Latest Travel News
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 until at least May 2024, though likely until November 2024.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.
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.
If you’re a UK resident, travel to the EU, Switzerland and Norway has changed. Some things have changed, other things have remained the same but it is best to familiarise yourself with any new processes that have come into effect as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
- Check your passport
You can continue to travel to mainland Europe with your UK passport until it expires, as long as your passport is valid for the length of your stay, has at least six months of validity left and is less than ten years old. Visit the UK Passport Office for more information: Check your passport.
If you are not a British Citizen please contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for advice.
The European Parliament has confirmed that UK travellers won’t need a visa for short visits. UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. Multiple holidays within this period will count towards your 90 days. From late 2023, if plans remain unchanged, you will need to apply for an ETIAS Visa Waiver to travel to Schengen member countries. Please see here for the latest government advice.
- Make sure you have adequate travel insurance
Changes have been made to how UK citizens receive free or low-cost healthcare while in the European Union. Whereas previously, the holder of an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) was entitled to healthcare at little, to no cost while on holiday, that is no longer the case. If you have an EHIC that is still valid, you can continue to use it in the EU until it expires. You can still apply for and use an EHIC if you are a British state pensioner residing in the EU or an EU national living in the UK. The UK Government has launched a replacement scheme called GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can use a GHIC to get “necessary healthcare” from state services when you’re visiting an EU country. We still strongly recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance. Visit GOV.UK to check what your travel insurance should cover.
- Driving in the EU
Driving in the EU has been largely unaffected and thankfully won’t require too much extra paperwork or an International Driving Permit. 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.
From 28th 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 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
- Taking pets into the EU
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 then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. You will also have to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from your vet no more than 10 days before you travel. You can find the full requirements for taking pets to the EU at GOV.UK.
- Using your mobile phone
Some UK mobile networks have confirmed reintroduced roaming charges. The amount that EU mobile operators can charge UK operators for providing roaming services will no longer be regulated. This means that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU can no longer be guaranteed. A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.
- Bringing food into the EU
The rules on bringing food, animal produce and plants into the EU from the UK have changed. All non-EU countries currently have restrictions on what they can and can’t bring into the Union. You are not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products into the EU. You can bring a limited quantity of fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, egg products and honey. Limited amounts of fish and fish products are also allowed. Further information can be found at europa.eu
EES & ETIAS
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 late 2023.
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 e-Gate. 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 e-Gate, 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.
Low Emission Zones
Major cities across Europe have implemented special areas that restrict certain vehicles in a bid to reduce pollution. These are known as Low Emission Zones or LEZs. Other countries have taken it a step further, bring in Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs) and Zero Emission Zones (ZEZs). These zones may affect your travel plans so it's best to plan ahead. Further information can be found at alanrogers.com
Tips for Driving Abroad
Once a legal requirement in France, breathalysers are now not a requirement but it is advised that you have one to hand. Make sure your breathalyser is NF approved.
- Fire extinguishers
Although not compulsory, carrying a vehicle fire extinguisher is recommended in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
- Travelling in Spain?
Does your outfit exceed 12m? If the answers are yes, you are required to 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 at the back of the outfit between 50cm and 150cm off the ground. The marker board must have a plain yellow centre with red outline, be made of aluminium and 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.
- Must be visible from the sides and rear of the vehicle, and be positioned at a height between 90cm and 150cm from the ground
- Be glued, painted on the bodywork or affixed by reverting or any other means of fixing
- Must be placed so as to be visible at all times
- Must not obstruct the vehicle's number plate or lights, indicators or the driver's field of vision
- Must comply with the model set by the decree of 5 January 2021
- Foreign vehicles passing through France are also subject to this signing obligation
- Sat Navs
Sat Navs are a useful tool in helping you get 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, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. Make sure you disable this feature in the listed countries.
Dashcams are something of 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. In Belgium, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland they are legal but with strict conditions so it's best to research this before you travel. Dashcams are unrestricted in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and, of course, the UK.
- Schengen Area
The Schengen Area consists 26 European countries that have relaxed internal border controls, allowing for free movement. Not all countries in the EU are part of this agreement, so it's worth checking before you embark on your journey.
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 alanrogers.com
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office offers advice about travelling abroad. Visit GOV.UK for further information about the FCDO.
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.