How to get to Europe (roundtrip) for less than PHP 10,000

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

With the Euro facing a steep decline these days, travelers all over the world are flocking over to Europe. While the enhanced “touristy-ness” seems like a turn-off, Europe is just too good so it does not matter if all of your pictures are selfie-ceptions (i.e., a selfie wherein you have people, also taking their own selfies, in the background). As the setting for much of the climatic events in history, Europe has a lot to offer in terms of history, architecture, and culture.

Unfortunately, the cost of flying alone (at about 45,000 PHP) is already enough for a 30-day backpacking trip in Southeast Asia (no kidding). However, one could book a flight to Europe through unconventional means. Cheaper yes, but it comes with a risk. Read on:

1. Hunt for a Manila-Dubai piso fare
With the fuel surcharge dropped (could I hear an “amen” travelers?), roundtrip promo fare Manila-Dubai flights are now ridiculously cheap at about 1200 PHP. From thereon, you could book a flight to any European country. Europe has such an excellent transport system that it doesn’t really matter where you land. You could just hop on and go to the next country, either through train, overnight bus, ferry, or airplane. But of course, for us Filipinos, we don’t have such impunity because of (say it with me) those damn visas.

2. Apply for visas

Unlike Japan and South Korea, visas for European countries are harder to get for us Filipinos. Thankfully, Dubai is such a great hub that you could just adjust your plans accordingly if you fail at an application. The first one to apply for would obviously be the Schengen visa. Once retrieved, this economical visa allows a passport holder travel to about 26 countries. Sweet.

If you are unsuccessful in getting a Schengen visa, don’t fret. You could still adjust your plans accordingly by applying for a country specific visa. Even if you get super unsuccessful with that endeavor, you could just divert your plans and go to Israel and/or Turkey. Israel is visa free while Turkey is visa free for Philippine passport holders with a visa of an OECD country (e.g., Japan). More info regarding the tourist visa to Turkey here.

3. Buy a flight

Since Dubai is a hub, finding cheap flights from there to everywhere would be a cinch. Note that you won’t be needing a tourist visa to the U.A.E if you would leave within 24 hours. Anyhow, here is a flight which I have found just this morning.

Dubai-Bulgaria roundtrip flight (roughly PHP 8045.00)

Note however that Wizzair has a different baggage scheme. It would be best to research the cabin luggage rules of each airline you intend to fly with so that you would be assured that your bag will be allowed as carry-on on all of them.

Another important caveat, if you would be leaving Dubai from DWC (Al Maktoum International Airport) and not DXB (Dubai International Airport), you will be needing a tourist visa for the U.A.E. Thus, it is advisable for you to stay in the U.A.E when leaving from DWC. It is a fantastic destination on its own and is of course better than being laid over for a couple of hours. Factor in your costs and travel plans in deciding the method within which you shall fly to Europe from Dubai.

Bottomline: 

Getting the whole package for 10,000 PHP and below needs a bit of luck. Nevertheless, it is quite possible. If you have a multiple entry Schengen visa, then you are quite assured in getting such a flight. Without a doubt, the greatest problem here is the possibility of being refused multiple times in your visa applications. However, if you have a stable job, a reasonable bank balance, and some interview skills, you could get by. Nevertheless, the savings gained through such method are enough “gambling money” for the country-specific visa applications.

I was about to utilize this myself but I am already out of leave credits. Maybe next year. I just wanted to share this info for those who are interested in visiting Europe.

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