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Freelancing abroad: Preparing for 2 months

Pre-Sequel

Katarzyna PotockaKatarzyna Potocka

One of my most precious items on my so called bucket list was spending some time working from a beach. And what I mean by that, is not really sitting on the beach with my MacBook — come on no one wants sand in your butt and your laptop — but from a place that’s warm and sunny and NEAR a beach. So although I do love ALL of my so precious todo lists, the one list that I want to get shorter, is my bucket list. So freelancing abroad — here we come.

In the year 2013 my boyfriend and I have run a dry run spending 2 months in Warsaw, Poland. Which still was an amazing adventure, but with a lot of safety nets. We had a car, borrowed from my mother. We had my cousin and his wife in the same building, where we have been staying. We already knew the culture and the place. And btw I am polish and absolutely capable of speaking this, so often heard, very hard to learn language. So it was a really secure and risk free dry run. And although we’ve spent two months abroad working remotely on different side projects, neither the projects have been a real success nor was there a beach or the ocean in near sight.

Where to go to really get that abroad feeling?

So three years later we decided to check one of my bucket list items from my list and do a real remote and abroad working thing. After having spent 16 days in 2015 in Thailand — Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Khao Lak — we decided that Thailand has all we would need to make this happen:

find a country to go — checked.

Find a spot to work! Easy going …

Finding the perfect location is impossible! Finding one that you will doubt only every third week, much more realistic. So because a lot of people were telling us about KoHub on Koh Lanta/Ko Lanta — nobody seems to know how to really write this island — a co-working space next to the beach on one of Thailands western islands, the decision was made pretty quick.

find a place near a beach with a co-working space — checked.

The KoHub itself has daily, weekly and monthly prices — check the current rates on their homepage — KoHub. In addition James — the owner of KoHub and a really helpful and patient guy — offers KoHub & accommodation packages you should definitely check out, if you want to stay longer on Koh Lanta.

KoHub

 Costs for 2 months co-working space: 157,00 € per person 

Find a spot to stay! OMG!

Well that was the really annoying, exhausting, demanding and really nasty part of the trip planning.

If you are staying for two months at one and the same place you can’t afford to stay in a 5 star resort with an infinity pool and a private villa with your own jacuzzi — I mean at least we can’t, even if we would love to. Sponsors please contact me via my e-mail address 😉

After this mind-crashing realisation, I started researching apartments for rent on Koh Lanta, especially longterm rentals. Some of those apartments you can check out in the list below:

Unfortunately most longterm apartments do have pools and beautiful places to stay, which we also wouldn’t be able to afford for two months.

After a long time searching for a good accommodation for our two months stay on Koh Lanta and a lot of cursing, we finally found our perfect location: The Escape-Cabins

Escape-Cabins — apartments

Well not really the Escape-Cabins but a place that’s just seperated by a fence and still looked after by the Escape-Cabins crew and their amazing owner Yuko. The rooms/apartments look beautiful and the location seems to be a really good one. It’s on Long Beach but not directly on the Escape-Cabing to KoHubmain street running on the western side of the island. From KoHub it seems to be 1.6 km which according to Google is a 20 min walk.

So I contacted the team from the Escape-Cabins and asked for special offers and what we could do about our longterm stay. Yuko was the one who answered me and also guided me through all my following up questions, which definitely have been a few 🙂 After some e-mail correspondence, we were offered even a cheaper version — a longterm apartment which was not exactly on the hotel ground but next to it and not operated by the Escape-Cabins themselves but they were overlooking these, by eg still offering a daily cleaning service and two bottles of water every day. So all in all a great option for us to stay.

longterm apartment for two months stay — checked.

The rate for the 63 day stay at the longterm apartments at the Escape-Cabins would be in total: 41,900 THB which is about 1047,5 €. This makes it 8,31€ / day / person — that’s something that we can work with.

 Costs of 63 longterm stay: 523,75 € per person 

The only downside is that the apartments exclude the swimming pool until mid of April — but still there is the sea — so nothing to worry about.

Find a way to go — round trip!

After having an accommodation for the first part of our trip on Koh Lanta, the next step was to find a matching flight to Koh Lanta and figure out from where we should fly back home. The reason for a different departure city was, that we wanted to end our Asia long-term trip with a city-trip, something different from Bangkok, which we have already visited in 2013. After checking all the beautiful possibilities we decided on Singapore — it’s ”near”, it’s big and there are reasonable flights back to Vienna. We decided on staying for 63 days in Koh Lanta, adding some days for our real holiday time after those 63 days and about 5 days for visiting Singapore we finally had the date ±2 days when we would be heading back home.

round trip to Asia and back — checked.

Our flight plan:

Costs of our main flight: 691,98 € per person 

What to do while taking a break from booking accommodations and flights?

After having our flight and our first accommodation booked, it was time for taking a break and checking the insurance and everything concerning visa.

YIPPIE

After googling through a lot of looking like not really official sites about Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia we managed to gather the following information about our destinations. (Please note that these are informations that we gathered for our special circumstances and these are not official informations, although we are counting on there accuracy)

What kind of visa did we get in advance?

The short answer is: none.

After trying to figure out what the official websites are with the official information and searching for some really official information on ”who needs a visa”, we figured out that both of us — austrian and polish nationality — do not need a visa for any of the countries, that are on our to-visit trip list. In Thailand we are staying ≤ 30 days and than going to Kuala Lumpur and back again for another ≤ 30 days before going further to Malaysia, which means we are definitely in the ≤ 30 days range with a second time entering the country during 6 months. Everywhere else we are staying ≤ 30 days, so we should be good *fingerscrossed*.

All the information that we were able to find and that looked somehow official, you can find in the lists below.

Thailand: if you are staying ≤ 30 days and you are going by plane you shouldn’t have any problems. According to the information that we gathered you can reenter Thailand during 6 months once again, especially when you’re entering by plane.
[en]: http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/customize/62281-Summary-of-Countries-and-Territories-entitled-for.html
[de]: Thai Embassy AT
[de]: http://www.clickthai.de/Reisen/Einreise/einreise.html
[de]: Federal Ministry Republic of Austria

Malaysia — Kuala Lumpur: if you are staying ≤ 90 days you should be good to go without a visa (austrian and polish nationality) — maybe you will get a visa on arrival.
[de]: Federal Ministry Republic of Austria
[en]: http://www.kln.gov.my/web/aut_vienna/requirement_foreigner
[en]: KLM Info for polish nationality

Singapore: you don’t need a visa to travel to Singapore. For polish nationality we do not need a visa if we are staying ≤ 90 days.
[de]: Federal Ministry Republic of Austria
[de]: http://www.erlebe-singapur.de/einreise.php
[en]: KLM info for polish nationality

Indonesia — Bali: Visa on Arrival — which simply means that you get a visa on arrival at the airport. You have to pay for the visa (35 USD), so be sure to have some money with you.
[de]: Federal Ministry Republic of Austria
[de]: http://www.divingbali.de/bali/tauchen/visa/visa.html
[en]: http://www.kbriwina.at/about-the-embassy/protocol-consular-section/new-visa-regulation/index.php#588523a4bc0fbc102
[pl]: http://indonezja.geozeta.pl/wizy

What kind of insurance do you take while traveling for 80 days?

If you thought that trying to find out if you need a visa or not was a time consuming task, then you probably never had the issue trying to find the best insurance for a long-term trip abroad.

A list of all the different insurances we have considered for our long-term trip, you can find below:

What you should know is that we definitely wanted to have a cancellation insurance and a travel curtailment insurance in addition to all those things as getting to a hospital really quickly when there is an emergency etc.

So because of our ”special wish” and the trip duration of more than 43 days, the selection of different options got pretty fast pretty small.

The first good thing about STA travel insurance is that they have two different categories: Premium and Basic. The main difference is that the Basic one has deductibles for outpatient and inpatient treatment of 100 € per occurrence. The second one is that the prize for the insurance depends on the duration of your trip. And this is amazing, because first of all it’s nice, that they make a difference and second, they have insurance for trips lasting longer than 43 days, which seems to be a common maximum of trip durations — at least for insurance companies.

The Card Complete insurance from VISA is depending on your payment activity. You have to have paid something with your VISA during the last two months before the trip and you also have to have a minimum amount of credits. These credits you can collect by buying stuff with your credit card — since 2016 you get 1 credit for 15 € conversion. If you have managed to collect 200 credits during the last year you also have the opportunity to get the Travel Cancellation Insurance. One positive thing from the VISA insurance is that your trip can last up to 90 days. But still, the cancellation parameters weren’t the ones that we have been looking for.

The one that finally got the honour to become our travel insurance *drumrollsplease* is the ”Europäische Reisevericherung – Jahres-Komplett+Schutz”. It’s an insurance for the whole year, so even going to Essen to ”Die Spiel”, Germany this year shouldn’t be an issue at all 😉 In addition it has a really good cancellation insurance and a travel curtailment insurance. Definitely the best price performance ratio — especially for our needs.

insurance for our 80 day trip — checked.

The ”Europäische Reiseversicherung –  Jahres-Komplett+Schutz” also includes a special insurance for professional luggage, which in our case means ”Keep your MacBook Pro safe“.

Insurance cost: 390 € per person 

First 4 steps to freelancing abroad

find a place near a beach with a co-working space — checked.
longterm apartment for two months stay — checked.
round trip to Asia and back — checked.
insurance for our 80 day trip — checked.
Total amount for 1. step of preparations:
157 € + 523,75 € + 691,98 € + 390 € = 1.762,73 €

Asia — we are coming

— K&G
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