The United Kingdom voted Thursday to leave the European Union. While the actual process of withdrawing from the EU will take years, the vote sent immediate shockwaves across Britain's economy and political sphere. How will the Brexit affect Americans traveling to Europe this summer?
Travel to the U.K. could be cheaper.
In the wake of Thursday's vote, the British pound hit a 30-year low. Currently it costs $1.37 American dollars to get one pound, down from $1.50 on Thursday. While this is terrible news for Britons, it's good news for Americans if the dollar continues to surge. "With a significantly improved exchange rate, Britain is effectively on sale, giving American tourists a fantastic opportunity to visit this historically expensive country on the cheap," said ThePointsGuy.com editor-in-chief Zach Honig. Vacationers traveling to the U.K. this summer will likely get more bang for their buck in London and other favorite spots like Edinburgh and Belfast.
Travel to Europe from the U.K. might be pricier.
If you're planning on country-hopping through Europe after your visit to Britain, be prepared for higher airfares. Discount airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet keep prices low in part due to an open skies policy in Europe. Now that Britain is exiting the EU, these airlines will likely have to deal with new, more restrictive air service agreements, which could ultimately lead to more expensive flights.
Travelers could be in for a major headache with longer U.K. customs lines.
At London's Heathrow airport and other U.K. ports of entry, customs lines move relatively quickly due to EU citizens' ability to enter through a separate line without any restrictions. When the Brexit is in effect, EU travelers could potentially join Americans (and everyone else) in one big line for non-U.K. citizens. Charlie Leocha, president of consumer advocacy group Travelers United, told Bloomberg he expects that travel in and out of the U.K. "will be an absolute horror show."
Ultimately, we're all in for a rough stock market ride.
While the Brexit vote might have a few upsides for Americans traveling to Britain, stock market volatility is still a major concern. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned before the vote that Britain's exit from the European Union could have "significant economic repercussions." Over the next few days, expect to see a major rebalancing of currencies as investors' confidence in the EU and Britain wavers.
This post has been updated to include additional quotes.