Key tourist destinations like Spain and Greece are hoping to welcome UK tourists when restrictions lift, however new research from Post Office reveals many people are unaware of the new rules for visiting Europe following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
In fact, 42 per cent of people surveyed couldn’t correctly identify the six months required on their passport to travel.
Almost half (49 per cent) of people said they are considering taking a trip abroad once Covid restrictions lift, with more than a third (36 per cent) already planning to head to Europe. Despite this, 37 per cent admitted they don’t feel confident booking a holiday to Europe, with one in five (17 per cent) of those who are unconfident attributing their nervousness to the changes since the UK’s exit.
It isn’t just passports British travellers are not sure of, 37 per cent of people don’t know when their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) expires. Whilst an EHIC covers basic healthcare over two fifths (43 per cent) of those surveyed were unable to correctly identify factors that the EHIC covers, with 9 per cent believing it covers cancelled flights, 9 per cent lost luggage, and 8 per cent damaged personal goods.
Interestingly, 34 per cent claim they never or only sometimes purchase travel insurance when they go on holiday to Europe.
For many people, the risks of Covid-19 are still a top concern when considering holidaying. However, holidaymakers also need to be aware of new rules in the wake of the UK’s exit from the European Union and plan ahead to avoid disruption to their holiday plans.
Ed Dutton, Post Office Spokesperson:
“It’s not surprising that almost of third of us are keen to get away to Europe once Covid-19 restrictions allow, but this hotly anticipated summer is the first time holidaymakers will face new rules since the UK’s exit from the European Union. The key thing is to plan ahead, renewing your passport can take a few weeks, so check its expiration now before you even think about booking a trip to avoid any last-minute disappointments.”
Here are some top tips to get Europe travel ready:
Check your passport expiry date – you need at least six months validity on your passport to travel to the EU. Post Office offers a digital and paper Check & Send service, which guides you through the process and helps ensure all your paperwork is correctly filled out. Visit https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/renew-adult-passport to find out more.
Buy the right travel insurance when you book your holiday – this means you are protecting the holiday itself should any cancellations occur before you travel, as well as being covered for what happens when you’re on the trip.
Check if your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid – an EHIC will cover you for basic medical care when in Europe, so make sure your card is in date. If it’s expired or soon to expire, you’ll need to apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Remember, an EHIC/GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, so this should always be purchased for additional protection.
Check if you get a refund guarantee on your travel money – whether you buy cash or a travel money card for your holiday spending from Post Office, you get a refund guarantee which means if your holiday is cancelled within 28 days of your purchase you can exchange the full amount of foreign currency for the price you paid for it. You can also exchange back unused money after a trip by using currency buy-back which will be at our normal counter rates. Recent research from Post Office shows we hoard over £3.5 billion worth of foreign currency at home3.
Check if you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) – if you’ve got a UK card driving licence you don’t need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, however, if you have a UK paper driving license then you will. You can use the Post Office country checker to check which one you’ll need and then apply in branch.