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General questions about potential lengthy European trip[edit]

For many months I have been daydreaming about a theoretical trip I think I could take. I am considering taking a European trip of a length perhaps up to a year, by myself, starting in January 2019 and returning home at Christmas. I am a 27 year old single American in good health who has been to Europe several times before. I've accumulated a bit of savings and with help from family I really think I could do it and that it would be a meaningful experience I would keep with me for the rest of my life but at this point it's just a daydream and it's scary to make steps towards implementing it.

Rather than planning the entire thing out, I'm thinking of planning destinations perhaps a month in advance as I go, so the trip isn't ruined in case of an emergency. I would be staying at hostels and am thinking of traveling mostly via train/Interrail which I'm quite inexperienced with but seems easy enough. Is this a good approach?

My main question is, is there any special paperwork or permissions I would need to leave the country for that long, or to even enter certain European countries? I can't imagine I'd be in any one longer than a few weeks at a time. I'm just thinking big cities in Spain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, nothing too unusual.

Another one: What would I do with regard to my smartphone, for going between countries? I'd need to have data. Should I get a new one specifically for the trip or maybe I just need a new SIM card or something? Would the service vary from country to country?

Besides that, any general advice that you more experienced travelers might have? Should I even do it? It would require quitting my job of 5 years and giving up my room in my house with friends so I wouldn't have a safety net if it all went wrong, but my life has just gotten stagnant and dull here and I would like to see the world before I have kids or more commitments. Thank you for reading my post and for any thoughts you may have!

Asked by: ReferenceDeskEnthusiast (talk) 21:01, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

If you stay for more than 90 days you will need a visa. Check out Travelling around the Schengen Area. As an alternative to trains Intercity buses in Europe is a cheap alternative, look out for combination tickets through multiple European cities. On the hostels also look out for multiple bookings with companies like A&O. --Traveler100 (talk) 21:44, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
Quite an impressive project. First off, you may find this discussion useful, as well as the European Union article.
American editors probably are better at telling you what paperwork — if any — is needed for being outside the country for a year. As said, you can visit the Schengen Area (basically the most of Europe) for a maximum 90 days in a 180 day period without a visa. Nevertheless, there are many countries outside that area and they all have their own immigration requirements (usually 90 days in each country), and you can even make a quick visit to Russia without a visa. And you can make sidetrips to some places in Africa and Asia too; for instance Tangier is less than an hour away by ferry from southern Spain.
I think you should buy a SIM card (and possibly a cheap? phone) in an European country, because it will be cheaper to use when traveling around Europe, the EU has set maximum fees for roaming in Europe. Unlike 10 years ago your American handset will probably also work here.
If traveling alone for such a long time seems uncomfortable, you can always plan a shorter trip (say 2-3 months instead of a year) or take a "vacation from your vacation", and go home for a few weeks. --ϒpsilon (talk) 21:59, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
The maximum fees for roaming are actually zero within the EU these days. There is a rule that you are not allowed to take a cell phone contact from one place and only use the phone in another but I don't know about enforcement. In general staying within the Schengen area for more than 90 days you'll need a visa. US citizens can actually arrive on a tourist via and apply for a long term visa while there but I'd adviser you to get a long term visa beforehand. Long term visa are handled at the national level, not the EU level so you'd need to apply at one specific country. I think student visa are rather easy to obtain but you may have to actually achieve a minimum amount of ECTS points. Studying in Europe is cheap but rents have been rising a lot in the last few years so they'll be your main cost if you decide to take up university. Work visa are harder to get AFAIK but if you have some unique skill you might be eligible for one. I know that American Football players often come to Europe and travel around during a lull in the season but you'd need to have played college ball for that to be at all feasible. You should get health insurance. Many European countries require it for a visa but it is a good idea regardless. European health care is excellent and co-pays are laughable if you are used to American prices. I'm not sure you'd need medical evacuation insurance but ask an open-minded doctor about it. A language course can certainly do no harm, besides English French German and Spanish are probably the most spoken in the EU and Russian is still much spoken in former Soviet satellites. Maybe you could combine the language thing with a study visa. As for accommodation, Air BnB is banned in many cities as it drives rents upwards (a big issue in Berlin for example). Taking trains is an excellent way to move around, especially where high speed rail exists but I am not aware of any Interrail offers valid for an entire year and if they exist they might not be good value. It can work out cheaper to use early bird fares even if you end up not using some tickets. IIRC cancellation before travel is 20€ on the cheapest DB fares but SNCF and Renfe may have other conditions. Buses can be cheap but look for websites like and compare train offers, too. I think I'll stop for now if you have further questions don't hesitate to ask. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:40, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
I did a month long version of your project once with Eurail. Given that the train tickets are 'free' I found that paying extra for overnight sleeping cars is a cost and time effective way to visit new cities. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:55, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
sleeper trains have gotten much less common these days. Basically west of the Rhine there's hardly a dozen of them left. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:13, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
And you might also want to have a look at budget travel and minimum budget travel for tips for cutting costs. ϒpsilon (talk) 08:58, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
Costs vary considerably across Europe. In general, Eastern or Southern Europe will be cheaper than other places.
It may be possible to stretch your budget by working during your trip; see digital nomad. Pashley (talk) 09:47, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
On that general note, should we have a travel topic besides Grand Tour (which is mostly a historical concept) about the modern "doing Europe" in any sense of the term? We do have Gringo Trail and Banana Pancake Trail after all... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:03, 4 February 2018 (UTC)


I have been to Chicago in 2016-what is Wisconsin to the north on I-43 like

Asked by:

Hello I moved what you wrote to the Tourist Office, as this is the place where we deal with questions like this.
I have family in the Milwaukee area, and I've driven I-43 a bunch of times. I'm hard-pressed to think of anything distinguishing at all about that highway. Other than the portions running through the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay, I'd describe it as boring, rural, and Midwestern. Not much in the way of scenery, etc.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:22, 8 February 2018 (UTC)


What is the best thing in Ibiza to visit?

Asked by: 2405:204:3480:157:c02:99bd:ddf5:5b75

Hello 2405:204:3480:157:c02:99bd:ddf5:5b75. I moved what you wrote to the Tourist Office, as this is the place where we deal with questions like this.
As to your question, that depends on what kinds of things you're interested in. Ibiza is obviously famous for its beaches and its dance clubs, to start with. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:44, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Hello, OP. I would suggest you read through our travel guide to Ibiza before posting such generic (and frankly unanswerable) questions, to find out for yourself what there is to visit in Ibiza. You should be able to decide for yourself which attractions or activities appeal to you the most. If you then have specific questions to ask, come back here and ask them. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:19, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Tartu in Midsummer[edit]

I and my girlfriend just won a free luxury ship voyage from Helsinki to Tallinn and back. We were just thinking, we've been to Tallinn so many times we want to go somewhere else. So we were thinking of going to Tartu, taking a bus or train from Tallinn. The trip is valid from this day to the end of August, but not in July.

So I was thinking of going in Midsummer in late June. But before I decide, I have to ask a question. Do they celebrate Midsummer in Estonia, and if so, is it on the same days as in Finland? And if so, does Midsummer cause any exceptions in (1) travel between Tallinn and Tartu, and (2) staying in Tartu? We are planning to spend 2-3 days in Tartu, stay at a hotel near the centre, visit museums and eat at restaurants. Will Midsummer affect any of this? Asked by: JIP (talk) 21:52, 12 February 2018 (UTC)