What does a Brexit mean for travel?

If you’re in #the48 and an EU passport is your most treasured possession, here’s what you need to know

IMG_4938Populism popped, the British voted for financial suicide, and an EU Leave vote became a real thing. The Pound tumbled. #The48 (technically 48.1%) went into a panic at a supposed loss of their freedom and the potential hampering of their travel freedoms. Many think that #The48 will soon have demographics to quickly surge above the quitters, who seem intent on getting angry while ironically fondling a Union Jack that they just voted to destroy. There’s tension, there’s worry, and at the end of it all, what will change? Probably not much, though we may have to wait for a rethink and/or a second referendum. Meanwhile here’s what Brits need to know about the effect of all this on your next much-deserved trip. It might be wise to make it a long one.

1 – HOW DOES A BREXIT AFFECT TRAVEL?

It doesn’t. Seriously, nothing has happened … yet. But it could wreck everything. A purely advisory Referendum voted Leave, and now we will all have to get familiar with European legislation (more irony), namely Article 50, which gives a country two years to negotiate an exit from the EU. Article 50 has not been triggered yet. It may be triggered tomorrow, or in January 2017. Some think it will never be triggered. Either way, all EU legislation will apply to the EU for at least the next two years and possibly as much as seven years. There will be no initial change in the way people travel, or to European Health Insurance cards or Air Passenger Rights. There’s more advice from ABTA here. For the bad stuff – such as airport security post-Brexit, higher travel insurance, visas and more – go here.

2 – WHAT ABOUT THE POUND?

The pound is at an all time low, so trips will cost more. And it’s going to get worse as the UK returns to levels not seen since 1985, before the era of cheap travel. Cripes. Get saving.

3 – WHAT ABOUT FLIGHTS?

They will probably get more expensive – and there will be fewer flights between the EU and UK. Plus there’s the falling Pound. Cue uncertainly in the markets, which means that share prices of travel companies are being hit. Budget airline EasyJet – which opposed a Brexit (as did almost every company) – issued profit warnings this morning as its share price sunk by 20%. EasyJet expects to lose £28 million. That’s a lot of cancelled holidays.

4 – WHAT ABOUT MY PASSPORT?

UK passports say ‘European Union, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ on the front. Some dodgy Daves have been busy rubbing-off the lettering, though anyone who travels frequently enough to really care about their passport likely hasn’t got much gold lettering left on it anyway. But an EU passport is one of the most valuable things anyone can have, in terms of travel freedom. It enables you to travel anywhere, even be a digital nomad working almost anywhere in the world. People from most poorer countries have none of those privileges. There is no guarantee that a British – or, rather, an English & Welsh – passport will infer the same rights and visa-free travel. If you voted Quit, you voted for masses of paperwork and trips to embassies to get visas.

5 – WHAT ABOUT MOBILE PHONE CHARGES?

Extortionate mobile phone roaming charges will be banned in the EU from 2017. Brits may get a brief taste of them before quitting the EU, but probably not. Turns out the European Parliament DID do practical stuff for us. Expect the Quitters to moan most about this one.

6 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE U.K?

The U.K. now looks set to break-up, with 62% of Scotland, 56% of Northern Ireland and 95.9% of Gibraltar voting to remain in the EU. That means Northern Ireland could become a political hotbed once again, and border controls between England and Scotland created, though all of that is years away, too. If you’re not from the U.K, now might be a good – and cheap – time to #VisitBritain … while it still exists.

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