While you were sleeping, the United Kingdom voted to remove itself from the European Union, a historic move for what was originally conceived to be a magnanimous social, political, and economic alliance. What’s the deal?
Essentially, the U.K. joined the most seminal of EU conceptions, before it was called such, in the early 1970s. Fast-forward nearly 40 years worth of political bickering and economic strife and the U.K. people said, “no thanks” to European unity.
Global markets tanked once the decision was formally announced, leaving international economic leaders and investors uneasy. The bright side for some Americans: A trip to Europe suddenly seems cheaper.
While the real effects of the move won’t be felt immediately, there are some things to keep your eye on if you’re considering a hop across the pond to the U.K. or Europe for a bargain trip.
Your dollar will go far
One of the most proximal effects for American travelers to the U.K. is that U.S. dollars are worth a lot more in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
The chart above shows how “strong” the British pound (GBP) is to the U.S. dollar. The higher the value of the dollar relative to the pound, the more your money is worth in the U.K. The same holds true if you’re traveling within a European “euro zone” country (one that uses the euro), though the euro isn’t as depressed as is the British pound.
If you’re itching to book a European vacation now, keep your eyes on things like airfare and hotel prices. Last year, Norwegian Air and WOW Air, two European carriers, made it uber-cheap for Americans to jet across the Atlantic, boasting rates of $100 or less. But just because the travel itself may be cheaper, doesn’t mean finding affordable flights will be easier this time around.
Check with your airline for Brexit-related announcements
You may want to check-in, figuratively, with your airline if you’re flying a British or European carrier. Before voting to leave the EU, England had access to the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), which made flights between Europe and the U.K. cheaper for travelers.
Now that the referendum to leave has passed, it’s unclear just how and when U.K. carriers like BritishAir or easyJet will adjust to the change. Rates may increase, routes may be moved, and travel may be delayed. For now, that’s speculative but worth watching out for.
Budget carrier easyJet says it is working with the EU to ensure that the Brexit vote doesn’t have a tangible impact on travelers, but again, all of this is new–and volatile.
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Be cautious when traveling
Political and economic turmoil is a recipe for disaster on its own. Adding in the threat of international terrorism, with major European cities already at risk, isn’t helpful.
At the end of May, the U.S. State Department issued a warning to all U.S. citizens traveling to Europe this summer. International sporting events like the Tour de France and the European Soccer Championship may be potential targets for terrorist plots, which isn’t to say that we’d advise against all travel, but, as the government notes, to be cautious.