Traveling within Europe, living arrangements and accessories

Hi guys! I hope you are doing well and preparing for finals!! I hope next year smiles upon you and you have a wonderful summer!

I am a month away from Italy! I am very excited and nervous! Today I will tell you about my research about traveling within the Schengen area as an undocumented individual, also about accomodations, hotels, hostels, and Airbnb.

Traveling within the Schengen Area

This has been the root of my anxiety.  The opportunity to go abroad is a crazy dream I never thought it would happen to me, yet, here I am, a month away from my wildest dream.  Like any other student, I would love to travel, visit France, go see the Eiffel Tower, take a selfie in front of the Louvre, go to Austria and pretend of I am in the Sound of Music.  fe

However, as an undocutraveler, there is alway a black cloud bashing on my sunshine.

This is what I have concluded about my research so far: 

  1. You can travel within your given study abroad country with no complications, including that country’s islands.
  2. If you are traveling to another country, use the train NOT a plane ( I will elaborate on this below)
  3. If you are in England and want to cross to a Schengen country they WILL stamp your passport (although sometimes not)
  4. France and Germany although in the Schengen zone have tougher border controls than the rest of the zone

After many interviews with different individuals from diverse backgrounds, I have concluded that the passport stamp is a hit and miss.  Some stamp and some do not, however, it is more likely to get stamped by plane than by train.  I cannot tell you not to go or to go, this is your decision. If you do decide to travel by train make sure to take your passport because they do check your documents, but it is not likely to get stamped.  If you decide to rent a car, that is also an alternative and you are less likely to get stamped, but this is not a certainty.

If you do get stamped, you will not have a problem coming back to the United states, specially if you go on a weekend, however, this might be a problem when adjusting status. BUT this is also not a certainty because this depends entirely on the officer reviewing your case.

In terms of traveling through the Eurozone, regardless of the Schengen zone, such as from Italy to England, YOU WILL GET STAMPED thus, please take into consideration all the options stated above.  However, some individuals told me that by train, they do not stamped, but from all the interviews I conducted, only 1% told me this, therefore I do not recommend it.  Now if you are IN the Schengen zone and want to travel within the area, in some ways it is safer, but there is still a risk, do what you will, but I will take several days of consideration.  

If you are traveling to Asia or the American Continent

Do not travel, you will get your passport stamped, specially if it is for humanitarian reasons, your traveling will be looked down upon. Don’t risk it.

Housing Accomodations 

There are various types of living arrangements in Europe, varying in rates.  The most popular one is the hostels, those are as cheap as 15/night, hotels ranging from 40/night all the way to the hundreds, there are bed and breakfast, and there is Airbnb.  

Hostel

This is the cheapest or mid pricing range depending on the type of room you get.  If you want a reliable source to book a hostel go to http://www.hostelworld.com or look at http://www.lonelyplanet.com 

If you are booking a hostel, beware of bed bugs, do not leave valuables on your room when you go out, if you can leave it on a safe on the front desk, please do that.  It is better if you book a hostel in a group, that way you can protect each other, sleep with your valuables, such as passport.

Hotels

These are the safest accomodation, you have a front desk you can rely on, ammenities, and the majority provide a safe for your valuables, it also provides privacy.  But these are more expensive, if you have the money you might consider, but if you take your time to look, there are affordable rooms to consider.  Go to http://www.tripadvisor.com they have list of cheap hotels, they have costumer ratings, as well, those are very useful.  When booking a room, compare the prices tripadvisor provides you with the actual rates of the hotel, so go to their website and compare. 

Bed and Breakfasts 

This are a little more expensive, but they provide comfort, privacy, a real experience of the country and it includes breakfast! A legitimate site would be http://www.bnbfinder.com if you choose this option, make sure the BnB is certified, for your own comfort.

Airbnb

These are not certified bed and breakfasts, but they are very affordable, provide privacy, and an actual cultural experience, in addition, some of them are conveniently placed and are less noisy than hostels.  HOWEVER, if you are considering this alternative make sure to read the reviews, compare and constrast to other listings.  Airbnb is a hit or miss, you might have an amazing wonderful time, and sometimes you might have a nightmare.  Book flexible bookings so when you booked you can research the address (make sure is a real address).  Also keep in touch with the host, email them and tell them how excited you are, make a connection, that will take you far and they will actually like you.

Airbnb requires you to verify your identity, they will ask for a government issue identification, you have to take a picture and submit it.  If you are DACAmented use your driver’s license or ID, they will get confused.  Their verification process sucks and is annoying, so be patient.  If you are booking with them, do your research throughly.

Accessories 

This is a list of essentials that I have gathered from people:

  1. MONEY BELT: This is probably the most important thing to have, you can store there your passport or a copy of your passport and credit or debit card and the majority of your money
  2. A small crossbody bag: use this for your keys or lipgloss and small amounts of currency, so you don’t have to go under your shirt everytime you want to buy something
  3. If you are planning to travel withing the program get a medium sized duffel bag, that way you don’t have to carry a suitcase with you everywhere
  4. plug converters: Amazon has awesome kits, if you have an account you can ask if they work in the country, or countries you are going
  5. Pack lightly: Everyone tells me this! Don’t take your whole closet
  6. Take a hat.
  7. Comfortable shoes and clothes, casual outfit, and fancy outfit

Once I know of more things to take I will let you know!!!

Again good luck on finals!!!

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