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What Brexit Means for International Travel

Pro traveler Jenn Miller explains how Brexit is changing things (slowly, democratically) and why some changes may even be good for your around the world trip.

“Bloody hell,” he cursed, slamming down his beer on a Spanish café table, “This means I’ll have to stand in line with everyone else getting into the continent!” I chuckled, sipped my vino tinto, “Like me…” I raised my eyebrows over my glass.

“Erm… yeah… you… and the rest of the North Americans… sorry… I mean, I know you all have to stand in line… but I’m European! And I’m proud to be European! And now my country is daft enough to want out of that? This isn’t just going to complicate travel, it’s going to affect our trade agreements and everything else. I mean, we’re a tiny island, we don’t run the world anymore. We should be staying in the EU.”

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Just days after the Brexit vote rocked the EU, I found myself sitting under a beer-branded umbrella with a fellow from London, who, two drinks in, was well into his rant of incredulity over the unexpected outcome that threatens to remove the UK from the union of European countries. Of course, there are arguments to be made on both sides, from immigration to economics, but I think it’s safe to say that more than a few people, inside and outside of the UK were surprised by the vote.

Beyond the loss of their EU credentials and the very real possibility that UK citizens will find themselves, as my drinking buddy so fears, standing in line with the masses at European entry points, what are the implications for those who travel? Both within the UK, and for foreigners visiting the island nation?

Exchange Rates

How does Brexit affect exchange rates & the cost of travel

The immediate effect, of course, was that a historically pricey destination became an overnight bargain as the Pound plummeted against the US dollar (and others). A friend of mine, who was on Remote Year, stationed in London for the month, was all over our slack feed rejoicing at the increased value of her money. But is it still a deal as fall is upon us and we’re into the third month since the vote? The answer is yes. The Pound continues to be at almost historic lows against the US Dollar. That’s good news for those of us with stronger currencies, and it’s also good news for the tourist economy within the UK as the exchange value, coupled with plummeting airfare costs between major ports in North America and Europe make it not only affordable to be in the UK, it’s downright cheap to get there too.

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The flip side, of course, is that travel has just gotten far more costly for citizens of the UK, who are very used to the strength of their currency stretching their vacation budgets further. According to Hospitality Net analyst, Larissa Lam’s report on Brexit and Travel :

“In 2015, the UK outbound travel market was worth more than GBP 39 billion for 65.7 million visits.”

With the economic downturn resulting from the Brexit vote, including the instability in the banking sector, employment rates in the full time sector falling, and pay rate freezes, it is very likely that UK residents will be tightening their belts and perhaps revisiting the American post-economic crash trend of the “stay-cation.” This is worrying for foreign economies, notably in Asia, that are buoyed by tourist dollars and where the UK tourist trade deficit is likely to be felt acutely in the coming years. Economically, no man (country) is an island, even when it actually is geographically speaking.

Open Skies… Less Open

How will Brexit affect international travel and stopovers in London

As my boozy friend in the Spanish countryside pointed out so astutely, the other rather big deal with Brexit is the issue of travel within the EU, and not just for the British. The “Open Skies” policy that has made travel within the EU such an easy-breezy experience will now have to be amended to exclude London; a major port of entry fro the throngs of tourists arriving from the west. The inexpensive discount airlines that have thrived in the open economic and borderless environment are already feeling the crunch.

As Easy Jet reported: “It is expected that revenue per seat at constant currency in the second half will now be down by at least a mid-single digit percentage compared to the second half of 2015.

“In addition, recent movements in fuel prices and exchange rates are now expected to add around £25 million of additional cost in the year to that guided at the half year results. In response, Easyjet is continuing its efforts to drive ex-fuel cost savings.”

Then there’s Andrew Swaffield, CEO of Monarch, who, “warned an exit would ‘most likely’ lead to higher air fares and fewer scheduled flights between the EU and the UK.”

And as for the Open Skies Policy, well, for the moment it’s business as usual, both for UK citizens, whose passports and driving licenses will continue to bear the EU stamp for now, and for travelers passing through the UK. But the Evening Standard writes, “It is likely that airlines will restructure into separate UK- and EU-based corporate entities, adding complexity and cost, and reducing flexibility,” writes the Evening Standard. Translation: flying between the UK and the EU is about to become more costly and a bigger pain in the neck. For those of you with nostalgia for the “good old days” of travel and the Europe of your high school Gap Year, you’re welcome.

Anecdotal Evidence

All I can tell you is what I know from personal experience, and that is that I’ll go pretty far out of my way not to have to enter Europe through London. But that has nothing to do with how I feel about the UK, or Brexit, and everything to do with my loathing of Heathrow, which has been rated the most stressful airport in Europe.

I can also tell you that my expat friends in Britain report business as usual once the dust was settled, with perhaps a little extra padding in their weekly pub budgets. Party on.

Lea Woodward, a powerhouse of a business woman, friend, and sometimes collaborative partner of mine had this to say, on the morning after the night before of the Brexit vote:

“Nobody knows (what the implications will be) all we know is that we don’t know. Yes, we can predict the short term economic fallout, but in the longer term no one knows. So, there is doom and gloom… everything changed… and yet really, it hasn’t… we’re all still okay, we’re all still here.
There’s a process for the UK exit, democratic all the way through, and we hope to be given a voice in the changes going forward. The only thing we can guarantee is change… isn’t that true no matter what?”

The essence of life, the world, and more myopically, travel, is change, is it not? It’s change that we’re all looking for, and it’s change we’ve got in the Brexit vote. The implications for the continent and world economies could be far reaching, or all of this drama about the Brexit could be nothing more than a tempest in a teacup. Time will tell.

In the meantime, travel on. Visit the UK while your dollar has greater value. Britons, get out there and make the most of what you’ve got. Your wallets may be feeling a pinch as you go west, but Southeast Asia remains a great value, even with the decline of the pound. And Americans, show that ‘merican congeniality you’re famous for. If you find yourself in a one-horse town in the Spanish countryside, and buy that loud mouthed Brit a drink. He needs it!

Post-Brexit Travel to USA from UK: What to Expect

There is no doubt, leaving the EU will affect all Britons in one way or another! Especially those who spend their fair share of time traveling abroad.

And if you are planning on traveling abroad, you might want to do it now.

Because very soon it might be quite the hassle to do so!

You see, traveling to other EU countries was Visa-free so far. And so was traveling to the USA, because all you needed was an ESTA approval. But after Brexit, there could be a new British travel document coming into effect, which means good old waiting for an approval for a couple of months and paying bigger fees.

So what exactly will change and when will it happen?

And of course, should you be worried about visiting the USA?

The short answer is NO.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

UK Is Leaving The EU

The whole story of Brexit has been pretty controversial so far. And as the talks regarding the process continue, we are all still puzzled.

What most affects the UK is everything governed by the EU where the UK participates in. This means that all laws, programs etc will change when the process of leaving the EU is finished. And of course, it also applies to everything travel related.

It is still not clear when the process will finish and when all of these changes will come into effect. And because the negotiations between Great Britain and the EU are still going on, we do not know for sure, what the results will be.

Of course, this leaves us all wondering about the post-Brexit life and freedom to travel. As well as other factors that could in some way affect your travels.

Still, there are some things we can predict with a relatively high accuracy. And some that we know for a fact.

This is how the situation might look!

Post-Brexit UK

The post-Brexit UK will without a doubt be a different place.

Some might not agree with this statement, but things will definitely change. Especially for those, who are traveling or doing business abroad. Simply because the UK will be no more under the same regulations that EU provided for its citizens.

This means that UK passports could lose their so far high ranking in the Freedom to Travel Rank which indicates the value of different passports when it comes to traveling.

And this is exactly why among travel enthusiasts a popular answer to the question: “why stay in the EU?”, is the freedom to travel and the need to maintain it! And there is no doubt that this will be affected to a certain degree.

However, Brexit cannot directly affect travel to the USA by UK citizens.

At least for now!

Post-Brexit travel to US

After the process of UK leaving the EU is finished, travelers will face some major changes. There is a good reason to think that a new British travel document could be needed to go abroad. At least when going to countries, that the UK will not negotiate simplified travel rules.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

But so far all of this is just speculations because there is no clear message from the UK government nor the EU on what could actually happen.

However, there are some things we know!

What do we know for a fact

Some might be concerned about how Brexit will affect the Visa Waiver Program because it allows for hassle-free travel to US since all you need is an ESTA application. The concerns are there because a good part of the VWP countries are also a part of the EU. Therefore it might seem like this program is regulated by the EU.

However, the ESTA VWP regulations will not change even after Brexit.

This conventional travel document is based on rules implemented by the USA and has been created to improve freedom of international travel.

Therefore, for now on, ESTA is the authorization you need when traveling to the USA if all specifics of your trip corresponds to the rules of ESTA.

For any other reason, you will have to obtain a Visa.

And as we discussed earlier, there is a chance that the situation with ESTA authorization for UK citizens might change in the future. If this does happen, obtaining a Visa will become a thing for all UK travelers.

But so far, these are just speculations about what could happen.

For now, the situation is this! When traveling to the US, if you are a citizen of the UK, your travel authorization will be regulated by VWP and as the document of authorization, you will need an ESTA. There is only one thing that could change this. And that is the view of the US government on how to regulate travel freedom when it comes down to entering the USA.

Travel to USA with ESTA

Let’s put aside all speculations and guesses about what could happen and what could change over time.

For now, we know for sure that Brexit will not directly affect your travel to USA with ESTA. Simple because the ESTA VWP countries included in the program are not regulated by the EU.

There is no doubt that these are good news for everyone who is planning to travel to US in the near future or those, who make the journey on regular basis. ESTA makes a significant difference in how traveling to USA happens because there is no to obtain a Visa.

The process it a lot shorter and costs less for the traveler.

However, the VWP countries are not set in stone and the list could change in the future. And the USA will have the power to decide which countries to include and which to exclude from the list.

There is no real reason to think that the UK could lose its place in the VWP after Brexit or anytime in the future. But if the USA and UK cannot establish good relations after Brexit, this kind of scenario is very real.

Therefore we can say that the real problem with Brexit and what is going to happen in the post-Brexit era is the uncertainty.

Anyway, what would happen if the US would decide to change the list of VWP countries and UK would lose its place?


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

Travel to USA with Visa

For travelers, this might be the biggest convert when it comes to leaving the EU.

Simply because, if the process of Brexit indirectly affects the VWP, citizens of the UK might need to obtain Visas to travel to the USA in the future. After being adapted to the simple process of acquiring an ESTA, this might be a true hassle.

However, there is no certainty what might happen in the future.

Travel in the near future

As mentioned before, Brexit should have no effect on the process of traveling to the US from the UK in the near future.

But because of the uncertainty, there is a good reason to plan your travel sooner rather than later. For now, it is easy and takes little time to acquire an ESTA which allows you to travel to the US under certain rules.

If you have any more questions about how Brexit could affect your travel plans to the USA from the UK, feel free to contact us.

How Brexit Will Affect Travel to the U.K. and Europe

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on Jan. 31. Here’s what will change for travelers — and what won’t.

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After three years of delay, Brexit day is approaching. What can visitors to London expect?

After three years of delay, Brexit day is approaching. What can visitors to London expect? Credit. Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Tariro Mzezewa

The Conservative Party’s victory in December’s general election opened the way for Britain to finally make good on its plans to leave the European Union. Brexit day is slated for Jan. 31.

That doesn’t mean everything will change overnight: There will be a standstill period, as Britain and the European Union work out the final details before the end of 2020.

Borders and how travelers will cross them are some of the biggest issues. With Britain in the European Union, people and goods have been able to go from one country to another seamlessly without going through passport or customs control. One sticking point has been how to deal with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain a member of the European Union.

While Brexit’s effect on Britain’s economy and politics is uncertain, there is more clarity for travelers. Here’s what you need to know if you are planning to travel to Britain and the European Union in the post-Brexit world.

Will air travel be affected?

For years, flights between the United States and Britain have operated under what is known as an E open skies agreement between the United States and the European Union, which allowed airlines from those two places access to each other’s markets. Ahead of its exit, Britain has set up bilateral open-skies agreements with countries, including the United States, Iceland, Switzerland, Morocco and Albania. It is in the process of setting up similar treaties with other countries.

The agreement with the United States will allow airlines to continue flying between the United States and Britain after Brexit.

“The U.K. is taking all the steps necessary and is rolling out the welcome mat,” said Ninan Chacko, a former chief executive at the Travel Leaders Group, which represents 50,000 travel agents in North America.

What about flying between Britain and E.U. countries?

If Americans travel to Britain then fly to a European Union country, they will have to go through customs and immigration in both Britain and that country, as before.

The changes will be more apparent to British and European Union nationals, who have been able to move between countries using just a national ID card. When traveling between Britain and the European Union they must use a passport. After Dec. 31, 2020, European Union citizens will not be allowed to use national cards to enter Britain.

The European Commission proposed that British nationals be allowed to travel to the European Union for short stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period, if Britain allows European Union citizens the same privilege. This 90-day period will be marked with a stamp in passports.

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What about trains and ferries between Britain and the E.U.?

The British government has said that trains, ferries, cruises, and bus and coach services between Britain and the European Union will run without changes after Brexit. Passengers already undergo passport and ID checks before departing on the Eurostar train, and those will continue. Travelers who need visas should continue to make sure they have them.

What about airline passenger rights?

The European Union is known for its traveler-friendly approach to delayed and canceled flights. Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 offers all travelers to and from European Union countries, regardless of nationality, reimbursement in the event of a flight delay, denied boarding or cancellation. That is not expected to change with Brexit.

“We do not anticipate that Brexit will impact travelers’ protections under EC 261, even if they are flying on a U.K. airline,” said Christian Nielsen, Chief Legal Officer at AirHelp, a website that helps passengers file compensation claims. “Since the U.K. has previously acknowledged European air passenger rights laws like EC 261 — and then incorporated them into the U.K. Withdrawal Act of 2018 — passengers’ rights will remain protected.”

What about visas?

Americans traveling to Britain do not need visas and that is not expected to change after Brexit. They do need a passport that is valid for the duration of the trip. If they are going from Britain to a country in the Schengen area (a group of 26 European countries that allow free passage across their borders) they need a passport that is valid for six months after their trip.

After January 2021, as part of a new security system intended to screen visa-free travelers, Americans will be required to register with the European Travel Information and Authorization System. (Britons and people from other countries will also need to apply to E.T.I.A.S.) Getting the authorization involves registering online and paying a small fee. The E.T.I.A.S. requirement happens to coincide with Brexit but the two are not related.

Will airport lines be longer?

For Americans traveling to a European Union country, most likely, simply because British citizens will now be standing in the passport control and customs lines with them.

Right now, when arriving in Barcelona, for example, non-European Union citizens stand in one line and European Union travelers stand in another. With Brexit, the British will move to the non-European Union line, which could slow things down.

“Say a flight to Berlin has 150 U.K. citizens, 50 German citizens and 20 citizens from the U.S., Canada, Japan or wherever, the non-European Economic Area line will normally have 20 people in it, but now it will probably have 170 people in it,” said Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association.

But for travel to Britain, Mr. Chacko of Travel Leaders Group said things shouldn’t change. Earlier this year, ePassport kiosks were introduced in at least 16 air and rail terminals in Britain, including Heathrow. The kiosks allow travelers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States to stand in the same line as European Union citizens, keeping the lines moving.

Will it be more or less expensive to travel to Britain?

The more than three year battle to implement Brexit has been bad for the British economy, but good for international travelers.

The value of the pound has fallen to about $1.30 to the dollar, down from about $1.50 to the dollar in 2016. That has made it cheaper for Americans to travel to Britain, and they’ve been taking advantage of that fact. In the first four months of 2019, bookings to Britain from the United States, China and Canada were up. In 2018, London welcomed 19.1 million international visitors, with record numbers from the United States and China, said Laura Citron, chief executive of London and Partners, the mayor’s official promotional agency for London.

“Looking closely at travel agent bookings from Forward Keys, a travel analytics firm, for October to December, we can see bookings from the U.S. and Canada are up by 5 percent,” Ms. Citron said.

Additionally, new nonstop flights from United States cities to Britain, like British Airways’ Charleston, S.C., to London flight and American Airlines’ Phoenix to London flight have also made Britain an appealing destination for American travelers.

What about hotels?

Although it will be cheaper for Americans to travel to Britain because of the weaker pound and strong dollar, there might be more domestic competition for hotels, raising prices for rooms.

“Outbound business from Britain is down — why is that important to Americans? Because a lot of British people are staying within Britain during their holidays, meaning they are competing for available hotel rooms, excursions and dining reservations,” said Gavin Tollman, chief executive of Trafalgar, a tour operator based in Britain.




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