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Note:(August 30, 2012)
Information contained is before we took the trip.
I will update the information now that we have experienced and I will keep both the versions; Before and After to get a good perspective.
The 4500 miles long journey across the Europe does require a great deal of research and planning. Most of the information is available in some very reliable sources. I will be posting the list of the internet sources I have used in my planning.
1. The Vacation Planning
4. Packing Checklist
5. Map and GPS
6. The Equipments
The central theme of this journey is the road trip by car. We explored the various possibilities to get the right car for the journey. Best option would have been to ship our car from the US to UK. Use it all over Europe for 19 days and then re-ship back to USA. This will avoid any Rent Car Co restrictions etc. You would not need any registration as long as you are not planning to stay in UK for more than 6 months. However, the cost of shipment, the loading and unloading fee, the other taxes turned out to be expensive. The most important issue is the timely delivery of your car when your arrive in England. Most companies would not guarantee the exact dates the car could be delivered to us in UK. The ocean freight takes 3-4 weeks to ship your car. So this options was scratched.
Renting a car in Europe will be somewhat tricky for a US person. Restrictions on number of passengers are somewhat more than in USA. Choices of car sizes are limited, but available for 5 passengers as well. Travelling across the EU countries is similar to traveling from state to state in USA. People caution for the road travel in East European countries but not much of a concern and with caution can be done. Some countries might require a permit to be displayed in the car, all would require proper papers from rent companies. Any way it appears that renting car is still fairly doable thing. The cost may be $1400.00 to $2000.00 for the entire trip.
In terms of insurance coverage we are told that there will be extra to have a comprehensive coverage to take the care to east european countries and Turkey. Finally we need to add the cost of fuel as well.
We plan to travel light and hope to have our bag pack in the car for easy travel. We will need to make arrangement before hand for Hotel reservations in the big cities and stop overs. There is more restriction in terms of number of people in each room as compared to USA. We plan to explore bed and breakfast, cottage options but also explore Holiday Inn or standard mid range hotels to overnight stays.
VISA Requirements for US Citizens:
All European Union member states, with the exception of Ireland and the United Kingdom, have a unified visa system as part of the Schengen Area. Four countries outside the European Union—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland—are also part of the Schengen Area, implementing the same unified system as well. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the Schengen Area, but maintain the same immigration policies as required by the Schengen acquis. Ireland and the United Kingdom maintain independent immigration policies.
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-six European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town ofSchengen, Luxembourg, in 1985. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel with border controls for those travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls.
The Schengen rules were absorbed into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, although the area officially includes four non-EU member states—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland—and de facto includes three European micro-states—Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican. All but two EU member states—Ireland and the United Kingdom—are required to implement Schengen and, with the exceptions of Bulgaria, Cyprus, andRomania, have already done so. The area currently covers a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).[1