As of January 2016, the entry and exit requirements for all countries within the Schengen area have changed.  Previously, your passport only needed to be valid for 3 months beyond your exit date from the Schengen area (or in most cases, the date of your return flight).  Now, it is 6 months.  If you're planning to travel to Europe soon, it's important that you (1) check your passport's expiration date and (2) get it renewed if it expires less than 6 months beyond the date you are EXITING the Schengen area (not entering it).

You may be denied boarding on your outbound plane if your passport doesn't meet these requirements, and you'll be delayed until you have your passport renewed.  There have been multiple reports of this, and wouldn't that be such a bummer way to start off your trip?!

Full info can be found here on the US Department of State website.

And in case you were wondering, here are all the countries that are part of the Schengen agreement:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

And areas that are not members of the Schengen Area but still have open borders are:

  • Moncao
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

source: Wikipedia

You might also like: Overcome jet lag in one easy step: childbirth