We’ve had people ask us why we’ve done the route we have so far through Europe, and one of the main reasons is because of the Schengen Visa. There are 26 countries in Europe that have agreed on eliminating passport and immigration controls at their joint borders and these countries are called the Schengen area. The citizens within the Schengen can travel freely throughout without limitations.
After entering, tourists can also travel through the Schengen without having their passports checked at customs when coming and going to a different country within the Schengen. However, tourists are only allowed up to 90 days out 180 days non-consecutive. This is why airports may not allow tourists to enter if they’re passport is expiring in 3 months, because it will not be checked while they’re inside the Schengen.
The countries included in the Schengen:
- Czech republic
A lot of tourists going to Europe don’t have to worry about the Schengen because their trip doesn’t usually exceed a month. We were originally planning on visiting Europe for 2 weeks, which is what the average traveler does- stop in to as many places as they can in a short span of time. Most people can’t take enough time off work, or save up enough money to visit for longer. Of course, our situation is unique and we’ve had to get creative with where to travel for those 90 days out of the Schengen.
We’ve spent 50 out of 90 days in the Schengen and have been trying to save up at least 3 weeks worth for the month of September. Pablo’s family is coming to visit us in September and we’re spending all of our time in the Schengen. This was the trip we’d originally planned before coming, was to visit for a couple weeks stopping in Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Rome, Pisa, and Athens.
We spent most of our summer traveling through the Balkan countries, which are not included in the Schengen (except for Slovenia) to conserve the time that we would have in the Schengen. There are some countries, such as Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania that are candidates for joining the Schengen, but luckily for us the process takes a long time.
If you ever travel to Europe for an extended period of time, make sure you know about the Schengen!