Traveling to Europe and getting a Schengen visa
Move over Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia because this Filipino tourist is traveling to Europe!
Traveling has been more affordable with the rise of low-cost airline, more and more tourists are able to visit nearby ASEAN countris more than once, it’s time to broaden our reach to satisfy those traveling feet. Japan has opened a wider door for Filipinos, and Europe has become a new frontier for those who can already afford. So what does it take for you to travel to Europe?
Schengen Visa, your first step to Europa
As a Philippine passport holder, you would basically need a visa to enter most of Europe. With this, we mean when you travel to France, Italy, Switzerland and other Shengen states. This does not include United Kingdom, Ireland and non Schengen member states. To apply for one, you will be needing:
- Application form
- 4 pieces photo
- Valid passport
- Old passports (if any)
- Latest bank certificate
- Latest 3 months bank statement
- Income tax return
- Certificate of employment with approved leave of absence and salary declaration
- Confirmes Airline reservation
- Confirmed hotel booking
- Tour itinerary
If you own a business, you will need to provide DTI/SEC registration, company ITR and financial statement.
Now, you might be asking: “why so many requirements?”. Well, these are almost the same requirements you need to provide when applying for China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and US tourist visa. This is not unusual and this is for security.
To the country where you are staying longer. If you are staying 5 days in France, 7 days in Germany and 4 days in Italy, you must apply for a Schengen visa with the German embassy.
Flying in to Europe
At the moment, Philippine Airlines is the only carrier that flies direct from Manila to London. If you are not visiting the Queen, then your best options would be Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways to name a few. They stop at their respective hub first before flying to key cities in Europe like Paris, Rome and Madrid. In terms of comfort and convenience, Emirates is on top of our list. In terms of price, Qatar Airways and Malaysian Airlines are there.
Staying around Europe
Finding a good, centrally located and affordable place to stay in Europe is not a walk in the park, that is why AirBnB rose to the occasion for those who are open to sleeping at someone else’s house (or couch). But if you are joining a group tour, it wouldn’t be a problem. Hotels with the best rates are usually located outside the city center, but you don’t have to worry about it. You can look at it as an opportunity to experience local transportation, see the countryside or city limits and get to know more about lifestyle of ordinary citizens living there.
Sight, Sounds and Sustenance
Going around Europe can be fun. In some big cities, there are hop-on/hop-off buses that will let you visit a lot of famous tourist spots. As a foreigner, we are sure there’s virtually something monumental at the corner. But if you are not the adventurous type, you could always contact your favorite travel agent to pre-arrange all tours. There are already affordable Europe tour package that would let you see multiple places and also include accommodations and basic transfers.
Eating around is fun because you could definitely taste the local dish anywhere you go. If you are on a budget, 10 Euros could get you a cola and a sandwich, but if you are willing to experience a unique European dinner, you could get a sit down meal for 20 to 25 Euros.
Europe, despite the recent incidents in the past few months and despite recessions, is becoming a new favorite for Filipinos to travel to. Be it by cruise or flying in, group tours or couples’ trip, there is more than a dozen of reason to visit.
What’s your Europe tour story? Share it with us below.