Three major obstacles did present themselves that complicated our plans. The first was travel/health insurance that would also provide medical evacuation if needed. Medicare does not cover us in Europe. There are several insurance plans out there that are all good and similar in coverage. However, most of them only offered coverage for three months. We finally settled on Travelex insurance because they were reasonably priced and offered a full year's coverage.
The second obstacle was our medications. We could get prescriptions for 90 days but we could not have them filled here in the US and have them mailed to us wherever we were when we needed the refills. It apparently is illegal to mail medications to individuals overseas. Pharmaceutical companies can send bulk medications to pharmacies overseas, but individuals can not receive such mailings. The answer was to have our physician write the prescriptions for us to take with us and have them filled overseas at local pharmacies (might require a local physician to countersign them).
The third, and potentially the biggest obstacle was the Schengen Rule. There are approximately 25 countries that make up the European Union and they have entered into an agreement that allows free passage between countries without going through passport control each time. However, the Schengen rule states that any individual who is not a citizen of any of the European communities (read here US citizens) can not stay in any part of the European Union countries that are part of the Schengen treaty for more than 90 consecutive days out of any 180 days (unless you are a foreign exchange student, get married to a Union member, are on a business visa, or request permanent residence). Carefully looking at the membership of the Schengen treaty we have had to plan our trip in such a way as to be three months within the Schengen Treaty countries and then three months in countries outside of the treaty.
Hopefully we have worked out all of these issues to make this a truly enjoyable trip. We leave for the first part of this trip on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, heading to Florence Italy.
More to follow