Holidays: Europe post-Brexit travel advice provided by expert
As of December 31, the UK will have officially left the EU, and one of the areas due to see a new onslaught of rules and regulations is travel to the continent. Though there have been some concerns about how this may impact holidays, one expert says Britons “should not be too worried”.
The key to success, he says, is being prepared. Rob Gower, manager of Northampton based luxury travel agency Dragonfly Traveller believes the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be far more concerning to the travel industry.
“I am not worried about Brexit. I don’t really think customers should be too worried about Brexit. I think covid will just overtake it all,” he told Express.co.uk.
However, he points out although changes are due to come, there are some “sensible” “best practises” which Britons can start to plan for now.
“I do think there are some sensible things people should think of about Brexit – that they should do before they go on holiday in Europe after the end of December. But they are not extensive,” he continued.
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One of the major changes to come will impact passports which have less than six months of validity left on them.
According to Gov.uk: “You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.
“On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both have at least six months left; and be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left).
“If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.”
Mr Gower continued: “The key thing holidaymakers are going to have to think about is make sure your passport is less than 10 years old and you have got more than six months to expiry.
“And you know what, you need that if you go on a long haul holiday anyway so it is best practise to have that done and constantly review that and not let your passport run out.”
Though renewing a passport is a fairly simple move, recently BBC resident Brexit expert Adam Flemming warned failure to get a new passport in time could be hugely detrimental to holiday plans.
“If you go on holiday next year and you have only got a couple of months left you might be turned back at the border when you arrive,” he said.
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Along with passport changes, Mr Gower also highlighted the importance of travel insurance.
Though having adequate travel insurance in place for travel is already a major necessity for holidays, it is one which is about to grow even more in precedence.
“The other big thing for me is insurance,” he said.
“This is related to covid as well as it does to Brexit or anything.
“It is about the demise of the EHIC card, wherever that goes it is probably going to go.”
Currently, Britons benefit from the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles them to healthcare equal to that of citizens of the nation they are visiting.
However, it is extremely likely that this card will be wiped out for UK residents following the EU departure.
Therefore, holidaymakers will need to ensure they are covered for medical expenses via their travel insurance policy.
“People need to be a bit more savvy around what their insurance is, what it covers, and does that cover suit them,” continued Mr Gower.
“I think people in the past have said: ‘Yeah I have got travel insurance, I get it free, I get it with my bank. I’m covered.’
“But when you ask them what it does actually cover they don’t know.
“And I think people need to be a bit more focussed about what their insurance does and does not cover in terms of health and care while they are abroad on holiday.”
He also highlights some additional changes, such as rules regarding driving abroad and travel with pets, though notes these will impact much fewer people when compared to the passport and medical care modifications.
“Yes, there are things like if I want to drive abroad I might want to have an international driving permit,” he said.
“Yes, some countries may insist that but they are bits and pieces really. “Mobile phones roaming charges, people will have to have a look as that possibly because you won’t be covered by European legislation.
“And the only other one really will be taking your pet abroad.”
Though these changes may have had the potential to cause a greater impact, with everything the travel industry has endured in 2020, Mr Gower thinks Brexit travel rules pale in comparison.
“They are small individual things,” he said.
“Covid is going to be much more of a challenge I think.”
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