I debated whether to post about this subject, but I feel that it could impact my life and the people that I know and care about so directly that it isn’t something that you can sweep under the rug. Current affairs and travel have always been so closely aligned: Frequent travellers need to be very aware of what is going on in the world for many reasons including airfare, currency, visas, and personal safety.

The EU referendum is upon us, and every man and his dog has their opinion. I feel that both the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns have been fuelled largely on lack of knowledge and deception, and this is down one main reason: no one can be truly sure what will happen if the UK decides to leave the EU.

And this referendum is something which could impact travellers and Brits who work abroad MASSIVELY. That being said, this isn’t a post to push my view, but rather to highlight what the decision could mean for travel and working abroad in the future.

Here is how every element of European travel could be affected by today’s referendum:


Budget airlines opened Europe up for both the holiday maker and the traveller, all because of the EU’s air service agreements. The UK’s borders and air service would all be reevaluated if we decide to leave the UK, meaning this could change and air fare prices are likely to rise. Read more about this here.

The future of the EHIC card

You probably have one in your wallet, and may or may not of ever used it, but the European Health Insurance Card means that you are essentially treated like a resident if you need healthcare abroad. This might mean a reduced rate, or that your health care is completely covered. If we leave the EU we still very well might be able to keep this, as it is not an EU incentive (countries such as Norway and Iceland accept it who aren’t in the EU). However it is a likely possibility that this benefit for travellers would cease to exist. You can read about this here.

Working in the EU

This all depends on the agreement the UK makes with the EU if we decide to exit. Everything remains up in the air, however it is likely that working abroad will require visas, and this will be down the the individual country. One thing is for sure, your rights will become restricted and you will most likely have to go through some kind of visa process in order to live and work abroad as you would with any country outside the EU. How difficult this will be, time will tell.

Import and Export

Customs and immigrations will change, which means road trips to France to stock up the car up with French wine might be a thing of the past. You also might not be able to bring back cigarettes for Tom, Dick and Harry from your European trip. On the plus side, welcome back Duty Free!


Again something that experts can only speculate on at the moment, however experts think that leaving the EU could mean a weaker pound against the Euro which will highly impact European travel.

Flight Delays

Did you know that the EU is responsible for the compensation airlines have to give if a flight is cancelled or delayed? This includes overnight stays if you are left stranded by a delayed flight. This is something which would be directly affected by Brexit.

Using your phone abroad

Everything which you take for granted now when you travel will be impacted, down to the charges from your phone service provider. Roaming charges have been completely abolished by the EU (with effect from summer 2017) read about this here. If we leave the EU this won’t apply and prices will likely rise again.


Travel abroad will likely cost you more in every way if we decide to leave. This includes insurance. This is likely to affect package holidays more, with the EU rights for holiday makers working in their favour to keep the costs low and protection high.

Keeping beaches clean

Did you know that the EU is strict on the cleanliness of its beaches? This means that countries with lower than average standards on its beaches are shamed and forced to take action. There has been continued improvement on the sewage levels surrounding Britain, yet this will likely decline once the strict guidelines forced by the EU are no longer applicable.

leaving the EU travel

As I mentioned above, none of the above is iron-clad. Everything is up in the air, whichever way we decide to go. David Cameron has negotiated some changes if we decide to stay in the EU, and we do not know what will be agreed if we decide to leave. The exit won’t happen immediately either – it will take at least two years. If you live and work abroad within the EU there is nothing that says you won’t be able to continue to do so easily.

As always, these options are my own 🙂

EU referendum travel

Where to next?

Read my 13 top European cities on a budget here.

Read my European Bucket List here.

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