MoneySavingExpert's Martin Lewis on travelling out of Brexit Britain
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MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis on things to remember before travelling out of Brexit Britain.
So no surprise January and February are the busiest beach-booking months of the year, as millions turn their attention to a lovely foreign holiday.
With Brexit around the corner, if you’ve booked a trip to Europe, there’s some crucial checks you need to make.
1. Check your passport is valid
Currently you can travel to any EU country as long as you have a UK passport that is still valid on the day you return. Yet if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March, that is set to change.
Then most EU countries, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Germany, will require you to have at least six months left on your passport and you can’t have a passport older than 9 years and 6 months.
If not you could be refused entry on arrival.
You can use the government’s free EU Europe passport checker tool at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport to see if yours will need renewing.
If we leave with a deal, then it is likely the current EU passport rules will remain at least until the end of 2020.
MORE: James Walker of Resolver: Keeping life and business on track during the cold snap 2) Is your EHIC valid?
The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means when you go to the EU, you’re entitled to the same treatment at state-run hospitals and GPs that locals are.
Yet around five million expire annually and more people don’t check so checks yours now if you’re planning to go away. To renew go to www.ehic.org.uk or call 0300 330 1350.
3) Get your travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you’ve Booked)
I can’t stress this enough. Half the point of travel insurance is to protect you if something happens beforehand, so you can’t go.
So as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, buy your travel insurance. If not, you won’t be covered should anything happen beforehand, such as an illness, family illness or cancellation.
4) Going away around Brexit time – will your insurance cover you for disruption?
It’s impossible to say for sure whether there will be disruption to flights after 29 March.
The government’s official guidance says flights “should” continue as normal even if there’s no deal, but airline trade body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned some may be cancelled.
If this happens you won’t be entitled to the EU compensation for flight delays as it’s unlikely to be the airline’s fault – (though you’re still entitled to a full refund or an alternative flight).
Out of 16 insurers my team checked, only four (Admiral, Aviva, Direct Line, and Saga) said you would be covered, but only if your policy is in place before any post-Brexit delays become a “known event”.
Five others said you’d only be covered on Premium policies.
So if you are travelling over that period, speak to your insurer to check if you’d be covered, or if you can, upgrade to a ‘cancellation any cause’ policy.
5) Book car hire early
Nowt to do with Brexit, this one, yet it still has a level of urgency.
The closer to the time you need a hire car abroad, the costlier it gets.
6) You may need a permit if driving in the EU
Currently, if you have a UK driving licence you can drive in the EU without any extra documents. If we get a deal, that’s likely to continue.
Yet if there’s a no deal Brexit, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Currently these cost £5.50, and you’ll need to get one before you travel from the Post Office.