Browsing Tag

eurotrip

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)

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Opinion, Personal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Travel

6 Things I Have Learned From Traveling Europe

It’s been a week since I got back from the Philippines after my 2-month trip in Europe. The trip did not only change my life completely but I have learned a lot of life lessons from this travel. I know that you guys are so, so sick of my everyday drama telling you how I am so blessed and this whole trip was a miracle because I am self-made. It’s true, though. If you were in my position, you’d understand. I don’t know what I did in my life to be this blessed! That’s why I am sharing you this blog post about the things I have learned from this travel.

1. It’s okay to not be a solo traveler and to join a group tour

With my amazing friends around the world traveling Europe, sharing loves and laughs

Believe it or not, there are some blogs who are shaming other travellers saying that you are not a legit traveller unless you are a solo backpacker and I believe that is a huge BS. As long as you are traveling and appreciating the places you go, YOU ARE A TRAVELLER. I didn’t have anything planned when I first came to Europe. All I thought was that I’ll stay in Germany and then visit the neighbouring countries such as Netherlands and Belgium. That’s it! I am bad with directions and I know that I will 100% be lost that’s why I didn’t bother to check out other countries.

You know what happened next?

I found God’s blessings through Tinder.

Girl, what? What? What?

I know. Tinder. I use Tinder mainly just to advertise my blog. I swipe every now and then but I never meet up with guys because it never progressed. Anyway, a few weeks before I left for Europe, I saw a guy on Tinder and his photos were all around Europe. I asked the guy how much he spent for the travel and he told me “I am not sure because everything’s handled by TourRadar – they are an online marketplace for tours.” I had no idea what TourRadar was but I’ve been seeing their posts on my Facebook every now and then. I went to their site and scrolled for some European trip and was amazed with a bunch of selection from different parts of Europe. Hold up, guys. Just a disclaimer: I am not being paid to say this. I just love TourRadar so much because they let me experience a once in a lifetime (hopefully not just once, though.. lol) adventure that I would never forget.

I searched for a trip that will let me travel to multiple countries including the accommodation, transportation, guide, and meal and I found this 10 countries for 14 days Europe Jewel tour. It was worth it and I would pay even twice the price because it’s that good. 

If you wish to book any packages from Tour Radar, I have a code you can enter upon checkout to get 5% discount. Just enter TRIPCOMETRUE.

I’ve learned in my life that if you’re an introvert then go ahead, do solo travel if you wish to but if you want to meet new friends and stay in a good hotel and not just in a hostel, then feel free to book tour packages. It’s up to you and no one can shame you just as long as you’re having fun.

I had a great time with my good friends from the tour and I’m so happy that we’re already planning our next adventure in Asia next year. Traveling 10 countries in 14 days with my sweet and loving friends made this trip 10x happier. I am so happy that I stumbled upon Tour Radar and that they helped me from booking the tour to meeting the tour group in Amsterdam to checking me if I’m having fun. I did and I will do it again.

2. Different culture, different personality

I have met people from literally all around the world. I even met Keri, which was from Zimbabwe. I mean, she’s the first Zimbabwean that I know personally so that’s really cool. Different nationality, different culture, different personality that’s why you never take things personally. My roommate, Natasha, who is a British lady from South Africa but is currently based in Dubai first striked me as a condescending girl because she doesn’t talk to me that much even if we were roommates and this upsets me so much because I thought we will be inseparable. Breaking news: Honey, it doesn’t work that way. Filipino girls tend to be very clingy with each other and I expected the same with other culture and that is what’s wrong. Natasha doesn’t stick with me 24/7 because duh! She wants to mingle with other people aside from me and it makes me feel so stupid for expecting a person on a group tour to always be with me. LOL. I sound like a creepy roommate. Anyway, Tash is a very very sweet lady and we even cried the last day of the tour. She accompanied me to the train station and we promised to see each other again. YES! We will see each other again this February! I’m so excited, I love herrrrr!!!

My point is: When you travel and for example a person raises her voice, don’t panic and think she’s belittling you or what. Maybe she’s German and her voice is just naturally like that hahaha.

3. It’s okay to be lost

I don’t like to travel alone because I think I will cry if I get lost. I got lost in Prague and look at me, I’m still alive and typing this. It’s okay to be lost because what is the worst that could happen? You ask for direction, they point you to the right direction, you’re back. AC, my Indian friend and I got lost in Prague because we were too busy taking photos. We lost our tour leader and the rest of the group. We tried following their path but we ended up in a dead-end! I was panicking and almost on the verge of crying. Czech do not speak English that well so lucky me that I got a pocket wifi from My-Webspot which allows me to be connected 24/7 everywhere in Europe (use my code EUROPECONNECT for a discount – again, I’m not paid to say this hahahaha!) to translate and ask people the right direction. Direction to where, though? The rest of the group were heading for dinner and we didn’t get the name of the restaurant. We had to call our tour leader but my EU sim card only works in Germany. What we did was to find a small restaurant and ask anyone that looks approachable if we can call. A lady my age works as a seller in this pastry shop and agreed to use her phone to make a call. Imagine? She let two clueless Asians to use her phone without any hesitations! Faith in humanity, restored! Never be afraid to get lost because it’s kinda fun. LOL.

Luxembourg, Personal, Travel

Luxembourg Day Trip

The only thing that I know about Luxembourg is that it’s the richest country in the world. I’ve read and studied about it in my World Geography class but aside from that, I didn’t know much about it. It sounds like a made-up country like Princess Diaries’ Genovia LOL. I never intended to go there but when Father Lachica, the priest here in the town where I’m living at invited me to travel, I said YES. We initially wanted to go to Rhimes in France but changed our mind. We wanted to bring Tita Tots who had an appointment in the afternoon but Rhimes would be a long drive. I’ve already been to nearby countries like Netherlands and Belgium so we decided to go for a 4-hour drive to Luxembourg instead.

The weather was bad when we left Germany but when we were near Luxembourg, it started to get worse. It was 2 degrees and my winter jacket wasn’t even helping.

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We stepped out of the car tired, dizzy, and freezing. It completely ruined our mood but we’re already there and we have to just enjoy the moment even if the weather’s bad.

I’m glad we had a homemade frikadellen (meatball), sandwich, cola, and chocolates with us. We warmed ourselves and headed out for an adventure.

Luxembourg has a lot of tech HQs located in there such as Microsoft, Skype, eBay, and Amazon. We went on a Monday and there wasn’t a lot of people out.

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People that we asked for direction cannot speak in English and the navigator and Google maps wasn’t working because there was no signal. Coolcoolcoolcool. We just walked and tried our luck to find the palace in the rain. So not cool.

It took us 30 minutes or so to find the palace but we stumbled upon this hilltop view and it was magical.

So beautiful and peaceful.

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We walked, and walked, and walked until we died. LOLJK.

Until we found the palace….

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It was… uh… how do I say it? Underwhelming.

It’s like “It’s this?! That’s it?”

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I’m the type of person who will tell you 100% how I feel about a person or a place. I’m transparent and being lucky enough to go to these places, I feel like it’s my job to tell you how it really is. I’m not the type of “blogger” who overhypes the place and say “liek OMG u guys it’s soooooo beautiful” etc etc just to make them look like they’re having the time of their life. I’m sorry, Luxembourg. I love you, I get your beauty and you are amazing but I was underwhelmed with the whole place. I go to places and I feel a rush but I never did with this place. Of course, I feel so blessed having the opportunity to go here but I will be honest with you – it’s skippable. You may or may not in your lifetime will get a chance to travel this country but either way, you won’t be missing so much.

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I’m not in any way picky with places because who am I to act like that? I’m just a girl from the home of the pollution and corruption, the Philippines. To top that, I don’t live in an exclusive village to act entitled. It’s just that Luxembourg looks like every other place in Europe except it’s not tourist-friendly. Nothing much to see, hard-to-understand road signs, and restaurants close early.

If you have a chance to travel Luxembourg, go ahead! See it for yourself! It’s good for just a day trip. However, I don’t think it’s worth to spend a week here.

I thought I was acting crazy until I did a quick search on Google. “Luxembourg boring” will give you tons of articles that will say so.

Anyway, we were so tired from walking around and the rain didn’t even have a plan to stop. We gave up and after 3 hours, we went to their Notre Dame Cathedral and decided to go home.

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As we were hungry, we want to eat first and try their Judd mat Gaardebounen. However, because we’re so lucky with this trip, all restaurants were closed. It was only 3 PM. Nicenicenice. Dude, I don’t even know why. Is there some sort of agreement to not welcome us? LOL. Luxembourg’s really trying our patience.

We drove home and stopped by an Asian buffet along Germany.

Anyway, never say never. I’d love to see Luxembourg again. I always give the benefit of the doubt and I think that maybe it was just the weather that ruined our trip.

Or maybe it’s our lack of planning that lead us to a 4/10 experience.

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I will sure go back again on my next Eurotrip.

See you, Luxembourg!

Blog, Germany, Personal, Travel, Visa

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?

I’m using a speech to text program because I know that any post that discusses how to apply for a Schengen visa would be long. I wanted to be as detailed as possible because like you, I had no idea before how to apply for Schengen visa if you’re from Philippines. All I know is that it was super hard especially for a citizen from a developing country like me. Let me tell you now, it’s hard but it’s not impossible. I really hope that by end of this post, you will learn a lot on how to get your own visa.

Author’s profile

Just a background about my profile: I’m a 21-year-old Content Writer and Marketer – Digital Marketing for Bolton International since July 2015. I graduated a year ago and I landed my first job as a Search Engine Optimization Writer for Lazada Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore where I worked from March-July, 2015. I have no kids/dependent and I’m not married.

Ask me six months ago and I would tell you how it’s my dream to go see the world and travel. Ask me six months ago and I’ll also tell you how I think it’d be impossible for me to do so because I know it’s hard. Sure, I know that I will eventually get my dreams of traveling around the world but I would have never guessed that I will be able to accomplish it at the age of 21 years old and without the help of anyone financially.

This might not be a big deal to some but let me tell you, I didn’t come from a well-to-do family and to top that, there was an error in my birth certificate. It took me 3 years to finally correct my gender from male to female (but I’m a legit female, okay lol) and those 3 years, you have no idea how many buckets I cried. I can’t get my passport and travel because of that stupid error which I have no idea why it took so long. I missed the opportunities in New York City last year, Dubai, and New Zealand this year because of this gender error.

Long story short, God knows the right timing and weeks after I had my birth certificate error corrected and after I hit my financial goal, I received my multiple-entry Schengen visa.

My Schengen visa in its full glory:

Apply for a Schengen Visa Germany Mania Philippines

Everybody wants to go to Europe. Germany, France, Netherlands, Greece, and Spain are just some of the countries you’ll find in there. Everything in Europe speaks of class, culture, and art! However, not just because you have a money and can afford the plane ticket doesn’t mean you can visit those places. You will need a visa to do so and today, I will teach you how you can obtain one.

What is a Schengen Visa?

This is basically a pass or a permission that allows you to travel to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Unlike first world countries, citizens from our country need to apply for this visa in order to travel Europe. They say that it’s harder to get a Schengen visa than a US visa because a single visa will allow you to travel to 24 freaking countries in a maximum span of 90 days / 3 months.

Is the process the same for work/marriage/study visa?

This post on how to apply for a Schengen visa is only applicable for tourism. There’s a different type for work/marriage/study.

I only know how to get one for tourism.

When can I apply?

You can start planning for your trip, completing the requirements, and booking your interview 3 months before your trip. I planned for my trip the first week of November 2015, asked for my employer’s approval for my leave around the first week of January 2016, booked my visa interview by the 30th of January, and completed the requirements by the 26th of February.

For the full timeline on my visa progress, refer to this post.

Is it hard to apply for a Schengen visa?

Obtaining 150 pages of document is hard but the effort was so worth it.

Apply for a Schengen Visa Philippines

Do I need to be super rich to be granted a Schengen visa?

Nope. Don’t believe the Internet and the naysayers telling you that your chances are low because you’re not rich. I am not rich! I live near a highway and vulcanizing shop, my parents are teacher and driver, I studied at a public school, I don’t have a car, nor do I have a rich boyfriend to finance me. So, no! As long as you can prove that you won’t stay there illegally, then you’re safe. Just be sure to have a job and a decent savings on your account. My sister applied for a visa last 2013 and unfortunately, she was denied. We think it’s because she didn’t have a job back then when she applied. To secure your chance, look for a job, save some money, and then apply for your visa. Don’t rush because Europe will wait for you. Do it slowly but surely.

Do I need to have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe to be granted a Schengen visa?

Nope. If you can do it yourself, it’s nice to do it yourself. I do have a relative in Europe but the embassy didn’t even ask me to submit a document showing that I do have one. It still depends, though. If you think you lack the money needed for your Europe tour, you can declare that you have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe who will support you. As for my case, I am really blessed to have an aunt in Europe who is so supportive and willing to make their home my home base while I travel (I love her so much!) but even if family is family, I still don’t want to cause inconvenience  to anyone  and ask for money just for my dream.

I’m glad to say that I financed this whole trip 100% using my own money from hard work but I won’t judge you if you need help from someone. Whatever floats your boat just as long as you’re not hurting anyone and you’re happy.

apply for a schengen visa how to

How much money do I need to show the embassy?

It depends upon the embassy. France is an expensive country to live in and they require 56.20 euro per day. The German embassy requires that you’ll have 45 euros or PHP 2,385 per day exclusive of your flight ticket. So for example, I’m planning to stay for 30 days, I need to have PHP 2,385 x 30 = PHP 71,550 + the flight ticket of let’s say, PHP 52,000 = PHP 123,550. Of course, you need to have more than that because the embassy might think you’ll have nothing left when you return from your trip. In my opinion, you need to have at least PHP 200,000 for a 30-day stay in Europe as PHP 123,550 excludes accommodation and activities.

Can you tell me the step-by-step process on how to get my Schengen visa?

Of course!

  1. Plan your trip.

Where in Europe would you want to go first and for how long? This is important because you have to apply in the embassy of the country you’ll stay at the longest.

What if I want to go to Germany for 10 days and then Netherlands for 10 days?

 If you’ll stay at different countries at an equal time, you should apply at the country you’ll go to first. In this scenario, apply in German embassy.

  1. Google, Google, and Google

…or Yahoo. Whatever floats your boat but research and read travel blogs to answer your questions. My favorite Schengen visa blog post is by Dream Euro Trip. DJ Yabis is an amazing person and he is very helpful answering people’s questions through the comment section. His post on how to get the visa is actually my homepage for 3 months. It’s so detailed and you will learn a lot from the firsthand experience of the commenters.

  1. Read the embassy’s requirements

Different countries included in the Schengen zone have a lot of similarities with their requirements but there are still some that differs. I applied in the German embassy and I’m glad that the website is very detailed and it answers a lot of questions.