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Travel Advice

Last reviewed: 8th April 2024  |  Next review due: 8th June 2024

Latest Travel News

UK Passport Office increases passport charges
From 11th April 2024, the cost of renewing a UK passport will rise. It remains cheaper (although prices will still increase) to apply for a renewal online. This change affects adult and child passport applications. More information can be found on the UK Passport Office website.

Bulgaria and Romania have joined the Schengen Area
Taking effect from 31 March 2024, Bulgaria and Romania have joined the Schengen Area, the EU's open border scheme. Land border checks will remain in place but EU passengers arriving via air and sea will no longer be subject to passport control. British travellers and other non-EU visitors will still be required to present passports upon entry.

EU's EES deployment to be delayed until after the Paris 2024 Olympics
The European Union's planned deployment of the new Entry Exit System (EES) has been delayed. The system, which takes biometric data of travellers upon entry and exit of the Union, was due to be implemented in November 2023 but it is thought that the system isn't yet ready. An implementation date is yet to be announced.

EU's ETIAS deployment set for 2025
The EU's new European Travel Information Authorisation System is now expected to be fully deployed in mid-2025. Visitors to the EU from the UK and other non-EU countries will need to apply for an ETIAS prior to travelling.

Croatia has joined the Eurozone 
On 1 January 2023, Croatia became the 20th member of the Eurozone, adopting the Euro. Croatian Kuna notes can be exchanged for the equivalent value in Euros at the Croatian National Bank until January 2026.

UK & Ireland Travel

Travel between the UK and Ireland is regulated by the Common Travel Area (CTA). This is an arrangement between the United Kingdom and Ireland that gives a variety of rights to citizens of those countries. It was agreed upon in 1992 and, in 2019, the Irish and UK governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming the commitment to maintain the CTA following Brexit. There are no routine passport controls in operation for Irish and UK citizens travelling between the two countries.

Travelling to the EU


The Entry Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) are schemes that are to be introduced to visitors to the European Union from mid-2025.

EES is an entry-exit system that ensures a proper record of the eligible citizens of third countries entering Europe, similar to passport stamping or using an eGate. Information that will be taken during this procedure will include: facial image, surname, first name, date and place of birth, nationality, gender, passport number and other data, valid ETIAS or Schengen visa, and biometric data such as fingerprints. You will be required to fill out an online form prior to travelling. This data, as well as the information collected at the eGate, will be encrypted and stored securely.

ETIAS is a visa waiver scheme, similar to the ESTA procedure employed in the United States and similar systems used in Australia and New Zealand. ETIAS will allow checks to be made before travellers depart, making border crossing a smoother process. Almost 1 in 5 people will need ETIAS to travel to the European Union without a visa. Your application will be screened prior to your entry into an EU country. It works in conjunction with the EES.


You can continue to travel to mainland Europe with your UK passport until it expires, as long as it is valid for the length of your stay, has at least six months of validity left, and is less than ten years old. This applies to all current passport designs, including burgundy covers, those with ‘EUROPEAN UNION’ printed on the front and the new blue passports. These rules don’t apply to travel to the Republic of Ireland. If you apply for a new passport, you will be sent the new-style blue design.

You can no longer use the EU/EEA/Switzerland fast-track lanes at airport passport control. You should use the other lanes or eGates where available.


UK travellers can visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. Multiple holidays within this period count towards your 90 days.

From mid-2025*, you must apply for an ETIAS Visa Waiver to travel to Schengen member countries. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. The European Commission is implementing this new system to strengthen the Union’s borders. All countries that do not currently need a visa to travel to Europe will need to apply for the waiver.

*ETIAS was planned to be deployed in late 2022, but this has been pushed back to at least mid-2025.

Travel insurance and GHIC

The way UK citizens receive free or low-cost healthcare while in the European Union has changed. Previously, holders of an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) were entitled to healthcare at little to no cost while on holiday.

If you still hold a valid EHIC, you can continue to use it in the EU until it expires. You can still apply for and use an EHIC under certain circumstances outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement.

A replacement scheme, called GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), provides "medically necessary healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you come back to the UK" from European state healthcare services.

Despite its name, the GHIC does not provide globally free healthcare, though it covers more territories than the UK EHIC.

We recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance covering your medical needs. Never purely rely on an EHIC or GHIC.

Driving in the EU

If you plan to drive in the EU, including Ireland, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, you must hold a valid UK driving licence and display a UK sticker regardless of any registration plate identifiers. You should always carry your driving licence with you.

You should also carry either your vehicle log book (V5C) or, if you're hiring a vehicle, a VE103 to show you're allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad.

You do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for most EU countries. For Norway and some other European countries, you may need an IDP if you have:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

If you're towing a caravan, you should check if you need to register your trailer before entering some EU countries. You can find out more at GOV.UK.

Check for a step-by-step guide and any requirements specific to the country you're driving in.

Starting on 28 September 2021, new national vehicle identifiers were introduced. It is now illegal to display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle. Instead, you should display a UK sticker if your vehicle number plate has any of the following:

  • a GB identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack)
  • a Euro symbol
  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
  • numbers and letters only - no flag or identifier

You do not need a UK sticker if your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack).

If you're in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.

If you have a GB sticker, cover or remove it and replace it with a UK sticker.

UK Registration plates
Dashcams & Sat Navs

Dashcams are a grey area in some parts of Europe as they potentially break privacy laws, especially if the footage captured is shared online or with your insurer without the consent of those in the video. Because of this, using your dash cam in Austria, Luxembourg, and Portugal is illegal. There are strict usage conditions on using the devices in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Switzerland, so it’s best to research this before you travel. The law is unclear in Albania, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Montenegro and Slovakia. Unrestricted use is allowed in all other European countries.

Sat Navs are useful tools for getting from A to B. But the use of navigation systems to give directions isn’t the issue here. Some models can actively search for mobile and fixed-speed cameras or interfere with police equipment. Models that offer this option are illegal in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. Make sure you disable this feature in the listed countries.

Breathalysers & fire extinguishers

Once a legal requirement in France, breathalysers are no longer a requirement but it is advised that you have one to hand. Make sure your breathalyser is NF approved.

Although not compulsory, carrying a vehicle fire extinguisher is recommended in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Oversized outfits

Travelling in Spain? Does your outfit exceed 12m? If yes, you must fit marker boards to the back of your vehicle. You can either have two small boards or one large board, but they must be placed between 50cm and 150cm off the ground. The marker board must have a plain yellow centre with a red outline, be made of aluminium, and be manufactured to the ECE70 standard.

Travelling in France? Does your vehicle exceed 3,500kg? If yes, you must have a sticker showing the position of blind spots visible on the sides and at the rear of your vehicle. This regulation has been in force since January 2021.

Travelling with pets

You can no longer use the Pet Passport scheme to travel with your pet to the EU. Instead, you must get your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. You must also obtain an Animal Health Certificate from your vet no more than ten days before you travel.

The certificate needs to be signed by a vet and will be valid for ten days after the date of issue for entry into the EU and Northern Ireland and four months for onward travel and re-entry to the UK.

You can find the full requirements for taking pets to the EU at GOV.UK.

Data roaming

Previously, you could roam in Europe using your existing call, text, and data allowances at no extra cost. But post-Brexit, three major providers (EE, Vodafone, and Three) have reintroduced roaming charges. As of April 2024, O2 is the only provider to offer free EU roaming.

The Mobile Roaming (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 Act came into force at the end of the transition period and removed the legal requirement for UK mobile operators to provide surcharge-free roaming in the EU. However, it introduced a new law that protects consumers from getting unexpected mobile data charges above £45 per calendar month. Once this cap is reached, you'll need to opt in to spend more to continue using the internet while abroad. Your phone operator will tell you how you can do this.

Package travel regulations

The EU is largely to thank for many travel laws and regulations currently in place in the UK, like financial protection for package holidays, cheaper flights to more locations, compensation for delayed flights, access to free healthcare and cleaner beaches. Thankfully, many of these regulations have been safeguarded and transferred into British law.

Customers who book a package holiday with a UK travel company enjoy the most comprehensive consumer protection. If you book a package, your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, which means you have a right to a full refund if it can no longer be provided.

Your consumer rights regarding travel remain unchanged. You have the same rights under UK law in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of passenger air, rail, road or sea services.

EU law will continue to apply to EU-registered passenger transport operators regarding journeys to and from the EU.

EU regulations on rail, bus, and coach travel and maritime passengers’ rights are enshrined in UK law. They will continue to protect passengers on cross-border rail services, bus and coach travel, and ferry and cruise travel.

Your rights as a passenger using Eurotunnel’s cross-border shuttle services will remain unchanged. Passengers can continue to use Eurotunnel’s existing complaints procedure.


Most of Europe shares a common currency, the Euro (€); however, some countries are not part of the Eurozone and use different currencies. Sometimes, these are pegged to the Euro. Some countries may accept both local currency and the Euro. At present, the Euro is legal tender in 20 out of the 27 European Union Member States, and in five countries and one partially recognised state that are not members of the EU; Andorra, Kosovo (partially recognised), Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Vatican City.

Countries that use the Euro:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City

Other currencies:

  • Albania - Lek (L)
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina - Mark (KM)
  • Bulgaria - Lev (лв.)
  • Czech Republic - Koruna (Kč)
  • Denmark - Krone (kr.)
  • Hungary - Forint (Ft.)
  • Iceland - Króna (Kr.)
  • Liechtenstein - Franc (CHF)
  • Moldova - Leu (L)
  • Norway - Krone (kr.)
  • Poland - Złoty (zł)
  • Romania - Leu (lei)
  • Serbia - Dinar (DIN)
  • Sweden - Krona (kr.)
  • Switzerland - Franc - (CHF)

Croatia became the 20th member of the Eurozone, adopting the Euro from 1st January 2023. Croatian Kuna notes can be exchanged for the equivalent value in Euros at the Croatian National Bank until January 2026.

Bringing food into the EU

There are stringent rules on what food, animal products and plants you can bring into the EU from the UK. All non-EU countries have restrictions on what they can and can't bring into the Union.

You cannot bring meat or dairy products into the EU. Limited quantities of fruit and vegetables, eggs and egg products, honey, and fish and fish products are allowed.

Affected foods:

  • Eviscerated fresh fish and prepared fish products - 20kg or 1 fish (whichever weighs most)
  • Plants or plant products including cut flowers - a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate is required attesting that the product is free from certain pests
  • Powdered infant milk, infant food and special foods required for medical reasons - no more than 2kg, the product should not require refrigeration before opening, should be packaged proprietary brand products for direct sales to the final customer, and contained within unbroken packaging unless in current use
  • Pet food required for health-related reasons - no more than 2kg, the product must be for the pet accompanying the passenger, it should not require refrigeration before opening, should be packaged proprietary brand products for direct sales to the final customer, and contained within unbroken packaging unless in current use
  • Products other than those described above that do not contain meat or dairy (eg. honey) - no more than 2kg

Exempted foods:

  • Bread (but not sandwiches with dairy or meat fillings)
  • Cake (but not if they contain fresh cream)
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolate and confectionary (but not if the sweets are made with high levels of unprocessed dairy ingredients)
  • Meat extracts in liquid or spreadable form (but not pâte or meat concentrates incl stock cubes and gravy granules)
  • Olives stuffed with fish
  • Pasta and noodles if cooked (but not mixed with or filled with meat)
  • Soup
Schengen Area

The Schengen Area consists 29 European countries that have relaxed internal border controls, allowing for free movement. Not all countries in the EU are part of this agreement and some countries that aren't in the EU are part of it! It's worth checking before you embark on your journey.

Who's in?

  • Austria (EU)
  • Belgium (EU)
  • Bulgaria (EU) - only applies to passengers arriving via air and sea, land border checks remain
  • Croatia (EU)
  • Czech Republic (EU)
  • Denmark (EU)
  • Estonia (EU)
  • Finland (EU)
  • France (EU)
  • Germany (EU)
  • Greece (EU)
  • Iceland (non-EU)
  • Italy (EU)
  • Latvia (EU)
  • Liechtenstein (non-EU)
  • Lithuania (EU)
  • Luxembourg (EU)
  • Malta (EU)
  • Netherlands (EU)
  • Norway (non-EU)
  • Poland (EU)
  • Portugal (EU)
  • Romania (EU) - only applies to passengers arriving via air and sea, land border checks remain
  • Slovakia (EU)
  • Slovenia (EU)
  • Spain (EU)
  • Sweden (EU)
  • Switzerland (non-EU)

Cyprus and Ireland are the only EU Member States that are not part of the Schengen Area.

Accessible Travel

We firmly believe that travel should be accessible to everybody. To be able to explore a place, journey somewhere new, feel a sense of adventure, discover new cultures and learn about local history is a very special experience. But for some, travel can be challenging. Please let us know if you have a mobility issue and we will do everything we can to make sure your holiday is as easy and comfortable as it can be. Read more about our Open to All initiative at

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office offers advice about travelling abroad. Visit GOV.UK for further information about the FCDO.

ABTA Membership

We are a Member of ABTA which means you have the benefit of ABTA’s assistance and Code of Conduct. All the package and Flight-Plus holidays we sell are covered by a scheme protecting your money if the supplier fails. Other services such as hotels or flights on their own may not be protected and you should ask us what protection is available.