How to Get to Europe: A Sober Answer to a Very Tricky Question
When I’m asked how much it costs to travel in Europe, the first thing I say is that when I went back to the Philippines in May 2011, my Cathay Pacific ticket from Paris-Manila, Manila-Paris cost €600. Converted to Philippine peso – PhP32,238.06 is quite an affordable rate considering it’s Europe and the mere sound of it is very far. Like when I say I’m from the Philippines and a European would think I’m from a far, far away land.
Transportation is Key
Next, I would say it depends on the duration of the trip and how many countries one would want to visit. From where I (used to) live (Ghent, Belgium) for example, it only takes 51 minutes to reach Lille (France), 2 hours 16 minutes to be in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 2 hours 50 minutes to Paris (France), 2 hours 37 minutes to Cologne (Germany), and 3 hours 48 minutes to London (United Kingdom). My overnight bus trips from Manila to Bicol took longer, indeed. But it’s not only about the distance, it’s primarily about accessibility – the means of public transport and transport facilities.One can travel around Europe quite easily by car or by bus, faster by train, and fastest by airplane. Cars run up to 110-130 KPH speed limit on the highway (depending on the country), while some German highways are “speed-free” where you can go as fast as your car can. I just got started and easily I’d get carried away. It’s the same enthusiasm I hold when I tell Europeans about Philippines and our neighboring Asian countries. Both worlds are just so different and awesome in their own ways.
The Biggest Secret is to Book Ahead
At this point, I’d figure the question was originally intended for a small talk so I’d quickly conclude my litany by saying that a good trip from Manila to Europe via Paris or Amsterdam requires at least a pocket money of €1,000 (PhP53,730.10) to visit a minimum of 3 European countries (more cities/countries would logically mean more expenses) in two weeks, all senses inclusive – see, hear, taste, smell, feel Europe. Food, drinks and museum passes take a chunk of the budget here so backpackers should make it with around €600. Meanwhile, all the nitty gritty details you can read in my previous and future posts in the blog for free.This budget ONLY applies to a carefully-planned Eurotrip, wherein bookings are made at least 6 months before. There are also tons of tour packages one can avail of for a lesser price. If not, then forget it. But then again, why would you come to Europe and spend your hard-earned money on a dream trip without a plan, right?