What Does Brexit Mean for American Travelers?

What Does Brexit Mean for American Travelers?

Here's a primer on how the vote affects you.

By Alesandra Dubin

After 30 million people voted in a referendum on Thursday, the result that Britain will leave the European Union stunned the world. While Americans slept, global financial markets plunged and prime minister David Cameron announced his resignation. The impact of the historic vote on travelers from America is likely to be largely — although not entirely — financial, with the strength of the dollar soaring against the pound. Here’s a summary of the biggest news for travelers from the U.S. visiting the U.K. this summer and beyond.

The main thing is your trip will get cheaper.

“For foreign travelers, it is officially now cheaper to visit the U.K. than it has been in decades. The British pound took a huge battering on the announcement of the referendum results, dropping to a record low, and while a Brexit sorts itself out in the coming months, the currency is likely to remain weak.” [CNN]

And that's good news because Americans spend a lot in the U.K.

“Nearly 10 percent of tourists in Britain last year came from the United States, according to government statistics, and Americans spent more than any other nationality — an average of 3,010 pounds ($4,418)." [Washington Post]

Americans will outnumber other tourists.

“The U.K. is likely to see far fewer tourists from the EU itself. Last year, EU countries made up seven of the top ten countries sending tourists to the U.K. Americans, who were the second biggest group to visit the U.K., are likely to move to the first spot, replacing France.” [CNN]

Travel will get more expensive for Americans already in Europe.

“Anyone who has ever studied abroad or gone on a multi-stop trip to Europe knows that it's relatively easy to travel within Europe on the cheap, thanks to no-frills budget airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir. However, it's the ease of travel within the EU that makes this inexpensive travel possible. New air service agreements would need to be put in place, which could ultimately result in a rise in fares." [People]

It could impact your travel time — and stress level — by creating longer airport lines.

“Flying through Heathrow may feel more like flying through JFK — not in a good way. International travelers passing through New York's JFK will all commiserate over the brutal American welcome of a four-hour customs line (that's the average wait time on weekends, according to a recent study led by various travel advocacy groups). At London's Heathrow, queues move a lot more quickly, and that's largely because EU citizens can enter through a separate line without any restrictions. If Brexit passes, those travelers could potentially join Americans and other international travelers in one queue for non-U.K. citizens.” [Skift]

And your mobile connection could suffer while abroad.

"The EU has made big strides in reducing the cost of mobile data roaming — currently there are strict caps on roaming charges, and by April 2017, the concept of roaming will be completely obsolete across the continent. For internationals, that means one European SIM card has been enough to guarantee connectivity (without the excessive bill) from Portugal to Poland. That may no longer be the case if and when the U.K. switches over to an independent mobile network." [Skift]

But in short, now's an excellent time to go.

“[It’s] good news for Americans looking to travel to the U.K. this summer — or even beyond. Some experts warn the pound could lag for a decade…. Some Old Blighty attractions to take advantage of in the summer include the Portsmouth International Kite Festival, the Who playing at the Isle of Wight Festival, the Magna Carta celebration at Hedingham Castle, 200 public and private gardens open for the Open Garden Squares Weekend, and the world's tallest and longest slide opening at Olympic Park in Stratford, or the Sundance Film Festival in the West End.” [Daily Mail]

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