The European travel market is in great condition: the European Union has extended its trusted White List of member states, welcoming the newest member, Turkey, for example. Still, the enlargement of the European Union (EU) has not been without its negative points. In fact, the EU continues to work on improving its image and as a result the travel market continues to contract. While this may seem ironic, given the high degree of political integration in the EU has enjoyed over the past sixty years, some believe that the collapse of the travel market will only strengthen the continent’s embrace of European identity and cultural values. Conversely, others argue that a decline in the travel market will actually help open the door to greater cultural diversity within the EU.
The fall in the European travel market will affect how Americans view the EU. As the EU enlarges, both Europeans and Americans will need to adjust their perceptions of each other. Currently, the greatest challenge Americans face regarding European travel is visa demand. Currently, there are eleven different types of visa types available to Europeans wanting to travel to the United States. While many people assume that all visa types are identical, this is not true: for example, there are differences between tourist visas, business visas, and student visas. This is why it is important for each person planning to travel to Europe to be aware of which visa will best meet their needs before traveling.
Another potential obstacle is vaccinations. There have been rumors that the United States is withdrawing from the European Union’s immunization program, called PPSV, due to fears that Europeans may stop using the vaccines to prevent travel-related diseases. While there is no confirmation that this is true, it is important for travelers to research the immunization requirements for both Europe and the United States to ensure they meet with their respective standards. While the PPSV withdrawal is a possibility, there is no guarantee that the US will follow suit, so travelers should definitely double check their records with the Department of State before leaving for Europe.
Visas and immunizations are two issues that do not always fall neatly into the shoulders of either tourists or Europeans. Americans visiting Europe have an additional burden in their passports: they must bring their passport with them if they are travelling to a European country, even if they are only visiting for a day. This requirement, however, can easily be circumvented. For travelers planning to travel to Europe for more than a day, it would be best for them to apply for a visa, which will allow them to stay for 90 days – providing they meet the other requirements, such as meeting employment requirements.
While the majority of tourists will encounter few difficulties when it comes to visas and immigration, they may run into difficulties when it comes to actually entering the European Union. The European Union has made it illegal to leave the country for any reason, and US citizens are specifically forbidden from traveling to the EU without a valid visa. However, visa requirements can vary between different EU countries. For instance, British citizens are required to apply for a visa before traveling to Spain, but Spanish visa requirements are very lenient.
Visas and immunizations are two issues that do not always fall neatly into the shoulders of either tourists or Europeans. Americans traveling to European countries should be extra careful about the type of vaccinations they receive. Some common diseases that are spread among Europeans can be avoided by simply taking anti-fever medications, but Americans traveling to European countries may find themselves at risk when it comes to diseases like hepatitis. Another danger for Americans traveling to European countries is a case of mistaken identity. A common trick among travelers is to use a false name (or a person’s birthdate) to get into a country that they are not familiar with. While this can sometimes help them avoid being searched upon, it can also lead them into a dangerous situation.