Here is a very common scenario we always experience at our travel agency in Canada…..
It’s the month of August, many Filipinos living in Canada call us to inquire about the cost of airfare to the Philippines for the month of December to spend their holidays at.
The cost of ticket? Somewhere between C$1,500 to more than C$2,000 per adult depending on departure and return date. Sounds ridiculous? No, it’s not.
We’ve been in this industry for so long that we can advise that if you are planning to spend December in the Philippines, better buy your ticket as early as February of the same year or about 10 months ahead.
I think that that ticket price would be justifiable if you are spending months in the Philippines, like some of our senior citizen customers. They spend no less than 3 months every time – which most of the time they stretch up to 5 months.
But what if you only have limited time (like 2 or 3 weeks at the most) and have to be on a fixed holiday dates? Then, the airfare alone will put a big hole in your pocket! Think about how much more you have to spend while you are there?
Now, I know that spending holidays in our homeland is fun, because you will be able to reconnect with old friends, former schoolmates & coworkers and relatives. Familiar faces. Familiar territory.
My question is – is it practical to spend several thousands of dollars if you only have 2 weeks of holidays only?
The reason we are going on holidays was to take a break from our hectic work life and be rejuvenated for another year of hard work, right? But if you’re coming back knowing that you overspend during your holidays and that the incurred expenses will add up to your financial worry – wouldn’t it stress you instead of feeling relaxed?
That’s the question I tried to answer when I got tired of paying unnecessary holiday bills after returning from my yearly vacations to the Philippines in the past.
Due to a previous illness a few years back, I make it a point to leave the winter behind even for a few weeks every year and the Philippines was the only vacation destination I can think of.
Maybe because, like mentioned above, I feel secured knowing I’ll be with familiar people. Or maybe because I feel comfortable speaking in my native language for information or directions. Or maybe because I thought it was the only cheap destination I know that could stretch my dollars.
Whatever it is, looking back – I know I was mistaken. Sure, it is one of the happiest places on earth. I feel that way when I’m there. I don’t watch my spending, simply because when you’re having fun, money becomes no object. There’s that tendency to splurge and it’s too late to realize the mistake.
Story short, that yearly holidays had me incurred significant amount of debt which threatened to halt my yearly winter getaway.
I don’t want that to happen. I will feel too depressed. I don’t want to get ill again.
So, I started to research for a destination where I can continue my snowbirding without incurring too much expenses. Story short, that’s how I picked Mexico.
At first, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy going around because of some concerns:
(1) The language. Spanish is the main language in Mexico and although I had some lessons back home, I am not comfortably sure that I’ll can converse with even simple phrases.
(2) Transportation. In the Philippines, I have my own service car and driver. I have not used public transport much because I couldn’t stand the fumes and the chaos of waiting, specially in Manila. Even when I am in Balanga, the transport fumes make me want to stay indoors. I thought it will be the same situation in Cancun, Mexico.
It turned out that all of those presumed barriers are unfounded because I and my family, got to enjoy our first visit to Mexico. And I got to get around easily like what you’ll see in my set of photos here and here. More on that in the coming post.
Story short, as of now, I have been wintering to Mexico twice already and I’m happy that I did decide to switch holiday destinations. My expenses is now much lower, starting with the airfare. The cost of rooms and of food is similar to the Philippines and so is the weather. And I have not experienced any discomfort with air quality. I am satisfied.
I can now afford to go on a yearly holiday every winter without worrying about spending too much and my recorded expenses log showed a total of about C$1,500 for a 2-week holiday for everything. That means I can even afford to go to Mexico even twice a year!
So, if you are in the same situation like me before, seeking for a short-stay but cheap wintering destination close to our home in Canada (or the US), I would advise to try Cancun or anywhere in the Riviera Maya. Or if the internet is not an issue, Cuba is another budget-friendly destination. I just can’t consider that country because of the bad internet connection and I need to be always in contact to our office in Canada for technical support.
So, for Filipinos living in Canada or the US, you have a cheaper & closer-to-home option for a vacation destination other than the Philippines —– try Mexico!
¡Nos vemos en México!