Travel to Europe this summer
Plan ahead for easy travel after Brexit
The UK officially left the European Union on 1st January 2021. A trade deal was agreed with the EU, meaning that although some things have changed, you can still travel to all our destinations with ease.
We’ve highlighted the main points for you here - because the sooner you’re up to speed on what they are - and what you need to do - the sooner you can focus on the important stuff: looking forward to that much needed holiday.
Travel to Europe - what you need to know
Firstly, something you don’t need: a Visa. If you’re on holiday, and it’s for 90 days or less, you can travel freely between countries within the EU.
Passport requirements can vary according to the country you are travelling to. For most EU countries, it must be: less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’) and valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’). Check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.
- You can check if you need to renew your passport here ›
- You can apply for a new passport online here ›
The existing pet passport scheme ended on 1st January 2021. You can still take your pets on holiday with you, but you'll need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead.
Contact your vet at least one month before you travel to arrange any vaccinations your pet needs. Then you’ll need to get your animal health certificate signed by an official vet no more than 10 days before you go. Not all vets can issue AHCs, so check with your vet or find a vet who can issue them, on the government’s official vet list.
- There’s a lot of really useful information about travelling with pets, here ›
If you’re taking your own car on holiday to Europe, you’ll need to do three things:
- Take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you
- Ask your insurer for a green card as proof of insurance
- Display a GB sticker on your vehicle
Your insurer might issue your green card by post, or they may tell you how to download one to print at home. Request your green card at least six weeks in advance to make sure it arrives in plenty of time.
You may need an international driving permit to drive in the EU if you have:
- A paper driving licence
- A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
If either of these things apply to you, contact the embassy of the country you’re visiting to check what documents you’ll need.
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid in EU countries until its expiry date.
If your EHIC is about to expire or you don’t have one, you can apply for a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to necessary medical care in an EU country for the same cost as a resident of that country.
Details of how to obtain your GHIC card can be found here. GHICs are issued free of charge, so beware of scam sites which charge a fee for them.
From 1st January 2021, neither the EHIC or GHIC will cover you for medical treatment in Switzerland.
If you’re planning to spend some or all of your holiday in Switzerland, make sure you arrange travel insurance with healthcare cover included.
We always recommend that you arrange your own comprehensive health insurance before you travel.
- You can read more about choosing the cover that’s right for you here ›
When you arrive in an EU country, you may have to:
- Show a ticket for return or onward travel.
- Show you have enough money for your stay.
- Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing (join the ‘All Passports’ queue).
If you’re visiting or travelling through France, you will also have to:
- Show your booking confirmation as proof of your accommodation.
- Show that you have travel insurance for your trip.
MOBILE DATA ROAMING
Free mobile internet is no longer guaranteed for UK residents visiting the EU.
Contact your mobile phone operator to find out about what charges apply for using mobile data while abroad. A new law means you can’t be charged more than £45 without knowing – after this limit you have to opt in to spend more and continue using mobile internet abroad.
FOOD & DRINK
You can’t bring any meat, milk, or products containing them into EU countries.
Small quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, and pet food required for medical reasons are exempt, and you can still take a limited quantity of fruits and vegetables with you.
If you’re packing food for your holiday and you’re unsure what’s allowed, check the European Commission website before you travel.