One month on from Britain’s decision to Brexit, many travellers and gappers are questioning what impact the referendum will have on the UK travel industry. Much is still unknown and as we are yet to trigger Article 50, there is still an air of uncertainty. What we do know is that the choice will lead to financial change, whether for the better or worse. Simplified, when the pound is strong, Brits tend to go abroad; when it isn’t, they don’t. Only time will tell what the future hold. Most of the big changes will affect travel to other EU countries. This means that the majority of these issues will not affect British travellers to countries outside of the EU – good news for the majority of Oyster programmes. Below, I explore 6 issues that may affect British travel in the next few years.
1) Travel routes
Many of the low cost airlines that operate throughout Europe have been able to open new routes and reduce their prices because of the decision by member states of the EU to remove the restrictions on air services and the increased competition. If a new similar agreement is not made then the cost of flights may continue to rise.
2) The power of the pound
With drop in the power of the pound, flights will intially cost more because fuel is often bought in dollars and currently our currency is unable to buy as much as it previously did. This issue will affect travellers to anywhere in the world. Before we panic too much, do remember that we still don’t know for certain what the financial implications will be. The pound did drop significantly straight after the news was reported, but it has stabilised. Overall, the value of the pound has not dropped to a point of being irreversible and many believe it will make a recovery as politics stabilises.
2) Border control
For many years, Brits abroad have been able to smoothly move between EU countries without visas. The good news is that it seems likely that this will continue even when we leave. The fear that many have is that if other member states follow the UKs lead and exit the EU, stricter border controls may have to be implemented. This could mean longer queues at the airport at the start of your trip. On the scale of issues, this is relatively minor. Oyster offers ski seasons in Romania and we will ensure that all travellers are updated as new information emerges.
Currently, British travellers are able to claim sizable compensation for delayed or cancelled flights. This is because of EU law. Once we Brexit, British airline may decide to reduce the amount that is compensated to passengers. Rest assured however, that it is in the interest of airlines to protect the rights of their passengers to ensure passengers continue to travel so any change should not be too dramatic.
4) Health care abroad
Brexit will result in the end of UK citizen’s right to the EU Health Insurance Card. This card allows British travellers to access free or heavily reduced treatments in other EU countries, while abroad. We may still have access to this benefit if the UK agrees to allow other EU travellers to use our health system if they travel here. However, as travel insurance offers by far the best cover for travellers to any part of the world, we will still have that protection. All Oyster participants must get travel insurance before departure, regardless of destination, this will continues as normal.
5) Calling abroad
Lastly, British people may have to pay more to use their phones in the EU. All charges were due to be scrapped completely for all EU members in 2017. It is unclear whether Brits will still benefit from this. When we leave, simply make sure you are clear on the charges you could face to avoid any unwanted surprises on your bank statement.
These are the main concerns facing travellers after the UK decided to Brexit. The process to leave will be slow and new rules will be implemented gradually. There is no need to stop travelling and there are certainly no major changes to report at present. Our advice if you want to go abroad on a gap year or career break is to keep up to date on the changes to ensure that you are not caught out. For those travelling to countries outside the EU, at present there are no major changes, which is great news for the majority of travellers on our programmes.