Joel and I traveled in Vietnam for 30 days. Like our travel last year to Thailand, we brought work with us. We worked full time, and traveled part-time. How do we manage to do that? Read on.
Joel and I both work from home. Because August is summer vacation in the U.S., where the company we are working for is based, we noticed there is lesser work load in August compared to other months of the year. That is why for the last two years, we traveled in August. This year was no different. For this trip to Vietnam, I planned our itinerary such we would be staying in one base (e.g. Hanoi) and doing our out-of-town trips during the weekend (e.g. Ha Long bay). I also planned it such that our long train rides would coincide with the weekend. We did take a four day leave and those were the full day we were traveling from Cebu to Manila to Hanoi and our first day in Hanoi, and our first two days in Hue.
Deciding not to take leaves from our work while in a foreign country is not because we are consumed by our work but because we use our leave credits for special bonding times (e.g. Christmas holidays and New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, Holy Weeks, and fiestas). We also bring our work with us because we find exploring the whole day tiring. We are also not part of a tour where our daily schedule is packed with activities.
So what we did in Vietnam, which we already did in Thailand, was work in morning until past lunch, and go out and explore mid-afternoon until evening and dinner time. When we do go out in the mornings, especially in places where the sunrises are beautiful, we rise up early and just start work at our usual time. We rarely go out at night for practical and safety reasons. It may not be safe to walk anymore and we have to take a cab going home, which will add to our transportation expense. Evening and we are back in our room continuing to work. There are days when our exploring is tiring, but we always make sure we are home around dinner time so that we cannot just have more time to work but also more time to rest our feet and sleep. With this schedule, we always make sure we have enough food and coffee for breakfast and food for lunch (probably leftover from last night’s dinner or just a simple sandwich).
Now, on to connectivity. In Thailand, we booked a pocket wi-fi through Klook that we picked up at the Don Muang International Airport. This time in Vietnam, we decided not to book ahead and just see how the Internet connection is in our rented AirBnB room. Luckily, Internet connection in Vietnam was good enough for our work so we did not have to shell out any money for pocket wifi, thus saving us thousands of pesos. We had a feeling though that there will be no Internet connection at the trains that is also one of the reasons why I scheduled our train rides on the weekends.
If you need to rent out a pocket wifi, I did a mock booking for 29 days with Flytpack, Smart, and Klook (with Skyroam as provider), and found out the following charges:
P15,628.43 for Smart. Smart remains to be the most expensive option for pocket wi-fi for Filipinos wanting to have undisrupted Internet connection abroad. There is also a P2,000 security, which actually is already cut in half from the P4,000 security deposit they charge last year. Moreover, there is a charge for debit/credit card transactions. Add to that the fact that if coming from Cebu, we still need to included delivery charges. If we divide the P15,628.43 charge by two, and divide it further by 29 days, Joel and I would be spending P269.45 per day for Internet connection.
P13,350.00 + P2,000 (deposit) for Skyroam booked through Klook. Skyroam is another expensive option for long-term workcation.
P9,440.00 for Flytpack. I think this was a more reasonable option for long-term workcation. The service fee is minimal and the security deposit is less than P200 compared to Smart and Skyroam. There is a 12% VAT though, according to the receipt. However, I think Smart and Skyroam also adds VAT to the rental fee even though they don’t itemize it in the receipt. And, the good news for Cebuano travelers, Flytpack already has a pick-up address here in Cebu at Avenir Bldg., near Waterfront, so no need to add delivery charges.
P7,859.00 for Vinaphone booked through Klook. This is the cheapest option, probably because you are going to use a local Internet provider. According to Klook, the device will be delivered to your hotel and, to return, you will just have to leave it at the hotel. It is a very simple process, but I don’t think this would have worked for us because we were (1) living through AirBnB apartments, and (2) moving from one place to another.
If you want to book your pocket wi-fi through Klook, you can use my LINK to get credits off your purchase.