Longer. Further. Cheaper. DJ Yabis has the tools to help you get more from your dream trip to Europe
DJ Yabis comes from Manila but has carved out a niche for himself as the go-to guy for travelling to Europe on a budget. Without scrimping.
DJ's philosophy is about travelling well – meeting locals and getting under the skin of a country. He speaks to Peter Moore about getting the most from your budget in Europe's dream destinations.
Why did you create Dream Euro Trip?
I created Dream Euro Trip because I want to add value to people’s lives by helping them plan and budget their Euro trips. I want to be the go-to guru. I want to inspire people to travel in Europe and tell them that it’s not as expensive as they think. Travelling in Europe was also just a dream for me before, coming from a country where travelling (even domestically) is considered a luxury, but I did it and so can others.
The website is basically my love letter to Europe. I love the continent. There’s just so many things to see and do. I have visited almost 100 European cities and I plan to visit 100 more in the next three years. The blog is my platform to document my adventures and connect with other travellers.
It also opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I just recently had a one-hour live radio interview and last week, I hosted the launch of Travel Massive Manila all because of the website.
How does the calculator work?
The Eurotrip calculator determines the cost of your Euro trip based on the number of cities you will visit, length of your trip, how often you will party and which region(s) of Europe you will visit. These are the key variables that determine how much your trip will cost you.
Are the costs based on your experiences?
Yes, partly. It is mostly based on the current prices of food, drinks, accommodation and transportation in Europe. The Eurotrip calculator will be updated bi-annually to incorporate possible changes in prices and inflation.
Where are you based? How often do you go on a Euro trip?
I was based in Europe since 2009 but this year, I currently divide my time between Europe and South-East Asia. This winter I will be mostly in Asia, specifically in the Philippines, Indonesia and China.
I often go on trips in Europe, at least twice a month. My longest Euro trips are always during the summer. I just recently finished another three-month trip in September.
How many people have used your budget calculator?
At the time this interview was published, 10,809 people have used the Eurotrip calculator.
Your site is much more than just the budget calculator. What is the philosophy behind your other posts?
That’s true. The Eurotrip calculator is just one of the things that differentiates me from other travel bloggers. I feel that everyone is blogging about travel but not many actually talk about the financial side of it so I want to give that to my readers.
I think the main philosophy behind my posts pretty much mirrors the adventurous and unconventional side of my personality. For instance, I give advice on how to share cars with strangers and other unconventional ways to travel and find lodging. My blog focuses more on the culture found in cities as I share my experiences with music, films, literature, fashion, and food in Europe rather than the usual tourist sites.
What are some of the ways a person can keep a lid on their travel costs in Europe?
The three biggest pies of one’s budget will always be transportation, accommodation and food. There are different ways to afford travelling in Europe. Here’s what I personally do:
Transportation – I book my flights or train/bus tickets in advance, specially during the summer. There are so many low-cost airlines in Europe and sometimes I get flight deals even cheaper than my lunch money.
Accommodation – If you’re low on cash, you can surf couches. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Couchsurfing is a hospitality site wherein you can stay for free with locals. I think it’s the best way to meet and hangout with locals. Saves you tons of euros too!
Food – I prepare my own food and buy stuff from the local supermarket. Of course I always eat out as well, but I avoid the (expensive) tourist restaurants and I eat where the locals eat instead.
What are some of the ways a person can enjoy Europe on a budget, rather than just survive?
I think you should check out amazing and cheap cities like Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Lisbon and the Baltic cities. You can eat out often and party as much as you want.
You have travelled extensively throughout Europe. Where have been your favourite places?
I have a few favorites. For living and long-term trips, Stockholm and Berlin are perfect. It’s interesting because they are quite opposite in a lot of ways. Berlin is the cheap, dirty, sexy city while Stockholm is the high-maintenance, beautiful, preppy cousin. I’ve lived in Stockholm for a while, but Berlin holds the record for my most visited city.
The other destinations that impressed me immensely are Iceland, Croatia and Hungary (specifically Budapest). You should definitely go to those places. I recommend road tripping in Iceland and Croatia. They have breathtaking views and landscapes!
Is there anywhere in Europe that is impossible to enjoy on a budget?
I think it’s kind of impossible to fully enjoy the Nordic countries if you’re on a budget. It is really expensive there. It’s not fun when you’re always keeping tabs on your expenses.
Is there a particular frame of mind people should adopt to travel in Europe?
Be open to everything. Leave all your expectations behind and enjoy that great addictive feeling of being on the road.
What do you love about travel?
Meeting interesting locals and learning about their way of life. Sounds corny but that’s one of the things that I love about travel. There are some places, often industrial, dirty, noisy and generally uninteresting for a tourist. Meeting the right locals can turn those places into the ones you remember most fondly.
What would be the most important piece of advice you'd give someone heading off on the first trip to Europe?
Don’t rush. Don’t visit ten cities in ten days. Please.
Dream Euro Trip is about helping you plan, budget and live up your dream Euro trip. It's the place to get actionable travel advice, essential Euro trip information and inspiration to help you plan your most EPIC trip yet.