Brexit travel: Warning for Britons with holiday hopes for 2021 – major changes ahead

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Though Brexit talks continue to rage on, the country is due to end its transition period from the EU on December 31. With that will come a number of changes, with many impacting travel to and from Europe.

In a bid to help Britons prepare for the future, the Government has released additional information as part of its “Check, Change, Go” campaign.

One of the biggest changes to come is the loss of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The card provided a vital lifeline to Britons travelling in Europe, offering them health care and support if they found themselves ill or the victim of an accident while abroad.

EHICs are provided free of charge and allow the holder to be covered by the same health services as citizens of the country they are in.

However, Britons are now warned that they must be protected by their own all-encompassing medical travel insurance for any European holidays after the transition period comes to a close.

This is likely going to increase the cost of travel and will see holidaymakers with plans already set in stone having to factor in the additional expense.

“From 2021, EHIC cards may no longer be valid, so consumers should ensure their travel insurance policy includes adequate medical cover,” warned Rory Boland, Which? travel editor.

“These potential changes to European travel will affect millions of holidaymakers, who may have already booked holidays for 2021 and will now have to factor in additional costs,” he added.

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Other costly changes to come include data roaming charges and passport renewal guidelines.

If the UK Government fails to reach a deal, Which? estimates that around 3.5 million British passports won’t be accepted to travel within the Schengen Area due to new renewal guidelines.

Britons will have to have up to 15 months of validity on their passport before jetting off.

If not, they will have to renew their passport ahead of travel.

With the passport office already struggling to get through a backlog which came as the result of the COVID-19 lockdown, holidaymakers should plan in advance if they hope to secure a passport in time for their trip.

It costs £75.50 to renew or replace a passport via the online application, or £85 if travellers fill in a paper form.

There is also the potential of rising mobile phone costs.

At the time of writing, holidaymakers can enjoy free mobile roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

This is set to end on January 1.

According to Which? providers including EE, O2 and Three have vowed not to reintroduce charges.

The Government has also introduced a £45-a-month cap on the amount customers can be charged while using data abroad, after this, they will have to opt in to continue using their devices.

Regardless of the phone provider you are with, Which? urges customers to check their mobile phone policy plan before travel.

The Government’s “Check, Change, Go” campaign was initially kick-started in August, but is continually being updated with new information.

Other areas of change include driving license requirements for those who wish to drive abroad, as well as new guidelines for jetting off with pets in tow.

Minister for the European neighbourhood, Wendy Morton said the campaign is in place to help British travellers “by bringing together all the information they need to know in one place so they can plan in advance and get on with their trip.”

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of UK travel industry body ABTA said: “Europe is home to some of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers.

“Many people will be making plans for travelling to Europe next year, so Abta and its members are keen to work with the UK government to make customers aware of any changes that will affect their travel arrangements.”

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