Frequently Asked Questions

Brexit

What impact will Brexit have on travel after 31 January 2020?

Now that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has passed Parliament, the UK will enter a transition period on 31 January 2020 and passengers will be able to travel to and from Continential Europe until the end of December 2020 as they do now, without the need for additional travel documents or other changes.

Travel to the Republic of Ireland from the UK is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements, which means in principle only a photo ID is required for travel between the two countries, this arrangement will remain the same in 2020 and beyond.
Note: Although a passport is not required for travel to Ireland, we’d recommend you always travel with a valid passport.

To access the government’s latest advice on Brexit, click here: https://www.gov.uk/brexit

There are likely to be some changes to travel requirements once the transition period is over, at the end of 2020. It is important to note, however, that regardless of a final deal or no deal outcome, passengers will still be able to book and travel by ferry to and from the UK with ease after 2020.

Please continue to check the FAQs throughout the year, as we will be updating them as and when more details on post-2020 travel arrangements to Europe become available.

Will my current passport be valid for travel to Europe after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is passed in Parliament before 31 January, all existing valid red European passports issued to British citizens will continue to be valid for travel during 2020 (as long as they have not expired).

Travel to the Republic of Ireland from the UK is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements, which means in principle only a photo ID is required for travel between the two countries, this arrangement will remain the same in 2020 and beyond.

There will be no changes in 2020 to the arrangements that allow EU citizens to travel to the UK with an ID card rather than a passport.

As more information on travel requirements becomes available for 2021 and beyond we will update these FAQs.

Renewing passports – if your UK passports is 10 years old or over, or if it has less than six month’s validity for travel, you will need to renew it before you travel from 2021. You can do this via the Post Office or online. Further details on how to do this can be found here.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Withdrawal Agreement is passed before January 31, all travel requirements remain as they are during 2020 and UK citizens will be able to travel with a valid passport to the EU.

As more information on travel requirements becomes available for 2021 and beyond we will update these FAQs.

Will I still be able to able to use my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Europe after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is passed in Parliament before 31 January, British citizens will still be entitled to access the EHIC healthcare service with a valid card during 2020.

We would always advise individuals travelling abroad, however, to ensure they have adequate private travel insurance, as the EHIC scheme does not cover all medical treatment and associated costs.

Here is a link for further details on what is currently covered by the EHIC scheme.

Here is a link to the UK Government’s advice on foreign travel insurance.

Will I need to apply for an International Driving Permit if I want to drive my car in Europe after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is passed in Parliament before 31 January, you will not need an International Driving Permit to drive your car in an EU member state during 2020.

As more information on travel requirements becomes available for 2021 and beyond we will update these FAQs.

Guidance from the Government on driving in the EU after Brexit can be accessed here.

Will my European driving insurance continue to be valid after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the withdrawal agreement is passed before 31 January, then yes, your European driving insurance should continue to be valid during 2020, but we strongly recommend that you check with your insurance provider to understand what is covered by your policy and to check the dates of its validity period.

We also advise people travelling to Europe in their own vehicles over or after 31 December 2020 to check with their insurance providers at least one month in advance, to ensure the validity of their policy for driving in EU countries. It may be necessary to obtain a Green Card, which you will need to take with you, to demonstrate the validity of your insurance when driving abroad.

As more information on travel requirements become available for 2021 and beyond we will update these FAQs.

If I am towing a trailer or caravan, will I need a separate green card for the trailer after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is passed in Parliament before 31 January, all travel requirements for 2020 remain the same as they currently are, and you will not need an additional green card for your caravan or trailer.

As more details on travel requirements become available for 2021 and beyond we will update these FAQs, so please check back regularly for the latest information.

Will I still be able to take my pet on holiday with me after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is passed in Parliament before 31 January, there will be no changes to pet travel requirements to the EU in 2020. Click here for further information on the current PET Travel Scheme.

Changes to pet travel to the EU for 2021 and beyond has not yet been agreed. As more information on pet travel arrangements becomes available we will update these FAQs so please check back regularly.

If you are thinking of travelling with your pet over or after 31 December 2020 we recommend you contact your vet four months before your travel date to ensure that you have the right documentation and checks, as a precaution.

Click here for our advice on travelling safely with your dog:

Will mobile phone charges increase after 31 January 2020?

In the likely scenario that the withdrawal agreement is passed before 31 January, current EU rules governing data roaming charges will remain in place throughout 2020.

After 2020 these rules will no longer apply. Some mobile phone providers have said they will continue this benefit for their customers, so we advice you to check with your provider.

Pets

Can I take my dog with me?

Yes of course you can! Most ferry companies allow you to take pets on their routes.

https://www.discoverferries.com/thinking-taking-dog-holiday/

How much does it cost to take my pet on a ferry?

Sometimes this is totally free of charge and other times there is a small cost. Check with the ferry company you are planning to travel with to get the exact amount.

Can my pet stay with me on the ferry?

It depends on the route you’re taking as to whether your pet can stay with you on the crossing, stay in your car or in kennels in a dedicated pet area. You’ll need to check with the ferry company you are planning to travel with for exact details.

Can I take my pet on a ferry to France?

Oui! You can take them to any mainland European country provided all their documentation is up to date. Some companies like Brittany Ferries now operate a Pet Travel Scheme. With travel schemes like this, it makes it easy for you to take your dog or cat on holiday to the continent. Check out your ferry company’s website for all the details.

Driving

Can I take a trailer or caravan on a ferry?

Absolutely! Ferry travel is perfect for transporting all types of vehicles and trailers. However, ferries come in all shapes and sizes so it’s well worth checking the website of the ferry company that you intend to travel with for the exact requirements of that particular vessel.

What are the legal requirements for driving in Europe?

It’s always best to be prepared when you’re driving in Europe. Vehicles travelling in Europe are now legally required to have certain breakdown and emergency equipment stored in the vehicle. Check the website of the ferry company you are booking with for a list of all the things you need to do and have with you to make your journey run smoothly.

What are the speed limits in Europe?

The speed limit on motorways is generally 110, 120 or 130 km/h and the limit in built-up areas is 50 or 60 km/h. Keep an eye on the signs to make sure of the exact limits and any special conditions that apply.

What do I have to have in my car when I drive in France?

The following items are compulsory to have in your car under French law: Original registration documentation, reflective jacket/waistcoat, warning triangle and headlamp adjustment kit. For more details, check the website of the ferry company you are travelling with or check our partner’s website – www.theaa.com.

What type of vehicle can I take on a ferry?

All sorts! The beauty of ferry travel is in its flexibility. The exact vehicle you can take depends on the individual requirements of the ship that you are planning to travel on, but you could travel in a car, motorhome, a car with a roof-box, on a bike, on a motorbike, a car with bikes on the roof, a car towing a caravan or trailer, on a coach, minibus and you can travel with your commercial vehicle too! Always check the individual requirements of the company you are travelling with before you book!

Is parking available at ports?

Short and long term secure parking is available at most ports. The cost of this will vary according to the particular port. For more information it is best to contact the port directly.

Can I travel with a roof box or bicycles attached to my car?

Yes, that’s what ferries are designed for! Please make sure that you enter your vehicle dimensions correctly, including any attached racks or roof-boxes. Failure to enter vehicle dimensions correctly may lead to problems at the port, such as additional charges or not enough space being available for you to board the ferry.

On Board

Do ferries have Wi-Fi?

A large number of ferries now offer free Wi-Fi on board which is brilliant for keeping in touch when you’re travelling. It’s fantastic for sending those last minute emails, checking the traffic on your forward route, booking a restaurant or updating your social media status to ‘on an adventure!’

Are ferries equiped for disabled passengers?

Of course! Modern ferries have been designed or adapted to suit the needs of disabled or passengers with reduced mobility, however some sailings have a restriction on the number of wheelchairs that can be taken. If you have specific requirements, check with the ferry company that you plan to sail with.

Are there places to eat and drink on a ferry?

There are lots of places to eat and drink on the vast majority of vessels with only the smallest ships on the shortest routes not providing this service. One of the best things about ferry travel is that you can relax, eat and drink while you’re travelling. We think you’ll be surprised by the range and quality of the onboard dining options now available on ferries.

Can I book a cabin on a ferry?

Yes. Cabins are available on many ferries, especially on longer routes. Ships have many different types of cabins and to see if cabins are available on the route that you want to travel, follow the links to your ferry company’s homepage. Cabins can typically be booked online, onboard or by calling your ferry operator.

Are there medical services on a ferry?

Many of the larger ships will have nurses on board, for both daily and emergency care. In addition, the larger ships often have a dedicated sick bay to enable care and support to be provided. On ships that do not have dedicated medical staff on board, a number of staff will have been trained in first aid and will be able to help you on your journey. If you think that you may become ill while travelling on a ferry it is advisable to take medication prior to departure and keep it with you on board as it may not be available on the vessel.

What currency do I use onboard a ferry?

Prices on board ferries are in Sterling or Euro depending on the route. On most routes ferries will accept both Euro and Sterling as payment. Bureau de Change facilities are available on board many ships that are serving routes to countries in the euro zone.

Can I take my bike on a ferry?

Yes, bicycles are usually carried free of charge when the rider buys a foot passenger ticket. Please note that space for bicycles can be limited on some fast ferry services and it’s always best to check with the ferry company you plan to travel with. If you’re planning to travel with bikes on the back or top of your car, that’s fine too but again, it’s best to check the exact dimensions permitted on the ship that you intend to travel on.

Can I buy duty free on a ferry?

Duty Free shopping was abolished for internal EU trips in 1999. In its place is the very similar ‘duty paid’ shopping, which means the duty that you pay is in fact much lower than in the UK. When the UK leaves the EU on 29 March this may change – see the Brexit FAQs above for more information. The shops onboard larger ferries sell an impressive range of products and brands, many exclusive to travel retail and offering savings of up to 20% on high street prices.

Paperwork

Do I need to take my passport when I travel on a ferry around the British Isles?

This is pretty simple, if you hold a British passport and you’re travelling on a ferry route within the British Isles, you do not need a passport to travel but are required to take a form of photo identity.

Do I need a ticket to travel on a ferry?

This all depends on how you made your booking. Typically you’ll need your booking reference number and a form of photo identification at check-in. Check-in is a straightforward process on ferries and if you have any detailed questions, check out the website of the ferry company you are planning to travel with or give them a call, they’ll be happy to help.

Do I need a passport when I travel to Europe on a ferry?

Yes, a passport is required for all passengers, including children and infants, valid beyond the date of return for all trips to mainland Europe. You will not be permitted to travel on routes to mainland Europe without a valid passport.