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What to expect when travelling to Europe pre and post Brexit

Your guide to European Travel pre and post Brexit

Travelling to Europe from the U.K. is easy at the moment and can make for some great cheap holidays. However with the ever looming Brexit due to become reality we will soon find ourselves with a very different set of requirements for travelling to our nearest continental neighbours. If you are travelling before Brexit we have some tips worth reading and some recommendations on what to look for in your travel insurance.

There are a few things to think about if you are considering a European trip any time after brexit and the first decision to make is whether you can push the plans forward and do it beforehand. After it happens last minute holidays will likely be much more difficult and we will probably be treated as any non European travellers will be.

Mont Saint-Michel France

Travelling to Europe post-Brexit

First we will take a look at the impact Brexit might have on travel to Europe from the U.K. We cannot be sure what we will end up with after we leave the European Union however there are a few possibilities the most likely being Visas or something the EU has been working on since before the British referendum was announced and well before the vote to leave was declared.

  • It's currently looking like Visas will not be needed to travel from UK to Europe however we will no doubt be consigned to the queue for non-EU citizens. This may change but it is likely we will end up with a new system and set of requirements.
  • Europe has been looking to set up a new initiative called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). This would mean that every prospective visitor to the EU, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, will have to register their details and pay a fee (approximately €5 is the current likely fee). The information will then be compared against a number of watchlists, and a decision made on whether or not to grant an ETIAS.
  • Should it be used the ETIAS paperwork will be required where ever you go in Europe, much like your passport, and is likely to include details like why you are travelling (holiday, business, visiting family, etc), specify the country you will first arrive in and provide the address of your first night’s stay. The intention is that the vast majority of applications will be approved within a few minutes, but it could take up to four days which could cause issues for last minute travellers.
  • The ETIAS permit will apparently be valid for three years, or until your passport runs out however details as to whether you would need to log in and declare your destination etc before each trip are not yet available.
  • Something to watch for post brexit will be the return of high cost roaming fees. Currently roaming fees are prohibited under EU rules however mobile data and phone charges could go up again should the UK government cease to implement EU directives.
  • Another thing that may happen is the return of duty free regulations to europe. We will have a duty free allowance of 200 cigarettes, 16 litres of beer and four litres of wine, and above that we will have to pay £2 for each bottle we bring home, rather than the 800 cigarettes, 110 litres of beer and 90 litres of wine that we can currently have without raising the eyebrows of UK Customs. This may have a small benefit too however as it could mean the return of duty-free shopping on certain ferries and the Euro tunnel.
Gondola in Venice Italy

Tips for travelling to Europe

Whatever happens with Brexit we have a few helpful tips and recommendations for you to help you make your trip go as smoothly as possible.

  • Many across Europe speak some level of English so learning the language doesn't seem so important nowadays, but there are still places that some level of knowing the local language can really help out. Even if you go somewhere that everyone knows English the locals will still appreciate someone who at least attempts to learn their language and you are far more likely to make some nice friends and have some interesting conversations should you attempt to do so.
  • You don’t want to be that tourist standing out from the crowd with bad manners or obnoxious behaviour, so observe what the locals do and follow suit. That way you are less likely to be targeted by pickpockets and scam artists and will often find people will be much friendlier too.
  • Many countries in Europe have either long lunch breaks or a siesta midday to early afternoon so be aware that places may close up for this period and restaurants are more likely to be busy so booking ahead may be necessary and check the local opening hours for places you may wish to visit.

Lastly until brexit happens the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still an important and useful card to get in case of health issues while you are abroad in Europe, so make sure you have one that is in date and valid for your trip. We are not yet sure what may happen to this post-Brexit, however, it could be a system that continues depending on the deal we get and the decisions made for health coverage of travellers each way when travelling between Europe and Britain.

Time to go to Europe

Getting travel insurance for a trip to Europe

There are many reasons you may take a trip to Europe and even more places to go so travel insurance should be tailored to your specific trip. Are you skiing in the Alps? then you should definitely add winter sports cover. A cruise around the greek islands sound nice? don't forget to include cruise cover and about that business trip to Germany select business cover as an addon. These are some of the more important aspects of travel insurance for any trip as they specifically add extra cover for issues that may crop up for your trip.

Otherwise the general cover you get, though seeming similar across all travel insurance, tends to vary in the details and you will find some policies provide better cover, offering higher protection amounts or lower excesses in different areas. Some of the areas that can benefit any trip are baggage, cancellation and medical cover so double check these on your policy. You may also like to check our other guides for some more hints and tips on different places to go to, useful areas of travel insurance and how to make a trip go smoothly.

As ever we at medical travel insurance are here to help you find travel insurance that's right for you and your trip to Europe just click here to go and get a quote.

In need of assistance?

Our medical travel insurance team are ready to provide you with assistance regarding your quote. If you would prefer to talk to an advisor to receive a quote or have a query please contact our UK based customer service team. Find out details on our contact us page.


Sand and clear blue water