wander woman

When I broke my foot in Rome.

When I broke my foot in Rome.

I have been an accident prone person aka a klutz my entire life. There have been many  hours where I ended up in the emergency room with: a broken foot, sprained ankles, broken arms, head lacerations... well you get the point. You would think, as someone gets older their balance and depth perception would get better. This is certainly not the case for me. Let me tell you a tale of about breaking a bone in Rome and how it was handled. 

While traveling the world in 2017 I found myself in Rome, Italy. A place I never thought I would have the opportunity to visit, let along live for an entire four weeks. The apartment was a loft outside of the hustle and bustle of Rome, but a quick 20 minute bus ride would drop me off in the city center, with and outstanding price of 2 euros. This apartment was precious it had all the amenities I would need to live a comfortable life for a few weeks; there was even a washing machine. A luxury I haven't seen the likes of in 5 months. After living in Thailand and traveling in Cambodia for months, a washing machine was an invention I couldn't wait to use it. Too bad it would be my downfall, literally. 

Clearing up the confusion on extended EU travel!

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“How the hell were you able to stay in Europe for so long, don’t you need a visa?”….this is one of the many questions I received about my 8 month stay in Europe in 2017. In all honesty, I was so confused about the visa laws that I contacted several people and read a ton of blogs because I didn’t want to be hauled off to some foreign prison never to be able to return home again. Well…they probably would have just put me on the next plane to the U.S instead of jail. First things first, as of now, American’s do NOT need Visa’s to travel throughout the EU, this may change.  

So how did I do it?  There are a few key terms that you need first: Schengen and Non-Schengen ( still have no clue how to say these words). The EU is made up of a lot of countries. Some of these countries are part of what is known as the Schengen agreement. Members of the EU can travel throughout these countries without trip interruption and if you are an American you don’t need to get a visa, but you can only stay in these countries for 90 days out of 180 days. There are countries that ARE part of the EU but are NOT part of the Schengen Zone known as the non- Schengen Zone. These countries have their own laws when it comes to stays. 

Now, you can only stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days! After the 90 days you MUST leave the zone for up to 90 days. After 90 days you can return to any of the below countries and the 90 days starts over.  There are EU countries that have their own visa rules. The below non-schengen countries have their own visa laws. For instance, Ireland is 90 days ,UK is 180 days, Croatia is 90 days along with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania.

26 Schengen Zone Countries

Austria

Iceland

Poland

Belgium

Italy

Portugal

Czech

Latvia

Slovakia

Denmark

Liechtenstein

Slovenia

Estonia

Lithuania

Sweden

Finland

Luxembourg

Switzerland

France Malta 

Germany Netherlands

Greece Norway

Non-Schengen Zone Countries

Croatia

Bulgaria

Cyprus

Romania

United Kingdom

Ireland  

Allow me to give you some examples to make it more clear. This is what I did for 2017:  Italy (30 days), Croatia (30 days non-schengen),  Germany (60 days), United Kingdom (90 days non-schengen). Once you leave a schengen zone and go to a non-schengen zone like I did (Croatia) the time ends but DOES NOT start over, it is just paused until you return to one of the schengen countries.

Another example…Iceland ( 10 days), Sweden (10 days), France (10 days), Ireland (30 days), United kingdom (14 days), Croatia (14 days), Italy (20 days).

Now with the above example you have stayed in a Schengen Zone for 50 days. You still have 40 days to travel through other schengen countries or just save those days and go to a non-schengen area. 

If you want to bounce around Europe you know have the knowledge to do it without the risk of being deported. If you play it right you could stay Europe for a really long time! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twelve practical travel gifts that won't break the bank!

You know at least one person in your life that is full of wanderlust and they maybe the hardest people to buy for. They travel lite, hate material things, and are always on the go. Here are some gift ideas that won't break the bank and your traveler friend will love them and most likely need them. 

You know at least one person in your life that is full of wanderlust and they maybe the hardest people to buy for. They travel lite, hate material things, and are always on the go. Here are some gift ideas that won't break the bank and your traveler friend will love them and most likely need them. 

  1. External battery charger : for some reason my phone battery doesn’t last as long as when I am home. It could be because of all the picture taking or GPS usage. An external charger can save you from stranded without a phone.
  2. Day pack/backpack: This seems like a no brainer but having a backpack that will hold your computer, water bottle, and other electronics is necessary. Carrying a purse can be back breaking and honestly, annoying. 
  3. Water bottle: Essential. While traveling, finding accessible water can be difficult. If you already have a water bottle, fill it up where you are staying, and try to keep it filled throughout the day. Drinking from any fountain in Rome is amazing, they have the best water. Dehydration can happen quickly if you are not careful. 
  4. Camping towel: Sometimes you may find yourself under a waterfall, fully clothed, in the middle of a jungle. Or in a hostel where they don’t provide towels. A small camping town is great to have on hand, just in case. 
  5. Slippers: This is just a good idea all around. Your traveler may be going to a place where shoes are not allowed inside or they could be headed to Iceland in December. Either way a good pair of house slippers is nice to have to lounge around in. Make sure they are bendable. 
  6. Homemade health kit: THIS! Ok wanna make something for your traveler? This is the best. What you will need: plastic bag or a see through zip pouch, band-aids, antiseptic, pain reliever, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, tweezers, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, condoms, antihistamine, pepto-bismol tablets.
  7. Socks: I don’t mean a pack of 12 socks from discount store. I mean a good pair of wool socks that will protect feet from the elements, blisters, and water. These socks will cost at least $15 not $10 for 12 pair. 
  8. Hat: The type of hat depends on the type of hat your traveler likes. They will need something to protect their face and head from the sun. I, myself, love a ball cap and wear one from my local brewery where ever I go. 
  9. Scarf: A lightweight scarf is great for those chilly nights or hot days. In many holy places scarves are needed to cover up a travelers shoulders, especially when it’s a hot summer day and they are dressed in a tank top. 
  10. Packing cubes/plastic storage bags: Packing cubes are the when organizing personal items like make-up, healthcare products, pens, and under garments. Plastic storage bags where the air can be released to make the space smaller for your clothes is a storage life saver. 
  11. Notebook and pen: A small notebook for keepsakes, ideas, or trip planning is great. Having a pen on hand helps when flying into another country and filling out those custom forms. 
  12. Sunglasses: These don’t need to be expensive because your traveler will most likely leave them on a train, plane, or in a taxi. Having a pair is necessary, especially in Thailand and Cambodia.