(Originally published in Live In The Philippines web magazine)

This month marks the end of our first year living full time in Davao. When we came here from Arizona we bought a round trip ticket, thinking that we would probably want to visit the U.S. every year or so anyway. The return ticket was set to expire after a year, so it was either use it or lose it. So we just returned from two weeks in the U.S. with a week in Hong Kong on the way back. A one way ticket this time.

The Hong Kong stopover involved an experiment that may be of interest to others, Hong Kong being not too far away and not too expensive to travel to, and also one of the obvious options for those needing to go out and come back in to renew a visa. It’s also a good place for shopping, especially for electronics; if you go to the right places, prices on computers and related items are ten or twenty percent less than U.S. prices.

Coming to the Philippines from the U.S., it’s often possible to get a few days stopover in Hong Kong for not too much more than the price of the ticket to Manila. The drawback is that Hong Kong hotels tend to be expensive at best, and it can sometimes be hard to find a room when you want one. This time, the hotels we stayed at on previous trips were full; the only hotel rooms I could find in Kowloon were going for prices that would have had my Scottish ancestors spinning in their graves. I was at the point of giving up on the Hong Kong stopover, but then it occurred to me to try airbnb.com. Continue reading