EU. You can find the exact rules for each eventuality on the gov.uk website.

What happens to package holidays I have booked in advance? 

Any package holidays you have booked after 31st October will be fully protected under the Package Travel Regulations.

This means that even if the travel company goes out of business, you’ll be fully compensated, regardless of what happens in October.

What else is going to change?

When passing through border control in an EU country, you may have to:

  • Show a return or onward ticket
  • Show you have enough money for your stay
  • Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

Also, when travelling between the UK and any other country, you may now need to declare cash of £10,000 or more.

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