Unless you’ve been residing under a rock for the past couple of weeks you’ll have heard the word ‘Brexit’ (aka Britain’s formal exit from the European Union) being thrown around in the news. On the 24th June 2016 the great British public, and the world, awoke to the news that they would be saying auf wiedersehen to the EU, after 52% of the population voted to leave in a referendum. In this very topical post we’ll be exploring what impact Brexit could have on European holidays and what it means for British tourists who want to travel outside the sunny British Isles.
So how will the Brexit affect travel plans and the thriving European holiday industry? It’s tough to call exactly how the new Europe (minus Britain) will look, given that they haven’t actually officially left yet. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), who are pretty well placed to judge the changing travel landscape, post-Brexit, have argued that there could be a broad ranging impact:
“Many consumer protection issues, such as financial protection, health cover, and mobility, are all subject to EU regulation. As such, Brexit could potentially have a significant impact on many pieces of legislation that impact UK leisure and business travellers.”
Once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (the constitutional agreement that holds Europe together) is triggered, the UK will have exactly 2 years to negotiate trade and other deals with Europe and the rest of the world. Until then, the UK will remain part of the EU and will still benefit from the free movement of goods and people. So for anyone who has booked a European getaway, you’ll still be able to travel with your existing passport, you won’t need a visa (if you’re British) and crucially, you’ll still be able to take full advantage of duty free – for now!
What’s going to change once the UK finally leaves?
Almost certainly prices will go up for anyone earning in pounds. On the day of the referendum results, the pound (one of the strongest currencies in the world at the time) fell to a 31 year low as global markets said “oh golly” to the news.
Whist this is splendid news for foreigners, wishing to travel to the UK this summer, it’s not so fabulous for Brits – who’ll have to fork up more money to pay for their cerveza in the sun this year. The knock on effect of the devalued pound is that everything from flights to room service at the hotel will cost you much more than it would have earlier this year.
Bye bye cheap European airfares?
As part of the EU, the UK currently enjoys very airline friendly service agreements that allow companies like Easyjet and Ryanair to operate routes from as little as £10 each way. Once the UK has left the EU it will have to renegotiate these agreements and this will ultimately impact how cheaply airlines can continue to run. Last year David Cameron even used the threat of losing consumer friendly airfares as a key reason for people to vote remain.
Sadly, it’s not only higher plane tickets that Britons will have to worry about. They might also lose some consumer rights that are currently protected by EU laws. For example, if you’re flight is cancelled or arrives more than 3 hours late (into its final destination) you could claim up to €600 from your airline. Once Brexit becomes official, the same protection will not be guaranteed, as new legislation will need to be passed in Parliament in order for it to be applicable to UK citizens.
Under the current system, any British travellers with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can benefit from lower or completely free healthcare across Europe – should they fall ill whilst on holiday. Until a new agreement is in place, the EHIC scheme is in jeopardy and could mean higher premiums on health and travel insurance once Brexit is a reality.
Au revoir cheap roaming deals?
The European Union has done its utmost to try and reduce costs for EU citizens using their mobile phones across the continent. They’ve currently capped roaming charges so that telcos can’t exploit their customers for simply wanting to access the internet or make calls whilst abroad. They’re also set to abolish data roaming charges as of next year (2017). ABTA and Deloitte have already predicted that a Brexit will equal disaster for any travellers hoping to roam using their UK mobile phone service provider.
Once the UK is no longer part of the European Union, consumers will not have the same protections, including the cap on data roaming charges. Particularly for families who take a range of mobile devices, tablets, laptops and sat-navs, it could spell shock bills on their return.
Weather the Brexit storm with Tep
Instead of worrying about the potential shock bill you could be receiving when you next roam – why not avoid the unexpected costs altogether by renting a wifi device instead. TravelWifi’s portable wifi device can help you avoid the uncertainty of European roaming charges, leaving you to bask in your holiday snaps instead of Brexit madness.
Our device allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously (yes – that can include a satnav too) and gives you access to safe, secure and unlimited internet on the go. The device is just £6.50 per day – so no surprise bills, just one fixed daily cost.
Whilst we can’t tell you exactly how Brexit will play out over the next couple of years, we can give you peace of mind that you can still go on holiday without having to worry about the added cost of data roaming!