"WHAT??? No way am I paying 1000 euros!! I come to your country to do charity work and this is how you repay me? I don't have 1000 euros and even if I did I sure as hell wouldn't spend them lining your pockets!!!"

An American friend of mine had come to Greece over the summer to help save endangered turtles on the island of Crete. 

The stunning island of Santorini. How would it feel to wake up to this every morning? Peak summer season quality dorm beds as low as US$20

Unfortunately whilst the turtle families and the NGO involved were eminently grateful, the Greek bureaucrats (world famous for their incompetence and love of bribes) were not.

She had overstayed her visa by one day and like sharks tasting blood in the water they saw an opportunity. 

 I have heard it's a common trick - they rigidly interpret the laws and demand a very high fine in exchange for what seems like a cheap bribe... say 100 euros.

Paris - a place you need to experience at least once in your life. 3 bed dorms for as low as US$20 

I have heard many varying stories from different parts of the Schengen zone - some Australians staying for over a year and then exiting through Belgium where they are more relaxed about the law and having no problems. 

Whilst I have heard of others who have been fined in Belgium, so really it's like a game of Russian roulette and you are gambling with your travel money and the possibility of being banned from reentering the Schengen zone for years.

There are two solutions to this.

The first and most obvious one is if you are lucky enough to have recent European heritage.

If so, then track down the papers and visit the relevant embassy in your home country because an EU passport is worth gold whilst traveling and living abroad.

Top photo: A couple enjoying passion in Paris. Bottom photo: A couple enjoying the view of Castelo de São Jorge in Portugal

For the moment this still applies to people with UK heritage (but given how many voted for the UKIP in the recent elections, the UK may not be part of the European Union for much longer).


The second less known one - which is a legal loophole to the Schengen regime is getting a one year Hungarian visa.

Hungary is in the Schengen zone so a visa from Hungary means the freedom to travel all throughout the zone for an entire year!

Hungary, with its amazing architecture and history is worth visiting on its own, but here is yet another reason visit!

The visa costs just 60 euros and is valid for an entire year. Contact your local Hungarian embassy for full details.

So there you have it, the easiest way to get around the ridiculously short Schengen visa period without being Jason Bourne.

Also, I wanted to mention  that occasionally I send out a unique newsletter with my secret and unique money saving tips, great deals on flights, and special locations unknown to the average tourist (at bargain prices). You really can travel on a super small budget to exotic locations if you have all the information the travel companies don't want you to know about!
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Photo Credits Budapest, Santorini, Paris1, Paris2, Portugal.