I’m Back From India and the Middle EastWritten by Jeffrey Bennett
Hi everyone! I haven’t disappeared. Just went on a backpacking trip all around India and the Middle East.
This was basically a big visa run for the Philippines. I’ll try to explain why I went on this trip.
Before I moved to the Philippines, I didn’t really understand how the visa system here worked, so I booked several international flights on the once-a-year Cebu Pacific “One Peso” airfare sale.
That’s practically free! 😍
Anyway, my last flight booked was for Bangkok, Thailand in March. And my Philippine visa expired just days before Christmas.
As a United States passport holder, I am automatically granted 30 days visa free in the Philippines.
Unfortunately, this meant there was a several-day gap between my visa expiration and my flight to Bangkok that I needed to do something about.
This left me with a few options:
- Extend my visa only to be several days short and have to extend it a second time for the same price, while losing the rest.
- Leave the Philippines for a few days, then return to Manila just to catch my flight (expensive).
- Go on a 2+ month backpacking trip.
- Cancel my flight to Bangkok and book an earlier one at a much higher price (I need to get there regardless since I already have a flight to Japan for the end of March).
- Cancel my flight to Bangkok and Osaka (not something I want).
- Stay in the Philippines anyway, be fined for overstaying my visa, and possibly banned from returning (not something I want either).
Shortly after I understood my options, I found a really good flight deal from Manila, Philippines to Chennai, India for less than $100 US Dollars / ₽5,000 Pesos. Most of the time I’ve seen these flights, it was around 4× the cost.
When I saw that flight on the exact date I needed, I booked it right then and there. It was very spontaneous.
I had no plans, no itinerary, and almost no expectations, other than knowing I wanted to try all the food I could. I mean, just look at this food!￼
95% of the food I ate was incredibly delicious and even cheaper.