The rise of travel blogging and Instagram travel posts have seen tourist numbers explode in recent years. Add to that the apps that make searching for seat sales a breeze, and you have a booming travel industry. Now, as an Overseas Foreign Worker, you might think that you won’t be able to take advantage of this because you’re tied up with your contract. And let’s add to that your budgeting and financial goals. Think again. I have high school friends who are nurses in the Middle East and not only have they traveled all over the world, they brought their family with them, too!
Review Your Visa and Your Contract
Not all contracts and visas are equal. There are some countries like Saudi Arabia that need you to have an exit visa before you can go out of the country. In contrast, other countries are not as stringent with their working visa requirements and you can come and go as you like. There are also some companies that need you to be on call 24/7 while others are fixed with 40 hours per week. Make sure to check it out before arranging any long-distance travel.
Know the Country You’ll be Working In
Walk your neighborhood and discover its little nooks and crannies. Look for restaurants with a queue and go inside while asking which meal is the bestseller. Get to know the market and have a chat with the local sellers. Ask them for recipes for what they’re selling. Go inside the local Museum and discover the culture. Google the tourist spots in the city you’re working in and work outward. Eat the food that the locals are eating.
Be Open to Ideas
Just because a country has had a bad reputation doesn’t mean it’s really bad. Just like when we hear about Mindanao and it’s war, it doesn’t mean that everywhere in Mindanao is bad and is at war. It’s also like that in the Gulf Countries. It’s a beautiful part of the world that deserves it’s own place in the pantheons of travel. Frequently, having been in a country will make you lose all your negative preconceptions about it. Chances are you’ll go back to the Philippines raving about how beautiful that country is. Most likely you’ll also wish you could go back with your family in tow.
As OFWs, we are conscious about money and how much we’ll get to take home at the end of our contracts. Traveling the world need not break the bank.
- Use technology to help you find the cheapest airfare by subscribing to budget airlines’ newsletters.
- Make sure to get airline cards with miles rewards.
- Utilize apps that aggregate when the best time to buy certain tickets would be.
- Be familiar with non-traditional ways of traveling like couch surfing, staying at hostels, or booking at AirBnB. Of course, if you can get more than one friend to come with you, it’ll be cheaper as you’ll be sharing costs.
- Finally, follow the footsteps of budget bloggers, decide the level of comfort you want, and you won’t go wrong. To sum it up, world travel as an OFW is possible.
Let’s start planning!
Picture attribution CC BY 2.0