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Free Spirit’s Guide to Travel Post Brexit

Brexit has appeared in our blog a few times over the last 18 months. In our last Brexit article ‘Brexit – An Update from our underwriters’ we delivered an update from our insurers. This built on  our travel advice that highlighted the impact on travel to Europe post-Brexit and what you needed to know. Since then, things have moved on in more ways than one. With Brexit now looking to have a definitive date, and with that date fast approaching, it is time for an update.

On balance, while you may be aware of the following knowledge and preparations, Brexit does not need to have a large impact on your holiday to Europe because the UK Government and the European Union (EU) have agreed that holidaymakers will still be able to venture to and from the EU after Brexit.

How will a no-deal Brexit affect travel and transport?

Despite strikes from some well-known airlines in 2019, both security procedures and flights to and from the EU transport after Brexit will operate as normal with no changes until at least December 2020.

Also, ferries, the Eurostar, Eurotunnel, cruise ships, bus, coach and train journeys will continue to sail, roam and roar from the UK to the EU and back again. UK Ferry services and cruises are not based on EU rules but do make sure you check with your travel company to see if there is any additional information you need to be aware of.

Therefore, Brexit travel disruption should be unlikely when the UK begins the next phase of its split from the EU. UK holidaymakers and business travellers should continue to have… ‘…reassurances from the UK Government and European Commission that they will still be able to travel as there is either contingency legislation in place or the travel services are covered by international law’ (ABTA).

Brexit Travel

What if my travel is disrupted after Brexit?

Check your policy’s terms and conditions to ensure you have the cover you require if your travel is delayed or cancelled.

Post-Brexit Travel from December 2020

Post-Brexit travel to Spain, France or to any country which is part of the EU will require you to make some new checks before booking your holiday, they include:

  • Renewing your passport if it will expire six months or less before your departure date – the more time left on it the better.
  • Booking your pet into the vets four months before travelling to acquire the correct documentation.
  • Ensuring your International Driving Permit (IDP) and insurance green card is valid. An IDP can be obtained at many branches of the Post Office for a small fee. Green cards must be requested from your vehicle insurance company, but they can take up to one month to arrive so ask for them in plenty of time. You will also need to display a GB sticker on your vehicle, even if you have GB on your number plate.

N.B The new rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland.

To view the full list of checks to prepare for Brexit, visit Gov.uk.

Using your mobile phone in the EU post Brexit

  • Check if you can still use your mobile data in Europe with your mobile phone company.
  • When using your mobile in the EU there may be a mobile roaming data usage charges of up to £45 a month (this is the current cap set by the UK government).  However, many operators have indicated little desire to implement roaming charges so nothing may change.

To ensure a new mobile phone or gadget, view our mobile phone and tablet insurance for stand-alone cover.

Will my EHIC card still be effective after Brexit?

  • UK registered EHICs will not always be valid. Currently, only Spain, Portugal and Ireland have agreed to allow British citizens access to emergency healthcare at the same cost as local residents.  The best thing to do is to check with your local health authority.
  • Always make sure you have the appropriate holiday insurance before you travel because there are some limitations if you have an EHIC card. For example, if you rely solely on an EHIC card, you will have no cover in place for cancellation, baggage, personal possessions and much more.

What travel insurance should I take out after Brexit?

Travel insurance after Brexit will not be affected. As highlighted in a previous article ‘How will travel after Brexit be impacted?’, putting Europe travel insurance in place to cover any medical conditions you might have will be just as important, if not more, for trips to Europe after we leave the EU. The ambiguity over existing agreements such as the EHIC means that it is even more vital to cover yourself for the costs of healthcare overseas, as well as other unexpected travel-related issues.

Brexit Travel

Which.co.uk suggests that your travel insurance should include the following:

• Emergency medical cover: £2m for Europe and $5m worldwide
• Cancellation, curtailment and missed departure cover: £3,000
• Personal belongings and money: £1,500
• Personal liability cover: £1m

Travel with peace of mind with Free Spirit travel insurance. To view all the features and benefits, click here.

Do I need a Brexit EU travel visa?

No. As confirmed by the European Parliament, short term travel including business or leisure trips for under 90 days within a 180-day period will not require a visa. This includes EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. For longer stays, you may need a Visa depending on the destination. To keep up to date with this, make contact with the embassy of the country you are visiting well in advance of your trip.

 

More Brexit travel advice and tips

  • Keep checking the British pound and Euro travel money exchange rates for the best deal.
  • If you don’t have long left on your passport renew it now.
  • Don’t be surprised if you renew your passport and you receive a blue one. The words ‘European Union’ will also be removed.
  • Finding an all-inclusive deal could shield you from currency fluctuations.
  • Duty-free limits differ from country to country; check before you travel to understand how much you can take in.
  • Package holidays offer more refund protection.
  • Avoid extra charges by using bank cards designed for overseas travel.
  • Buy holiday packages with travel insurance (Brexit travel, Martin Lewis).

Simply plan ahead to find the best holiday packages, travel money and deals post-Brexit.

 

Whether a Brexit deal or an amendment of a Brexit deal business will continue as usual…

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive has said:

“The UK is primed to enter a new Brexit phase from 31 January, when trade talks begin, and when it does nothing will change when it comes to travel. This means that valid passports can still be used, EHIC cards will still be valid and the same gates can be used at border checkpoints.”

In comparison, the policies that we issue pre or post-Brexit travel will remain in place and cover will continue as per the contract at the time of sale. For more information, visit our Travel Tips or FAQ page.

Overall, make sure you always check government advice, your travel insurance cover and the airline/holiday provider’s terms and conditions before you travel.

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