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3 Things You Need To Know As A Traveler Post-Brexit

There’s at least one fun outcome in an otherwise messy divorce

Image via Max Pixel

Much like the Trump presidency, Brexit started out as a joke and has since become all too real. It’s been nine months since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and while no major catastrophes have happened in anticipation of their imminent exit, it still seems highly unlikely transition efforts will go smoothly. On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May revealed plans addressing how EU laws will be converted to domestic code—that includes the 12,000 EU regulations British citizens currently follow. This breakup won’t be nearly as simple as splitting up the record collection.

While British citizens have their own particulars to worry about, those of us hoping to travel to the United Kingdom and those countries remaining in the EU have very different problems to consider. According to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty—which launched the official divorce papers between the U.K. and the EU—Britain must legally separate within the next two years. Here’s what you should keep in mind before booking your next European vacation.


Before the U.K. and the EU split, British passports included stamps allowing citizens to travel freely among European Union countries. These passports will still be valid until their stated expiration dates, but after that, travel could get a little messy. British citizens will likely have to go through more red tape than they normally do, thanks to a new system European officials hope to model after the United States’ security changes after 9/11. British citizens will also line up in the non-EU citizen queues at airport security—likely clogging up the process for the rest of us. On the bright side, there’s the chance all of the extra security measures could make Europe somewhat safer for travelers.


Thanks to the Open Skies agreement instated during the mid 1990s which freed up air travel between European nations, flights have been relatively cheap. Thanks to Brexit, all of that could change. According to the Independent, unless government officials come up with a plan soon, British citizens could be left with very few or no flights to the rest of Europe come March 2019. Ryanair, which provides the bulk of the super-cheap flights within the EU, plans its flights a full year in advance, meaning they have just a year left to finalize plans for 2019. Flights from the United States to the United Kingdom could be similarly impacted if renegotiations aren’t initiated soon.

Duty Free

Amid the legal hassles, duty-free purchases could become a plus for British citizens traveling within the EU. Not since 1999 have they been able to purchase items at airports without paying taxes, but following the U.K’.s official departure, the EU will be a foreign country like any place else. British travelers drown their sorrows with cheap booze and gaudy perfumes. For the most capitalist among us, this is at least one fun outcome of an otherwise messy divorce.

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