The official Brexit date of January 31 is looming on us so large that suddenly the tax return deadline doesn’t look so important. Yup: at the turn of the month, we’ll begin our move away from the European Union. Among the questions that remain to be answered is what it means for our holidays. After all, 58 million Brits visit Europe every year, making it our most popular overseas destination.
The good news is that our current arrangement is in place at least until December 31 2020, so we can explore the beaches of Portugal, the restaurants of Paris and the craft beer bars of Belgium as much as we’d like. But to make sure Flexicover customers are fully in the loop and prepared for the shift, we’ve put together a quick guide to the major points. From data roaming concerns to passport rules, this is the definitive arrangement…for now.
So, if you plan on travelling this year, here’s the Flexicover team’s guide on what you need to know before you go.
First and foremost: don’t worry!
Whether you want to treat yourself to a weekend away soon, or you’ve booked one that you’re looking forward to, fret ye not. The transition period means that things will largely stay the way they are. That means flights will still be running as usual on February 1 and beyond, we won’t have to get visas to travel to our continental neighbours. Our data roaming agreement is still in place, driving licenses will still be valid in other countries, and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) still allows us access to healthcare (though, as always, it doesn’t cover you for full medical insurance). So feel free to book with abandon!
Check your passport
During the transition period, you can carry on travelling to Europe visa-free on your British passport, as long as it’s valid. This is a change to previous advice, which suggested making sure there is at least six months left until it expires. But especially if you’re travelling for an extended period, it might be worth ensuring it meets the six-month rule anyway, on the slim chance that things change while you’re away. But even if it does, the likelihood is that you’ll be able to sort it out at a British embassy.
See if you’re ATOL-protected
While Brexit rules and regulations will stay the same, the best way of ensuring that your holiday will be guaranteed regardless of changes in the fortunes of hotel operations, airlines and travel companies is by buying a package holiday that’s ATOL-protected. This means you’ll get a refund or replacement holiday if a business collapses, or if you’re already abroad, assistance to travel back without being out of pocket. Ultimately, it means you’ll have peace of mind when travelling during this less-than-stable time.
Keep a copy of your travel insurance with you
Talking of peace of mind, travel insurance is another way in which you can protect your travel, whether or not you have an ATOL-protected package holiday. Download or print a copy of your travel insurance details, and keep it with your travel documents. That way, you’ll be fully aware of what you’re covered for at all times, and have the emergency number to hand in case of an unfortunate scenario. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Keep checking the government’s advice
Though the transition period is 11 months long, because this is a situation in flux, it’s always best to check the latest government advice. gov.uk is the place to go for any updates, changes and new requirements. It’s also useful as it will indicate any changes on the horizon, so once an agreement has been reached (or in the case of a no deal scenario) it will tell holidaymakers the rules that will apply. Until then, happy travels!
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.