Many people in UK are already booking their travel plans for 2019, and have questions about what might happen after 29 March 2019 when the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
Travel company First Choice and ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators, have released details in a bid to help travellers.
Under EU rules the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. ABTA said: “If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.”
First Choice said: “We know that flights taking off in the UK will still be permitted to fly within the European Union’s airspace, even it a deal isn’t reached – that’s been confirmed by the European Commission. “Even if we have a no-deal Brexit, flights between the UK and the EU will still take place as normal. Even when a deal is decided, nothing will happen overnight – we’ll go into a period of transition for two years up until late 2020.”
Ferry services and cruises will still sail as the majority of the rules under which they operate are not based on EU rules, but are international.
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Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
You shouldn’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. The European Commission announced in November 2018 that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK. The European Commission has said that from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around 7 Euros) for this visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.
What about if I’m driving while on holiday?
For those that choose to drive abroad ABTA says that those with a full UK driving licence may need to apply for a relevant International Driving Permit. These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office – the RAC and AA will not be issuing them from February 1. There are two IDPs depending on which country you are visiting – drivers travelling between different countries (France and Spain, for example) may need both types.
ABTA said: “The Government is working to extend the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit, and has plans to roll these out in more branches across the UK from 1 February 2019. “Check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law.”
You may also need a green card.
European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid.
ABTA has always advised holidaymakers and business travellers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.
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When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.
Taking pets abroad
In the event of a no-deal, pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks would change. If you wish to take your pet to the EU on or after 29 March 2019 pet owners would need to discuss preparations for their pet’s travel with an Official Veterinarian at least four months in advance of the date they wish to travel. Pet owners should keep an eye out for any further instructions issued by the UK Government.