The Visa Guide for US Citizens
One of the most stressful things about travel is the planning - especially visas, because you can't make mistakes! Well, one of our fellow travel writers, Talon Windwalker, of 1dad1kid, is an expert at visas - because he's lived and traveled the world for years - and he's written an excellent resource book, entitled The Visa Guide for US Citizens. If you're just beginning your travels, and need visa help, this is the book for you. If you're a seasoned traveler, and need visa help, this is the book for you!
The Visa Guide for US Citizens is a treasure trove of information, filled with details that are not only necessary, but critical for your travels. The book not only lists all of the countries you can head to, but excellent resource sections on CA-4 region (Central America), the Schengen Zone (Europe), renewable visas, countries requiring advance visas, countries requiring vaccinations, visa costs, and countries where travel is not advised. There are also chapters on traveling with children, travel safety, and yellow fever. But what I love most are the personal stories scattered throughout, from travelers all around the world, talking about their experiences with visas.
The guide is extremely well-organized, with clickable links (LOVE ebooks!) to the different countries and sections, if you're deep into planning (as opposed to deep into dreaming).
We caught up with Talon as he was about to switch continents - you KNOW he's got his visas straight! - and asked him some questions to get the backstory of this book. Here's what he had to say...
Please tell us about your book, The Visa Guide for US Citizens...
This is an ebook containing information on the various visa requirements by all the countries recognized by the US Department of State. It's been put together in a very handy, simple to use format so that someone traveling or planning to travel can quickly get the basic information needed on what will be required for a visa, length of stay, costs, if there are required vaccines, special notes (such as which borders to avoid, which ones require an advance visa, etc.). Some areas have popular scams, and I've included warnings about those. Some countries won't allow you to enter if you've been to Israel, so I've made sure to warn readers about those situations. In addition, there are personal stories for many of the countries as well as links to helpful blog posts from travelers who have great information pertaining to a specific country. There are also some handy tables for an even quicker reference, as well as sections about yellow fever and travel safety. Overall, I think it's an invaluable resource.
What inspired you to write this book?
I began planning for our current nomadic life two years ago. As I began researching visas, I saw how quickly it could give you a headache. The State Department's site is also not as helpful as it could be. Often it has missing or broken links, incomplete information, etc., so then you have to search to find the country's embassy's site. I decided if I was going to do through all this research anyway, why not put it together for other people to use as well - and spare them the torture!
You've got great personal stories in there, too - how did you find such stories, about international living and visas?
I've had the fortune of being connected with some amazing veteran travelers whether they be solo backpackers, 50-something empty nesters, or families traveling together either short or long term, so I've followed their stories, tweets, and blog posts over the last couple of years making sure to save anything that might be helpful for when we're ready to visit a particular area. I also put out a general request in some travel blogger groups and discovered some new gems, such as Cat Gaa's funny story about how she ended up discovering she was married in Spain.
What advice do you have for nomadic travelers?
Enjoy the ride! This type of freedom is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it for anyone who is even remotely considering it as a possible lifestyle change. My son is 11 and is preparing to set foot on his 3rd continent this month and by next month will be on his 4th when we do a 2-month housesit in an oasis in southern Morocco. Talk about memories! And travel really doesn't have to be expensive. I make considerably less money now than I did in our "normal" life back in the States, and we're 300% happier. It's worth it. Even when we hit the occasional bump in the road or suffer through 30 hours of travel by bus.
What's up next for you?
In terms of projects, I'm working on a new fantasy book and will be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. I began my 1st fantasy novel, Rise of the Djall, during that project in 2009, so I decided it would be the perfect way to launch the writing of its sequel.
Wandering Educators note: We reviewed Rise of the Djall here (loved it!): http://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/stories/visit-magical-land-rise-djall.html
Travel-wise, on Oct 18th we begin our European adventure and then have the aforementioned housesit in Morocco. When that ends, we'll have a few months to travel around Europe and/or northern Africa before we housesit in New Zealand where we'll be taking care of some cats, a bunny, and a small pack of 8 pet rats.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
This book is available on Amazon, but readers can go to Smashwords and use the coupon code of FQ52Z to get a 30% discount. This book has already been priced very low because I wanted it to be accessible to people.
Thanks so much, Talon! I'm very impressed with this guide, and highly recommend it to our Wandering Educators!