What does Brexit mean for travel photography?

What does the latest Brexit news mean if you’re planning to head to Europe? Get advice and a handy checklist for travel photographers and tourists ahead of Brexit

For those who like to get away and capture incredible scenes from their European city break, some of the uncertainty around Brexit may have shrouded your plans in doubt. Whether you’re a travel photographer or an amateur photographer who likes capturing those special moments, there are plenty of reasons why a trip to the continent might appeal to your creative side.

From world-renowned landmarks, to some of nature’s most impressive landscapes, a European adventure can inspire the photographer in us all. So if you’ve got a photography tour planned in the not-so-distant-future, or if you’re maybe thinking about heading overseas and need to know what’s going to change, here are some things you may need to be aware of once the UK leaves the European Union on January 31st.

How many people travel to Europe for photography?

Despite the UK taking steps to leave the European Union following the result of the 2016 referendum, trips to Europe have remained largely popular. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that of the 24 million overseas trips by Brits in the summer of 2018, just over 20 million were to European countries.

Combining a holiday abroad with your love of photography may be one thing, but there are also plenty of photo-specific tours across Europe designed to hone your camera skills overseas. From the canals of Venice, to the architecture of Barcelona and the city brimming with cultural landmarks that is Berlin, there are a number of workshops and tours tailored for the budding photographer on the continent.

It’s hard to estimate just how many of these Brits abroad were photographers, but with millions of us visiting Spain, Italy and Germany every year, and the views that you get spoiled with, you’d imagine that packing a camera would be essential!

What are the consequences of a no-deal Brexit on travel photography?

Once the deadline passes and Britain leaves the European Union, how difficult is it going to be to get out there and see these places? How will a no-deal Brexit affect your potential sightseeing trip to Europe?

After the UK leaves the EU, air travel shouldn’t be affected for British passengers. Some countries have moved to alleviate fears of missed flights because of hours-long queues. If you’re heading to Portugal though – and in 2018, around 2.8 million Brits did – you may be in luck. Turismo de Portugal announced that Portuguese airports may implement special arrangements for British travellers and may even accept UK driving licenses in the near future.

Will you get a refund if your flight to Europe is cancelled after Brexit?

As with many of the issues surrounding Brexit, air travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU is a little complicated. There is a risk that many flights from the UK may still be cancelled.

However, the European Commission has taken steps to make sure that flights between the EU and Britain continue to charter for 9 months following the UK leaving the European Union. Last year, some airlines began to put in place measures that would see them be able to cancel flights and avoid facing any liability, but these were said to be in preparation for a ‘worst-case scenario’.

If you’ve booked your tour or workshop as part of a package holiday for example, you could still be refunded by the firm you’ve booked with in the unfortunate event that your trip gets cancelled.

While it may be unlikely that your booking will be cancelled after Brexit, it may be worth keeping a close eye on the latest from your travel provider as your holiday approaches.
Is travelling to Ireland affected by Brexit?

If you were planning on making the short trip over to Ireland to satisfy your photographic cravings and maybe take in some of the amazing views of the Dingle peninsula or to visit the Ring of Kerry, you should be able to plan ahead with your tour despite the uncertainty around Brexit. Around 3 million Brits head to Ireland each year and these trips should remain unaffected thanks to the existing Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland.

Travelling by ferry after Brexit

If you’d prefer to travel with by car and as such will be looking to cross into Europe by ferry, you shouldn’t need to worry. The government have announced that ferry services will continue to be protected by law after Brexit.

If you are planning on driving through Europe however, you’ll need to be aware of the changes in regulation that may come into place as a result of a no-deal Brexit. Currently, a UK driving licence permits you to drive in all EU countries, but after January 31st, you are likely to need an International Driving Permit – or two – to drive in Europe. As different countries are signed to different conventions, if you’re driving through both France and Spain you will need to obtain both the 1949 (Spain) and 1968 (France) driving permits. These permits are available to purchase from selected Post Offices and should cost £5.50 each.

What else do you need to check before Brexit?

So we’ve gone over the possible repercussions following Brexit and what might be different as you travel. Now, we’ll take you through what you definitely need to check before you head away.

Check your passport

Before you even think about packing and whether you’re going to need to take your DSLR and your compact camera, you’ll need to check the expiry date on your passport.

The UK government has recommended that anyone travelling to Europe after Britain leaves the EU should have at least six months remaining on their passport after their date of arrival. If you’re travelling over to Ireland though, you won’t need to. While you’re in the Emerald Isle you can use your UK passport right up until its expiry date.

Health insurance

You’ll also need to review your travel insurance and whether you’ve got a healthcare policy in place while you’re on the continent.

European Health Cards – also known as an EHIC’s – that are designed to cover medical treatment for illness and injury while you’re travelling, may not be valid after Brexit. It’s important that after Brexit you check what your health insurance will cover while you’re on holiday. If you’re out on a mountain trek trying to get that perfect sunrise shot and you were to fall and hurt yourself, then you could end up with costly medical bills. The charges for medical treatment is different depending on which country you visit, so it may be worth doing your research into – just to be on the safe side.

Mobile Roaming

One of the things that we know will change after Brexit is mobile roaming charges. Previously, Brits travelling across the EU have been able to enjoy free mobile roaming privileges, meaning you could use your phone in Europe and not be charged extra.

After Brexit, there will be a £45 monthly limit on how much you’ll be charged for using your texts, minutes and data in the EU. Once you’ve reached your limit, you’ll be prompted to buy more data if you need it while you’re abroad.

So, if you’re using Instagram or Pixlr to showcase your shots, you may need to keep an eye on how much of your data you’re using up.

Some mobile networks – such as EE - have said that they have no plans to change their service in the short-term. However, not all mobile networks are going to have the same policy and these may even be subject to change in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Check what your network is planning to do before you head abroad so that you’re fully prepared.