In this report, I give 8 reasons to leave the USA before the Philippines open.
I started thinking about this today. There are a few things I need to explain before I give tell you 8 ideas that help you answer the question, should you leave the USA before the Philippines open.
You see, we will be done touring Central America in just a few months, so we need to decide where to go next.
In 2020, we were in the middle of touring the Philippines when the pandemic put us in lockdown. We were locked down in the Philippines for about 8 months. There are about 15 more places in the Philippines we need to see before we pick our favorites. So we need to go back.
Even if you are dead set on retiring in the Philippines, there are several good reasons you should explore other countries while you wait for the Philippines to open. That is what I will talk about in this video.
First, I want to explain why I think several other parts of SE Asia are likely to open 3 to 6 months before the Philippines. Second, I have been thinking, when should we head over to SE Asia? Finally, I will ask, should you leave the USA before the Philippines open. Okay, here we go.
I will show you pictures I took traveling. We travel the world and write retire cheap in paradise reports. We have been waiting for the Philippines to open so we could finish our tour of the Philippines. We have over 100 reports on VagabondBuddha.com that teach how and where to retire early for cheap all over the world including Mexico, Central America, South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Why Most of SE Asia will open Before the Philippines
In general, all of Asia has had many fewer deaths per capita during the pandemic. Personally, I think it is because they have had much more experience managing dangerous viruses over the last few decades, like the avian bird flu and others. Western countries have just had much less experience fighting viruses when compared to Asia.
Each Asian country will decide when to open to tourists when they feel their hospitals will not be overrun with new cases. Many will make that decision based upon at least two metrics, reaching a low number of new cases per day, reaching a high percentage of vaccination in their population.
As of today, only about 24% of the Philippines population has been vaccinated, whereas Malaysia has 67% vaccinated, Cambodia has 69%, Vietnam has 12%, and Indonesia has about 20% vaccinated. So, if the Philippines focus on their new cases and vaccination rates, it could take another 6 to 12 months to open.
But other new factors are being watched around the world. Recent studies are confirming that vaccinated people spread the Delta virus 65% slower than unvaccinated people. That metric suggests that vaccinated tourists may be substantially safer to allow entry.
So, if these studies hold true, many governments may begin allowing vaccinated tourists first in order to offset some of the economic and social devastation created by the complete denial of tourism. This pressure to open sooner will be even greater in countries with economies that depend heavily on tourism, such as the Philippines.
If that case, the Philippines may open sooner than expected, possibly by Spring of 2022 or even earlier. But if the Philippines continue to depend only on new case counts and high vaccination rates, then it may not open until September of 2022. This is just an estimate of course.
So that creates a question in my mind.
Should I tour around SE Asia while I wait for the Philippines to open?
Here is my current thinking. Qiang and I will move back to SE Asia and tour around that part of the world, as soon as three countries in SE Asia are open to us. We will head over there even if the Philippines is not open yet. Let me explain.
What I am about to tell you changes every few days or weeks. So you need to verify the present status of these facts before you fly to SE Asia. Here is what I mean by when “three countries in SE Asia are open to us.” Three countries are not open in SE Asia now. Here is what I mean.
Americans are able to go to Thailand right now on a sandbox visa. You have to jump through some hoops to do it, but I have had friends go to Thailand over the last few months. You can also go to Cambodia if you are willing to jump through some hoops and quarantine upon arrival. Bali says it will open to tourists soon, and I have another friend that went there recently. So countries are slowly opening in SE Asia finally.
But of these three, I would only categorize Thailand as open right now on their sandbox visa. The other two require some form of quarantine when you arrive. We are all different in what we are willing to do in order to be let into a country.
For me, I define a country to be open if I can go with only a vaccine and or a negative COVID test. I am presently unwilling to quarantine at this time. So under my definition of open, there are not yet three countries open in SE Asia. You will have to decide what hoops you are willing to jump through.
Under the present entry requirements, it is still almost impossible to tour around SE Asia right now without doing quarantines. So I have been unwilling to fly halfway around the world yet to explore SE Asia, so far. Because, once I go, I want to be able to spend at least a year touring around so I can amortize the cost flight over a long period of time. When 3 countries are open to us in SE Asia, we will fly there.
I suspect that before the end of 2021, there will be at least 3 countries in SE Asia that will be open according to my definition. I will go once there is at least 3 countries in SE Asia that require only proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test. That is why we are still in Latin America.
Okay, I promised to give 8 reasons to leave the USA before the Philippines open. Well, here we go!
8 reasons to leave the USA before the Philippines open
One. You will hit the wall in the Philippines
When you first live overseas, you will hit a psychological wall sometime in the first 3 to 9 months. If you haven’t already lived outside your home country for more than a year, you are likely to hit a wall when you first live internationally. It is not just the Philippines. It will happen in most other countries too.
Everything is going to seem very odd to you for the first 3 to 9 months. If you are like me, you will constantly be asking yourself, why don’t they do this as we do at home? Why are things so different here? Why can’t I get my favorite food? Why can’t I just live my old routine?
If you go straight to the Philippines (or any other country) without first living in other countries, you will begin to think that the Philippines are an odd place. But if you take some time to tour around other countries, before you enter the Philipines, you will understand that it is really just the chaos of change that bothers you. Not the Philippines. You just miss your comfort zone.
So, if you spend a few months touring around SE Asia before you go to the Philippines, you will be much more adapted to the chaos of change and you will be less likely to prematurely give up on the idea of international living.
Without that reference point, you might just end up going home within a year or so. But that is okay too if you can afford all the long-distance flights.
But after being home for about 6 months, you will likely wish you were back in the Philippines (or whatever other country you love most). So you can save a bunch of money and time by just touring around SE Asia, or another part of the world, for a few months before heading to the Philippines.
The funny thing is, about 3 months after returning home prematurely, you will miss many of the quirky or weird things that annoyed you the most while living overseas. And many things you missed most while you were away from home, will not seem as fun as you remembered.
If you are like me, you’ll be bored at home within a few months, and you’ll start planning your escape again. That is what happened to me when I tried moving back to the USA. I was gone again within 6 months. What are some of the other reasons you should leave the USA before the Philippines open?
Two. You may be able to meet your Filipino lover sooner
This one only applies to people with long-distance lovers in the Philippines or any other country.
It is very possible that vaccinated Filipinos will be allowed to leave the Philippines and fly to other parts of SE Asia before you are allowed to fly into the Philippines. That could very easily happen over the next few months if another country in SE Asia opens sooner than the Philippines. That is very likely in my opinion.
So if you are touring around SE Asia, and your Filipino lover is allowed to fly somewhere that opens before the Philippines, you will be able to meet them in person sooner. This is likely to happen sooner than if you wait for the Philippines to allow your entry.
The Philippines has not allowed their citizens to leave the Philippines yet at the time of this report, but when other countries in SE Asia open to tourists, you may be able to meet your Filippino lover sooner. That is just my opinion.
Three. They may change the visa rules in the Philippines
Countries change their visa rules periodically. If the rules stay the same in the Philippines when they finally reopen to tourists, you will be able to get extensions on your tourist visa for up to 36 months before you need to do a visa run to another country.
So, after 36 months of tourist extensions, you will need to fly to another nearby country to reset your tourist visa stamp in the Philippines. But, if the Philippines changes its visa rules, you may need to leave the country more often.
It will be easier for you to pick where to go in SE Asia if you have already toured around SE Asia before going to the Philippines.
You may have heard about all of the people that were leaving Thailand a few years ago. If they had toured around other countries in SE Asia before they decided to live in Thailand, they would have had a better idea of where they wanted to move next if they had done some touring first.
Four. You will need a break from time to time
The truth is, we all need a break from normal life from time to time. If you learn about some of your favorite places around other parts of SE Asia, you will be able to take vacations from your vacation every once in a while.
You can often fly to other vary beautiful parts of SE Asia for a few hundred dollars per person roundtrip. This may also be a great way to show your new love another beautiful part of SE Asia of they have never traveled to before. Travel is a great way to bring romance back into your daily routine and love life.
Five. Variety is the spice of life and travel is the biggest spice
If you are like me, you will probably be curious about the other countries around you even if you decide to settle in one country in SE Asia. Personally, I think variety is the spice of life. But not everyone is like me.
But if you are, you will want to take periodic vacations from your new life. So why not start by getting to know some of the surrounding countries before you settle down in the Philippines. Knowing that you dated other countries before you fell in love with and moved to the Philippines, will help give you confidence in the decision you made to settle in the Philippines.
Next, I explain the largest spice of life possible, serendipity.
Six. Serendipity May Happen to You if You Tour SE Asia
It was just by mere coincidence that I met Qiang Hui in Malaysia. I had done my share of touring all around SE Asia and I had fallen in love with Thailand back in 2016. But I needed to do a visa run so I could get my Thai tourist visa renewed. So I flew to Penang, Malaysia.
I enjoyed Penang Malaysia, so I decided to check out Kuala Lumpur. I thought both cities in Malaysia were beautiful and very modern and organized, but they didn’t seem to be as fun as Thailand. So I was planning to head back to Thailand after touring around Malaysia for a few months.
But then I met Qiang Hui while I was in Kuala Lumpur. I was having a bunch of fun getting to know her better. So I decided to tour around Malaysia periodically between my visits to KL where Qiang lived at the time. I spent much of 2016 and 2017 in KL getting to know Qiang better.
I eventually loved Malaysia as much as Thailand. But it was mainly because I started seeing Malaysia through the eyes of Qiang Hui. So you need to be open to serendipity. Let your life unfold naturally and give serendipity a chance. Try not to force everything to fit into your expectations.
Seven. You may like another country more than the Philippines
If you tour around three or four other countries before the Philippines open, you just may find that you like another country more than the Philippines. Your favorite place in the world that fits your lifestyle and needs, is a very personal thing.
You can increase your chances of ending up at the right pace if you take your time and date a few countries before picking the country you want to marry. Seeing SE Asia with your own eyes may increase your chances of picking the right country.
Eight. You may have to move someday.
Whatever country you pick to live, may eventually experience economic or political unrest someday.
This one has a low likelihood of happening, but I will mention it just in case. Many countries have periods of economic and political unrest. At such times, political leaders often scapegoat foreigners as being the cause of systemic problems. If things get ugly where ever you are living in the world, you are going to want to get out of the country at least until things cool down.
If you have spent time in various countries in the region, you may have learned of a favorite nearby country you would like to move to temporarily or permanently when trouble arises. If you have toured around the region before this happens, you will have a better idea of where you want to go next.
The truth is, in 14+ years of slow traveling the world, nothing remotely approaching this level of economic or political unrest has ever happened anywhere in the world where I was living at the time. I have even lived through two military coups in Thailand and foreigners were never targeted by politicians, so this is more theoretical. But it is good to know the lay of the land around you just in case.
Okay, those are my 8 reasons to leave the USA before the Philippines open.
This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the YouTube channel for VagabondBuddha.com. Make sure to stop by VagabondBuddha.com and get a free copy of my eBook, “How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 14+ Years.”
We also have a course that teaches you how we pay for our world travels.
The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?
Related Reports: Our World Travel Costs for 2020. 2021 will be released after the year ends.