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Published July 15 2016

It was a seemingly endless campaign that was at times very aggressive and bad tempered. Accusations flew between the two sides, there was even a battle of flotillas outside the Houses of Parliament. And, eventually, the unthinkable did happen. Against all the odds, the UK voted to leave the EU.

In the aftermath of this seismic shift there’s a great deal to be resolved, not least when the country will actually have to leave the EU. Some effects have already been felt although whether these are just temporary blips is a matter of debate. What is more certain is that once the split has occurred there will be many areas of life that will be affected.

A key one will be travel within the EU and there have been certain predictions about precisely how it could be affected.

How Will Brexit Affect UK Travel?

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Air Travel Could Become More Expensive

Airlines, and particularly low-budget ones, benefit from agreements with the EU to fly throughout Europe without restrictions.

It’s quite likely that these agreements will be scrapped and UK airlines will need to renegotiate higher fees, which could well be passed on to the traveller.

The Exchange Rate Could Mean Less for Your Pound

In the immediate aftermath of the result being announced the pound plunged against both the euro and the dollar, though it has started to recover slightly.

In the longer term, some financial institutions believe that Brexit could hit the pound by as much as 20%. This won’t just affect visits to EU countries, as the weaker pound against the dollar is likely to make travelling to the States more expensive too.

More Expensive Roaming Charges

Costs of using mobile phones abroad have long been a big issue for travellers.

So many were relieved when the EU stepped in to reduce roaming charges, which are even due to be scrapped completely in 2017. But it does seem very likely that these will not apply to UK citizens once they fully make their exit.

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Less Legal Protection for Travellers

The red tape and regulations imposed by the EU have been two of the major bugbears of membership but a number of these provide valuable protection.

For example, the compensation that travellers receive for delayed or cancelled flights is thanks to EU directives. Similarly, EU rules that provide financial protection if a package holiday company goes bust owing you money.

Once the UK is outside the Union these may no longer apply.

No More Reciprocal Health Care

Carrying the EHIC card has long meant that if the worst ever happens you can receive free medical care in any EU country.

In the post-Brexit world it seems unlikely that these reciprocal healthcare arrangements will continue, especially as the promise to restrict EU nationals’ access to NHS services played such a major role in the Leave campaign.

Concluding Remarks

Naturally, there are many other areas that could also be affected, from changes to the amount of alcohol and number of cigarettes you’re allowed to bring back from Europe to the possible introduction of much stricter border controls.

Of course the keen traveller will never be disheartened – whatever extra complications there are along the way, the actual experience of travel will always be all the reward you need.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Girls with phone by Garry Knight.


  1. The pound has definitely gone down!! It is a shame as the UK had a good thing going. I didn’t know that about the roaming charges- to think they would have scrapped it in 2017!

    • The pound was so strong for so long, they definitely had a good thing going! Will be interesting to see if it fully recovers. Roaming would have been an amazing perk of being part of the EU!

  2. Still too soon to say anything conclusively. The longer Theresa May and her team drag it out the better. Though the pound falling in value has been a nightmare on the savings account :(

    • I can imagine re the pound Stefan – especially for those who travel full time, or had trips planned. I’m sure quite a few travel budgets were thrown out the window because of the exchange rate :(

  3. It will be interesting to see what happens in the long term. It’s true that exchange rates are already less favourable

    • Agree with you – hopefully the pound recovers long term.

  4. First thing which pinched me was downfall of pound. It’s too early to say what’s going to happen but the future looks bleak.

    • I personally hope that the pound does recover long term. It’s sad that it was so strong for so long and then this is what brings it down.

  5. All very valid points Megan! I have yet to accept and make peace in my head with what is going on. I just hope others will not follow :-(

    • It’s going to be a very interesting situation to watch play out over the coming years with what the possible flow on effect will be Mihaela. I personally hope the EU remains in tact, but I guess only time will tell.

  6. Ahh, the question on everyone’s mind! Very useful tips. I hadn’t heard of the EHIC card before, and it’s worrisome what might happen regarding healthcare. I also didn’t think about roaming charges. Yipes!

    • I think there were definitely a lot of issues which people overlooked when placing their votes. Healthcare while traveling is definitely one of those which was of huge benefit and will be sad to see go.

  7. Oh my goodness! These are all great points, and honestly I had not even considered half of them. Some potentially terrible effects for travelers. Still hard to believe the vote went the way it did!

    • I think a lot of the consequences of leaving the EU were overlooked, and for the most part it came down to your beliefs one one or two issues as opposed to considering the big picture. Will have to see how it plays out! I certainly didn’t have my bets on the vote swinging to leave!

  8. Some good observations. It will be interesting to see how this all falls out. As an American, the immediate effect seems to be much cheaper flights and the dollar remaining strong. Don’t necessarily think those will last.

    • For those outside the UK, it’s definitely the best time to take advantage of the weaker pound and cheaper travel deals. Will be interesting to see it all play out and how long it takes for the recovery of the pound.

  9. Well in the end they are most likely having 2 years time to figure out all the details…in the end one just can wait and see. I still think it was pretty stupid, but it happened and now let’s lean back and see how Britain copes with a pissed European Union and what kind of deal they will be able to make.

    Norway and Switzerland worked it out pretty good, so maybe Britain can too…

    Wondering what happens with the people now living and working abroad xD

    • Very true Sabine – when it comes down to it, there is a lot of time to figure everything out, and I’m sure that they will. Will definitely be interesting to watch play out though and see where it goes.

      Hopefully it works out as well as the Scandinavian countries like you’ve said – they all seem to have it together!

  10. The different possible outcomes can really make the affected very worried but at best, it serves as a leading source for a new kind of union with everyone. I just hope that eventually, this is really the right thing to happen.

    • I hope it all works out in the long run as well :)

  11. Yeah, Your right.Major problem is Roaming Charges

    • Probably of lesser concern than things like healthcare and legal protection, but definitely something which will change for UK travelers to Europe.

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