My journey plans have been set. I used to be going to spend eight full months driving a bicycle round mainland Europe. The plan was to spend one month in Iceland… two months biking throughout England, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland… and one other 5 months slowly pedaling my approach throughout the Czech Republic, Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
However there was an issue!
In response to the Schengen Settlement, US residents like myself can solely keep within the Schengen Space (which presently consists of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) for a most of 90 days inside a 6-month interval.
Whereas the Schengen settlement makes it simpler for European residents to journey from nation to nation, it drastically reduces the period of time a vacationer like myself can spend in most of Europe.
As an alternative of having the ability to merely soar the border to a neighboring nation and proceed touring all through Europe for prolonged intervals of time, the Schengen Settlement makes it so vacationers like myself can solely spend a 90 out of each 180 days within the Schengen space.
The US State Journey web site explains it like this:
Vacationers for enterprise or tourism are permitted to remain within the Schengen space for 90 days inside a six month interval. As soon as the 90 day most is reached, leaving for a quick interval and re-entering the realm doesn’t entitle a traveler to 90 extra days inside the Schengen states. The traveler must stay exterior of the Schengen zone for 90 days earlier than reentering and not using a visa.
What this meant for my earlier journey plans is that I’d not have the ability to proceed by Europe for eight straight months like I had initially deliberate. As an alternative, I’ve received solely 90 days to journey within the Schengen space earlier than I want to depart and stay exterior of the Schengen Zone for not less than three months or extra earlier than I can re-enter.
Whereas I do know a number of associates and vacationers who’ve overstayed their welcome contained in the Schengen Space and had no issues when finally exiting, I don’t need to danger getting in hassle, being fined, going to jail, or presumably even being blocked from getting into the Schengen Space sooner or later.
So, I modified my journey plans completely! Click on right here to see the place I’m going now.
The primary three months of my journey are nonetheless precisely the identical. I’m nonetheless going to Iceland for the primary month of my journey and I’ll nonetheless be biking by England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland after that.
Nonetheless, after my 90 days of free journey contained in the Schengen space is up, I’m going to leap on an airplane and fly to Istanbul, Turkey, which is a rustic that presently lies exterior the Schengen Space.
As soon as in Turkey, I’ll begin counting down the times to after I can enter the Schengen Space once more. Throughout my three months exterior the Schengen space, nevertheless, I might be touring with my bicycle by Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine – all of that are presently non-Schengen international locations.
Then, after my 90 days exterior the Schengen space is up, I’ll cross again into Poland and full the ultimate two months of my initially deliberate bicycle tour earlier than leaping on yet one more airplane and flying to southern Africa.
A part of me is tremendous upset that the Schengen Settlement pressured me to alter my unique journey plans. The opposite a part of me is trying ahead to those new international locations that I plan to go to. Ultimately, I suppose it isn’t actually all that unhealthy. It definitely is an inconvenience, and I perceive why the European international locations have this rule, however that doesn’t imply I’ve to love it.
As an alternative of risking punishment for staying within the Schengen space for too lengthy, I’ve determined to easily change my travels plans round. Whereas I’ll now not be touring to Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia like I had initially hoped… I might be going to Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova as a substitute… and I’m tremendous enthusiastic about that!