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    Are you tired of the endless paperwork involved in planning a simple vacation? There is a way to visit multiple countries with as little paperwork as possible! Welcome to the Schengen area…

    What is the Schengen area?

    26 European countries have signed the Schengen agreement, and they now form the Schengen area. These countries have abolished visa and passport requirements amongst themselves in order to promote tourism. Out of the 28 European Union (EU) nations, 22 countries make up the Schengen area. Other than these, 4 countries are now included in the Schengen area too.

    Which are the Schengen countries?

    Countries that have signed the Schengen agreement are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Some nations such as Monaco, Saint Marino and the Vatican can be included in the Schengen area as they also have borderless movement in the area.

    What kind of visa is necessary for visiting Schengen countries?

    You’ll require a special visa, called the Schengen visa, to visit the Schengen area. This visa allows people free movement within the marked area for up to 180 days, for reasons of travel and tourism. However, keep in mind that you can only stay in this area for 90 days at a stretch.

    Travel inside and outside of these countries is limited too. Most of the time, you get a one-time entry visa, which you can use to enter one of the countries only once. If you want to enter a Schengen country more than once, you can apply for a multiple entry visa. This allows you entry into a country in the Schengen area as many times as you want, within the time frame of Schengen visa validity. For example, you can visit a Schengen country, then enter a non-Schengen territory, like the UK, and then re-enter the Schengen area if you have a multiple entry visa.

    Benefits of a Schengen visa

    A Schengen visa allows you to travel to any or all of the member states, possessing just one visa. This saves you the time and effort of acquiring separate visas for each of the countries you wish to visit. Even when you reach your destination, you just need a single ‘stamp’ on your passport. This significantly reduces the time spent on bureaucratic processes.

    Why you need Schengen travel insurance

    Most countries require travelers to be insured during international travel, be it for tourism, business, or studies. Schengen countries are no different. According to Schengen country law, you’re required to have insurance coverage if you’re using a Schengen visa.

    These laws exist because people may fall sick during their vacation and require urgent medical care. Recuperating can become very difficult if vacationers can’t afford the expensive medical treatments offered by the destination they are visiting. Possessing Schengen travel insurance could help travelers get at least immediate medical attention, before returning to their own country for further treatments.

    There are a lot of travel insurance policies, one of which is Schengen. This policy is designed keeping in mind the needs that arise in Schengen countries. Schengen travel insurance policies can cover medical needs, cancellation or trip interruption, accidents, passport or baggage loss. Some might even cover terrorist acts, dental treatments or home burglary.

    Schengen countries offer you a wide range of experiences. Each destination offers a sumptuous taste of its culture. But in order to truly taste it, you need to have peace of mind that you’ll be fine should something go wrong. So when you’re travelling, make sure you do everything you can to safeguard yourself - by getting insured.

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