The Schengen Zone
Many travellers visiting Europe for the first time may ask themselves: What exactly is the Schengen Zone?
The area of Europe classified as the Schengen Zone covers a vast portion of Europe eliminating internal boarders. The Schengen Zone was created to encourage free movement for tourists meaning that there are minimal boarder checks when crossing between countries.
So now you’re asking: What does this mean for me?
Most travellers can stay within the Schengen Zone for a total of 90 days without any extra docuemntation other than a passport. However, some will need what is called a ‘Schengen Visa’ to permit them to travel within these countries. Always check your local consulate website for information regarding visas.
Countries included in the Schengen Zone are:
• Czech Republic
• Iceland (not a European Union Member State)
• Liechtenstein (not a European Union Member State)
• Norway (not a European Union Member State)
• Swiss (not a European Union Member State)
Other European countries not included in the Schengen zone may require different visa and entry conditions. These include:
Ireland and the United Kingdon
Before planning your Gap Year, be sure to spread your 90 days out across the Schengen Zone so that you don’t accidentally over stay. As much as the ‘open boarder’ concept seems relaxed, you can expect strict custom controls at airports when leaving the Schengen Zone to travel onwards to other countries.
The Gap Map itinerary found on the main Europe page has thoughtfully counted the 90 days for you across a six month itinerary. Use this as your guide and take these days into consideration when altering the itinerary. It’s available for free download now so you can start mapping your gap!