No Schengen Visa Needed For Wagoners Abroad!

So I am sure some of you are asking,  “What the heck is a Schengen Visa?”  While others are well aware of it and the limitations.  Just to be brief the Schengen Visa is an agreement between 25 countries (22 European Union states and 3 non-EU members).  

A Schengen Visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country.

Please see this Schengen area day calculator, to ensure you don’t go over the 90 days in a 180 day rule.

So how did we manage to stay in Spain, a member of the Schengen Zone, the entire year without a Schengen Visa?
Wagoners Abroad 2013 Travel no Schengen Visa

Why No Schengen Visa?

We have a Spanish Resident Visa, which gives us full access to the Schengen Countries! We can come and go as we please and we made our best effort to see what we could navigate around the kid’s school schedule.  I don’t think our 2013 travel schedule was half bad.  In fact, when I sat down to write this I was thinking “No wonder we are tired and just want to stay home for Christmas!”

We shared with you some time ago a typical day for Wagoners Abroad.  That is a typical school day for us and is still pretty much the same.  A typical travel day/week/summer is quite different and a little more exhausting.  I won’t get into that here, but you can check out a summary of our 6 week European Road Trip to get a feel for the experiences and the cost of the 6 week road trip.  Ok, I bet you want to know where we traveled in 2013 right?  Well it was 9-ish countries, really 8 plus a territory.

Wagoners Abroad Venice Italy

Wagoners Abroad Venice Italy

No Schengen Visa – Where did Wagoners Abroad Go?  

I have decided to list these in alphabetical order rather than chronological order.  I will try to add a link to a post for each so you can get the time frame.  There are a few places we visited often so it is difficult to do along the calendar.  After all it is easier for me this way and that is what it is all about, right?  Making it easy on me, as these posts can take hours to write.  Check out our videos on you tube from our Summer Road Trip

  1. Andorra – This was just a quick drive through for lunch as we traveled from France back to Spain, near the end of our Epic 6 Week European Summer Road Trip.
  2. Austria – While it was a last minute decision to make our way to Switzerland from Italy via Austria, we are so glad we did.  We were just here in the Southwest corner for 2 nights and just fell in love with See, Austria.  We will be back to visit for sure!
    See, Tyrol, Austria
  3. England – Alan and I lived in London, just a month after getting married.  So it was like an extended honeymoon with work, from early 1997 – late 1999.  We loved London and it touched our hearts forever.  We were thrilled to finally return and show our children where we lived, worked and enjoyed our first few years of marriage.  We not only experienced our first House Sit on this visit, but we were able to show the kids Stonehenge as well.  The kids fell in love too and we all can’t wait to return again.
  4. France – Oh how we love France!  Lars would love to live in France one day, Paris to be specific.  I will have to admit that we were a bit tired for our visit to Southeast France this time.  It was near the end of our Summer Road Trip and we only visited the Alps, where our trip took a hairpin turn, as well as Lyon and Toulouse.
  5. Gibraltar – While this isn’t a country, we are adding it to the list as it is its own “special thing”.  A territory or an appendage of England?  Anyway, we had a blast visiting Gibraltar and it was good for some serious laughs when Mom got mugged!
    Gibraltar Monkey
  6. Italy – Oh how we feel in love with Italy!  We arrived via ferry, just outside of Rome and took about 3 weeks to venture north and covered so much.  I think we could live there for sure!  The kids learned so much about history and were very inquisitive. Some highlights were of course Rome, Marmore, Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre, Bologna, Modena (Pagani Supercar, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese), Reggio Emilia, Verona, Lake Garda, Lake Como and Venice. I have to say we even enjoyed our pit stops and seeing dogs at the shopping mall.
    Lake Garda Italy - The kids loved the boat
  7. Portugal – We visited Lisbon and the Algarve in 2012, but in 2013 we visited Porto.  Oh how we loved Porto, Portugal.  Though it rained the entire 3 days we were there, that didn’t stop us from having a blast.  Are you catching on to the theme yet?  We fall in love with every place and have a blast!  Isn’t that what life is supposed to be like?  We did of course experience a little bit of a startle on our drive home, but other than that it was great.

  8. Spain – We can’t forget our home base country of Spain.  While I couldn’t possibly list everywhere we have been and explored, I can share a few highlights.  We love Spain, Andalucia and especially our town of Almuñécar in Costa Tropical!  We have experienced 3 Kings procession in Granada, Carnival in Cádiz and La Herradura, Seville, Water fight in Lanjarón , prehistoric caves in Ronda, awesome Thai food and caves in Nerja, multiple visits to Frigiliana, covered with mud in Mar Menor, shredding in Zaragoza, Madrid, Córdoba, Antequera, Estepona, Marbella, Fútbol in Málaga, Lavender in Lecrin Valley, Motril, Otivar and Anya dancing in La Herradura. There is so much more, but we can’t cover it all.
    Wagoners Abroad at Mar Menor - Lo Pagan Mud Bath
  9. Switzerland – Oh how we loved the nature in Switzerland.  We climbed every mountain, well a few anyway, and enjoyed it so much.  It was crazy expensive, so we didn’t stay the full 2 weeks we originally planned, but made the most of our time there.  The Alps were gorgeous and we did a little relaxing atop the Niederhorn and enjoyed the train ride up Schynige Platte.

    Enjoying the Swiss Alps

    Atop Niederhorn, chilling


Are you thinking of taking a Career Break, Sabbatical, Extended Vacation, or Mini Retirement?  If so, Spain is a wonderful and pretty affordable place to create a European home base.  Just $100/day or about $3000/month is our regular budget for living in Spain as a family of 4, including travel.  Our summer road trip was about double the standard budget, as we were on the move every few days, enjoying many tourist sights and eating out far more often than a typical day at home in Spain.

32 thoughts on “No Schengen Visa Needed For Wagoners Abroad!

  1. Yes, it was busy Elena. Since we have our resident cards for Spain we are in the clear, but that Schengen Visa limitation isn’t good for the average American traveler.

  2. What a year! And I had no idea about the schengen visa issue. I used to travel in Europe with my Itailan/EU citizenship- when all you needed was an ID–but never got my Italian passport so this is great information.

  3. Wow! What exciting adventures! Of course, you know I understand exactly why you fell in love with Italy. How could you not?! That photo in Switzerland has me completely sold, I must go. Here’s to another great year of travel!

  4. Hey Renee, we didn’t know what to do with Gibraltar, so what the heck. 🙂 We are leaving Spain just after the school year finishes at the end of June. We will likely hit a little more of Europe on our way out, as we are going to grab one of the awesome flight deals to Asia from Olso or Stockholm. So we will probably spend July near Amsterdam and then Denmark, Sweden and/or Norway. Then off to Bangkok to figure out the rest. We would love to meet up with you!

  5. Haha, I counted Gibraltar as a country too. 🙂 You guys are having an amazing adventure and have been to some wonderful countries. When are you leaving Spain? I’m hoping to get my family back to Europe next year and we’d love to meet up!

  6. i agree with emiel that you’ve just coined the best travel slogan. and with jamie that you just rock because of the fact that you got through the entire visa thing. you’re a constant inspiration for me. constant. and i must say, i’ve madly fallen in love with the monkey on your mirror. omg. looooove it, and you guys, gabi

    • Hey Maggie! Welcome aboard. 🙂 So do tell, how did you “discover” our blog? So glad to meet you and we can’t wait to get to know you. Tell us a bit about yourself and your travel plans.

  7. You guys are in the perfect spot for discovering all of Europe. What a blessed little family and I for one am glad to be one of those people you met on your travels in little old gatwick 🙂 Merry Christmas & Happy 2014 travels! 😀

  8. We’re OK, we all have UK passports. But I don’t think the Aussies need to get Shengen visas either, I think they’re OK because of the commonwealth connection, but I could be wrong. It’s expensive maintaining 2 sets of passports, but it comes in very handy!

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  10. Wow, this whole Schengen business makes me glad to have a British passport Heidi! You guys have had a great year and I can’t wait to hear about what you get up to next year.

    • I know Amy, a British passport is a cool thing to have for travel! We are excited about 2014 ourselves, hopefully our paths will cross.

  11. Those pesky Schengen visas! Glad you avoided all the problems they can entail. As an Englishman, I don’t need one, but trying to travel with an American this year proved all sorts of difficult in Europe and we ended up spending much time in Turkey where you can simply buy a residence visa from the police for a few dollars and couple of fake (also bought) stamps.

    • Yes, you have it made being from England. Well, at least in these American eyes you do. That is good to know about Turkey, we really want to explore that area too. Thanks for stopping by Jamie! I loved reading your adventures biking, rafting and all that good stuff.

  12. Sounds like a fabulous year!! I am very jealous. I would love to get some type visa at some point to do something similar.

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  14. Your link misled me a bit – of course you can travel without the Schengen visa with your residency cards! I have had a temporary resident card for nearly 3 years, and I rarely have to flash my passport (but always bring it since most places aren’t as lax as Spain’s lesser airports!). Here’s to more traveling in 2014!

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  16. Being British, I won’t need a Schengen visa next year, but Miu is going to need one. I hate the hassle of sorting visas out. She’ll also need a UK visa, so double hassle. We’ll be visiting Spain for sure.

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