Taking a holiday in Europe this summer? Going off for a week of sun and sightseeing is so much more straightforward than it used to be.
With no border checks now between most of the 27 EU countries, common currency in many of them and driving licences valid EU-wide, travelling in Europe has become much less complicated in recent years.
Whether you are heading for Europe’s beaches, mountains, or historic cities, your ticket is likely to cost less too, since the legislation in the 1990s ending airline monopolies and boosting competition. And as a passenger, you now have rights under EU law when your flight is delayed or cancelled, or when your luggage is lost or damaged.
Carrying around a wad of travellers cheques or cash is no longer an obligatory part of holidaying in Europe. In fact, if you live in a country with the euro, the charges for withdrawing money or paying by card in another eurozone country will be no higher at home.
The cost of keeping in touch with family and friends back home has come down, with last year's cuts in mobile phone charges for calls from abroad. The cost of texting is also set to drop.
Holiday-makers who like to cut themselves off completely from the outside world can rest easy knowing that a single telephone number – 112 – will connect them to the emergency services wherever they are in the EU. And when things do go wrong, all EU citizens are entitled to free emergency healthcare while on holiday in one of the 27 EU countries.
Thanks to the new pet passport, you can even take Fido or Moggy with you to the beach!