Travel news for the trade community

Five reasons Brexit will not affect British travellers

By Dave Ashton, CEO of train comparison and booking platform for European rail travel, Loco2

Since the UK voted to leave Europe two years ago, Brexit talk seems to be at the centre of everything. Understandably, people concerned about the future are asking the same simple questions: what will happen? When will it happen? Will it even happen?

The lack of clarity about how Brexit might impact our daily lives sometimes makes it feel like we have to be prepared for anything. There have been concerns about how Brexit might affect British travellers who have already planned their European holidays in 2019.

People speculate that planes may be blocked from flying across Europe because of logistical and administrative backlogs created by a new set of rules applying to travel in and out of Europe.

Did you know that it’s much easier to travel around Europe by train? Most Brits who are travelling across the continent are likely to book several trips via high-speed rail. But people are starting to worry if things will change post-Brexit; for example, will rail travel from London to Paris be disrupted?

My work is all about getting people from anywhere to anywhere in both the UK and Europe overland, so for me the question of whether or not rail services to and from the UK / Europe will be disrupted is an important one.

Regardless of what happens with Brexit there is no reason to allow it to stop us from planning future European travel; Brits and Europeans alike should feel confident that they can enjoy train travel anywhere in Europe… and travel in general.

Here’s are five myths to show little Brexit will affect travellers:

“Trains will be stopped from travelling to Europe”

This won’t happen. Eurostar has a 70% market share on the London to Paris and London to Brussels routes, and carries more than 10 million passengers annually.

Eurostar has a monopoly on train travel to and from the UK / Europe and their cross-border process is laid out clearly: all travellers must already pass through customs for both the UK and the EU before boarding a Eurostar train bound for the Channel Tunnel. That process won’t change in future.

Resulting Brexit impact: nil

“Travel insurance costs will rise”

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles UK citizens to free or reduced-cost treatment in EU countries. It doesn’t have the same benefits as travel insurance, but if you have one, many travel insurance policies will waive the excess payment on a claim.

This agreement may need to be renegotiated, which could impact prices for individual travel insurance policies. But Brexit is unlikely to significantly impact the price of such policies, and few Brits buy them anyway.

Brexit impact: nil

“Mobile data costs will return”

Roaming charges for mobile calls or data access were abolished in the UK and the EU in May 2017, and mobile network providers have been quick to reassure UK customers that they have no intention to go back to the days of closed networks based on national borders.

For example, last March Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said it would “not be very logical” for Brexit to drive the reintroduction of roaming charges for Brits traveling in Europe. Mobile roaming charges for Brits in Europe are not coming back.

Brexit impact: nil

“Holidays will be more expensive”

Before June, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicted that a vote to leave the EU could hit sterling by as much as 20%, with the pound dipping as low as $1.15 against the dollar and €1.05 against the euro. Though there was a sharp decline in the pound’s value vs the Euro two years ago, since then the pound has held its value and there’s no reason to believe this will change.

In other words, the market has already absorbed the expectation of Brexit and there is no evidence to suggest pan-European train (or air) ticket prices will rise post-Brexit.

Brexit impact: TBC, but probably nothing significant

“It will be more difficult to travel in Europe”

This won’t happen. Customs and immigration checks are already required for Brits when arriving in Europe (and arriving into the UK from Europe), and the idea that European countries would single out Brits for tougher border treatment post-Brexit is far-fetched. We will simply continue to show our passports on arrival, as we do now.

Brexit impact: nil

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