Hello everyone! My name is Andro Cipriano and like Kim, I have a passion for travelling.
I travelled to Europe in 2013 when I received a grant to take my masters in European Literary Cultures in France. The following year, I moved to Italy to complete the second half of my masters.
Since coming back to the Philippines, I’ve made it a point to travel to Europe every year. In November 2016, I travelled to the UK for a month’s stay. Bold and modern while simultaneously steeped in culture and history, London is an exciting, cosmopolitan melting pot with something different for everybody.
Of course before going, you’ll need to secure a tourist visa in order to enter the UK.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY TIPS:
- Make sure to research carefully.
Find out which visa you’re applying for by going to this website: UK Visa and Immigration
After identifying which visa you’re applying for, make sure to follow the steps listed.
- Apply 3 months before your departure date.
I travelled on November 19, 2016 which meant that I could only apply for a visa on August 19, 2016.
You can choose to apply later but remember, the processing period can take up 15 working days.
- Get the cheapest flight.
When searching for flights, you can use websites like Skyscanner which will
list down the cheapest flights from Manila to London and vice-versa.
FOR YOUR FLIGHT
It is considered best practice not to book until you are issued your tourist visa. However, in my case, I took a risk by already booking my ticket which I had bought from a PAL travel sale. You can opt to reserve a ticket through a travel agency or you can purchase a ticket from Skyscanner and pay extra by availing of the cancellation/refund fee in case your visa request is denied.
FOR YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS
You can use sites like booking.com in order make reservations in a hotel or hostel of your choice which you can safely cancel later without first having to pay. If you forget to cancel your booking, you will be charged accordingly. If staying with a host, make sure you ask them to provide you with an invitation letter, together with a photocopy of a valid ID.
FOR YOUR ITINERARY
Make sure to list down the activities you will be doing on each day together with a list of your accommodations if you will be travelling around the UK.
Please remember that the UK is not part of the Schengen space. As such, you cannot enter countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. with your UK visa. You will have to apply separately for a Schengen Tourist Visa.
In my case, it took about a week before I received my tourist visa. What’s great about the UK tourist visa is that it has a duration of 6 months. Despite the effort and hard work in having to gather all the required documents, I enjoyed myself immensely. Have a look at some of the photos of my trip below.
If you’d like to check out more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram: androcipriano