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Canadians May See Benefits In Post-Brexit UK Travel

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A heavy cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the United Kingdom weeks after the vote to leave the European Union.

Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, Theresa May became the new British leader, S&P downgraded the UK's credit rating, and the pound plummeted to a 31-year low.

The months following Brexit look bleak for the British. But as the UK closes the door to the EU, it has unintentionally opened another to Canadian travellers.

The pound sterling is sitting just above $1.70 CAD and, while this might not seem like a steep drop, it could be enough to persuade more Canadians to visit the UK.

After all, the pound has long hovered just below or above $2 CAD, causing Canadians to think twice before booking London getaways. No tourists want to feel like they're paying double for everything -- from hotels and transportation to meals and entertainment, so many have simply chosen to vacation elsewhere.

Yes, Brexit might be hanging over the UK like a permanent raincloud, but -- from a financial standpoint -- it's shedding much needed sunshine on Canadians' holiday hopes.

Some economists even predict the pound will be on par with the U.S. dollar by the end of the year if Britain doesn't develop an exit strategy soon, according to MarketWatch.

Canadians, however, shouldn't await the pound's slide to parity with bated breath. Instead, they should take advantage of the waning currency by exchanging money sooner rather than later.

Individuals planning vacations in the near future -- fall or winter -- might also want to book and pay for hotels, transportation, and tours today in case the pound recovers.

Exchanging money now and booking in advance could save tourists thousands of dollars -- especially individuals and families heading to London, which is notorious for its expensive accommodation and dining.

Flights to the UK, however, are highest in the summer, making October and November the best bets for Canadians hoping to take advantage of the lower pound without paying exorbitant airfares.

Major airlines haven't reacted to the Brexit outcome yet. A return trip from Vancouver to London on Air Canada in August costs just over $1,000 with taxes. As expected, the same trip costs more than $100 less in November. However, if the pound continues to drop, Canadians should keep an eagle eye on airline travel deals because major carriers will want to take advantage of the lower sterling.

Brexit has, of course, stoked tensions and confusion over passport and travel regulations within Europe. Residents of EU member states can currently pass freely into other EU countries. How the rules will change for British citizens in the wake of Brexit remains to be seen.

Although EU leaders have made one opinion clear: the UK does not deserve to enjoy the benefits of membership in the European Union if it does not contribute to it.

So the British might soon have to pass through passport control in EU countries and citizens of EU countries might have to do the same in the UK. Travel visas, though, seem like an unlikely stretch.

But how will any changes to border control regulations impact Canadians travelling through the UK? If citizens of EU countries start having to line-up at passport control in the UK, Canadian tourists are likely to encounter longer passport and immigration wait times. But that seems like a minimal price to pay.

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