Motorhome Travel After Brexit
Whilst the political process of the UK’s departure from the EU is ongoing; there is a lot of uncertainty about what post-Brexit holds in store for everyone, especially for people who have booked their trips for 2019 already. Although several grey areas need to be addressed, the Government and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have offered advice to help travellers prepare for various scenarios.
As a motorhome owner or caravanner who has made travel plans, it’s important to know what impact it will have on driving in Europe after Brexit. We have gathered the most relevant information about driving in Europe after Brexit in the hope that it can help you proceed with your holiday plans.
Will a deal or no deal affect my holiday plans?
If the UK agrees to a deal with the EU, it means there will likely be a transition period until December 2020 before which some changes will alter your plans. On the other hand, a no deal means the UK would have to leave the EU immediately with no agreements about what the relationship would be like in future. The primary thing to know is that all things being equal, a deal should not impact your plans throughout this year but the reverse may be the case in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Will there be delays at the ports because of Brexit?
Whilst we hope normal activities will continue at the ports like before, there’s a lot of uncertainty around this question. Nevertheless, Eurotunnel, the ferry companies and the port authorities have issued assurances that the ports will continue to run efficiently as before although they advise passengers to schedule extra time for security, check-in and boarding procedures.
Will I pay more for internet phone roaming charges after Brexit?
Currently, mobile phone roaming charges are capped in Europe due to a regulation that makes sure you don’t pay more whilst in the EU than you do at home. This may not be the case at some point after Brexit even though it’s improbable that UK operators will stop providing phone connectivity post-Brexit.
The worst case scenario is that the surcharge-free mobile roaming would no longer be standard across every mobile package after Brexit. Hence, we expect a situation where different terms and conditions will apply for calls, texts and data use, and this decision would be up to individual mobile operators.
Nonetheless, we recommend you check the roaming policies of your mobile operator and other operators before you travel abroad so you can make informed decisions.
What licence will I need in Europe?
One of the major questions many motorhome owners and caravanners often ask is ‘What licence will I need in Europe?’ Although you can drive with a UK licence before Brexit, in a no deal Brexit scenario, this may change. In that case, driving in Europe after Brexit will require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
An IDP is a translation of your national driving licence. It is an official, multi-language travel document that allows you to drive in a foreign country. It is regulated by the United Nations and costs £5.50.
Which IDP will I need?
The UK issues three types of IDP to UK licence holders but the IDP you should apply for depends on which EU country you’re visiting. The three types of IDP are the 1926 IDP, the 1949 IDP and the 1968 IDP. You will need to check the type of IDP that’s in use in the country you’re planning to travel to. Here’s the necessary information you should know about the IDP types:
- IDP Convention 1949: This permit applies if you’re travelling to Ireland, Spain, Malta or Cyprus and the validity period is 12 months from the day of issue.
- IDP Convention 1926: This permit applies if you’re travelling to Liechtenstein
- IDP Convention 1968: This is the most popular permit, and it applies if you’re travelling to the following EU and EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. The validity period for the permit is three years.
Please note that if you’re touring multiple countries in the EU, you may need more than one IDP type. For example, whilst you need a 1968 IDP to drive through France but a 1949 IDP to drive through Spain.
Also, it’s important to note that you could be fined in any of the countries above for relying on just an IDP as it’s expected that you carry your UK licence too.
You can purchase all types of IDP over the counter from any of the 2,500 UK post offices, provided you’re able to prove that you’re 18 years or above and present a valid UK driving licence. To see other documentation, you will be required to present when applying for an IDP or the nearest branch, check the Post Office website.
Don’t also forget to confirm that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity before travelling to the EU as required by the UK foreign office.
GB stickers after Brexit
If the political developments climax in a no deal Brexit, the government advises all UK driving licence holders to display a GB sticker on their vehicle, irrespective of whether the vehicle carries a number plate which includes the GB identifier.
Motorhome insurance after the UK leaves the EU
As you may already know, driving in Europe before Brexit has been hassle-free once you can present your regular UK certificate of insurance (our motorhome insurance guide can help you find which company to use), whilst you will need to prove you have insurance when you travel outside the EU with your Green Card.
Whenever, Brexit happens, you will need a Green Card so you can keep driving in Europe after Brexit. Depending on the deal, you may still be able to travel to anywhere in the EU with your certificate of insurance.
Since it’s better to be safe than sorry, we advise that you get a Green Card if you’re planning to travel anywhere in Europe in the first few weeks of April. There are a number of resources available on the Government’s website here which go into detail.