While many people dream of traveling to Europe, those from the United States may worry about the process of getting there and wonder if they can travel freely without having to apply for a visa first.

If you’re an American citizen, whether you live in the US or abroad, you can travel to Europe as long as you’re aware of the basic requirements and restrictions that apply to US citizens entering the continent. In this guide, you will find out what the Europe requirements for US Citizens are and how to get them ready.


The Ultimate Guide to Traveling to Europe as a US Citizen

Do you need a visa or ETIAS?

ETIAS is an abbreviation for electronic travel information and authorization system. It is an automated pre-screening system that will determine whether travelers to Schengen area countries require a visa. If you’re planning on staying in Schengen area countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden) for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days – ETIAS will be compulsory. The application process can take around 15 minutes and you must fill out your details online and pay around €7 fee through your credit card before being approved or denied.


What do you do after getting your ticket?

Now that you have your ticket, you need to make sure everything is in order for your trip. This includes getting all of your vaccinations up-to-date. Make sure you are following guidelines set by the CDC and each European country’s local recommendations. You will also want to research visa requirements before leaving for your trip, which varies from country to country. Make sure these details are taken care of well in advance so you don’t run into any last minute problems when traveling abroad.


What else do I need to bring with me on the plane?

The TSA requires all passengers over 12 years old to present a valid picture ID. If you don’t have your passport with you, you can use an alternate form of ID such as your driver’s licence. Make sure that it’s current and up-to-date, though, even expired licenses are accepted. What you need to bring depends on how long your trip is going to be: For round-trip domestic flights under five hours, no additional documentation is required for adults or children. You do not need photo identification for these flights.

For international travel (including Canada), however, you will need proof of citizenship such as a U.S. passport or a permanent resident card (also known as an Alien Registration Card). You will also need photo identification—such as your state-issued driver’s license—for any international flight. And if you’re traveling internationally by land, sea, or air, make sure to check with Customs before leaving home; they may require proof of citizenship and/or photo identification when returning to the United States from abroad.


Where should I stay in Europe?

Now that you have an itinerary planned out, it’s time to decide where exactly you want to go. It is often recommended to pick three places and just book lodging for those locations. This way, if one place doesn’t work out for some reason (the weather is bad, you can’t find a good price on accommodation), then you still have options. Most backpackers stick with hostels or Airbnbs because they provide great value for money and usually meet your needs (i.e., no shared bathroom), but hotels are also an option if you just can’t live without your own sink and mirror space.


After Europe – Where Next?

The U.S. has no shortage of things to see and do. After you’ve traveled through Europe, there are many other destinations that await you – why not plan an American road trip? The United States is one of the most diverse countries in terms of culture, food, and attractions – it would be impossible to mention them all here! Instead, we’ve picked our top six bucket list-worthy states to explore: California, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, New York City and Arizona. Each state offers something different, from beaches to theme parks, but they also have something else in common: they’re just waiting for you to visit.



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