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What Does the Brexit Mean For My Holidays?

On June 23rd, 2016 Britain voted in favour of leaving the European Union, making us the first nation-state to ever do so. Nobody knows yet what the long term impacts of the Brexit will be, but one of the big questions a lot of people are asking right now is, will it affect my holiday?

The UK did not officially start to withdraw from the EU until we triggered Article 50 on March 29th, 2017 and began negotiating the terms of leaving. It's important to remember that very little changed during this period and that holiday plans were able to go on mostly as normal.

Similarly, when we officially leave the EU at 11 pm tonight (January 31st, 2019), we will then enter a transition period until December 31, 2020. During these next 11 months, everything will remain largely the same for British holidaymakers.

ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, has released an official statement answering all the questions you might have about how the Brexit will impact your travel plans, and we’re sharing their advice right here.


How will Brexit affect my holiday?

There will be no changes to holiday arrangements until the end of 2020. Travellers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were before the vote, European Health Insurance cards remain valid and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place.

If you are booking a holiday for 2021 or beyond, your rights will depend on the future UK-EU relationship, which is yet to be negotiated.

I’m going to Europe this summer, is my passport still valid?

Yes. Your current passport will be valid for travelling anywhere within the EU until its date of expiry. From January 1st, 2021, you will need to have at least 6 months validity left on your passport to travel.

Do I need to get a new passport?

No, your current passport will be valid until the expiry date listed. Those who need to renew their passport will be able to obtain a blue passport from early 2020. By mid-2020, all new British passports will be blue.

Do I need a visa to go to Spain or other places in Europe?

No. For the next 11 months, Brits can travel freely across Europe without the need for a visa.

What about my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

You can still use your EHIC card abroad. There will be no immediate changes to using your EHIC card abroad. Arrangements between the UK and other EU countries will be decided in the negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship.

I’ve booked a holiday for next year (2021) – do I need to do anything?

If you're holidaying in Europe after the transition period, you'll need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver. These last for 3 years and can be bought online for £6.30. You will not need one to travel to or from the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

Will the cost of travel money change?

Although the exchange rate may fluctuate after Brexit, the Pound jumped significantly when Boris Johnson won the election and remains strong against the Euro today.

To get the most currency for your money, keep an eye on the rates from the earliest point possible and be sure to purchase when it climbs above the norm.

Will it be more expensive to go on holiday abroad?

Not necessarily. There are plenty of deals to be had if you look in the right place (cough, Here you can find all inclusive holidays from just £199pp, city breaks from £89pp, kids stay free offers and super low deposits.

Remember, if you are travelling abroad and you have already paid for all of your travel arrangements, as part of a package holiday for example, then you will be protected to a large degree from any potential drop in the value of the pound.


Which queue will I go into at the airport – EU passports or all others?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed that you will be able to use EU/EEA passport gates, until at least 31 December 2020. In other words, you can use the same queue as you did before the vote until the end of the year and potentially beyond, depending on what is agreed during the UK-EU talks.

What about duty-free? Can I still bring goods home?

You can still bring home unlimited goods until we officially leave the EU. The free movement of goods will be part of a negotiated settlement with the EU.


Will the cost of flights increase?

If the pound weakens, it may impact the cost of flights in the short term. In the longer term, the UK Government will seek to negotiate full access to the EU’s common aviation market, which has delivered the open skies arrangements we have today.

Can I still get compensation if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

Yes. There will be no changes to claiming compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. The Department for Transport has confirmed all flights departing the UK will have the same passenger rights as we do today, both during and after the transition.


What about using my mobile phone abroad? Will roaming charges increase?

There will be no immediate changes to using your phone abroad, and there won’t be an immediate impact on charges. The UK Government will need to negotiate this within the EU as otherwise, the service providers will be free to set roaming charges. EE, Vodafone, Three Mobile and O2 have stated they have no plans to reintroduce these, but other providers may not be so generous.

Even if nothing is agreed by 2021, the UK has already put legislation in place to safeguard holidaymakers, including a £45-a-month limit for data usage abroad (this can be opted out off on request) and a system that notifies users when they are nearing their allowance.

What happens if I want to drive abroad?

Until the end of the year, the current rules on driving licence exchange will continue to apply so you will be able to drive abroad as normal. After this point, some countries will require drivers to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), and you may also need to retake your driving test. More information on this will be available once the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.

Can I still take money out from cashpoints abroad?

Yes, you can continue to take out cash abroad as normal.

All information sourced from

Do you have any other comments or concerns regarding your holiday post-Brexit? Tweet @icelollyholiday and we'll try our best to answer any questions you may have!