It’s official: the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. There will be several impacts on travelers to the UK, so let’s break down what we know so far and how it will affect travel to the first nation ever to leave the EU.
Brexit means cheap travel to the United Kingdom and Eurozone
Currency and stock markets are already reacting badly to the result of the vote. At the time of writing the British pound sterling was down to about 1.35 to one U.S. dollar, about a 30-year low. The euro was down sharply as well. Because markets hate uncertainty, the pound and euro may even fall further (relative to the dollar) in the coming days and weeks. In practical terms this means that travel to much of Europe just got a lot less expensive, as each dollar will be worth more of the local currency. This will be a great year for last-minute summer travel to Europe.
Short, medium and long-term changes
In the very short-term there may be some disruption to banking services due to high demand for cash, though banks have prepared for this by having extra cash on hand. Travelers may experience long waits at cash machines, or find that some machines run out of currency. Great Britain is politically stable, so nothing worse than depleted ATMs is expected.
Other than becoming a cheaper travel destination for Americans, not much will change in the UK in the short-term. Until it negotiates a formal agreement with the European Union to secure its exit, the country will remain a full member of the EU. This means that Europeans from other member states may continue to reside and work in the country, which for now will remain part of the EU’s single market.
In the medium and long-term more changes will come. It will take several years to negotiate Britain’s formal exit from the EU, but once it does Britons will no longer have the right to live and work in EU nations, and vice-versa. Since the UK isn’t part of the Schengen area, there won’t be any significant changes to border procedures, though it remains to be seen if European Union members will be able to continue using automated passport gates at airports such as London Heathrow after the country officially exits the EU.
Only time will tell if other member states also start moving toward the exit.
What do you think about Britain voting to leave the EU? Are you planning a European vacation because of the surge in the dollar?