Do Australians need a visa for Europe?
Whether or not you – as an Australian – need a visa when visiting Europe depends on a number of factors, making it a highly complex question to answer simply. Europe is not a country, but rather a continent made up of 50 different countries. Some of these countries are part of the Schengen area: a group of European countries that have common entry and exit requirements, making it possible for travellers to move between countries without going through border controls, or needing a separate visa for each country. There are currently 26 countries in the Schengen area:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Australian passport holders do not need a visa to enter and visit any countries in the Schengen area for tourism or business stays of up to 90-days within a 180-day period.
What makes visa requirements for Europe more complicated is the fact that many of the countries not in the Schengen area have visa waiver agreements with Australia, allowing for visa free visits of anywhere from 5-days to 6-months. But the agreements are different for each country, and you are advised to contact the Embassy or Consulate for any European countries outside the Schengen area for the latest details on visa requirements.
When is summer in Europe?
All 50 countries in Europe are in the Northern Hemisphere, with summer officially lasting from 21 June through to 23 September. However, this is also peak season, so in addition to being prepared for warm to hot weather, you should also be prepared for crowds in many destinations.
Do you need an international driver’s licence in Europe?
Like the need for a visa, the need for an international driver’s licence – officially an International Driving Permit (IDP) – in Europe varies from country to country. Getting an IDP isn’t that complicated or costly, so if you’re planning on driving through much of Europe it would be better to get an IDP before leaving Australia; you can only apply for it in the country that issued your original driver’s licence. Some car rental agencies won’t rent you a car unless you present an IDP and current driver’s licence.
Do I need vaccinations for Europe?
Most countries in Europe are quite developed, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about too many vaccinations ahead of time, apart from ensuring you are up to date with:
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella – Germany in particular has seen an increase in measles over the past few years.
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis – changes in immigration patterns have brought about an increased risk, especially for diphtheria.
- Current flu vaccination (within the past 12-months).
- Hepatitis A – not essential, but can help minimise your risk of contracting this foodborne disease.
Nothing ruins a great holiday like having to be treated for an illness that could have been prevented by being vaccinated in advance.
Is travel insurance necessary for Europe?
Even if you are only visiting one country or city in Europe, travel insurance shouldn’t be seen as necessary, but essential. It’s a cost-effective way of preventing unplanned spending on medical treatment – both minor and major – and replacing lost or stolen personal belonging, including your luggage. Crime rates vary considerably across Europe, while there has also been an increase in terrorist attacks on popular tourist destinations, and having comprehensive travel insurance will also protect you against lost deposits and more in the event of any travel plans having to be cancelled or delayed.
We also offer insurance for other destinations such as China
Home to a multitude of cultures, religions, varying cuisines, and abundant history, it’s easy to see why Europe is a popular holiday destination for Australians. From skiing on the slopes of Switzerland to sipping some of the finest wines in France, Europe offers one of the most diverse holiday experiences around the world – with so many different areas and attractions to explore. But before you venture into this diverse continent, you need to research the best travel insurance for Europe, for your needs.
Before you consider buying travel insurance for Europe, you will need to ascertain what you need to be covered and whether a basic travel insurance policy will suffice, or if a more comprehensive travel insurance is needed.
Besides your health, your personal needs, and the risk that you pose to the insurer – the travel insurance that you buy for Europe will be influenced by the countries you are travelling to – or through, and the activities you will be participating in.
The best travel insurance policy for Europe should include some – if not all – of the following:
Medical cover and medical evacuation: Medical expenses can add up quickly in Europe if you fall ill or are involved in an accident. Your travel insurance should provide a substantial amount of medical cover for hospital and doctor visits, together with medical evacuation cover if you need to be medically evacuated.
Trip interruption and cancellation: Trip delays, interruptions, and cancellations are always a possibility wherever you travel. Your travel insurance should cover most of the costs involved if your trip is interrupted in any way.
Lost or delayed luggage: If your luggage is delayed or lost during your trip to Europe, your travel insurance should cover most of the costs involved in replacing your luggage or providing emergency items while it is delayed.
Personal belongings: Your insurer will cover your personal belongings up to a certain amount, and you should inform them of any electronic devices such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, and cameras so that these are covered in your policy.
Winter sports cover: Many of the 50 countries in Europe are covered in snow during parts of the year, allowing for skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, and many more winter sports. These activities are not always covered by travel insurance unless specified. You will need to take out a policy that covers you for these activities.
Cruise ship cover: With Europe surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy its shores by cruise ship. You will need to specify any cruises to your insurance provider, so this can be added to your policy.
Natural disasters: While there is often advance warning for some natural disasters, where travel insurance will not cover you – other natural disasters can take place without prior warning. You should check with your insurer if you and your belongings are covered in the event of a natural disaster taking place.
Vehicle excess: If you choose to rent your own vehicle while you travel around Europe, your travel insurance should cover most of the excess involved if the vehicle is damaged or in an accident. This might not include motorbike or scooter insurance, so you should check with your insurer beforehand if you are covered, and add this to your policy if necessary.
24/7 emergency assistance: Nobody wants to be stranded in a foreign country without help at hand – make sure your provider offers 24/7 emergency assistance wherever you are in Europe.
Information for travelling to Europe
Visa: As an Australian citizen, you will not require a visa for Europe if you are travelling to any of the Schengen countries, for a stay less than 90-days. For countries outside of the Schengen areas, you will need to check with the Australian Embassy or Consulate for that country, to find out visa requirements.
Driving: You will need a valid Australian driver’s license to drive in Europe, and will need to check with the Embassy or Consulate for the country you will be travelling to if an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required.
Register your travel plans: Before you leave for your trip to Europe, it is advisable to register your travel plans on the Smartraveller website, for the Australian government to have access to your details in the event of an emergency – they can then contact your family if need be.
Sign up for alerts: You can sign up for alerts and information regarding the country you will be visiting in Europe, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Before you choose the best travel insurance for Europe, you should compare quotes from different insurers to find the right policy for your needs.
What you should know about buying travel insurance from an airline