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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

After Britain voted on whether to stay part of the European Union yesterday, the results are in: with ‘Leave’ gaining almost 52% of the vote, a Brexit is imminent. But what does this mean for your summer holiday, or travel plans in general? 

How will the cost of my holiday change?

The fluctuation of the pound means that a number of changes could come into play. The chances are, in the short term at least, it will cost more to buy foreign currency for a number of countries after the pound fell to a 30-year low following the ‘Leave’ vote.

The Association of British Travel Agents said in a statement that this fall in value would have an “immediate impact on holidaymakers and their spending power overseas” – so British travellers hoping to convert pounds into euros, for example, will feel the effects. The general consensus is: unless your travel plans are imminent, hold off on buying foreign currency for now.

There’s also the chance that travel companies will raise the costs of their holidays – both now, and in the future. Companies are currently able to add to the cost of an already booked holiday in the event of currency fluctuations, under ABTA guidelines. However, if these surcharges hit more than 10% of the original holiday cost, you’re entitled to a refund or to switch holidays.

Passport and euros foreign currency

Can I still travel within Europe?

In terms of whether or not Brits are still free to travel within the EU, the short answer is yes, they are. This is likely to remain the case until an agreement is reached on the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union, which could take up to two years: until then, ABTA claims, holidaymakers shouldn’t see changes to their ability to travel.

Summer holiday by the beach

What about healthcare while abroad?

For now, European Health Insurance Cards will remain valid until a deal is reached and agreed upon. In the longer term, if the UK leaves this scheme then there is speculation that the cost of your holiday could rise as extra insurance costs come into play.

Will I still be able to get cheap flights?

Currently, a single market for aviation within the EU exists – meaning all EU airlines are able to fly without commercial restrictions within the European Union. Low cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have been able to take advantage of this to keep flights cheap. In the longer term, whether this continues will depend on the terms of a Brexit deal and how this is negotiated with the European Union.

Chief Executive of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, said before the referendum that a victory for the Leave campaign would mean that “these will be the last low fares the UK will enjoy for a very long time“, speaking of the airline’s £9.99 air fare sale in celebration of a remain vote. EasyJet offered a more optimistic view, with chief executive Carolyn McCall also stating that the low cost airline have written to both the UK government and the European Commission “to ask them to prioritise the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market.”

Airplane in the sunset

In short: don’t panic. You can still go on holiday, and find cheap flights to get you to your destination! Whilst the long term effects of a Brexit remain to be seen, and the current currency fluctuations will undoubtedly have an impact on any plans to head abroad in the immediate future, travel is still possible, affordable and enjoyable.

IMG: Heathrow Terminal 5, Curt Smith, Foreign Exchange, Images Money, 2013-06-19 12.32.59, funkyfrenchfries / Flickr cc

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