Europe on a Budget: The Tumbling Feet Way

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Traveling the world seems impossible when you work an eight-to-five job.

Like most people, I work 40 hours a week, and have minimal paid leaves. Some people are able to leave their jobs just to travel the world. But not me, I still don’t have enough courage to quit my day job and leave everything behind just to explore the world.

But despite this schedule, I was still able to squeeze in traveling to Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Hungary, France and Czech Republic in 2016 alone. UAE, too, if you consider sitting in Abu Dhabi Airport for 5-6 hours :p

Last October 31st, I finally jetted off to Europe for 14 days. Would you believe that I only spent 110,382.44 PHP (inclusive of my airfare, accommodation, and pocket money)? All those trips were neither work-related nor sponsored. 

SO, HOW DID I DO IT?

1.  I planned my visa application for almost a year

A trip to Europe requires a lot of planning and preparation. In fact, I’ve been planning to go to Europe ever since I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” back in High School. And like a chain reaction, that memoir got me reading other books on World War II. I am a self-confessed history junkie. Always have been and always will be. It is no surprise that my ultimate dream is to travel to Europe and Africa.

The problem of every first timer is how to get that SCHENGEN visa. I was so keen to get it, which is why I planned everything meticulously. Three months before my intended date of travel, I booked the earliest possible appointment so that in case my application gets denied, I still have the time to re-apply again. You could say that I was pessimistic, but you should take into consideration all the possibilities so that you can have a plan B. [You can read my post on how I applied for a Schengen visa.] For months, I read blogs on how to lodge a visa application. I relied on Brenda and Jacklynne’s blogs, and even messaged them on Facebook. They were very helpful and they answered all my questions. Thank you, girls! J

2.  I booked my plane ticket the moment I received my Schengen visa

I received my Schengen visa last August 31, 2016. On that day I bought my round-trip ticket for 712 USD (33,915 PHP) at Etihad.com, which was a very good deal! In addition to this, I was extremely lucky because there was a good exchange rate at that time. Exchange rates change so often and its movements are exceedingly hard to predict. In a span of two weeks, the exchange rate ballooned to around 48 PHP to a dollar! I’m glad I booked it immediately and didn’t waste time.

According to Rick Steves, Skyscanner specializes in European budget airlines, and it’s a quick way to determine if any of them serve the route you are eyeing. I used Skyscanner to browse available flights and find the cheapest prices. The cheapest plane ticket that I purchased was 1,646.49 PHP (Barcelona to Frankfurt). You have to explore everything when using Skyscanner. The possibilities are limitless. Another option is to subscribe to your airline of choice for newsletters and fare alerts.

Airline
Amount
Route
Vueling Airline
5,763.93 PHP
Rome-Amsterdam-Barcelona
Vueling Airline
1,646.49 PHP
Barcelona-Frankfurt
Wizz Air
3,625.05 PHP
Frankfurt-Budapest
Ryan Air
1,552.39 PHP
Budapest-Paris
Transavia Airline
1,920.99 PHP
Paris-Prague
Vueling Airline
2,195.00 PHP
Prague-Rome
TOTAL
16,703.85 PHP
WOW!!

 Total Expenses in Transportation: 

Transportation
Amount
Route
Etihad Airways (round-trip)
33,915.00 PHP
Manila-Abu Dhabi-Rome
Airline Tickets
16,703.85 PHP
Schengen Area
Tren Italia (round-trip)
3,868.04 PHP
Rome-Florence
TOTAL
54,483.89 PHP
AMAZING!!

3.  I stayed at Hostels

Backpacking on a budget is possible in Europe. Others try Couchsurfing, which is where travelers like me stay at other people’s place for free. I actually signed up for this but after much contemplating, I decided that I’d rather stay at hostels than Couchsurfing; it’s a bit too adventurous, even for me.

I would highly recommend Hostelworld for finding hostels to stay at, where you can compare all the prices and reviews of the hostels. Likewise, TripAdvisor is where travelers around the world give honest reviews of hotels, restaurants and even activities they participated in. Lifehack: I discovered that you can save money when you book directly at the hostel’s own website. I found this out because I usually compare several sites before booking a room. 

There are thousands of affordable hostels in Europe and staying at a hostel can be fun, too. Just make sure that the hostel room you book is just right for your comfort level. Although I had my own room in Frankfurt, if I had to pick my favorite hostel or hotel, it would be Charles Bridge Hostel. I loved everything about it! I’ll be writing about my hostel/hotel adventures in a future blog post, stay tuned!

Accommodation
Amount
Night
City
Hostella
1,514.90 PHP
1
Rome
Generator Hostel
805.84 PHP
1
Barcelona
Maverick City Lodge
1,343.00 PHP
2
Budapest
Generator Hostel
1,514.53 PHP
1
Paris
Charles Bridge Hostel
1,644.79 PHP
2
Prague
New Generation Hostel
2,536.79 PHP
2
Rome
The Corner Hotel
5,048.18 PHP
2
Frankfurt
TOTAL
14,408.03 PHP
WHAT?!

How much does it cost to travel in Europe for 14 days?

Amount
Transportation
54,483.89 PHP
Accommodation
14,408.03 PHP
Pocket Money
41,490.52 PHP
TOTAL
110,382.44 PHP


Yes, traveling the world on a budget does seems impossible when everything seems so expensive nowadays. But as you can see, traveling on a budget is possible. As I have said on my “About Me” page, you don’t need a lot of money to travel, but it requires a lot of patience to research and explore the best options. There are endless practical ways to travel cheap. You will be astonished how penny-wise you can be. J

Rori Xx

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