Many of us love to go on a Europe trip and make it our dream to see all the historical and cultural places of Europe. We can also add one or two countries to our itinerary during a layover for another trip. But before you go on it there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
The good thing about the Schengen visa is that it allows you to enter many countries in the EU with one visa. It helps to cover a few countries in one trip and many are well connected by road. But this visa requires you to fill out a few details before you get to the appointment.
So here are the things you need before you book an appointment:
- Plan the trip at least 3 to 6 months before: Meaning, plan in advance all countries you are visiting, and book your hotels or request details from the tour group/guide beforehand because you need to update all these details of where you are staying and what all countries you are visiting in the visa application form before booking the appointment.
- Register in travel insurance: Yes, they also need you to buy the insurance and provide those details in the form you are filling out for the appointment booking which can cover the basic medical costs during your trip along with flight cancellations, reschedules, and some compensation for the lost items during your journey along with accidental death coverage. Europe is a very expensive continent, particularly the countries that we would love to visit so better be prepared than be sorry later. We registered in Nomad travel insurance(not a paid promotion).
- Book the tickets/passes: Once your visa appointment is confirmed and you know that there are at least 2 months left to go on your trip, book the tickets for your flights and all the famous sights(like the Louvre museum, Eiffel tower, colosseum, etc.) you want to visit because they get booked very fast. Trust me even when we tried to book 2 months before, we had some difficulty getting good times and places to some sights.
- Pack/Buy clothes and snacks: Pack as many snacks as you can and definitely check the weather report before packing your clothes. Some places are cold all throughout the year and particularly if you have food restrictions(like me) like Vegetarian/Vegan, Gluten-free, Lactose-intolerance, or something then you better pack some snacks(Protein bars, Indian snacks, dry legumes that can be cooked if needed). Even if you don’t have any particular food preferences, you can definitely get hungry while you are traveling/walking constantly and would want to munch on something. So go prepared.
- Carry cash: Yes, even though you have a good travel card that can give you rewards in terms of miles, always carry cash(Euros is the common currency) because there might be some small transactions or vendors that don’t accept the card if it is not more than 10 Euros. If you are just buying a souvenir and don’t have the cash you might have to buy more just to make an even 10.
FAQ(Frequently asked questions)
What country Embassy to apply Schengen Visa to?
You must apply visa to the most stayed-in country in Europe. For ex: If you are staying in France for 4 days and in Spain for 3 days then you must request Visa to enter France rather than Spain.
Does everyone have to get a Schengen visa to enter EU countries?
You must apply for a Schengen visa if you are on an Indian passport or any other country’s passport that does need a Visa to enter Europe. US citizens have an on-arrival visa option. Please check the website for more info on what your country’s relationship is with the EU.
Can you enter every country in the European continent with a Schengen visa?
No, you cannot enter every country. You can enter 26 countries which you can see on their site with this Visa. So check if the country you want to visit is part of this visa or not.
What do they ask for in a Visa appointment?
Not as difficult as US visas particularly if you are visiting for recreation. But here are the things you need to carry: Docs that you submitted(your employment-related, work permits, and everything you submitted for visa appointment), your intent for travel(vacation, staying, visiting a relative, etc.), and how long do you stay(generally for vacation it is less than 90 days). Check all docs they ask for on the embassy sites.
The Visa appointment slots, Processing times, and Covid restrictions vary from country to country and the embassy you are applying to. So check the site to see for accurate info.
Bonus tip 1: If you are from India and are vegetarian, then carry a small electric cooking pot that works at 220v along with dry legumes. I carried Green peas(Green moong dal, Chickpeas, and Yellow mutter) in small food packets as our trip is for 18 days and we wanted to eat healthy and solid food too. We also brought some veggies from some of the countries we visited.
Bonus tip 2: Carry at least two adapters. Yup, you will need adapters as Europe has 220v plugs and the USA has 110v which could cause a problem with your electrical appliances. Even though India has 220v the type of plug varies so carry a European adapter.