Brexit Impacts on Canadian Travellers

Britain’s break-up with the European Union (EU) continues to make headlines around the globe, and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. The initial shock waves destabilized markets and foreign currencies, even causing some travellers to question their future vacation plans. The United Kingdom is the second-most-favoured international destination for Canadians, so many are wondering what the short- and long-term effects will be on trips to Britain and the rest of the EU.

Here are a few different ways Brexit might affect your next trip across the Atlantic…


Unsteady foreign currencies

After the referendum, the British pound took quite a tumble, reaching its lowest level in thirty years. Compared to the Canadian dollar, the pound lost 6.5% of its value, and the euro dropped over 3%. This sharp decline makes the United Kingdom much cheaper for Canadian travellers. As foreign currencies continue to react to the news, it is unclear when and where they will stabilize. For the time being, though, travelling to the UK is a great deal for Canadians compared to recent years. If you’re unsure whether the loonie will maintain its value against the pound and you are travelling to the UK soon, monitor the exchange rate and buy pounds in advance to guarantee a good rate.


The potential rise in airfare costs

Even though travel inside the United Kingdom is cheaper due to the wavering pound, the cost of airfare may increase considerably across Europe and Britain. British airline stocks tanked after Brexit, with some dropping more than 20%. The reason for the potential hike in prices: the European Union Open Skies Agreement will have to be reviewed. The agreement allows airlines to operate seamlessly across member states, but now airlines may have to apply to operate in Britain and the EU, costing serious time and money.

British airlines will also have to renegotiate access to European Union airports, and the EU will likely demand a high cost, which will almost certainly be transferred to passengers via higher airfares. Canadian travellers may not immediately see a rise in ticket prices, but there will likely be increases, especially for Europe’s well known budget airlines. Furthermore, the UK is a hub for trans-Atlantic flights, which also will directly affect North American travellers, depending on how the agreement pans out.


Longer waits at borders

Border control in British airports may become major headache for international travellers. All EU passengers currently stream through their own quick line at customs, and Canadian travellers are grouped with all other international travellers splitting the lines quite nicely. However, Brexit may force all EU passengers to now queue with the rest of the world at border control, creating a major pain and vastly increasing wait times for international passengers, including Canadian travellers. Until both sides reach a deal, uncertainty over changes will persist.


Increased vigilance and security

The threat of terrorism has grown across Europe since the Paris and Brussels attacks, and many governments advise a higher level of caution for travellers this summer. With Britain now leaving the European Union, political uncertainties add to the tense security situation in Europe. Canadian travellers are encouraged to heed travel advisories and stay vigilant across Europe this summer. Monitor local news and travel alerts, and practice good personal security for future European destination trips.


Travel insurance

There are a host of questions surrounding Brexit and how it will directly impact travellers. However, travel insurance can eliminate many concerns and fears that surround such uncertainty. Always have travel insurance prior to your trips—and make sure you understand the coverage. The protection will ease your worries and create a more relaxing and adventurous vacation across the pond.


For current global travel alerts, follow Government of Canada travel advice and advisories. To keep up to date with the European Union referendum, click here.

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