Brexit travel: Britons warned of ‘expensive bill’ after major change to holidays from 2021

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With the Brexit transition period deadline quickly approaching, questions have turned to how Britons’ travel to nations in the EU27 will be affected. Which? Travel editor Rory Boland spoke to about what could be expected from 2021. He warned every holidaymaker must be aware of a “crucial” change.

Mr Boland said: “It is a worry, I have to say, especially based on the most recent developments.

“Regardless of what now happens, the one big thing that we do know that is going to make a crucial difference to people is the removal of access to the European Health Insurance Card.

“So if we do exit with our current deal and end the transition period, we’ve already said that we won’t have access to EHIC.

“That’s really kind of important because that EHIC gives you access to free emergency healthcare just about anywhere in the EU.”

He continued: “So lots of people, particularly younger people, have relied on that.

“For better or worse, our advice would be to take out travel insurance but many people haven’t.

“EHIC has bailed them out when they have a medical emergency.

“That is not going to be the case anymore, there are countries in Europe where private healthcare can be extraordinarily expensive, even for very basic treatments.”

The travel expert added: “There’s a lot of work to do, hopefully from the Government and from the travel industry, to make sure that holidaymakers are aware of that.

“They must get travel insurance because the chances of being left with a bill in the tens of hundreds of thousands otherwise is really real.

“So if you’re booking after January 1, you must get travel insurance when you’re travelling to Europe, not least of all because coronavirus will still probably be going around at that time.”

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The EHIC covers medically necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge.

This will no longer be valid for most UK citizens after 2020.

UK state pensioners living in the EU before the end of the year will be able to use their EHIC beyond 2020.

It will also be valid for UK students who start a course in the EU before the end of 2020 until their course finishes.

The Government has urged Britons who don’t fall into these categories to get travel insurance that covers their healthcare before travelling to Europe.

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