Subscribe to Compass Worldwide TravelNews FeedSubscribe to Compass Worldwide TravelComments

Travel Q&A: The European Union

Question: “I live in America, and I’m going on holiday to Spain next summer. I’d also like to go to Italy, and I know I can drive there from Spain. My question is about my passport; will I need to show it when I cross the border from Spain to Italy and vice versa? I know they’re both in the European Union, so I’m not sure if normal border controls apply. If at all possible, I’d rather not carry my passport around with me.”

Answer:

While Spain and Italy are both in the European Union, you will still need your passport and the usual forms of ID – such as medical insurance documentation – to cross the border.

It’s an easy mistake to make. In the United Kingdom, for example, you do not need a passport to cross the border from England to Scotland or Wales to England – so there is a precedent for this thinking. However, the European Union is largely a political union – the countries within it remain separate, and regular border controls apply.

On another note, while it’s understandable that you don’t want to carry your passport with you, in some European countries you are required to do so by law. In Italy, for example, police have the right to stop and ask anyone, at any time, to produce documentation as to their identity. It is therefore worth investing in a money-belt or similar to keep your passport in, so if you do get stopped, you won’t have any problems.

Be Spontaneous With A Surprise Holiday

The concept of a ‘surprise’ holiday may be unpleasant to some; after all, isn’t half the fun of a vacation looking forward to going there? Maybe it is, but if you hanker for something a little spontaneous and fun, then a surprise holiday might just work for you.

The ‘surprise’ aspect of a surprise holiday does not come from a sudden decision to go on holiday, but rather where you go. You can still book the time off work, get a dog sitter in and get your documentation in order: just book a couple of weeks (or however long you have) off like you normally would, and then head to the airport on your first day off.

Here’s where the surprise element comes in; you go to the airport not knowing where you are going with a surprise holiday. Once you reach the airport, you ask at desks for ‘stand by’ seats and last minute deals. As airlines do not like to fly half-empty planes, they will often offer substantial discounts if you can fly that night on a flight that is not fully booked. It’s all about being cheeky and asking.

If all goes to plan, you will make a huge saving on the flight cost and will be presented with a destination. Once you arrive, it is up to you to find your hotel.

It’s a slightly crazy concept, but those who enjoy surprise holidaying swear that is the fun of it. Not knowing where you’re going, what you’re doing or even what type of clothes to pack makes the experience extremely exciting; so if you’ve got the courage, why not give a surprise holiday a go?

All You Need To Know About UK Travel

The United Kingdom – the union name for the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – is one of the most popular tourists destinations in the world, especially the capital of England, London and the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Traveling through the UK – as it is abbreviated to – is fairly simple given the size of the four countries. Three – England, Scotland and Wales – are connected by land. It is possible to travel from the Northernmost point of the UK – John O’Groats in Scotland – to the Southernmost point – Land’s End in England – in a day. Only Northern Ireland is not on the same island as the other three countries in the Union, but is reachable by a short ferry trip, most commonly from Scotland.

As the countries are small and interlinked, UK travel is a surprisingly easy aspect of a vacation there. It is possible to fly domestically, and rail and motorway networks serve the UK well. However, rail travel is very expensive, as was recently evidenced by the first issuing of a return rail ticket costing over £1,000 (around $1,400). There are discounts available, however, especially for foreign visitors on short-term stays.

Flying by air is much simpler, however, and usually cheaper, too. The UK has several major airports, both international and domestic, and flights between the countries are inexpensive and regular. You do not need to show a passport to travel across the country borders, though some form of ID is recommended for air travel.