Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preparing for HongKong and Shenzhen, China on a budget

Preparing for HongKong and Shenzhen, China on a budget

Have you ever dreamed of a tour in HongKong? Go to the "Happiest Place on Earth - Disneyland?" Want to go places but thinking about it, seemed to be impossible because you do not have a budget and haven’t got a passport to travel? Let me tell you this, I also had that in mind but I prayed that GOD will bless me so that I can go to HongKong (and having my family on that tour will be so much a blessing.) I don’t have big money on bank to send 5 people (that includes me) for a travel. So I’ve thought of an idea that would work and might work for you as well.

     June of 2014, Cebu Pacific had a “Piso Fare promo” https://www.cebupacificair.com/ that you will just pay for the surcharges, taxes etc. If you book ahead of time before your planned departure date, it will be much cheaper. So we got our base fare for just a peso (Php1.00) and other taxes for a roundtrip ticket had just summed up at only Php3,790! Wow!!! So I hurriedly booked our trip online for February 2015 (even without passport). The following day I paid Php18,950 for 5 traveler tickets at SM Payment Center! Yay! I said to myself that this will be the start of saving more money for the passports, accommodations and pocket money.

     Tickets, checked! Next is the accommodation. I looked for a travel agency that will give us good deal for our HongKong trip. For this, I am considering, convenience and value for money. I have this former classmate in high school; he is now an owner of a travel agency. He helped me choose a good travel package. Since I have booked for 4 days, he offered me to have 2 days in HongKong and 2 days in Shenzhen, China. China has been promoting their place so they offer cheap package. A trip for not just one country, we will go to HongKong and China at the same time! For HongKong, they offered me 2 night stay at Rambler Oasis (2 rooms with breakfast), HongKong City Tour, HongKong Disneyland ride-all-you-can ticket. For Shenzhen China, it will be an overnight accommodation at FX Hotel (with buffet breakfast), and Shenzhen City Tour. I asked for a 1-day free time in both cities. So our 1st and 3rd day is plainly DIY travel (which I like because this is the time that we can explore places on our own.) With that 4-day accommodation and tour, it will be Php6,500 for each of us. So I need to raise Php32,500 before the end of 2014. (I know that I need more prayers and a lot of hard work for this!)

Our Cebu Pacific Boarding Pass

Passport. Since we are from Bulacan, I need to make all online efforts before going to Manila. So I checked http://www.dfa.gov.ph/ and secure our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) appointment ticket for us to be able to get our passports (Well, mom and I already had a passport, I just have to get a passport for my kids and passport renewal for my husband.) Here are the passport fees if you don’t have an idea.

Passport Fees

For First time passport applicants:
    Regular Processing (15 working days): P950.00

    Express Processing (07 working days): P1,200.00

For Renewal of passport applicants:
    Regular Processing (15 working days): P950.00
    Express Processing (07 working days): P1,200.00

     Since we will travel 8 months ahead of time, we just had the regular processing which is Php950 and will be released after 15 days. You can do so if you are not in a hurry. We booked for a specific day and time of our DFA appointment. We prepared everything that we need. For list of DFA requirements, please refer to this link http://manila.passport.com.ph/requirements. To sum up, I will need to pay Php950 each for 3 persons, so that will be a total of Php2,850. We arrived an hour before our appointment time at DFA and they let us in. Verification of documents, payment and capturing biometrics and picture were done. (My kids find it funny and weird because DFA personnel took photos of them but they are asked to sit still and not to smile!) After an hour, finally they are done and will just wait for 15 days for their passports to be released. When you are situated in a province, DFA can send your passport through couriers for a payment of Php200 pesos for each document. In our case, I could just drop by again and get the documents in behalf of my kids since I am their guardian/mom. After 15 days we got our passports! Checked!

      Week by week I worked hard because I have a goal, to raise Php32,500 for the accommodation. November 2014, I finally settled the payment for our accommodation. Thank God! Now time to raise more for our pocket money and travel taxes / terminal fee at the airport. For Philippine’s travel taxes and terminal fee, please refer to this link http://www.philippineconsulate.com.au/travel-tax.html. For this, I have to prepare travel tax of Php1,620 (Php810 for kids’ reduced travel tax) and terminal fee of Php550 each. All in all I need Php9,230 for the 5 of us (that is before we can get out of the country.) Moving on, I still have 2 months to prepare for our pocket money and since we will be going to HongKong and China, we need to exchange our currency to both HK$ (HongKong dollar) and Chinese Renminbi (RMB or CNY) or Yuan. Two weeks more before our travel, I exchanged my total of Php21,000 to both HK and Chinese currency. We are all set! Thank you Lord! The long wait is over, we are so ready to go and explore HongKong and China!

Chinese Yuan or RMB

HongKong Dollars

Here is the breakdown of how much we’ve spent for our HongKong and China tour (again, this is for 5 persons – 3 adults and 2 kids.)

Airfare                                              3,790 x 5 = 18,950

Accommodation (4 days)             6,500 x 5 = 32,500
DFA (passport)                                  950 x 3 = 2,850
Travel Tax & Terminal Fees                    x 5 =  9,230
Pocket Money                                                  = 21,000

Total                                                            84,530

Thus, here is a breakdown when traveling alone

Airfare                                                          3,790

Accommodation (4 days)                         6,500
DFA (passport)                                              950
Travel Tax & Terminal Fees                    2,170
Pocket Money                                            5,000

Total                                                         18,410

Plane E-Ticket, HK guide map, Disneyland map, China guide map, and  MTR route map  

Disneyland Tickets

Traveling alone is cheaper but traveling together with your loved ones is something that you will not forget. You too can travel even on a tight budget. Luke 1:37 says "For nothing is impossible with God." I hope that you learned a bit and had an idea on how you can travel even on a tight budget. If you want to know more, please see my blog about our HongKong and China adventure.

HongKong Avenue of Stars

Shenzhen, China

1 comment:

  1. Hi, ask ko lang po prinint ko po kasi yung boarding pass sa web check-in ng cebu pac. magpprint po ba ng panibago yung personnel nila sa check-in/bag drop counter kagaya po nung boarding pass ninyo? thank you, I hope you reply.


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