Things to Keep in Mind when Travelling to a Schengen Country

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Travelling to Europe is a dream come true for most people. The diverse geography, the interesting cultures, the deep-rooted history, and the different cuisines of the places are some of the things that take people to the European continent. Moreover, what makes it easier is that barring a few countries, most European countries come under the Schengen zone. This means that you can visit the countries of the Schengen zone with just one visa. If you are planning to visit Europe, here we tell you about some of the

interesting things you need to keep in mind while planning to a Schengen country.

Schengen Countries

Currently, there are 26 countries in the Schengen zone. These include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Who Requires and Does Not Require a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa is one common visa that works for all the above 26 countries. Apart from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and countries belonging to the European Union, citizens of all other countries need to get a Schengen visa before they travel to any of these countries.

What is a Schengen Visa?

Schengen visa is a short-term tourist visa that allows you to stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days within a period of 180 days. This visa is available as single entry, double entry, and multiple entry visa. This visa can be used for tourism, recreation, visiting family and friends, business, cultural and sporting events, medical treatment, short-term study, research purposes, official visits, etc.

Citizens of countries who do not need a Schengen visa to enter the zone need to be authorized by ETIAS before they enter the country. This is a security check that would check your background information, details about your European stay, and such other questions related to security. This is done to prevent people from entering the zone if they are considered to be dangerous or high-risk.

Rules of Schengen Visa

Where to Apply:

If you want to visit more than one countries in the Schengen zone, you need to apply for the Schengen visa in the country where you are going to stay for the most number of days. If you are planning to stay for equal number of days in most countries, apply for Schengen visa in the country you are going to visit first.

Documents Required:

When you submit your application for Schengen visa online, you would have to provide certain supporting documents, which include passport, passport size photos, flight tickets, letter that states the purpose of visit, travel insurance, etc. Your Schengen visa document requirements also suggests that a travel insurance is a must and should cover minimum Euro 30,000 of medical treatment and other emergencies. You may have to submit a few other documents as well.

Visa Interview:

Apart from submitting the documents, you would also have to pay the visa fee. Once this is done, you would have to book an appointment for interview at the consulate or embassy you are applying for the Schengen visa. Your biometrics would also be taken during the appointment.

Visa Approval:

If your visa gets approved, you would receive your passport with the Schengen visa sticker on it. Do check the details like your name and other details as well as duration of stay and validity of the visa carefully. It is important to ensure to travel out of the Schengen zone before your visa validity expires.

Things to Pack

Once your Schengen visa is approved, it is time to think about what to pack for your trip. This would depend on the countries you are visiting and the time or season you are visiting. While the best way to travel in Europe is by using a backpack, suitcases would also work fine if you take the right size. Moreover, it is better to travel light, so that you are not burdened by your luggage while travelling from one Schengen country to another. Here are some of the things that you need to pack while travelling to the Schengen zone:

  • A pair of dark washed jeans works for both a casual daytime look and a semi-formal night look as well
  • 2-3 casual t-shirts (for both men and women)
  • 2-3 dressy tops for women and 2-3 long-sleeved shirts for men
  • Shorts for men and skirts for women
  • A cardigan, sweater, or lightweight jacket
  • In case you are travelling in the Schengen zone in the winter season, you should pack warm clothes like long underwear and woolen leggings.
  • A pair of elegant outfit to go to a bar or dine at a fancy restaurant that has a dress code
  • A pair of good, sturdy walking shoes, as the best way to explore European cities and towns is on your foot
  • You should carry a pair of fancy shoes for your night outings in Europe as well
  • Carrying a pair of flip flops would be a good idea if you would be staying at hostels
  • It is important to carry chargers for all your electronic devices along with voltage plug convertors.

Mode of Transport

When it comes to travelling across the Schengen zone, you have several options. The transport system in Europe is one of the best in the world. You can travel from one country to another not just by air but by road and railways as well. Here are the four options when it comes to travelling in the Schengen zone:

Flights:

Air transport is the fastest as well as the cheapest ways of travelling in the Schengen zone. It is the best way of travelling to a distant country in the Schengen zone. Moreover, it is the only way of travelling to some countries like Malta.

Trains:

Trains are the most common ways of travelling within the Schengen zone. The train service in Europe is fast, efficient, and inexpensive as well. You can travel from France to Germany to the Netherlands via train. Although it is a bit time taking, you get the chance to see the landscapes of the place in a unique manner.

Bus:

If you are on a tight budget, taking the bus is the best way of travelling around the Schengen zone. While you can enjoy the beauty of the different cities and towns, it is definitely one of the most time-taking ways of moving around.

Cars:

It is possible to rent a car while travelling in the Schengen zone. The biggest advantage here is that you are free to explore the cities, towns, and villages at your leisure, which is not possible if you use other modes of transport. However, if you want to take the vehicle to another country, make sure to choose an agency that offers international service. Also, you must ensure that you have an international driving license as well.

Essential Tips for Travelling in the Schengen Zone

    • Keep an eye on your belongings when travelling within the Schengen zone and also while sightseeing. It is important to be aware of your surroundings.
    • While it is important to have some cash with you, it is best to use your credit or debit card for most purposes.
    • Carry your cash in good quality money bags or wallets
    • Whichever place you are visiting, ensure that you know where your embassy is located. It is important to have their contact details in hand
    • Ensure that one of your family members or friends has all your itinerary details. This becomes important in case of emergency.

The Schengen visa gives you the opportunity to visit numerous countries without the hassle of applying for a multiple visa. So, if you are planning a holiday to the Schengen area, choose to visit a couple of countries to make the most of this advantage.



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