Sometimes, particularly when I put on my lawyer hat, I am inclined to think that maybe, just maybe, that whole Brexit thing wasn’t properly thought through from the outset. But big words like “sovereignty” won over practical concerns, and thus we have the mess that we are in.
In a weird twist of fate, the consequences of Brexit do however mean that traveling to the UK will be cheaper than ever. Thanks to the folly of British voters, you can now visit England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for less money than the Roman soldiers who built Hadrian’s anti-immigration Wall.
The first reason is the plummeting value of the British pound. Since Brexit, the pound has lost in value against most of the world’s currencies (shown as the appreciation of other currencies in the following chart).
“But look how well the pound is doing compared with the Venezuelan bolívar,” Brexiteers want to interject, before being told that anything went up in price compared with the Venezuelan bolívar, even toilet paper.
This means that Britons cannot afford foreign holidays (except in Venezuela) and have to pay more for imports (which is everything, except maybe fish). For you as a traveler, it means that you will get many more pounds for your euros, dollars, yuans, kronas, leis and zlotys.
The second aspect is less obvious and only applies to people who either need no visa for the Republic of Ireland or who can easily obtain one. Because in Brexit terminology, “taking back control of our borders” means that there will be no border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and because the UK has promised that there will be no border or passport checks on trips between Ireland and Great Britain, you can buy a ticket to Ireland and simply walk into the UK across the invisible border. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. And the UK won’t even know that you are there! They call this a “Common Travel Area“, which strangely enough is no threat at all to sovereignty, control and the nation as a whole.
Thus, you save the money and hassle that you would have spent on a UK visa.
But now comes the best trick: If you don’t need a visa to enter the Republic of Ireland, you can purchase a one-way ticket only, make your way to the UK, go hiking in the Highlands, enjoy the Lake District, visit the Palace of Westminster to observe democracy in action, and when you have run out of money, you go to the nearest police station and introduce yourself: “Good afternoon, I am terribly sorry to bother you, but it seems that I find myself in your country slightly illegally. I wonder if there was any possibility that you could deport me back to my home country?”
As British police are very polite, they will ask you to take a seat, bring you some tea (make sure to order it with “no milk, please”) and then they will efficiently proceed to deport you to your home country, for otherwise the tabloids would be up in arms about “illegal immigration” with riots ensuing. In effect, the United Kingdom will pay your return ticket. You may have to spend a few days in prison, but surely, that only adds to the adventure. (If you are less keen on knowledge of the detention and deportation system, you can of course simply make your way back to Ireland across the invisible border once again, without the UK ever having noticed your presence.)
The same thing also works with Guernsey and Jersey, the Channel Islands. I was once on a ferry from there to the UK and upon arrival on the south coast of England, the Border Control office was simply closed and a thousand people marched ashore unchecked. So much for the hysteria about unchecked immigration.
Beyond EU citizens, who will always be able to fly to Ireland (and then proceed to the UK), this applies to citizens from a number of other countries who enjoy visa-free entry to Ireland:
It looks like half the world will be able to avail itself of this trick. I, for one, will most definitely venture to the UK in the manner described after Brexit, just to make a point.
- More about Brexit.
- More travel articles and the FAQ on my life as a world traveler.
- More advice on immigration and passports.