I’m having a lazy Sunday today so I wanted to elaborate on one of my travel secrets. Often I get asked how I was able to move to Scotland or how I’m able to travel around Europe with ease.
As an American citizen, I’m able to travel to 174 countries and territories without a visa (as of February 2016). As I mentioned in my nomad story, I decided to move to Scotland by chance. I only considered Scotland as a possibility because I’m allowed to enter the UK without a visa and stay for up to 6 months out of every 12. I moved to Scotland in December and planned to leave the UK sometime before my 6th month anniversary of moving there.
Now I’m on a 6-month adventure across Europe, and luckily I don’t need a visa for any of it!
I don’t need a visa to visit most of Europe as an American citizen with a valid passport thanks to the Schengen agreement. I planned my 6-month Euro-trip taking this into consideration. All the countries I plan to visit from now until the end of August are in the Schengen: Germany, Poland, Spain, France, Belgium, and Slovenia.
Since I’m only allowed to stay in the Schengen for 90 days in any 180 day period, I will exit the Schengen by the end of August (by Aug. 27th, to be exact) because I entered it when I arrived in Berlin on May 30th.
After Aug. 27th, I will only be able to visit non-Schengen countries in Europe or travel elsewhere. While I could visit countries further away, in Africa or Asia, because plenty of countries in these areas allow me to visit without a visa, I chose not to because these flights cost more than shorter flights within Europe.
Croatia isn’t included in the Schengen and a logical choice for me because it borders Slovenia. I fly into Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, on Aug. 17th. I then have 10 days to explore Slovenia before my obligatory border crossing into Croatia. I’ll probably enter Croatia a few days before that, just so I’m not cutting it too close. I’ll be exploring Croatia until Oct. 26th because I’m allowed to visit for 90 days in any 180 day period.
From Croatia, I’ll fly to Ireland, another non-Schengen country I’m keen to visit. I’m allowed to visit Ireland for up to 3 months, so I will stay in Ireland until the beginning of December.
This is how I travel perpetually—I only travel to countries that don’t require visas for American citizens.
Travelling this way is easy but you must be organised. You need to know where you can visit without a visa, and for how long, in addition to counting the number of days spent in each country (or in the Schengen as a whole). The most important thing to remember is that you are responsible for keeping track of how long you’ve been in the Schengen, or in the UK, or wherever you happen to visit. I’ve counted the days on a calendar multiple times just to ensure I don’t overstay.
If you’re an American citizen with a valid passport and are curious about where you can visit without a visa, check out Wikipedia’s page about visa requirements for U.S. citizens. (Also research specific countries’ own immigration pages to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date.) Wikipedia also offers similar pages with visa requirements for citizens of other countries. I’ve been comparing visa requirements for Polish citizens as well.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Do you need a visa?