You probably remember the historic referendum that the UK made earlier this year to leave the European Union. Known popularly as “Brexit”, the decision came with major ramifications for Britain and its relationship with the rest of Europe and the world, with the scale of some repercussions still to be determined. Whatever comes of this and however you might feel about the decision, one thing’s still for sure: Brexit might be bad for international relations … but it’s been undeniably generous to American travelers looking to get more bang for their buck.
Still Not Out Yet
Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (also known as the Lisbon Treaty) sets out how a member state should notify the EU of its withdrawal and how the EU should go about negotiating a withdrawal agreement with that state. Nothing about Britain’s status within the EU remains the same until Article 50 is “triggered” officially and then the process of withdrawal may take up to two years. As of yet, Article 50 has not yet been triggered. So travelers have at least another two years before there’s any change in visa requirements at UK borders.
UK Currency at a 30-Year Low
The pound against the dollar is at its lowest point in more than 30 years. At the time of writing this piece, £1.00 is worth $1.30, which is a drop of almost 20% in value from what it had been trading at most of 2016. So basically, if you’re visiting the UK from the US and exchanging dollars for pounds, your money is going to go a lot further than you probably planned on when you booked your trip. For many Americans, much of Britain – especially London – may still seem like a very expensive place. But a visit here now won’t be nearly as costly as it would have been before the Brexit. If you’re heading to Britain from elsewhere in the EU, you’ll be glad to hear your euros are now worth more as well.
The Current Mood
Don’t worry! Britain’s still a vibrant, historic, exciting, and culturally compelling destination that welcomes visitors with warmth and hospitality. But before striking up any conversations with locals or asking provocative questions, you may want to keep in mind that most of Wales and England (minus London) voted to leave the EU while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London voted overwhelmingly to remain.
Long-Term Consequences for Travel?
Odds are for the ordinary traveler visiting the UK for business or pleasure, nothing much will change. But as things develop it might be wise to watch for fluctuations in currency levels and the price for flights, accommodation, and travel packages, as well as visa requirements and rules for entering and leaving the UK.
Have you traveled to the UK since Brexit? Tell us about it in the comments!