Brexit: How it could affect international travellers

Brexit: How it could affect international travellers

EU’re out!

Text: Rachel Au

Image: iStock

The votes are in and the majority of the United Kingdom have chosen to ‘Leave’ the European Union

It's a historical day in the United Kingdom as the poll for the EU Referendum, also known as the "Brexit" (a combination of the words Britain and exit), has come to a close and the majority of the results chose to 'Leave' the European Union. In the 59 years since the EU was formed, no nation state has ever left and much of Britain's future remains unclear. 


The rules for an exit are brief - Article 50, for those who are interested - but one thing's for sure, it would take a minimum of two years for the UK to leave the EU. During this period of time, Britain would still need to adhere to EU treaties and laws. The departure would greatly affect both the UK and EU in terms of economy, financial trade, immigration laws, tourism, and more. For the rest of us travellers who are not from the UK and EU, the changes will be minimal. Here's what Brexit could potentially mean for travellers.


1. The Great Europe Escape could become more expensive

Currently, it's easy and relatively affordable to travel between parts of Europe and the UK but with Britain out of the EU-ge picture, flights could get more expensive. According to The Telegraph's consumer editor Nick Trend, "If Britain was no longer part of the EU, new air service agreements might have to be negotiated, competition could be reduced and fares could rise again." 


2. The airport's immigration counters will have longer lines

The lines at the customs have always been one of the worst parts of travelling. For example, at Heathrow Airport, we would somehow stand for an hour (or more) while enviously gazing at the Brits and EU passport holders taking a different but shorter line. With Brexit, however, the latter group will be joining us on the other side, which would mean extra waiting time.


3. The value of the pound 

Before the Brexit poll results, many reports were already predicting that the sterling's value would be greatly impacted. And they have already been proven accurate with the British pound crashing to its lowest levels in 31 years with the vote to exit the EU. If the pound continues to be weak, this is a huge cause for worry for the locals and the trade industry, but for the outside travellers, it could spell more spending money on holiday. 


4. Using your phone locally is going to be more complicated 

Before this, there were plans to streamline roaming charges within the EU by April 2017. What this means is that international visitors could get one European SIM card for one whole trip to use between different countries. But with UK's exit, it might no longer happen.


These effects aren't final as it all depends on the terms of exit negotiated between Britain's 27 counterparts. While it should take at least two years, The Telegraph reported that some EU leaders claim it could take five years. So before the (possible) negative effects take place, maybe it's time to plan your next getaway. Might we suggest exploring some parts of Europe and then shopping in London?  


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