European Travel Is Changing, Are You Prepared?
With Brexit, the refugee crisis and changes to the EU permanently in the headlines, no matter where you are in the world, and with a lot of my work now bring with the British Business Group Dubai, I’ve been reading a lot about the implications for travel around Europe over the next decade or so. Europe is consistently one of the most desirable destinations for many travellers from destinations from all over the world, and one of the things that attracts people to European countries when they’re travelling is the simplicity and ease of it all. Unlike many countries, it is relatively easy to go from place to place, but times change.
So what are the biggest changes?
One of the biggest benefits with travel to Europe is that there is currently no requirement for a pre-travel authorization program, such as the one used by the USA. While this has been a big draw card to many tourists, there are those who fear that it also presents a pretty significant security risk, so now Europe is going to introduce ETIAS, a program that will require many people who previously had free travel through Europe to have more than just as passport handy. This visa method is designed to help prevent security breaches on European borders as well as bring in increased amounts of revenue to the continent as a whole. Very similar systems have been used by the USA and Australia for many years, and now in advance of travelling to Europe, many people will be required to pay €5 for a visa in advance in order to cross the border at all. The system applies to anyone who is currently not a citizen or resident of an EU country (clearly this will affect Britain once Brexit is finalised). For more information, check out etias.com.
Brexit is going to have a pretty serious impact on travelling to Europe, especially among us Brits. As an expat I often try to combine a mini trip to Europe with my annual visit home in order to get some semblance of a holiday, but now of course, our ability to go between mainland Europe and the UK will be much harder. The cost of flights between the UK and the EU were greatly reduced as part of the membership, and this is likely to be reversed thanks to Brexit, similarly switching currency between the pound and the euro will not be as beneficial since the pound has been greatly weakened in the wake of the EU referendum. It could also have a big impact on anyone traveling from the UK when it comes to insurance. If you’re traveling to Europe from further away, ie if we chose to go there directly from here in Dubai, then things may well stay the same, but for those of us who like to travel to the UK and hop over to Europe from there, Brexit may result in the loss of the European Health Insurance Card, and travel insurance costs could then go up pretty significantly.
From what I can gather, many of these things aren’t going to become a major concern for at least a few more years, but it’s always good to be aware of what’s happening and what the implications could be in advance so that you’re not caught off guard when the holiday time rolls around.