Although the primary concerns surrounding last week's Brexit vote in Great Britain are political and macroeconomic in nature, there's another consideration that average people may be wondering about: How will this affect my vacation plans to Europe?
There is undoubtedly going to be some impact on travel plans for Americans, Brits, Europeans, and others who have sites in Europe as tourist destinations. We discuss some of the possibilities below.
One thing that seems clear is that there will be less Brits traveling this summer. The fact that their currency, the pound, is significantly weaker means that they can't stretch their penny as far as before. Ireland and France are expected to be hit the hardest. Tourism comprises a full 5% of the European Union's GDP, and this number is expected to drop.
On top of that, the uncertainty surrounding the political and economic climate of the country will probably keep more Britons at home this year, especially if they planned on booking a European vacation. £39 billion ($52 billion) is spent by British tourists annually. Given the dissatisfaction with Brits on the continent, they may prefer not to fraternize among their erstwhile EU mates.
This could mean less crowding around the hottest spots for a European vacation, so Americans, Canadians, and travelers from outside of the U.K. could benefit. This is similar to what happened at one of the EU's biggest tourist attractions, Greece, during the country's recent economic crisis.
Probably the biggest change that people are wondering about is whether they will receive the same prices and travel itineraries for European vacations that cover both the continent and the British Isles.
We haven't seen any dramatic shift in prices for hotels or flights just yet, but these service providers may be expected offer post-Brexit savings of up to 15% as time goes on.
If you've already booked your stay, you can't necessarily negotiate a lower price. However, you can apparently use the more favorable exchange rate between the USD and GBP to lock in lower prices when you make your transaction. Another wise choice would be to exchange your money into pounds and euros now to take advantage of their current lows.
As far as airline fares are concerned, LifeHacker explains:
"European airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet are notorious for their low prices. The European Union allows Europe-based airlines to fly anywhere in the single market whenever it wants, and this reportedly helps discount airlines keep prices low.
However, now that the United Kingdom won’t be part of that market, these cheaper carriers may need to rethink their strategy in the U.K.. That could mean higher ticket prices down the road."
Down the road, travelers from the U.K. will also no longer enjoy the same ease of passage into Europe after their country officially withdrawals from the EU.
Expect less crowding on the tourism circuit, of which Europe is usually among the most popular destinations. Unfortunately, the lines at airports won't get any shorter until the legal side of the Brexit mess is settled—which could be a year or two from now.
Due to the political tensions and bad blood in Europe over the referendum, there's always the potential for violence and protests in these vacation destinations. You can either look at this as a reason to stay away from a European vacation or as another cause of smaller tourist crowds when you travel.
The biggest point to keep in mind is that aside from the pound being weaker (thus leading to some cheaper costs for Americans), most of the consequences discussed above won't be immediate.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.