Nine months this and 12 countries, which is most cost effective, buy or rent a car?
Lu Ann, There's absolutely no way to easily answer that question without more details about your proposed trip. I'm not sure what "nine months this" means??? Which 12 countries are you planning to visit??? I'm sure you're aware that you can't remain in the Schengen area (most of Europe) for more than 90 days in any 180 day period. Severe penalties and fines can result from those that don't follow the rules. Cheers!
Sorry about the typing error. We will be staying in France, Italy, Austria, Slovania, Croatia,Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden on the main land for a total of 9 months. We will be in any one country for no more than 90 days. (1) buy a used car or rent?
(2) how do I find out about the90 day limit you referred to? Thanks
"We will be in any one country for no more than 90 days. " That's not the rule. You are allowed 90 days out of 180 days in all Schengen countries put together, not 90 days in each individual one. All of the countries you listed, except Croatia, are part of Schengen. Details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area. Assuming you are US citizens, your plan will not work without a long stay visa. Start researching this NOW, as it's not simple, and you may not qualify. Sorry to rain on your plans, but better to find out now.
Lu Ann: That means you'll have to be in the U.K. and Ireland for most of your time there. You really should look into details of the Schengen Agreement on Wikipedia. I have a niece living in Grenoble that had to move to London area. She travels across The Channel often, but abides by the treaty. It is possible to get a Visa for the country you'd like to spend the most time in, but we understand you've got to jump through so many loops. These countries are really trying to protect their jobs from foreigners.
Many long term travelers have just chosen to stay their 90 days or a few days less and go home.
Lu Ann, As Harold mentioned, the 90 day limit applies to ALL of the 26 countries in the Schengen area. Once you've reached the 90 day limit, you MUST LEAVE the Schengen area for a minimum of 90 days before you can return. Those caught violating the rules can face severe penalties including heavy fines and deportation. It is possible to get a long stay Visa for ONE of the Schengen countries, however the 90 day limit still applies to visiting all the others. You can start your research by having a look at the U.S. State Department website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4361.html Regarding your question about renting or buying a car, based on my research on the subject that could be a complicated way to travel. A few thoughts..... > Renting a car for such a long period would likely be VERY expensive. The rental agency may have restrictions on taking cars into some countries, especially in eastern Europe. CDW or other insurance may also be very expensive. > Buying a car may be easy, but insuring it may be more of a problem if you're not a resident. I'm not sure what type of insurance you'd have to buy to cover all the countries you're planning to visit? I've noticed on trips to Europe that license plates seem to have a "tag" either for the country they're registered in, or all of Europe. I'm not sure whether there's a difference in cost, but hopefully one of the European members here can clarify that. > Leasing a car could also be an option, but I've never looked into that. Using public transport would be a much easier way to get around, especially covering the countries you want to visit. Good luck!