Saving on Accommodations During Travel: A Savvy Traveler's Guide To Finding Affordable Hotels and Stays
Unlocking the Art of Savvy Accommodation: A Traveler's Guide
Embarking on a journey is more than just a change of scenery; it's an adventure into new cultures, flavors, and experiences. However, for the budget-conscious traveler, the quest for affordable and comfortable accommodations is an essential part of the expedition. Whether you're a solo adventurer, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or a family with curious little explorers, here's a comprehensive guide on how to save on accommodations without compromising on the magic of your travel experience.
Solo Traveler's Savvy Stays
1. Hostels and Guesthouses:
1. Off-Peak Escapes:
1. Vacation Rentals for Families:
2. All-Inclusive Resorts:
General Tips for All Travelers
1. Loyalty Programs:
In the grand tapestry of travel, accommodations are the threads that weave comfort and convenience into your adventure. With a strategic approach and a dash of creativity, you can unlock a world of affordable stays that enhance, rather than diminish, the magic of your journey. Happy travels! 🌍✈️💼
Are you a wanderer like me with an insatiable travel bug but a budget that's more down-to-earth? Fear not! Navigating the skies on a budget is an art, and with the right hacks, you can spread your wings without breaking the bank. Here are five most ingenious airline booking hacks to make your travel dreams a reality without emptying your wallet. Trust me on this!
1. Embrace the Art of Flexibility
The first rule of affordable travel: be flexible. Airlines are known for fluctuating prices based on demand, so if you can be flexible with your travel dates, you're already one step ahead. Use the flexible date search option on booking platforms to discover the hidden gems of cheaper flights. Consider flying midweek or during off-peak hours when prices tend to be more wallet-friendly.
2. Become Best Friends with Price Alerts
In the digital age, your smartphone can be your best travel companion. Enable price alerts on airline booking apps or websites for your desired routes. These nifty notifications will ping you when prices drop, ensuring you're always in the loop for snagging the best deals. It's like having a personal travel assistant, always looking out for your budget.
3. Miles, Points, and Travel Rewards, Oh My!
Joining an airline's loyalty program isn't just for the frequent flyers in first class. It's your golden ticket to unlocking discounted or even free flights. Accumulate miles or points through your travels and consider signing up for credit cards affiliated with airlines to enjoy enticing sign-up bonuses and exclusive perks. Your wallet will thank you, and you might just find yourself with an unexpected upgrade.
4. Play the Airport Geography Game
Sometimes, the road less traveled can be your wallet's best friend. Check prices for nearby airports, as flying into or out of a neighboring hub might be significantly more affordable. Don't forget to factor in transportation costs to your final destination; it might still be a cost-effective choice that adds a dash of adventure to your journey.
5. Outsmart the Cookies Conundrum
Ever noticed airline prices mysteriously rising after multiple searches for the same flight? Clear your browser cookies or switch to incognito mode before hunting for flights. Some studies suggest that airlines may track your search history and adjust prices accordingly. Stay one step ahead of these sneaky tactics to ensure you see the most competitive fares.
Embarking on a budget-friendly adventure doesn't mean sacrificing comfort or spontaneity. With these airline booking hacks, you can unlock affordable skies and turn your travel dreams into a reality. So, pack your bags, arm yourself with these savvy tricks, and get ready to soar without a hefty price tag attached. Bon voyage!
A Step-by-Step Guide: Applying for a Korean Visa for Filipinos Living in Saudi Arabia
The allure of South Korea's rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities has made it a top destination for travelers worldwide. If you're a Filipino residing in Saudi Arabia and dream of experiencing the wonders of South Korea, you'll need to go through the visa application process. The most common type of visa for Filipinos is the tourist visa, which allows the holder to stay in South Korea for up to 90 days.
Here's a step by step guide on how to apply for a Korean Tourist Visa if you are a Filipino living in Saudi Arabia.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Visa You Need
Before applying for a Korean visa, it's essential to identify the type of visa that best suits your purpose of travel. The common visa types for tourists include the Tourist (C-3) and the Visit (B-2) visa. Ensure that you meet the requirements for your selected visa category. Check all visa requirements thru this LINK
Step 2: Gather Required Documents
The list of required documents may vary depending on the type of visa you're applying for, but some common documents you'll need include:
1. Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from South Korea.
2. Visa Application Form: Fill out the Korean visa application form accurately. You can usually find this form on the website of the Korean embassy or consulate in Saudi Arabia.
3. Passport-Sized Photos: Provide recent passport-sized photos following the embassy's specific requirements.
4. Copy of Saudi Residence Permit (Iqama): A photocopy of your valid Iqama is required.
5. Flight Itinerary: Show a confirmed round-trip flight reservation for your intended travel dates.
6. Hotel Reservation: Provide proof of accommodation in South Korea for the duration of your stay.
7. Financial Documents: Bank statements and an employment certificate to prove your financial capacity to cover the trip expenses.
8. Cover Letter: Write a cover letter explaining the purpose of your visit, your itinerary, and other relevant details.
9. Additional Documents: Depending on your visa category, you might need to submit other documents. For example, if you're visiting family or friends, an invitation letter from your host in South Korea is necessary.
Step 3: Schedule an Appointment
You'll typically need to schedule an appointment with the Korean embassy or consulate in Saudi Arabia. Visit their official website or contact them to find out the specific procedure for booking an appointment.
Step 4: Attend the Visa Interview
During your scheduled appointment, attend the visa interview at the Korean embassy or consulate. Be prepared to answer questions about your travel plans and provide any additional information if required.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Fee
You will need to pay the visa fee, which varies depending on the type and duration of the visa. Keep in mind that visa fees are usually non-refundable.
Step 6: Wait for Visa Processing
Visa processing times can vary, so be patient while your application is being reviewed. The embassy or consulate will inform you once a decision is made.
Step 7: Collect Your Visa
Once your visa is approved, you will be notified to collect it from the embassy or consulate. Ensure that all the details on the visa are correct before leaving the premises.
Step 8: Travel to South Korea
With your Korean visa in hand, you are ready to embark on your South Korean adventure. Remember to follow the visa's conditions and enjoy your stay!
Applying for a Korean visa while living in Saudi Arabia as a Filipino can be a straightforward process if you follow the steps mentioned above diligently. Remember to check the specific requirements and procedures with the Korean embassy or consulate in Saudi Arabia, as they may change over time. Make sure to plan your trip well in advance and gather all necessary documents to increase your chances of obtaining a Korean visa hassle-free. South Korea's mesmerizing culture and beauty await, so start your visa application journey today!
Locations (Where to apply)
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Jeddah
Korean Consulate, 3887 Prince Saud Al Faisal, 7424, حي الروضة،, Jeddah 23432
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riyadh
MJMG+JM2، Amr Aldamri Street, Al Safarat Dist.، Al Safarat, Riyadh 12512
Traveling is one of life's most enriching experiences, offering adventure, cultural immersion, and personal growth. However, it's essential to prioritize safety while exploring the world. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first journey, this guide will help you stay safe while traveling to ensure a worry-free adventure.
Bonus tip: If you're ever in doubt, just remember the motto of the Boy Scouts: Be prepared.
When it comes to planning a trip to one of the beautiful Schengen countries, obtaining a visa is often a necessary step. While the process may seem daunting, there are certain Schengen countries that historically have lower rates of visa application denial. Let me share with you some of these countries and highlight their appeal for visa applicants.
I got my very first Schengen Visa thru the Greek Embassy in Riyadh many years ago. Greece, known for its mesmerizing islands, ancient ruins, and azure waters, is also considered more likely to approve visa applications. The country takes great pride in its tourism industry and welcomes travelers from around the world. Highlight your travel plans, provide evidence of financial capability, and emphasize your intention to return to your home country to boost your chances of visa approval.
I have applied several times thru BLS for Schengen Visa and I got approved very fast. Early this year, I got my multiple entry Schengen visa thru BLS in just 3 days after I submitted my application at the BLS Branch in Irqah District here in Riyadh.
Spain, with its Mediterranean beaches, iconic cities, and warm hospitality, is a popular tourist destination and has built a reputation for being open to foreign visitors. I love traveling in Spain as the Spanish people share the same kind of hospitality like Filipinos. Supporting documents showcasing your itinerary, accommodation, and financial stability can greatly enhance your visa application.
Portugal, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, has been known to be relatively welcoming to visa applicants. The country offers excellent infrastructure for tourism, making it an attractive choice for those seeking unforgettable experiences. Be sure to provide all necessary documentation and meet the requirements set by the Portuguese authorities to increase your chances of success.
Italy's historical sites, artistic treasures, and culinary delights make it a dream destination for many travelers. Fortunately, the Italian authorities generally have a lenient approach towards visa applications. Demonstrating a clear purpose for your visit, such as tourism or attending cultural events, along with providing comprehensive financial proof, can significantly increase your chances of receiving a visa.
Sweden, with its scenic landscapes and vibrant cities, has a reputation for being welcoming to visa applicants. The country offers ample opportunities for exploration and boasts a high standard of living. Make sure to present a detailed travel plan, including your purpose of visiting, accommodation arrangements, and financial stability, in order to improve your chances of obtaining a Swedish visa.
While Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Sweden are considered Schengen countries that are less likely to deny visa applications, it's important to remember that visa approval ultimately depends on individual circumstances and supporting documentation. To increase your chances of success, thoroughly understand the specific requirements set by each country and ensure that you provide all necessary documents. Consult with the respective country's embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information and personalized guidance throughout the application process. Happy travels!
Traveling is a thrilling adventure that broadens our horizons and enriches our lives with unforgettable memories. However, it can also be costly, causing financial stress for many. But fear not! With a little savvy planning and a pinch of creativity, you can enjoy your wanderlust without breaking the bank. Let me take you in to some expert tips on how to save money on travel while still relishing every moment of your journey.
Traveling is a great way to experience new cultures, meet new people, and see the world. But if you're a Philippine passport holder like me, you may be wondering which countries you can visit without a visa.
The Philippine passport currently ranks 81st on the Henley Passport Index, providing visa-free access to 63 destinations worldwide. This grants it a medium-low mobility score. Philippine passport holders have visa-free access and visas on arrival to countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Israel, and Kenya.
Here is a list of countries that Filipinos can visit without a visa, as of October 2023:
Tips for traveling to visa-free countries:
Traveling to visa-free countries can be a great way to save time and money. It also gives you the flexibility to change your travel plans if needed. With its visa-free access to 63 countries, the Philippine passport offers Filipino travelers a lot of options for international travel. Tara na kabayan, let’s take advantage of our visa-free privileges and explore the world!
As I mentioned in my other blog (UK Trip #1), here’s what we did to get UK Visitor Visa from Saudi Arabia.
1. Research, research. We found all the UK Visa- related information thru this LINK
2. Eligibility requirements – Checked! Our passports are valid for the whole duration of our planned visit to the UK.
3. Applied for UK Visa online and paid the applicable fees (2nd Feb 2022). We paid total of 133 USD for each applicant. You may use this LINK to apply for visitor visa.
The application process for a visitor visa to the United Kingdom is fairly simple and straightforward. Since we submitted all the requirements online, we were not asked to submit hard copies at the VFS anymore. We only had to go through fingerprinting protocol. It barely took two weeks from submitting our application online until our C- Type Multiple Entry UK Visa was issued on 22nd Feb 2022 which is valid for 6 months.
So here are the important points to apply for a UK tourist visa as a Filipino citizen living in Saudi Arabia. You will need to:
Here are some additional tips for applying for a UK tourist visa as a Filipino citizen living in Saudi Arabia:
A lot of friends ask me how I obtain visas for my trips. It’s pretty simple, really. So let me guide you through getting a Schengen Visa.
Most of the countries I have visited in the last couple of years are in Europe. Although I have been to some countries in Asia when I was younger, I realized that travelling anywhere in the world has never been easier (for me at least) since I started working in Saudi Arabia. So when my husband and I decided to do our first multi-country trip, we chose Europe as our destination, and it has become our favorite continent since then.
I always say that there are only three things you need to do get a visa :
1. Research. Research.
Since we are Philippine passport holders and we wanted to visit many states/countries on our first European trip, we knew we would need a Schengen visa. This visa is valid in all Schengen states for a stay of up to 90 days within a six-month period for a visit, tourism or business. The Schengen area comprises 27 European countries including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Austria. There is typically no passport control on the borders between these countries. Applications can be made at earliest three (3) months before the planned entry.
Visa applications must be addressed (and submitted) to the Embassy/Consulate of the country you intend to visit. If your plan is to visit several countries, visa application must be made at the Embassy/Consulate of the main destination country—meaning the length of stay in this destination is the longest. If the length of stay in each country is almost the same, apply at the country of first entry. For our first European trip, we intended to visit Greece, Italy, Paris and Belgium, so we applied at the Greek Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
During our second trip, we wanted to go to Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Norway, so we applied at the German Embassy thru VFS Global- Riyadh
My most recent trip was in Spain and Portugal, so I applied at the Spanish Embassy thru BLS- Riyadh (https://saudi.blsspainvisa.com/short_term_visa_tourist.php).
Most consulates and embassies have their own website that is very informative especially regarding visa applications. Our first ever Schengen visa application at the Greek embassy was the easiest of all. Unlike most other embassies/consulates and visa processing offices (i.e. VFS, BLS, etc) in Riyadh, the Greek Embassy does not require an appointment to submit your visa application. Applicants at the Greek Embassy can directly submit the documents required for obtaining a Schengen Visa from 9:30 to 12:00, on working days – Sunday to Thursday.
2. Prepare a complete set of requirements In order to apply for a Schengen visa, the applicant needs to provide the documents enumerated in this list below. Although it is a Harmonized List of Supporting Documents for Schengen Visa Applications, in some individual cases, additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate to which your application is addressed to. Presentation of the documents does not automatically lead to the issuance of a visa and possession of a visa does not confer an automatic right of entry. The ultimate decision regarding admission to the Schengen territory lies with the Border Authorities upon arrival.
1. Visa Application Form correctly filled in English and signed.
2. Two recent passport-sized photographs with a white background, not stapled. Full face; no head or face cover(s) that prevent(s) full visibility of the facial features.
3. Original passport valid for further three months period after the intended departure from the territory of the Schengen States and 1 copy of all relevant passport pages (data page, pages containing previous Schengen visas). It shall contain at least two blank pages and have been issued within the previous 10 years.
4. Proof of travel medical insurance covering the entire period of intended stay, valid for all Schengen States and covering any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention, emergency hospital treatment or death during stay. The minimum coverage must be 30.000 Euros. Original For further details please refer to the Travel Medical Insurance Information document published by the Embassies of the Schengen Member States in Saudi Arabia.
5. Copy of flight ticket or flight reservation including return flight.
6. Verifiable evidence of sufficient means of subsistence during intended stay such as a credit card valid throughout the intended stay.
7. For minors travelling without their parents/legal guardian: original authorization signed by their parents/legal guardian and copy of passport(s) of parents/legal guardian.
8. Iqama/ Residence Permit *Note: When applying at the Spanish Embassy thru BLS-Riyadh, you need to submit a valid English Translation for any Arabic document you submit like iqama copy and exit re-entry visa.
9. Saudi Arabian re-entry visa valid beyond the intended date of departure from the territory of the Schengen States
10. Bank statements for the past six months or other verifiable evidence of sufficient means of subsistence during intended stay. *Note: Make sure that your bank statement has a stamp from the bank. Online statements are not usually accepted by consulates/embassies.
11. Original letter from sponsor in Saudi Arabia, stating employment status, position, length of contract and salary, stamped by the Chamber of Commerce. Self-sponsored: valid original trade license and 1 copy thereof with translation
13. For tourism: Proof of accommodation during intended stay: hotel reservation or copy of a rental contract or proof of residential property. Tip: A detailed itinerary of the activities to do and places you wish to visit may come in handy too. I usually attach an itinerary with my application in order to give the consuls an idea of what I’ll be doing during my trip. It also helps to emphasize that I’m just travelling for pleasure.
14. For private visits: Original invitation letter signed by the host covering the intended stay [where applicable: using the official format required by the Member State's national legislation. For further information, please verify the website of the Member State(s) of destination].
3. Submit your application
Whether you are submitting your application directly to the embassy or thru a visa processing offices like VFS or BLS, the key is to review your documents many times and make sure that they are exactly the same as what is required.
If you have an appointment at the embassy or visa office, you have to come at least an hour earlier. Since the Greek Embassy does not have an appointment system, you may wish to come a little earlier in order not to miss the allowed slots for daily application.
When you apply at the VFS- Global Office, you can call or visit them first to inquire about the requirements (you can bring the documents with you) before the scheduled appointment to make sure that you will be submitting all the documents required. Otherwise, you may need to schedule another appointment and pay the fees again if you miss a document.
When applying for Spanish visa thru BLS- Riyadh Office, you should arrive at least an hour prior to your appointment because the queuing is not very organized and you may end up spending many hours waiting for your turn.
In any case, you should be truthful in your application and you should know your itinerary by heart. I won’t say there’s an actual interview during visa application, but most of the time, the visa officer may ask your purpose of visit and a few questions regarding your employment in Saudi Arabia. Just be confident and smile. There’s no reason to be afraid anyway.
Finally, once your application is accepted, it normally takes three (3) to ten (10) working days for the result. I got my first Schengen Visa from Greek Embassy after 3 days, German Visa after 4 days and my Spanish Multi-entry Visa after 7 days from submission.
Hopefully, you can get yours too soon. Europe is a fascinating place to explore and travelling between countries without boundaries is always an overwhelming experience. Seriously, there’s no reason not to go. Happy travels!