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Voltaire Brown

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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe Home Page
- Voltaire Brown's Opening Words
- Basics
- Notes To Unintelligent Travelers
- Documents and Packing
- Money
- Getting To Europe
- Voltaire Brown's Closing Words
Baltic States
Iberia (Spain/Portugal)
Europe's Other Losers

Voltaire Brown talks abut the documents you will need to travel. You will definitely need a passport and likely a visa. Voltaire also discusses packing.

Documents and Packing

"Documents are something you should never leave home without. Today, we live in a paper-pushing society like never before, and it is confusing for foreign immigration officials to not be handed more pieces of paper to file, stamp, and xerox upon your arrival."  Voltaire Brown

For those intending to visit Italy, the Greek Islands, or the former USSR, it is advisable to file an insurance claim for theft before you depart for Europe.  Travelers headed to Albania or the former Yugoslavia should think about extending their life insurance policies and meeting with a lawyer to revise their wills.

Special forms must be filled out to bring an ox, corpse, hydrogen bomb, or the works of V.I. Lenin into any European country.  Consult your country's state department for details. 


You must be in possession of a valid passport to enter any European country.  This does not apply if you are enormously wealthy, in which case every country you visit will be offering you citizenship.

In most English-speaking nations, passports are valid for five years for minors or miners, and ten years for everyone else.  It's quite common practice nowadays for many in the ten-year category to say coal is one of their hobbies in order to obtain the five-year passport.  Not only is it cheaper, you don't have to stare at the same dreary photo for a decade.  Passport photographs, without exception, are always horrendous.  National passport agencies will not issue you with a valid passport if the photograph you send with your application is thought to show you in a positive light.  Unflattering photographs discourage European restaurateurs from wanting to buy your passport and using it as a coaster.


visaA visa is a stamp in your passport allowing you to enter and stay in a country for a specific period of time.  The purpose of a visa is economically based.  It is estimated that for every thousand visas issued, a hundred jobs are created in the stamping, initialing, approving, processing, printing, licking, etc.  Visas are big business.  In a world of free borders, millions of people would be out of work. 

Some countries charge, some don't.  It all depends on the state of the national ego.  Countries which are condescending to tourists will ask you to fork out dough for the privilege to come.

In general, the less desirable a country is to visit, the greater likelihood you will need a visa.  This may seem contradictory, but it's not.  People love to think they're part of something exclusive and will go far out of their way in order to prove they were elite enough to be accepted, even if that means life without central heating and sleeping sitting up on a toilet.  

Don't take it personally if a European country won't issue you a visa.  Somehow, a Visa Gold at the border seems to work just as well.   


Just like home, you can never be 100% sure what weather to expect, so you better pack it all:  rain gear, snow gear, beach attire, three-piece suits, tuxedos, skirts, dresses, nightgowns, sun glasses, goggles, mink coat, fancy jewelery, Cosmopolitan, longjohns, polka-dotted underwear, silk-laced panties, and dildos.  Depending on your specific intent in Europe, there may be additional clothes/equipment you should bring over.  A tour of Finnish Lappland in December would require you to pack a sled and dogs, which would be useless in mafia-populated Sicily where you should have instead packed several varieties of guns.  Most picking and choosing is common sense.  If you're unable to come to a conclusion what should be packed, ask your mother.


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 Voltaire Brown the travel guru discusses the various travel documents you will require. Get yourself a passport and make sure you don't need a visa. Voltaires talks about packing, too.