As we near the end of a week of big Brexit headlines and key votes, our in-house travel writer Amy offers up some of her thoughts, and guidance on travel to the EU
As I write this, Parliament in Westminster has already inflicted yet another humiliating rejection on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Deal, yet also rejected leaving the EU without a deal. Tonight, we’ll see whether they wish to extend the deadline on the proposed date for Brexit (currently 29 March), but – even if they do – it remains to be seen whether the EU will accept that request, or for how long Brexit can or will be delayed. I would say it’s been a momentous week in politics, but it’s certainly not been a particularly illuminating one, bringing any clarity.
It really makes me want to escape the madness, and jet away to somewhere, anywhere - possibly without Wi-Fi so I can have a full Brexit Detox! I doubt I’m alone in this feeling, but holidays and travel aren’t just about escaping the constant barrage of shambles from Westminster. Holidays are a well-deserved break away from the norm, away from the stress and hard-work of our jobs and the daily grind, a chance to enjoy quality time with family, friends and loved ones (or time to yourself). Whether you like to chill out by the pool or beach, or head out to explore cities and different cultures, holidays are cherished times that we look forward to. But they are an investment and can be one of the largest single items of expenditure, so it’s understandable that holiday-goers want to ensure financial protection and may have questions about how Brexit might affect their hard-earned holidays, particularly with 61% of UK citizens planning a trip to Europe this year, according to ABTA’s 2018 Holiday Habits report.
There have been comparisons with the ‘Y2K Bug’, harking back to those pre-millennium days when people thought that all household electronics would go haywire, computers wouldn’t work, and planes wouldn’t fly once the clocks turned to midnight on 1 January 2000, but all that happened was that many millions of people no doubt woke up with a hangover (I myself was too young to partake in alcohol consumption, so I wasn’t amongst that particular number). And, indeed, flights will still continue after 29 March 2019, irrespective of a deal or not. The maintenance of good aviation links is equally important for both the UK and the EU, and both sides have made assurances that flights will continue, whatever the outcome. Initially, there were EU proposals for flights to be capped at summer 2018 levels in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but this has since been removed from its final legislation. Equally, if you’re planning on taking a ferry or cruising from the UK to Europe, then you can rest assured that your cruise or ferry will still sail as the majority of the rules under which they operate are international, rather than EU, rules. Similarly, coach and rail journeys to and from the EU, are also expected to continue.
Up until 2021, Brits can continue to visit the EU without a visa (provided a reciprocal arrangement is made for EU citizens visiting the UK), even in a no-deal scenario. However, from 2021, UK citizens will have to pay a fee – a mere €7 – for a visa exemption, with the implementation of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, and by that time, as a non-member of the EU (assuming Brexit occurs on 29 March), that is exactly what we will be. This will be similar to the US ESTA regime.
A lot of the guidelines regarding EU travel on or after 29 March 2019 can be found on our Brexit travel advice page, which follows ABTA’s up-to-date guidance. As we’re both ABTA and ATOL-protected, booking with Select Travel Holidays will always ensure that your booking is financially protected, and our team pride ourselves on our customer service, ensuring that clients are given the best advice available. Whilst we can’t predict what’s going to happen with Brexit any better than the next person (or the goal-predicting Octopus of previous World Cups), we can help you find the best value holidays in Europe, and beyond, that will suit your interests, budget, and dreams. As travel experts each with industry dating back to some seriously dodgy fashions and hairstyles, our team have weathered more than a few storms, and ensured that our clients have always continued to have the best holidays possible. Brexit will be no exception to our constant professionalism and customer service, and we will be damned if we’ll let anything get in the way of our clients’ dream holidays.
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