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8 ways that travel to Europe has changed since the UK left the EU

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Okay. So the UK has now left the EU – but what can you expect when travelling to the European member states from 1st January 2021?

The UK will no longer be treated like a member of the EU, and is subject to new rules.

Once the COVID situation is under control and UK citizens are generally allowed to travel abroad again, you’ll need to be aware of these 8 changes when travelling to any EU countries (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

Planning your trip…

1. How long you can stay

Most British travellers spend a few weeks at time abroad, however if you are thinking of spending longer you need to be aware that you’ll only be able to stay in an EU country for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you want to stay longer, you’ll need the right to remain/visa. The rules for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are different – as you can be there for 90-days and not use up your 90-day allowance for other EU countries.

2. Check your passport

You’ll need at least 6 months left on your passport and it must have been issued in the last 10 years. To make sure your passport is valid please visit the Government’s passport checker.

3. Check your travel and health insurance gives you the right level of cover

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it is valid up to the expiry date displayed on the card.

There are limited details about what will replace EHIC but the UK government has said it will be issuing UK Global Health Insurance Card, which will most likely cover chronic or existing illnesses, maternity care and emergencies. Further details will follow.

The advice is to always take-out comprehensive travel insurance with appropriate healthcare cover, including existing medical conditions and any activities you plan to do such as skiing or other winter sports.

Ski-Lifts’ partner for travel insurance can be found here.

4. Mobile roaming charges may now apply

While the UK’s four main mobile operators have said they have no plans to reintroduce roaming fees, it’s a good idea to check with your provider before you head off. As of 1st Jan 2021, Brits in Europe are not guaranteed free mobile data roaming so you could be charged for calls, messages or using the internet or apps.

At the airport…

5. We love a queue but make sure you’re in the right one

You will no longer be able to use the EU passport lanes on arrival. You might also have to show a return ticket and that you have enough money for your stay.

6. Duty free is back!

Good news if you are travelling to the EU from the UK (expect Ireland) as you can now stock up on duty free shopping with tobacco and alcohol limits set to increase as well.

7. Know what food you can take with you

Meat and dairy products cannot be taken into EU countries so please check as recent news reports show they are checking. The exceptions are powdered baby milk, baby food or food required for medical reasons.

8. Driving in Europe

Take the hassle-free approach and book a transfer with Ski-Lifts to ensure that your holiday runs as smoothly as possible – be met at the airport and taken directly to your accommodation. Get an instant quote here.

If you are hiring a car, you’ll need to take your driving licence (you’ll need an international driving permit if yours is the old paper version or issued in Gibraltar, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man).

If you are taking your own vehicle, you’ll also need the logbook (V5C) and valid insurance documents – please contact your insurance company four to six weeks before travel to get a green card to prove you have insurance. They may charge you an admin fee for this. You’ll still need a GB sticker on the car.

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