Britons currently own one of the world’s most powerful passports. We enjoy visa-free access to more than 180 destinations around the world. However, come Brexit, that could all change depending on whether the deal Boris Johnson brokers with the EU involves British citizens requiring a visa to travel in Europe. Even with visa-free travel on the continent gone there are still some incredible places to visit this year – where you won’t have to fork out to get over the border.
British passport holders can spend up to 15 days in Vietnam without needing to pay for a visa. These travel agreements are in place until June 2021. Travellers staying up to 30 days will need to apply for an e-visa (costing around £20) before they depart, while those visiting for longer can get a full visa from the Vietnamese embassy. Around 15 million people visit the southeast Asian country each year, attracted by its floating towns, palm-fringed beaches, and tranquil temples.
It’s also a foodie haven – with plenty of opportunities for snacking on banh mi at street food markets or learning to knock up an authentic pho at a local cooking school.
With its sparkling golden onion domes and rows of pastel-coloured houses, if Paris and Venice are off the cards, then Kiev offers an ideal alternative for a romantic escape. Ukraine’s colourful capital is still relatively unknown among tourists, sparing you the pain of waiting in long queues to access its spectacular historic sites, galleries and museums.
Andrew’s Descent, known as the Montmartre of Kiev, is a great place for people watching among the street artists, buskers and artisans. The city is best explored on foot, but handily there are plenty of traditional wooden restaurants where you can fuel up on beetroot soup and hearty dumplings. British visitors to Kiev benefit from 90 days free-entry within a 180 day period.
Still relatively removed from most tourists’ radar, this Balkan gem is becoming increasingly popular with hikers and wildlife-lovers. Set out from one
of its medieval villages to explore rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and one of Europe’s biggest river canyons. The forests of Montenegro’s national parks are home to wolves, bears and golden eagles. Visitors can enter the country for up to 90 days without a visa. It is not currently part of the EU and so travel agreements will not be affected by Britain’s withdrawal from Europe.
From the vibrant street carnivals of Mexico City to the rainbow reefs dappled along its coasts, this central American hotspot has something to offer all kinds of travellers. Flights can be surprisingly cheap and considering that Mexico, unlike its US neighbour, does not charge visitors to enter the country, your money will go further than you think. You do need to complete an immigration form and have this with you when you enter and leave the country. Culture-buffs should head to Oaxaca, with its famous artisans and craft workshops, while adventure-seekers may prefer swimming with whale sharks and among bioluminescent plankton on Isla Holbox.
Time is running out to see many of the incredible species that roam Africa’s savannas. Travellers will give themselves one of the best chances to spot the “Big Five” (including elephants, lions and leopards) by visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa, one of the continent’s largest. Make sure to leave a few days afterwards to experience the bustle of Cape Town, with its local penguin population, and to do some wine tastings in the vine-carpeted valleys surrounding the city. Those visiting for up to 90 days won’t need a visa.
Packed with culture and history, Morocco has the added benefit of relatively good prices for food, accomodation and flights. Some airlines offer tickets for as little as £25 one-way. Plus there’s the fact that British citizens can stay for up to three months visa-free. Start off by exploring the souks, palaces and gardens of Marrakesh before heading out into the Atlas Mountains. Spend a few nights sleeping under the desert stars in a traditional bedouin tent, before ending your trip among UNESCO heritage sites in the ancient walled city of Fes.
Widely tipped as the hot new destination of 2020, the Uzbek government has relaxed its border controls in recent years. Since February 2019 British passport holders have been able to visit the central Asian country without having to pay for a visa or visit the embassy – up to a maximum of 30 days. The old Silk Road runs through the country like an artery, linking up the turquoise domes of Samarkand to the bazaars and caravanserais of Bukhara. There’s also a growing ecotourism industry; book on a tour for the chance to live among villagers, learning to cook flatbreads over a tandoor oven and riding out into the steppe at dawn.