This week we are concerned about the exchange rate for our forthcoming trip to Spain (we leave on Sunday) but that’s just about it. We still have to conform to the rules of the road, we still can enjoy the benefits of our reciprocal agreements with the EU and, hopefully, we will still be able to enjoy French and Spanish hospitality.
So, in case you decide to head over to continental Europe (or Europe as it should probably henceforth be known), here are a few things to think about.
What’s your pound worth?
I checked the exchange rate on Thursday ahead of the referendum results. For my £500 of holiday money I would have got about €670. Now it’s down to about €600 (according to XE Currency), so there’s been some serious devaluation there. What you ultimately get for your sorry English pounds will depend on where you exchange them and what rates they offer at the time. My advice? Hold tight until you go… it could all change.
But really it’s not going to be that different unless you are buying big purchases. A pint, according to pintprice.com will now cost you about £4.45 in France but £1.66 in Spain. So that’s not too bad. It’s the first Euro trip we’ve had in four years so we’re not going to let a few pence on a pint put us off, are we?
Why you should still carry your EHIC card.
For the time being the EHIC card is still valid. What it does is guarantee the person holding it the same treatment in a public hospital as someone from that country would receive. It comes from an agreement between EU states. Until it is renegotiated things should remain the same, but it will have to be renegotiated nonetheless. However, the UK also has reciprocal agreements with lots of other nations including Australia and Barbados, so there’s no reason it can’t be renegotiated.
A word of warning though: the EHIC is not valid in private clinics or hospitals so do not forget to get travel insurance too. That is vital.
Your European Union passport.
For now you’re stuck with your European Union passport, whether you feel like you have your country back or not. Borders are still open states and, for the time being, we can still enjoy freedom of movement, the freedom to study, live and travel. But watch this space as it will all change as time develops. We may find it more difficult to cross borders in years to come. Our kids may not be able to work or study abroad so easily either. And all for the right to take control of the curliness of our cucumbers…
Don’t forget the usual motoring essentials.
We might be free from Europe and all that claptrap but we still have to abide by their rules when over there. That means you’ll still have to sort out your Euro travel kit before you leave. Here are the basics:
- Red and white hazard squares are a requirement in Spain if you carry rear loads.
- In France you must carry two breathalyser kits.
- In most European countries you must have a reflective vest and warning triangle in the van.
- You must have your registration and V5 log book document.
- You must adjust your headlamps.
- In some countries you must carry a first aid kit.
- You will need a GB sticker
- For goodness' sake, take out European breakdown cover.
Some other useful items…
Of course you’ll need a recipe book or two to take with you… and perhaps a guide book of wild swimming spots… or maybe a You can buy a few on martindorey.com but, just in case you see through the thin veneer of my terrible salesmanship, here are a few other suggestions:
- Stay on aires de camping car. Directories are available at vicariousbooks.co.uk. These vary in size, quality and price but choose carefully and you could well enjoy a lovely cheap stay in a great place.
- France Passion (and other country equivalents) are also available from Vicarious Books. These are places you can stay for free overnight on the understanding that you say hello to your hosts. Places to stay include vineyards, farms and auberges. Highly recommended.
- If you go out of season get an ASCI card. This will give you out of season discounts at 3142 campsites across Europe. Again, available from Vicarious.
Finally, don’t let this Brexit thingummy ruin your trip. People are people wherever you go and it is up to us to be kind, patient and smiling humans. Our neighbours will always be our friends and we should embrace them as such. I, for one, will head across the Bay of Biscay with a big smile on my face next week. Cannot wait.