Preparation

Destination, Greece, Preparation

Project Greece

As always, I plan my trips with Excel. Here’s the one I made for Greece, cleaned up just a bit to remove notes for our group (everybody had access to it), and fixed the formatting a little. I’ve also included a sheet with my actual travel expenses during the trip, and another sheet with these travel notes:

Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus with the Acropolis in the background

Electrical plugs
Greece and the rest of Europe uses the Type C or Europlug. My biggest gripe with their sockets is that it’s set lower than normal, so your plug has to be right in the middle, and it has to be round so it can fit. I don’t know how else to describe it, so just check it out this photo on Airliners.net.
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Preparation

What’s in my bag

It seems as if my bag is accumulating more stuff to bring as the years pass. In my years of traveling, I have discarded things I used to think was the bee’s knees, and have learned to embrace some of the items I used to scoff at. Such is life.

Here’s another round of new stuff that I like to have with me when I travel, as well as other things that I have been asked to try while traveling.

Baggu

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you’d know that I’m a huge fan of reusable bags. I’ve been using them way before plastic bags were banned in the Philippines.

Baggu
Fluorescent orange, oh my!

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China, Preparation

How to apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa in Australia

Do you pack a what-if item in your bag? You know, the ones that you put in your suitcase or backpack just in case? I’m one of those. My what-if items are photocopies of my passport, birth certificate, and business registration. I also keep a couple of passport-sized photos. You know, just in case.

Chinese tourist visa

My what-if packing finally paid off this week, when I had to apply for a Chinese tourist visa in Melbourne. A scheduled trip to Hong Kong in September was suddenly altered to include a side trip to Guangzhou, in the Guandong Province of China. While I can travel visa-free to Hong Kong, the Chinese government requires me to apply for a visa prior to crossing the border. Applying for a visa should be easy enough, as I already have most of the documents on hand, but with only 12 days in Manila, four of which are weekends, I am cutting it way too close if I’m going to wait to apply until I get home.
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Australia, Preparation

How to apply for an Australian Tourist Visa (2013 edition)

[UPDATE October 13, 2015] Here’s a guide on how you can easily, quickly, and cheaply apply for an Australian tourist visa online

[Update: September 15, 2014] Philippine passport holders can now apply for an Australian tourist visa online through the IMMI website. Application fee must be paid via credit card. You can still apply in person through VFS.

I am not a visa officer, nor am I migration agent. I am in no way affiliated with the Australian Embassy Manila nor with the Australian government. This post comes from my experience with preparing and submitting visa applications for family members and for myself. Also note that this entry pertains to my experience in applying for an Australian tourist visa in April 2013. This is geared towards applicants who holds a Philippine passport, though the preparation can be applied for other nationalities as well. The Australian immigration update their forms every 3 months. I will try to answer your questions the best way that I can, but bear in mind that I can’t answer all your questions. If you ask a question I’ve already answered in the post, I will ignore you.

Australian tourist visa

After almost seven years, I finally have an update to my now epic How to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa series. I have written two posts on the topic, both garnering over a thousand comments, with one getting over 4,500! I have stopped replying to comments, since I don’t think I’m not the best person to be talking about it, as my knowledge of the visa process is largely obsolete, so the visitors have taken upon themselves to answer each other’s questions, with successful applicants coming back to share their good news and help others. It has become a mini forum of sorts and I have to admit I’m happy it turned out that way. I found it to be a great help when I took another chance to apply for an Australian tourist visa once more.

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Preparation, Reviews

What’s in my bag?

After 6 or so What’s in my bag? posts, you’d think I won’t have space anymore in my bags. As the years pass, my travel style continues to change, and so does my packing style. There are new products to try and added to the list, and there are products that are taken out of the list. Here’s some more that made the cut.

iBattz Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet
This small device has enough power to fully charge my HTC Chacha or my iPod touch. Considering that using 3G and wi-fi can drain your gadgets faster, this is great to have around if you’re headed somewhere without electricity.

iBattz
Charging Chacha

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Preparation

Travel must-haves

This is an advertorial

After traveling for years, I already have my staple travel gear. I’ve blogged them numerous times before, but here’s a short list of the basics for first time travelers.

Good, sturdy luggage
Not all travelers are backpackers, and though I travel mainly with a backpack, there are times when I have to bring out the big bags.

Muji Hard Carry Case Luggage – Made of durable and lightweight polycarbonate, this travel case provides supreme comfort with its 360-degree turning wheels and an adjustable carry bag to fit any height.

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Destination, Japan, Preparation

Project Japan

A lot of you got scared when I posted my Japan travel expenses. It's understandable -- that's a lot of money to spend for two weeks in one country. Japan is worth it. It's very very expensive, yes, but it's also a really really beautiful country to explore. To those who I haven't scared off yet, here's my file, which…read more
Morocco, Preparation

Project Morocco

When I published my Morocco travel expenses, friends started messaging me expressing their surprise at the figures I presented and asked for tips on how to plan a trip to Morocco. I promised them I'd give a copy of my spreadsheet, which has our itinerary, budget, list of accommodation we considered staying at and links to various resources. Since it's…read more