When I started looking at the travel tips online yesterday night, I (once again) very hopefelessly realized that almost all of it is tailored for Americans traveling into Europe!
Now, I’d like to travel into Europe, but that information is almost useless for me because I need VISAs to travel to all those countries (unlike the American Passport Holders) and I do not earn in dollars. So, the notion of cheap and costly is widely divergent.
Anyway, whenever I go to Europe, given the VISA requirements and the cost of flying, it’d make sense to spend long enough time (at least a month) there and cover several countries. So, for now I’d concentrate on the nearest neighbour – Sri Lanka.
But I’d get into that in another post. In this one let me put down the little research I did on European and other travels as an Indian passport holder. Of course, all the information here is being presented on “as-is” basis and I take no guarantee of the accuracy of information.
The first thing to know about traveling in Europe with an Indian passport is the VISA requirement. All members of EU, except UK and Ireland, plus Switzerland and Norway (and Iceland also) can be covered by applying for Schengen VISA. Separate VISA needs to be taken for UK and Ireland. But even for Schengen VISA, some of the signatories of Schengen Agreement have not yet implemented it. The wikipedia article linked here gives good information on this.
As for which consulate/embassy to apply at for Schengen VISA, here is the rule
- If you are visiting only one country, apply in the consulate of that country
- If you are visiting multiple countries, but there is one main destination where you are staying, apply in the consulate of that country
- If you are visiting multiple countries, but do not have a main destination, then apply in the consulate of the country you are entering from.
The above has been taken from Schengen VISA’s official website. You should check that out. It also tells you about requirements etc.
Also did some research on traeling within those places. Unlike US, European countries have good public transportation systems. You can save some money and have a convenient time by buying the rail passes, especially meant for the foreigners, before you enter Europe (they are costlier if bought in Europe!). You can buy passes that cover all the countries (except UK), cover only one country, cover selected countries – you can choose depending on your plans. The passes also come in different denominations. Some are valid for 1 week to 3 months of continuous travel. But my guess is that more useful will be the ones which are valid for 10/15 days of travle in 2/3 months. I guess you won’t be travelling everyday. For UK, Scotland and Wales, separete passes can be bought for similar validity periods. Here is a good article on traveling and staying within Europe, with the links at the bottom about travel and stay options. I am reproducing the list here. There is one mistake in the URL there. European Hostels site’s corrent URL is www.europeanhostels.com and not the one without ‘s’ as it appears there.
The following are web sites for rail and bus passes mentioned in this article:
These hostel network web sites allow you to check bed or room availability, make reservations, and confirm prices:
So much for Europe. There is a pleasant surprise I got from this wikipedia Article on Indian Passport. Fine, you need VISA for Europe, but all is not lost. There are still lot of places you can travel to without VISA or easy VISA with Indian passport – mostly in Asia and Africa. Check out the article for a list. Of course, you should verify the information there before actually packing your bags! Sri Lanka, by the way, is one of them where you can get a 30 day VISA on arrival. And hey, apparently in Bhutan you are better off with an Indian passport. Getting entry is easy enough for almost anyone in Bhutan, but others have to pay something like USD200 a day as tourist tarriff!! With India, there is a free movement of people.
I have done and am doing research on Sri Lanka, but I’ll post them after I have finalized my plans.