'Harming me and my future': How Brexit is crushing UK pensioners' dreams of retiring abroad
Updated 00:00, 06-Apr-2021
Martin Egan and Giulia Carbonaro

Five years ago, Joe voted for his home country, Britain, to leave the European Union. 

You could imagine Joe as a Brexiteer spiteful towards the European Union, but he actually has a great appreciation for Europe – and one country in particular: Spain.

Since Joe retired at 65, he and his wife have been traveling to Spain every year, in both summer and winter, to stay at a caravan site in Benidorm, a popular holiday destination on the eastern coast of the country.

"There must be 650 caravans on our site alone. Beautiful place to be, beautiful and relaxing," says Joe.


Millions of UK citizens travel for holiday to the EU every year, thousands of whom travel by caravan, just like Joe. But since Brexit formally took place, things have changed for UK travelers. 

The European Parliament has confirmed that they won't need a visa for visits up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Any trip longer than this will require a visa.

For Joe, whose visits to Benidorm last months, this is a tough restriction. "People are panicking to sell their properties purely because they're going to be away from their properties for 90 days," he says. 

More than anything, he regrets not having been informed of the consequences Brexit would have on his life choices.


Joe and his wife in Benidorm Spain. /CGTN

Joe and his wife in Benidorm Spain. /CGTN


"Brexit itself, when it was first started, was going to be brilliant because I honestly believe that Britain should stay Britain and we run by ourselves," says Joe. But he had no idea of how Brexit was to impact his dream of retiring abroad.

"Nobody explained or probably thought about people like ourselves. There was nobody looking after it or telling us, they forgot about the people abroad."

If he could vote again in the Brexit referendum, Joe says he'd vote differently knowing how things turned out. 

"There's no way I would vote to go for it, because it's harming me and my future, what I want to do with what time we have left, me and my wife together, in this sort of surroundings."

Now, he hopes to see a future in which UK travelers are allowed to stay in European countries for at least 180 days without a visa.

This article is part of BREXITED: THE FIRST 100 DAYS – a digital show by CGTN Europe. Sign up to the event via the link to watch it on our Facebook page on April 11 at 12 p.m. GMT.

Video editors: David Casado and Steve Chappell. 

Search Trends