TRAVEL TO REMEMBER

My sister was offered work in Cambodia. So, as much of being a “tambay” (bum) for almost a month.  I volunteered to accompany her for a month in her new work overseas. As a first time tourist visa traveler, I want to share my story so that for the people who does not have any clue on traveling abroad will have an idea what to do and not to.

I already traveled overseas in the past but not as a tourist. I had a work in Saudi Arabia as a nurse for two years, it ended last December 11, 2012. So, I’m not really new at this stuff.

When we arrived at the airport in Clark, Pampangga two hours prior to our said flight. It was 5:00 am in the morning and our flight schedule to Singapore is 7:25 am. At first, it was going smoothly. We intended not to buy return tickets because I’m not yet sure what date I’ll be returning back to the Philippines. Which is “katangahan lang” (stupidity). My sister also did not purchase a return ticket because according to her employer, she will be having a tourist visa for 3 months during her probationary period and after she passed her 3 months probation, she will be given a working visa. So, there is no certain date when she will return to the Philippines.

During check-in, the airline attendant asks why we did not purchase any return ticket, we said our reasons. She did mention that “maybe” we will be detained in the immigration area and did not explain any further. She is not sure on the regulations. So we still checked in our baggage. We paid an additional 2,120 php for the both of us for having exceeded the required kilos. The second line is the Travel Tax. It costs around 3,240 php for the both of us. The third line is the terminal fee and it costs 450 php each. I did not expect how expensive traveling could be. As a former OFW, all I know is that there are no fees such as these. When we arrived on the immigration area after a very long line. They checked our passports and booking reference. They asks us about our return tickets and we explained to them what we explained before to the airline attendant. They don’t want to let us in. They advised us to buy a return ticket before they will let us in. So, we went back to the check in area, asks if we can buy tickets. They said, they are already close and it is already late. I looked at my watch and it is already 7:00 am. My sister was furious. In the first place, the airline attendant should know the policies and procedures that if with no return ticket, they should not allow the client to check in or proceed so, to avoid this hassle. With a little time before departure, we decided to book our ticket online. I accidentally took with me my other sisters’ credit card, which is a blessing in disguise. With my tab with me and my laptop with my sister, we book our return flight simultaneously. I looked at my watch. It was already 7:15 am. Luckily, we finished booking 5 minutes before the departure. I did not checked clearly, what is on my return tickets’ flight details for I’m on haste. What is important is both of us have return tickets and that we can already enter the plane. Complete with running on the tarmac, we are the last to board, reminds me of amazing race.

We arrived in Singapore at around 10:30 am. Singapore’s airport is huge, and it’s hard to find where our connecting flight to Cambodia is.  Anyway, we found it after how many minutes wandering around. We checked in our baggage bag. As usual it’s more than the said weight. Unluckily another overpaid, not in a budget, extra payment worth of 213 Singapore dollar. Huwa!!! After checking in we went towards the immigration, and a Singaporean lady (maybe a guard or attendant something) caught our attention, ask us to follow her. She weigh our carry on bags and again it’s worth more than 7 kilo. Come on!!! Another extra payment of 120$.

At around 1:00 pm, still shocked, very hungry and exhausted of running around, we board the plane. 2:30-3:00 pm we arrived at Phnom Pehn, Capital city of Cambodia.

All I can say is, we are just foolish first timer travelers. No clue on excess baggage and return tickets. My advice is: Backpacking travel only requires few things like travel light to avoid any extra charges. Research is very helpful. I hoped you learned something and not to repeat our mistakes.

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