Your questions answered about travelling to the EU now we have a Brexit extension until the end of October.
Q: What do the latest Brexit developments mean for going away this Easter holiday?
A: Bargain prices! Because some holidaymakers have been cautiously waiting to see what happens with Brexit, tour operators have unsold inventory and discounts are available. But now we have an extension until October the best deals are being snapped up, so if you want to take advantage of a cheap deal best act fast! If you'd like some suggestions, see our big list of top Easter destinations for 2019.
Q: What do the latest Brexit developments mean for holidays this summer?
A: Maybe also some bargains. Beyond that, probably nothing at all.
We’ve been given an extension until October 31st. Several things can happen (see our simple Brexit flowchart for some of the possibilities) but amongst the most likely options are:
1. Parliament ratifies Theresa May’s deal some time before October 31st.
In that case we go into the transition period which takes us up to the end of 2020. During the transition period travel to the EU continues to work the same as it does now, so you can travel to Europe without any problem.
2. The debate continues in parliament until October 31st. In that care we’re still in the EU this summer, and holidays continue as ever.
3. A crisis - probably the requirement to participate in the European elections - precipitates a no-deal crash out of the EU.
This is generally considered unlikely, but if it does happen remember that the EU has already said that (so long as the UK reciprocates) we can continue to travel visa-free for short trips like holidays, so with a handful of precautions trips should continue as before.
(Click for the full high-res version)
Q: You mention “a handful of precautions” in the event of no-deal. That sounds ominous. Tell me more.
A: Not technically a question, but we’ll not let mere pedantry derail us. If we leave with no deal, we recommend you do the following to visit the EU.
1. Make sure you take out good, comprehensive travel insurance. Even before Brexit you should take out travel insurance whenever you travel, but while we’re still part of the EU the reciprocal EHIC arrangement means UK travellers can use local emergency services and medical facilities much as a local would. (That won’t cover getting you home if you have an accident though, which is one of the reasons you need the insurance.)
If we leave the EU without a deal, that arrangement will immediately come to an end (unless or until we agree a specific arrangement to cover it), so travel insurance will become even more important. Ours is great - you can get it here.
If you can remember to drive on the wrong side of the road, you can remember to take your paperwork
2. If you’re driving, make sure you get the right International Driving Permit(s). There are three different permits in operation throughout Europe (ironic, since the part of the point of the EU is to standardise regulations) and if you drive from a country that uses one permit to a country that uses a different one you need both. So Spain to France by car, for example, after Brexit, will take two permits. They cost £5.50 each and can be bought from thousands of Post Offices. You will also (probably) need a “green card”, a way of proving you have valid motor insurance for driving on the continent.
If you plan to drive in Europe and you don't fancy squeezing your own car onto a ferry, Holiday Extras offers car hire in every EU country from the world's biggest online car rental service at competitive rates.
3. And you’ll need to make sure your passport has at least six months left on it. If you renewed your last passport before it expired and got more than 10 years on it, the extra months might not count. Check the government Brexit website for the complicated legalese on this but in most cases just having six months on your passport will be fine.
Travelling in the Brexit interregnum
Holiday Extras has written a number of helpful guides for the precautions you'll need to take while travelling during and after Brexit.
Q: So this transition period up to December 31st 2020. Presumably now we have an extension to Brexit we get a longer transition?
A: We might at some point, but for the moment the transition period runs up to a set date - December 31st 2020 - rather than a number of months from the date we might leave. So no, that’s still the same.
Q: Ok, what happens after December 31st 2020?
A: Assuming we have left with the deal, or a close equivalent of it, or negotiated something else in then meantime…here’s what happens next.
From 2021, to travel to all of these countries (currently the Schengen block) you'll need a new document called ETIAS - the European Travel Information and Authorisation System. It'll cost €7 and (probably) last for three years. That’s about it, apart from the passport, insurance and driving precautions we mentioned above.
Q: Are people really still going on holiday to the EU with all this going on?
A: Of course we are! 360,000 Holiday Extras customers already have bookings to visit EU countries later this year, and the percentage of our customers who are going to the EU is actually up on last year.
Q: OK, but what if we’re really, really cautious and want to go somewhere outside the EU just in case?
A: See our big list of Brexit-proof destinations. Many of these, like Turkey and Iceland, are as close or closer than the Canaries, so you if you really want to holiday outside the EU this year there’s plenty of options without going the whole long-haul.
Book your holiday extras early
It pays to book your airport parking, airport hotel or your lounge as soon as you book your flights. Prices usually go up nearer the date you fly, and last year Holiday Extras saved our airport parking customers £59 each on average when they pre-booked their airport parking instead of paying on the day.Book my hotel and parking today
Next article: Brits are so bored of Brexit they're leaving the country
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