Travel Tips – How to Travel Philippines on the Cheap

One of the most beautiful countries in the world also happens to be among the cheapest travel destinations. The Philippines offers stunning island retreats, vibrant cities with astonishing architecture, lush jungles, and so much more – yet it’s possible to take it all in without breaking the bank.


Travel to the Philippines for Cheap


Search for Savings on Major Expenditures

Big-ticket items such as international airfare will probably account for most of your budget when traveling to the Philippines. This makes it vital to search for savings, and to consider booking your flights well in advance. Skyscanner offers a comparison function that allows you to view entire months complete with prices, allowing you to make choices not just by date, but also by what happens to be cheapest. Note that your return flight can usually be had for far less than your initial flight to Manila.

Accommodations can be pricey if you absolutely must have air conditioning and other niceties; if you’re willing to sleep in a beach hut, on a friendly local’s couch, or at a bare-bones guesthouse, you can expect to pay far less. Decide just how much penny-pinching you’re willing to do and be sure to read reviews as you make your selection. Be sure to visit sites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, which treat you to highly personalized experiences while helping you save your cash. Choose from simple rooms to exquisite villas, all at surprisingly affordable prices. Here are a few more of my budget flight tips. 


Stretch your Food Budget

No trip to the Philippines is complete without at least a few meals purchased at street venues. Roasted chicken and fish, big plates of seafood and rice, huge bowls of noodles, and other local delicacies cost very little. If you’re staying at a venue with a kitchen, consider cooking some of your own meals with ingredients purchased at local markets.


Use VoIP Instead of Cell Service

You might already be a Viber user. If not, be sure to check it out! This service can be downloaded to your mobile, tablet, or laptop as a free app, after which you can use it to make deeply discounted international calls to mobile and landline phones and to talk for free to others who also use the app. It works anywhere Wi-Fi is available, whether you’re making travel plans from home or keeping in touch with your family while enjoying your vacation in the Philippines.


Compare Prices on Tours

If you’d like to tour a specific location or see certain sites, spend a little time investigating instead of hopping onto the first charter that rolls by. Competition between tour providers can be intense, and it’s normal to haggle. Ask for discounts and you’ll save a few dollars here and there, particularly if you’re in search of an island hopping tour. It all adds up over time, leaving you even more money for tasty treats and fun souvenirs.


Play Outdoors

Snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and cycling are just a few of the fun things to do while traveling the Philippines on the cheap. Equipment rentals are inexpensive (do ensure that safety gear is in good condition!) and you’ll enjoy immersing yourself in nature’s beauty. Remember to wear your sunscreen!


Enjoy Cheap or Free Entertainment

Beachside venues are famous for their live music and enthusiastic performers, and it’s easy to join in the fun when you visit bars and restaurants that specialize in Karaoke. Relax and see what the locals are up to, and consider saving money on adult beverages by purchasing beer and rum at the market. Look for attractions with appealing entrance fees, and be on the lookout for monuments, temples, and other sites that offer free tours. You’ll spend very little this way, even when you tip your guides well.


Know What to Avoid

Travel emergencies can be expensive, and avoiding potential pitfalls is a good way to protect yourself and hold onto emergency funds that you’ve built into your budget. Check travel advisories before you depart so that you know where areas of unrest are, and until the country gets terrorism under control, it’s suggested that you avoid the far south regions of Mindanao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Sulu Archipelago. Rural areas around Luzon should be avoided as well. Western tourists are occasionally kidnapped and held for ransom in areas where terrorism is a problem, so it’s best to stick to known safe zones. The Philippines, in general, is a warm, welcoming place with low crime rates. So long as you avoid risky locations, you should be able to enjoy a safe, relaxing trip.


Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance provides you with peace of mind by covering all sorts of emergencies. Choose a well-known company like Lonely Planet recommended World Nomads, ensuring that it covers cancellations, offers emergency assistance, provides coverage for adventure activities you plan to enjoy, and assures help with costs associated with medical treatment. While this is an optional expense, it’s one that’s well worth considering, particularly since other aspects of Philippines travel are so incredibly cheap. Plans usually cost between four and ten percent the total cost of your trip, although it’s often possible to customize and create an affordable policy that appeals to your budget.



About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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