After leaving India we made our way to Europe, stopping over in Dubai for a few nights. Let me tell you, what a big change of pace. Weather, culture, people, food, architecture, and just EVERYTHING! The first three days in Europe I was SO jet lagged and tired. A month spent going from North to South in India, ending it with a challenging 5 day wellness retreat, stopping in Dubai for an adventurous 4 days and a change in weather of almost 30 degrees Celsius! It was a pretty drastic change to say the least. I loved India so much, and would highly recommend it but it is intense and after a month we were both definitely ready to move on.
Our original plan was to stay in Europe for a total of five months. Unfortunately, according to the Schengen Rule you are not allowed to stay longer than 90 days in a row in the Schengen Zone. You are probably wondering, what the heck is the Schengen Rule? Well, those were exactly our thoughts when our friends Jeff and Tania brought it up to us last year when chatting about our upcoming journey. In a nutshell, Europe has a restriction for non-European residents for travelling extended periods of time in a specific zone of Europe. This was created largely due to the fact that they abolished internal borders to make it much easier to travel within Europe. There are 26 European countries that fall into this rule ( see map below) and you can only stay a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day time frame.
So, because we wanted to be approximately five months in Europe, our plan was to go in April and stay there between 60-70 days, this was mainly due to the fact we were meeting with family/friends in that time frame. We were then going to leave for a few months back to Asia again and then go back to the Schengen area for another 60 days when the 180 days reset in September/October.
However, while on the road we re-evaluated which countries we wanted to visit and timeline, ultimately changing our mind. We added some more time in the countries that did not land in the Schengen area , such as Ireland, Croatia and England and so we decided to stay the 90 days in Schengen and add the other areas within the time frame. Overall, we stayed in Europe for a total of 4 months (120 days) but 30 of those days were in the ‘non-schengen’ areas.
As Canadians we were lucky to not have to obtain a Schengen Visa, as some other country residents it is a must. Ultimately, there is no other way around this rule if you wanted to stay for a longer period of time. The only other way is if you get a study or work visa or marry somebody from Europe. I know this can all sounds confusing, we were also confused! Once you break it down and map it out it can be pretty straight forward! For more information on Schengen we found a lot of useful information on Nomatic Matt’s website. He’s a fantastic source of information.
Until Next Time,