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visa

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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!