We're already seeing the global effects of Britain's stunning vote to leave the European Union—British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation, the pound has dropped to staggering lows, and the ugly, nativist politics that shepherded the Leave campaign to victory has been handed a powerful victory.
But as economist Justin Wolfers points out, there's a tiny silver lining to England's economic woes, if you're a tourist who gets paid in some other currency: namely, everything's cheap now!
According to Vox, the U.S. dollar has 14.1% more purchasing power in the UK than it did a year ago, once you factor in the exchange rate and inflation. So if the pound and Euro are both dropping, why not book a flight and take a discounted vacation to the UK?
For Americans, here are the pros and cons of vacationing in Great Britain right now.
Pro: cheap stuff!
Since the pound is down, your American dollars are going to go further than they would have a week ago. Always wanted to rent a cottage in Surrey? Well, the housing market is down, down, down, so you may be able to get a killer rate on an Airbnb. Into fashion? Racked reported that high-end clothing brands in England were already being discounted around 10%, with that rate likely to become even more favorable.
According to Time, there are even steeper discounts on other items, including on travel and "pretty much everything purchased by American travelers in the U.K.—pints at the pub, takeout food, museum admissions, hotels."
British Airways is already urging Americans to take a puddle jumper.
Slate reports that round-trip flights from cities like New York and London are down about 50% if you book for early fall.
Con: confusion at the airport
If you thought lines at American airports were bad this summer, you haven't seen anything yet. According to Yahoo Finance, Brexit means that international travelers to Great Britain could have to wait longer to clear customs, since they will all be subject to the same line. (Previously, EU visitors had a dedicated line.) These changes haven't happened yet, and they won't happen overnight, but if Brexit leads to confused tourists at customs, it could slow you down.
Pro: you could help boost the British economy
As opportunistic as it might seem, taking advantage of Britain's weaker pound is actually good for Britain. Chances are that locals are spending less on hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the UK right now, so American tourists pumping money into the local economy will help Britain at a time of economic hardship. British waiters might actually be happy to see oafish Americans for once!
Con: being a tourist could be dangerous, especially if you're non-white
For non-white tourists, the UK's inflamed racial and nationalistic tensions could mean risking verbal or physical abuse, especially outside of London. In Manchester, for example, an ugly incident broke out on the tram this week.
As Fusion's Rafi Schwartz reported yesterday, incidents of racism have shot up dramatically since the Leave vote won the referendum last week.
So, sure, your hotel might be cheaper after Brexit. But you also might have racists protesting outside.
Con: seriously, British people are pissed off right now
If you're traveling to Britain in the next several weeks, don't expect to be greeted warmly. These are not happy times. People are seeing the values of their pensions fall, and Britain's funding of those pensions is taking a serious hit. A full-on recession or depression is only going to exacerbate the sentiments that led to the Leave vote's victory.
England's national team also just got bounced from Euro 2016, the second-biggest international soccer tournament in the world. This lead to some inspired tweets.
Con: safety concerns
The UK is generally among the safest countries in the world to visit, according to the State Department, since there are traditionally lower crime rates than in the U.S.
But things may be more precarious now, after Brexit. Next week marks the 11th anniversary of a series of London buses being bombed. And with terrorism fears at their highest since 9/11, it isn't out of the question to be hesitant about visiting a country whose law enforcement agencies are busy dealing with domestic unrest and trying to stop the spread of xenophobic attacks on immigrants.
The State Department already issued an advisory about traveling to Europe this summer, due to the increase in tourism and the raised danger of attacks in large, crowded spaces. And since economic and national turmoil is where terrorism thrives, the additional pressures of a post-Brexit UK may make you think twice about spending that week in London.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org