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Opinion, Personal, Travel, Visa

How to Make Visa Application and Traveling Cheaper

Traveling has been a very hot topic on social media. Everyone wants to go somewhere and travel. I can’t blame you – it’s addictive! Sometimes, I feel a lot of guilt with the money I’ve been spending on travel. My expense for my Eurotrip could be a downpayment for a car or a house and lot. However, those can wait. I’m not getting any younger and in the blink of an eye, I might already have my own family which will make traveling hard. So yup, travel, travel, and travel until I’m able.

Anyone can travel just as long as they have money. I don’t consider myself a special snowflake because I know that with enough budget, anyone can do it. It’s just that I’m blessed with a good job, an entrepreneurial mind, and guts which allowed me to earn money and to see the world.

I used to feel so uncomfortable disclosing how much I spent on my travel and visa application because I didn’t want to be judged. I know not everyone has the same traveling style so some might think that I spent an excessive amount or some might think that that’s too cheap and something sounds fishy. When people ask me how much I spent on my Eurotrip, I do not answer them with “I spent blah blah blah,” I would say “Prepare 350,000 to be on the safer side.” I didn’t want to share how much I spent because I didn’t want you to base how much you’ll bring based on my experience because unless you’re me, our expenses will be different.

However, please respect because my money is my money. I have worked hard for this and I can choose whatever way I’d want to spend it.

Anyway, to answer your question, here it is!

This year’s travel and visa application expenses

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Please note that all of these are just estimates. Especially with my Eurotrip, I estimated PHP 350,000 because that was the difference on my bank account before and after the trip. I’m just estimating how much I spent for this and that.

I don’t know about you but that’s cheap! I’ve been asked by a lot of people how I can afford to travel. Some even asked if I loaned in a bank or if I have a credit card. Fortunately, I only spend money that I have. I have PHP 0.00 debt in my life and that’s something that I am proud of.

I know a lot of people who spent a million on Europe for a month and PHP 60,000 on Thailand just for a few days!

So, how did I keep my traveling expenses and visa application at a minimum?

Click next!

U.S. EMBASSY MANILA TOURIST VISA INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE
Personal, Travel, Visa

US Tourist Visa Interview Experience Manila

My US Tourist Visa Interview Experience Manila

Once upon a time, it was my ultimate dream to go to New York City. All those high buildings, fancy streets, and that overall vibe. However, life happened; I matured and realized that there was more to life than NYC and what it is portrayed on the movies. I prioritized my European dream and worked hard to achieve it. Needless to say, my Eurotrip was the highlight of my whole existence. My USA fantasy went into the backburner but of course, I still want to have the option to visit it.

With all the horror stories I’ve heard from friends, families, and even on the Internet, I kept on delaying my plan to schedule an interview. They said that you need show money, land titles, cars, properties, businesses, and whatnots. The fact that I have just graduated a year ago, with less than 2 years in my current employer, single, no kids, and no properties, it was a risk to apply. Imagine PHP 7680 going down the drain in case I got denied? 

Because I’m me, I didn’t care; I just did it!

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You wouldn’t believe how many people told me that it’s super hard to get a US Visa and they also said that I should wait for a few years just to be sure. I don’t know but I’m that kind of person that I jump when it’s the scariest to jump. What’s to lose? I mean, yeah, the PHP 7680 but I can still earn that. I can reapply if ever I get denied so I have to do it.

The plot twist is: I have no ties there. I have my distant relatives but they’re first and second cousins of my mother and I doubt the consul will acknowledge that. All I have with me is my closest college friend and she’s the one I want to visit first. I asked for her permission to use her information in filling out the DS-160 form and she happily agreed. I LOVE YOU, ANNE!

US Visa Application Requirements

When I saw that they have an available interview on my preferred date, I immediately paid the visa fee via BPI Fund Transfer and waited 4 hours to activate the payment and confirm the interview date. I have less than a week from scheduling it to the actual interview and I didn’t do anything but secured the ff.:

  • Passport
  • DS-160 form
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Payment confirmation
  • Certificate of employment
  • Income tax return

That’s it! Remember what I told in my previous post that I have 150 pages of documents that I presented to the German Embassy? In US Embassy, it’s just that! The last two are not required but I brought it anyway just to be sure.

However, from the U.S. Embassy website, here are the things you should consider bringing:

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You can do the whole application yourself that’s why I am still wondering why there are people who pay for visa assistance. They do not guarantee approval, they’ll just do what you can do which is assisting you on what you should answer in the form – all of which you know yourself. It’s useless and a waste of money. If you can read and you’re not dumb, there’s no use of getting their service.

Now, on to my experience! Click next!

How to Travel Without Quitting Your Job
Advice, Career, Opinion, Personal, Travel

How to Travel Without Quitting Your Job

“I quit my job to travel the world,” “I’m the girl who quits her corporate job to travel the world,” “Why quitting your job is the best move if you want to travel the world,” bullshit this, and bullshit that. So, what do you want now? A cookie or a star stamped on the back of your hand?

If you’re one of these people and you’re genuinely happy with your move, then yey! I’m happy for you but don’t come dictating other people what they should do with their lives and treat yourself as superior because you quit your job and traveled instead.

Breaking news: NOT EVERYONE CAN DO IT EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO AND ALSO NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO QUIT THEIR JOB JUST TO TRAVEL. 

So stop implying that they should work harder to be just like you.

You can blog and say how you did it but not blog and say that they should do it, too because it’s like the ~best thing evuuurrr~

People like these should be banned from using the Internet especially when their blogs are popular! Readers, eventhough they can make their own decisions, tend to be encouraged to quit their job just to travel.

If you’re planning to quit your job so you can travel, hear me out first. YOU. DO. NOT. NEED. TO. DO. THAT.

For starters, read this article first:

This Couple Quit Their Jobs To Travel And Now Scrub Toilets To Get By

Quit job and travel? What for? So that I’ll fall into the “Millenials who made it” category? Quit job and travel? So that I can have something all my Millenial homies be envious about? Or so that I can have an Instagram-worthy post?

Surprise, surprise! There are people who want to travel but are still happy to pursue their careers.

Different strokes for different folks, y’all. We all have our own definition of success and we all have our own ways to do it but don’t you fucking get me the advice to “QUIT YOUR JOB AND TRAVEL” to make yourself feel better that you did it.

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I traveled without quitting my job

I went abroad, had the best time of my life, and went back to my amazing job. No, I never ever thought of quitting my job just to travel when I can do both. I think that this is why the German Embassy granted me a visa to go on multiple entries plus added more days on my stay (I asked for 50 days and they gave me 75 days) – it’s because they know that I am happy with my work here and I would never be an illegal immigrant in EU.

Switzerland with my new friends while still having a job

Switzerland with my new friends while still having a job

I believe that if you want a long-ass vacation or break from your job, that means you are in the wrong industry and it means that you are not happy with your job. I am happy to travel for 2 months but those 2 months, I can’t keep thinking about my job back home and I can’t wait to resume my work. It’s because I am passionate about it and I enjoy working.

Ask yourself: “Why would I want to quit my job just to travel?”

I’ll answer it for you! Maybe it’s because:

  • you think that having a full-time work might get in the way of your traveling
  • you think your employer won’t let you travel for more than a month
  • you want to go full-on traveling without working and checking your emails

and I’m here to say that none of these matters just as long as you know the art of negotiation.

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Advice, Opinion, Personal, Travel

How I Saved Money For Travel

I can’t believe that my Eurotrip video with my face all over it was already liked by 6,100+ people and has been shared 600+ times. Out of all the 800+ comments and 10 million (lol) messages sent to me, I’ve been asked how much I spent for the 65-day Eurotrip. To be honest, I don’t know the exact amount. I tried jotting all my expenses down but after a while, I realized that it’s useless. What for, right? Besides, I felt guilty seeing all of the money I spent for the trip. To estimate based on the amount I had when I went there to the amount I have now on my bank account, I spent around 350k.

Just to tell you frankly, I don’t feel comfortable disclosing my expenses because some might think that is too much for a 21-yr old lady to spend just for traveling. I know other people will still judge what other people do with their money but eh, whatever. Aside from that, I don’t want you to base your expenses on your future travels with how much I spent. We’re all different individuals and I don’t have any idea about your traveling style. I’m the kind of girl with no arte and pride meaning I don’t mind sleeping in a hostel, asking for a relative to accommodate me, and even asking for a family’s friend for a roof for some nights. I don’t know if you’re like that too so throwing out how much I spent is useless unless you’re like me.

Anyway, yes. I did spend more or less (but probably less) than 350,000 pesos for a 2-month of travel and that is not bad at all. Some even said that their relative/friend spent almost a million for a month of Eurotrip.

I saved a lot because I booked a group tour, stayed with a relative and a family’s friend for a month, and then saved enough money for the 10-country group tour. That means saving a lot for 51 days just for me to spend a lot for that 14-day group tour I joined.

Yes, I had the most amazing wine, pizza, pasta, steak, beer, and memories in my life. Yes, it’s expensive. 

What the hell do you do anyway?

I may look cute and spoiled but this 15-year-old self was already working her ass off for her dreams

I sacrificed three babies and bathe in the blood of virgins in exchange of this Eurotrip.

LOLJK.

If I were in your shoes, I’d probably doubt someone’s claim that she’s a 21-yr-old self-made, too. I mean, how? You just freaking graduated and you’re in the Philippines working. How did you have almost half a million pesos to finance your travels?

I’m just 21 years old but I’ve been working since I was 12 making Friendster layouts and charging people 300-1000 pesos per layout. I’m not saying that I still have those money on my bank account now and that I’ve been saving for 9 years for this Eurotrip. However, those that I’ve earned back then I immediately used it as a capital for another business: selling contact lenses. I think I was one of the first people who sold contact lenses here and I got my supplies straight from Hong Kong. I did this since I was 13 years old to 14 years old and then moving on to another business which was buying and selling phones. I would buy a phone on OLX (formerly Sulit) and sell it for higher the price I bought it. My parents who I adore so much never, ever gave money to buy new clothes and things that I want when I reached the age of 13 and I am happy they did that! I was never spoiled and I learned how to hustle. When I was 16, I got a big break writing articles for a NZ and US-based companies. That allowed me to earn 17k pesos a month and that is big considering I was just 16. Sadly, back then, I didn’t know how to save money so I just kept on spending my money to eat and eat and eat. I kept that job and other freelance writing work until I graduated college. Aside from that, I sold makeup and did makeup for graduation. Imagine waking up 2 in the morning to do makeup for 20+ students then heading straight to class and then after class, meeting up with makeup buyers then in the evening, work on the articles on queue. Yes, I am that hardworking and I deserve all the things that I have now. 

If you’ve just seen my travel photos and the stuff that I have without knowing me, you would definitely think that I have a sugar daddy or a financer.

I would always joke about getting a sugar daddy when I’m tired of working but nuh-ah. I’m not perfect and modelesque but I would never have sex with a wrinkly old man aka an expired hotdog just to have money when I can get it myself.

…but it you know me and my life, you will be proud of me and you will say that “Hard work really pays off.” You can just go ahead and take a look at those comments from my friends saying they’ve seen me at the bottom and they’re proud where I am now.

Here I am, clapping for myself. I’m such a loser. LOL.

Anyway, to answer your question: I work as a Professional Content Writer and Digital Marketer now. I do earn a decent amount per month for me to be able to save and at the same time, give my family a monthly financial contribution. I also have other sidelines such as selling makeup and my kidney. LOLJK.

How long did it take for you to save your Eurotrip fund?

Venice with this cutie

Less than a year. Woah, right? I’m not really sure but I asked UnionBank how much I had when I graduated college last year. They said that I had 80,000 pesos then I asked them again how much I had when I left my last job which was July last year and I only had 35,000 pesos left. I moved to my current job, sold makeup, did makeup, work on freelance writing and in less than a year, I had more than enough funds to cover my Eurotrip.

Oh, okay. So how exactly did you save?

I just like saving and if there’s this hobby, yes, my hobby would be saving. I want to take a look into my bank account and be satisfied that’s why I’m doing everything to be thrifty. I would give you few tips on how I save money.

© Header image by my tourmate and wonderful friend, Keri Ferreira (Prague, Czech Republic)