DIY Trip to Paris, Amsterdam & Belgium: Tips, Itinerary & Budget for Filipinos

Contributed by My Dose of Wanderlust

Whenever someone thinks of travelling to Paris and other European cities, bubbles would often burst and become followed by more practical thoughts, such as the huge amount of money associated with the trip. But, we believe that if there’s a will and a heart full of wanderlust, there’s a way!

If you can stop yourself from buying the latest iPhone, craving for expensive coffee, and shopping for designer clothes and shoes, then, yes, you can save money and go for that Euro trip you’ve been dreaming of.

Here’s our DIY itinerary, a few tips and as well as our budget overview during our trip to Paris (with side trips to Amsterdam and Belgium). I hope this will give you an idea on how to plan your Europe trip soon!


1. Schengen Visa

If you are planning to stay in Schengen countries with the same duration for each country, then visa application should be submitted to the embassy of the country that is your first point of entry. Here’s a guide on how to apply for a Schengen Visa if you’re a Philippine passport holder.

2. Flights

Everyone knows that a seat sale is the ultimate money saver you could ever have! So take advantage of seat sales and promotions from different airline companies. Instead of stalking your ex’s Facebook or someone else’s timeline, why not stalk airlines for promo flights? I recommend apps like Google Flights and Skyscanner to make things easier.

3. Opt for hostels

We all know that hostels are cheaper than hotels. Given that you’d be out all day and will probably be spending less than six hours of sleep at night, you don’t really need a fancy hotel room unless your purpose is a staycation or luxurious travel.

We recommend Vintage Hostel in Paris if you are on a budget. We had a safe and comfortable stay there, and we greatly appreciate the accommodating staff.

For our accommodation in Amsterdam, the cheapest that we found in the city centre was Hotel Vijaya. It looks a bit old inside but still cosy.

4. Travel by train

The most budget-friendly and convenient way to go to Amsterdam and Belgium is by train. The following are the duration of the trip from one country to another if you wish to travel by train.

  • Paris to Amsterdam: 3.2 hours
  • Amsterdam to Brussels: 2 hours
  • Brussels to Brugge: 1 hour
  • Brussels to Paris: 1.5 hour

Early booking usually means lower prices. So, it’s advisable to book your train tickets in advance, preferably months before your travel dates, for an affordable, comfortable, and smooth-flowing trip. We booked our train tickets from Omio and Rail Europe.

5. Activities/Sightseeing/Tours

We highly recommend that you take the city walking tour. It’s free! A tour guide will bring you to the best-known tourist spots in the city — and trust me when I say that it’s not boring! You will be informed and entertained at the same time; we enjoyed this one a lot. Hence, if you are satisfied with the tour you can give the tour guide a tip in whatever amount you want. Sandeman Neweurope offers free tours in 18 cities across Europe.

The most convenient way to travel around the town of Paris is through the Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Tour. It’s transportation and sight-seeing combined! We purchased it for two days and it is definitely worth it.

Though our trip was mostly on a budget, we didn’t miss out the opportunity to experience a lot of good things that Paris has to offer like going to the summit of the Eiffel, seeing the most famous artwork – the Mona Lisa, and cruising along the Seine River while admiring the beautiful and illuminated city at night. So if you want to do these activities too, it’s better to avail tour packages rather than purchase them separately. You can look for all the things you want to do in Europe from Viator.

6. Nightlife in Paris

No need to go to the bar or pub and experience nightlife in Paris which is pretty expensive. There are people selling red wine and beer in Place du Trocadero. Thus, we improvised and made our version of nightlife. Cheers, Paris!

7. Meals

Take advantage of the free breakfast which is commonly included when you book your accommodation. For our lunch, we went for brasserie that serves affordable must-eat meals in Paris. The average cost of a meal is ‎€10-15. Then, we usually head to a grocery store to buy snacks. And, since we were all exhausted after a long day, we just bought our dinner from food stalls because all we want is to get home fast and rest our tired feet.

8. Places with no entrance fee

There are landmarks and go-to places in Paris that require no admission fees like Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Cour and Jardin de Luxembourg so never forget to include them in your itinerary. While there is no entrance fee required to get inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, you have to pay for €8.50 if you want to access the tower to see a beautiful panoramic view of Paris and get up close with the chimaera and gargoyles of the cathedral. The same things goes for the Arc de Triomphe — you’ll have to pay just to go up the Arc. However, just seeing the inside of the Cathedral and capturing a nice photo of the Arc, as well as knowing its history, is already enough to have an amazing Paris experience.

Most of the tourist spots in Belgium are free. The free city tour covered it all for us. You can enjoy Amsterdam as well by just walking or biking.

9. Public Transportation

Use the Paris Metro to get from one place to another. You should also try it just for the sake of experiencing it, too (it’s nice to get lost sometimes). You can save money if you purchase a Paris Navigo Découverte week pass valid on bus, Metro, RER, Ile-de-France (Transilien) trains for €5 fee for the card itself plus €22.15. This is the price as of August 1, 2016. At times, we had to take the taxi since we were running late.



  • Flight = AED1,940  (₱24,250)
  • Visa appointment fee = AED92 (₱1,150)
  • Schengen visa = AED245 (₱3,063)
  • Travel medical insurance = AED60 (₱750)
  • Vintage Hostel (3 nights) = €67 (₱3,484)
  • Big Bus Tour (2 days) = €35 (₱1,820)
  • Taxi and Metro = €40 (₱2,080)
  • Eiffel Tower summit tour, Louvre Museum, Seine River Cruise (package) = €78 (₱4,061)
  • Train from CDG airport to Paris (two-way) = €20 (₱1,060)
  • Red wine and beer = €11.50 (₱610)
  • Breakfast = Free (via hostel)
  • Lunch and dinner (3 days) = ~€80 (₱4,240)
  • City tour = Free; tip = €5 (₱260)


  • Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Heineken Experience = €27 (₱1,404)
  • Hotel Vijaya (1 night) = €34.43 (₱1,790)
  • Train from Paris to Amsterdam = €52 (₱2,704)
  • City tour = Free; tip = €5 (₱260)
  • Food = €35 (₱1,820)
  • Tram = €7.50 (₱390)


  • Train from Amsterdam to Brugge = €36 (₱1,872)
  • Train from Brugge to Brussels = €15.6 (₱811)
  • Train from Brussels to Paris = €29 (₱1,502)
  • City tour = Free; tip = €12 (₱624)
  • Food = €35 (₱1,820)
  • Taxi = €10 (₱520)
  • Souvenirs = €50 (₱2,600)

Total = ₱64,945 per person

So there you have it. The budget would vary for every person but the whole idea is that you can spend around ₱60,000 more or less, depending on your preferences.


Day 1 (Paris)

  • 11.30am – Arrival in Paris
  • 12.30pm – CDG Airport to Gare du Nord Station
  • 1.30pm – Lunch
  • 2.00pm – Check in at Vintage Hostel
  • 3.00pm – Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • 8.30pm – Dinner
  • 9.00pm – Eiffel Tower tour
  • 12.00am – Place du Trocadero

Day 2 (Paris)

  • 8.00am – Breakfast
  • 9.00am – Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • 10.00am – Notre Dame
  • 12.30pm – Love Lock Bridge/St. Michel Fountain
  • 1.00pm – Lunch
  • 2.00pm – Free city walking tour
  • 4.00pm – Jardin du Luxembourg
  • 5.00pm – Champ Elysees/Arc de Triomphe
  • 9.00pm – Seine River Cruise

Day 3 (Amsterdam)

  • 6.25am – Departure from Gare du Nord Station Paris
  • 9.42am – Arrival at Amsterdam Central Station
  • 10.30am – Free city walking tour
  • 1.00pm – Lunch
  • 2.00pm – Roaming around the city
  • 3.30pm – Check-in at Hotel Vijaya
  • 4.00pm – Heineken Tour
  • 7.30pm – Amsterdam Canal Cruise
  • 9.00pm – Anne Frank’s house
  • 10.00pm – Red Light District

Day 4 (Belgium)

  • 7.17am – Departure from Amsterdam Central Station
  • 10.27am – Arrival in Brugge, Belgium
  • 10.40am – Exploring Brugge
  • 1.00pm – Lunch
  • 1.30pm – Departure from Brugge
  • 2.30pm – Arrival in Brussels, Belgium
  • 3.00pm – Grand Palace
  • 4.00pm – Free city walking tour
  • 7.00pm – Dinner
  • 08.43pm – Departure from Bruxelles MIDI Station
  • 10.05pm – Arrival in Paris
  • 10.15pm – Check-in at Vintage Hostel
  • 11.00pm – Moulin Rouge

Day 5 (Paris)

  • 7.30am – Sacre Cour
  • 9.00am – Louvre Museum
  • 11.30am – Eiffel Tower/Champ Elysees
  • 4.20pm – Departure from CDG Airport to Dubai

Yes, you can totally DIY your Europe trip. It costs you less and adds more adventure to your trip, too!

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