It’s Christmas season once again. Finally, after months or years of being away from your family, you can finally go back home and spend the most joyful celebration of the year. You already informed your family about when you’ll come home and how long you will stay.
Don’t get too excited. As an OFW, there are things you need to do and remember to ensure that you can go back to your job site without any stress or hassle.
Before you count the days, here is a list and guidelines on what to do, not to bring, and how you can make the most out of your stay:
Tip No. 1: Make the necessary preparations.
Surely, your family and friends miss you a lot. As soon as you step on Philippine soil, you will be bombarded by tons of parties here and there because they genuinely miss you. You also want to make up for the lost time with your family, so expect trips to the mall, shopping, eating out, and even going on a quick vacation.
Before you fly out, make sure you made the necessary preparations and arrangements. First thing on your list must be your budget. A lot of people will tease you to sponsor one round of drinks or your kids might ask you to buy this and that. You might also want to go on a staycation with your family for two days, which is something you should prepare for as well.
Bottom line is prepare. Set a budget and make sure you still have money left on your way back to your job site. Stick to that budget and learn to say no whenever necessary. OFW life is tough and the people back home must know that.
Aside from the budget, you need to have a list of things to do while you’re home. Make a list of what to do, where to go, the people you plan to see, and matters you need to take care of. Having an itinerary help you make the most out of your stay while making sure that you cover everything that needs to be done.
Tip No. 2: Your family should know when you’ll be back.
Surprising your family that you are home for the holidays is one of the best Christmas gifts ever. But if you want to lose that element, then make sure you inform them the exact details of your arrival – from arrival date, time, airline, and what terminal in NAIA you will be picked up.
Make sure your family knows how many luggages you have so that they could make necessary car arrangements, too.
Tip No. 3: Leave prohibited, unnecessary, and expensive items.
When packing your things, make sure you bring only what is necessary – your change of clothes, shoes, and pasalubong to your family. If you have items you want to leave in the Philippines, then pack those, too.
As much as possible, do not bring items that could potentially delay your departure. Expensive and unnecessary items must be left behind. Make sure you don’t bring prohibited items as well.
Check out this link where the Department of Transportation and Communications listed items that are prohibited in the airport.
Tip No. 4: Take it easy on your luggage and balikbayan boxes.
Depending on the airline, every passenger is allowed to bring baggages of up to 40 or 50 kilos. Anything in excess must either be left at the airport or pay for an additional fee, which is quite costly.
Therefore, take it easy on your luggage. It’s normal to bring pasalubong to your family, but make sure you meet the baggage requirements of the airline company. Bring only what you need to avoid leaving or paying an additional fee. Anyway, you can always send another set of boxes while you’re still working overseas. Duty Free is also an alternative in case you want to give something to your relatives and friends.
Better yet, don’t feel obligated to give everyone a present this Christmas. It’s okay if you can’t “share your blessings” to others. Don’t compromise your financial standing for the sake of pleasing everyone.
Tip No. 5: Know your benefits as an OFW.
Did you know that you are exempted from travel tax? Have you considered shopping in Duty Free in case you were unable to buy pasalubong?
These are just some of the perks you can avail of as OFW so make sure you take advantage of it.
Tip No. 6: Don’t forget about your government records.
Your vacation is the perfect opportunity to start or update your government records like SSS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG. Make sure you dedicate some time on that to avoid any hassle in the future.
Getting an OEC is also a must, which will serve as proof that you are a legitimate OFW. If you will be working in the same employer and job site, then make sure you get an OEC exemption.
Tip No. 6: Include savings and investment in your itinerary.
Aside from government services, your vacation is the perfect time to update or start your savings and investment journey. Take this opportunity to explore your options in growing your money. There are several government-backed savings program you can try, which allows you to save higher than in banks. This way, your money won’t be put to waste.
If it were up to you, how will you spend your vacation in the Philippines?