Go to France in 2021 - YES YOU CAN !
With the Brexit transition period due to end, there is no reason to miss out on your relaxing holiday in France in 2021.
Some holidaymakers are holding back before booking to see how the situation develops. However, summer availability is being quickly snapped up. With many dates already filled by bookings postponed to 2021 due to Covid, the choice of dates is reduced everywhere. Don't wait too long and miss the opportunity to get the holiday villa that you want!
Whatever the final outcome, both sides of the channel know full well that the tourist industry MUST go on as usual, as the contributions to the GDP are immense! There will be new procedures to follow, but if you plan this well in advance and with a few straightforward precautions, you can book you holiday villa now with confidence.
Things you may need to do before you go include:
Even if there was an no-deal exit, the EU has made it clear that sea and air travel will not be affected, based on a reciprocal effort on both sides in maintaining the existing air and maritime legislation. However, what may happen is that ferry crossings and flights will see changes in schedules as travel companies settle back to viable business after the Covid crisis.
In 2021 you will be able to visit France for up to three months as a tourist, without needing a visa. France already has agreements with many countries for visa-free tourist travel and Great Britain will not be an exception. However you will be subject to normal Schengen border controls.
The EU is in the process of introducing ETIAS (electronic travel information and authorisation system) for those travelling to Europe from visa-free countries. This is to log entering and leaving in order to respect the 90 day stay rule. The date that this will come into force is not yet known , but it is beyond 2021. The likely cost of an ETIAS certificate seems to be under £10.
On the day you travel (in or out), you'll need your passport to :
For border controls you may have to show a return or onward ticket and show you have enough money for your stay. There may be separate lanes for travellers from countries outside EU, but it is not expected that there will be significant delays. On returning you may also have to declare purchased goods (and food and drink) with the customs.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) guarantees the same health care as locals when visiting a member state. Discussions are underway, but there is currently no agreement to continue with the EHIC scheme for Britain, so it will be necessary for all visitors to take out travel insurance that includes health cover up to at least 30,000€ and covering pre-existing medical conditions.
In all cases, it is always advisable to have Travel Insurance when going abroad. This is only a minor expense compared with the peace of mind both for your health cover, and all the usual problems that might arise. Remember that in France, the law requires tenants of holiday accommodation to have personal liability cover.
You may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Europe in the future, as the British driving license would no longer be recognised. These can be bought over the counter at most Post Offices and cost £5.50. In the current state of negotiations this may be needed for 2021 holidays in France, although a "soft deal" could give a period of grace.
It may be necessary to have a "green card" to prove that you have valid car insurance. You would need to get this from your insurance company, so make sure that you allow enough time. The "GB sticker" on you car will continue to be required.
The green card also applies if you hire a car through a UK hire company, although they will have to supply the "green card" and should be set up to do this. If you book a hire car from a French company you will not need a green card.
From 1st January 2021, your guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, may end. You will need to consult your operator for the charges that may apply. A new UK law means that you're protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing...
The GBP / EURO exchange rate will obviously be volatile over the coming months, and the financial markets react quickly to the evolution of the Brexit situation. Despite a huge drop after the referendum, we have now seen a good upturn of the Pound/Euro rate, reaching 1.20€/GBP at times. If a pragmatic exit is ratified the rate should settle back to a reasonable level. If you're worried that the pound may fall between now and the date of you holiday, you can use a "currency card" to lock in your exchange rate, for example FairFX Money Card.
However, don't get over-worried about this aspect. If you take the example of an accommodation at 2000 Euros; at a rate of 1.15 it's 1739 GBP, at 1.10 it's 1818 GBP. Is £79 more really going to stop you booking your holiday?
There is strong evidence to suggest that the epidemic is now evolving towards a low level. The extent of disruptions experienced in 2020 would seem to be unlikely to happen again. You can see our Covid page for the cancellation terms that were applied during the 2020 crisis. However any future terms will depend on the French legislation in force at the time.
When possible, this is often a more comfortable solution, particularly for families with young children. There are always problems with air travel; strikes, cancelled flights, stepped-up border control checks and all the rest. Travelling to northern France by ferry may just be that little safeguard that's worth having. You can still get great weather by choosing the Vendee or the Charente / Charente Maritime - just far enough south to make the difference. For example, the Vendee on the west coast is only a 3 hour drive from St Malo or 4 hours from Caen. See Travelling distances to the Vendee from the channel ports.
If you book self-catered accommodation you always save money and can also mix cooking at home and eating out to spread you budget further. A good quality holiday villa means that you will spend less on days out and holiday activities. A villa with swimming pool often means that it is hard to persuade the family to go out ! Check out some of our quality villas with pool in the Vendee.
With the volatile tourist market for the coming months, owners and agencies are already hedging their bets with an absence of yearly price increases, or even reductions, to make sure they fill the season. However, the overall availability will be less for 2021 as there have been many existing bookings moved over to the following year due to 2020 lock-down and travel restrictions. This can easily be 50% of the summer dates. As confidence returns, the remaining availability will be snapped up quickly so it's best to decide as early as possible. It's always annoying to find that the fabulous villa that you really wanted is no longer available for your dates!
UK mobile phone roaming charges may well be coming back for Europe. Booking a holiday property with free wifi will mean that the whole family can still stay in touch, with Facetime, Skype and Whatsapp. Most holiday rental websites will clearly show whether there is wifi at the property. The Vendee holiday villas shown on this page all have free wifi.
It makes sense to prepare things well in advance as there may be delays in getting the documents.
This article has been based on a summary of the information available at the time of writing. Decisions may be taken or events may occur, at any time, that could change the requirements or restrictions for travelling outside Great Britain. In any doubt, please refer to the appropriate government body for up to date information.
The Vendee is probably the best compromise for distance, weather and value for money in France. Need convincing? See some videos of the Vendee.
Choose the right holiday property - We have a range of specially selected holiday cottages, gites and villas in the Vendee. We know every property, so we can answer any question that you may have.
Get the best deals on your ferry, or flight and car hire - It can be difficult to get the best deal when juggling the accommodation reservation and the travel at the same time - a "chicken and egg" situation... We can to hold an option for you on your chosen property while you book your travel, giving you more time to get the best prices. Our Vendee travel page has suggestions to help you as well as distances from the ferry ports to allow you to compare crossings and journey times easily. There are also details of the fly-drive options for the Vendee. The usual budget airlines go to Nantes and La Rochelle, leaving only a short drive into the Vendee.
Get the best service - Our aim is to provide you with a simple English-speaking contact for your booking, with clear pricing and personal knowledge of the properties and the area, offering you ease of booking and the best value for money.
The rental price you see on our website is the price you pay. No "service charge" added to the final bill.
We make no surcharge for payments by card and can accept any card showing the
Visa or Mastercard symbol, credit or debit.
We also accept bank transfers in Euros, with no surchage.
(On the condition that the transfer is made "all charges to the sender")
Don't hesitate to give us a call to discuss your choice of holiday property, the facilites you need, or the current offers:
0033 251 27 97 99
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