By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. What this means for economies in Europe or even throughout the world is for the speculation of those who follow global finance. What this means for political ties around the world is for those who follow politics. No doubt this will impact people in Britain and throughout Europe more than the rest of us, but I do find myself wondering, what does this mean for travelers? So, I did what any good travel blogger would do and I did a little research on the topic. Here is what I learned:
It is uncertain at this point what will happen regarding the border-less travel through Europe that both E.U. citizens and visitors enjoy. For British citizens, it’s possible they will not need visas to visit the E.U., but they may need to pass through passport control when they enter the zone. The Schengen agreement could end and border checks may be reintroduced as well. It’s also possible some countries might start requiring UK citizens to get visas before traveling. At this point it’s unclear whether this will happen or not, and it will most likely take several years to implement if it does happen, but it is certainly possible.
For Americans, I don’t think anything too dramatic will change for us, except we will need to go through customs and immigration twice if we’re traveling through the U.K. and then on to Europe afterwards.
For citizens of other countries, it is possible that visa requirements could change to visit the United Kingdom. If they are no longer tied to the EU rules, they may revise their list of countries that need a visa to enter, so if you’re planning a visit to the UK any time soon and you’re unsure, it’s best to keep informed on current visa requirements.
Longer Customs Lines
For those of us flying into the UK from outside of the EU, we may be faced with longer customs lines as those EU citizens who have been able to soar through the ‘EU citizens’ line will now have to join the rest of us all in the ‘Non-UK Citizens’ line. So…be prepared for that.
Currently, the value of the Pound has plummeted. What this means for non-British travelers is that it’s a great time to visit the U.K., financially speaking. With a usually strong pound, Britain has always been a pretty expensive place to visit. I know when I last visited the U.S. dollar to pound exchange rate was so brutal that I nearly ran out of money just doing normal things like eating and taking trains and subsisted on oatmeal and fruit towards the end of my journey. If you’ve been wanting to visit the U.K. but have been worried about it costing a lot of money, it’s a great time to go!
On the other hand, British travelers might suddenly find their upcoming travel plans to be much more expensive than they had anticipated with a weakened value of the pound.
The Euro has also seen a (less dramatic) fall in value since the vote, so Europe in general could be a great value at the moment.
So, really, how it will impact you depends on which country you’re from.
Some financial analysts are predicting the the Pound will eventually rise back up in value as their independent economy becomes stronger, so long term this could mean Britain gets expensive again. I’m no expert though, so only time will tell for sure.
Possibly Higher Airfare
There is a lot of speculation that airfare on some carriers could get higher. The highly successful no-frills airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair will need to negotiate new air service agreements between the UK and the EU. Nobody yet knows what the results of those negotiations could be, but it’s quite possible it will end in higher airfare.
This one doesn’t really impact us Americans, but for British people and EU members, there could be changes in cell coverage and fees, so British and European travelers should check their phone plans before traveling.
The Bottom Line
The times, they are a’changing…
For those of us outside of the EU and Britain, there’s no time like the present to book that trip across the pond! For British and European travelers, only time will tell what changes are coming your way, but I wish you all the best.