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How the UK leaving the EU could affect travellers

June 24, 2016 12:33 pm

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Yesterday millions of citizens of the UK braved the summer thunderstorms to turn out and vote in only the UK’s third nationwide referendum. The reason – to determine whether the UK should remain a member of the EU or not.

This morning, as the ballots came in, it became clear that the British public have eaten up the fear-mongering and hyperbole and the leave campaign has won. The UK will be leaving the EU. Although this process may take two years to implement, and during that process the UK will remain a member of the EU, the future of the UK’s border policies with Europe and the strength of its currency are shrouded in uncertainty.

Travellers, both UK citizens visiting the EU and EU Citizens visiting the UK, will be greatly affected by the new agreements put in place by the post-EU UK government. Although it’s early days, and extremely hard to predict, here are 7 areas that are likely going to affect travellers in Europe.

The strength of the British Pound

On the morning after the referendum the British Pound has already fallen to a 30 year low against the US Dollar and the Euro. However, these fluctuations were expected, and while the leave campaigners expect the pound to recover, others predict the pound could fall as low as 1.15USD and 10.5 EUR.

For Brits this is going to have a huge affect on any travel plans; with the weaker pound we could be required to earn an extra 25% to meet our saving plans. I personally am considering changing my plans and opting for cheaper countries (such as India), so that I can still travel for as long as I had planned. But for everyone else, this is a great time to visit the UK. As London is an expensive city to visit, other currencies will go further at the moment meaning you can enjoy the UK for longer this summer.

Visa-less travel throughout the EU

One huge concern is that once the UK leaves the EU, UK Citizens will be need a visa to travel through EU countries. This is highly unlikely and it seems certain that the new agreements will allow UK citizens to travel in Europe for a set period of time visa-free. This will also be the same for EU citizens wanting to visit the UK, as due to the proximity of the countries it just isn’t feasible to employ tourist visa sanctions.

Freedom to work throughout the EU

Many UK travellers have dreams of living and working in Berlin for a year, doing a ski season in France or freelancing on a Portuguese beach. Likewise London, as well as the rest of the UK, is a destination that many young Europeans flock to when looking for a new adventure.

Due to the leave campaign’s focus on controlling immigration, once the new agreements have been made it is likely that there will be a restriction (probably in the form of a quota) on EU citizens visiting and working in the UK.

What is for certain is that it’s definitely going to be harder for UK and EU citizens to work in each other’s countries. If this is currently on your travel plans I’d suggest that you move them forward as once you’re there and working it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be asked to leave once the laws change (see the next point).

EU Citizens currently working in the UK & UK Citizens currently working in the EU

Even the leave campaigners have said from the out that people won’t just be ‘Sent Home’ (scary as it is that this even crossed anyone’s minds). So EU citizens currently working in the UK should be totally fine going forward.

As for UK citizens currently working in an EU country, it’s likely that a similar agreement will be reciprocated between the UK and the EU.

Airfares in Europe

Budget airlines have been offering cheap flights throughout Europe for many years thanks to the EU removing restrictions on air service agreements. Once the UK leaves the EU, these agreements for British airlines (such as EasyJet) will have to be negotiated. How freely these new agreements will allow the budget airlines to fly over Europe is yet to be determined. However, non-UK airlines will be able to continue flying in and out of the UK without any restrictions.

Healthcare in Europe

UK Citizens can currently get some level of free healthcare throughout Europe with the use of the EHIC card. This is another element that is still uncertain and is subject to change as the new UK and Europe agreements are put in place.

Mobile Phone Roaming Charges

The EU has be pressuring mobile phone providers to lower the outrageous and illogical costs of using your mobile phone in Europe for years. It eventually worked and costs have dropped dramatically over recent years, with it looking as though roaming costs would be completely abolished by June 2017. However, with the UK leaving the EU it’s unlikely that the UK mobile phone provi

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