Updated on February 21, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
So when it comes to deciding what to pack for the Philippines, we’ve got you covered no matter what kind of travel experience you are looking for! We have a section on what to wear in the Philippines, what NOT to bring and other frequently asked questions.
What to Pack for Philippines – 17 Essentials
Electricity in the Philippines uses 220 volts so if you want to plug anything into the wall, you will need a power adapter. We recommend purchasing a reliable universal power adapter like this one, as you can use it in nearly every country. It’s also great because it comes with a built-in safety fuse in case of power surges and has a lifetime replacement guarantee!
You can’t drink the tap water in the Philippines so it’s important to have a water bottle to keep hydrated throughout your trip. We recommend bringing a LifeStraw water bottle which has a built in water filter. This will be perfect for hiking, backpacking, and traveling through the Philippines in general, as it will ensure that the water you’re drinking is safe and it will help save money and the environment from single-use plastic water bottles.
3. Neck Wallet
Whenever we travel, we always make sure to bring a trusty neck wallet to prevent pickpocketing and petty theft. Especially in destinations that are particularly crowded or touristy, it pays to make sure your belongings are secure and safely stowed away beneath your clothes. This neck wallet is amazing because it’s large enough to hold your phone, passport, cash, and credit cards, and has separate pockets to keep you organized. Keep your valuables out of reach from those who may try to take advantage of travelers and give yourself some peace of mind with a neck wallet.
If you’re coming from North America, Southeast Asia is a long way from home! You’re sure to feel the effects of jet lag and potentially lose your first day of sightseeing to it if you don’t prepare accordingly. These natural jet lag relief pills are a godsend after a long flight traveling through different time zones. Bring them along to help prevent the inconvenient effects of jet lag.
This is a game changer when it comes to packing. Coming in a multi-piece set with different colors to choose from, you can easily organize and locate all your clothes for travel. These packing cubes are great for both backpacking and carrying a regular suitcase, and they come with a laundry bag to separate your dirty clothes and a separate case for your shoes.
There’s nothing more convenient to have on hand than a lipstick-sized portable charger when your smartphone runs out of battery at an inconvenient time. Whether you’re using your device for navigation, photos, or music, you’ll want to make sure you have an external source of power when you need it. This can be a true lifesaver if you’re lost and relying on your phone for directions or finding a particular address; we never travel without one.
Many countries in Asia censor or monitor your internet activities while in the country and restrict the use of websites you use in your home country such as Facebook and Netflix. Using a VPN, your internet use is protected from surveillance, potential hackers, and you are able to access websites from your own country without a problem. We like NordVPN because it’s inexpensive and reliable.
In the Philippines, serious downpours happen, sometimes when you least expect it. Be prepared with a sturdy travel umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket? to keep you dry and comfortable in the inevitable case of rain. This umbrella is great because it’s windproof and large enough to fit two people beneath it, which is perfect if you’re traveling with a partner.
In a country of more than 7,000 islands renowned for typhoons and torrential downpours during wet season, there are few items more useful than a waterproof smartphone case. If you plan on using your phone for navigation, photos, music, and even underwater video, this case will keep your device safe, dry, and usable.
In the Philippines mosquitoes pose the threat of malaria and dengue fever so it’s important to protect yourself. Be sure to bring along mosquito repellent and some of these handy deet-free mosquito wristbands, which you can slip on your wrist and forget about, as they last for up to 300 hours!
Travel insurance is one of those things that you should make sure to always have, regardless of where you’re going or for how long. We love to use World Nomads, which is very popular among travelers due to its comprehensive and generous coverage. Some of the benefits include over 150+ activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, and surfing. World Nomads will also cover you for lost and stolen items, flight cancellations, and emergency medical expenses.
In the Philippines, you’re bound to spend time on day trips and island hopping tours, so it’s essential to have a waterproof daypack. This one is amazing because it can comfortably hold all your valuables, such as your phone, camera, passport, and more, without you having to worry about them getting wet or damaged on the beach or in an unexpected downpour. This waterproof backpack allows you to expect the unexpected and make sure your belongings are protected, whether you’re hiking through the rainforest, canyoning down waterfalls, or kayaking in the sea.
Do not travel without activated charcoal! When traveling overseas to unfamiliar places, there’s no doubt you will be tempted to taste all the mouthwatering delicacies your destination has to offer. That said, your body may not be used to the ingredients, spices, and germs you encounter, which could result in more time spent in the bathroom then out exploring. To avoid this, bring along activated charcoal caps, which will quickly absorb and expel the toxins in your system, keeping you comfortable and healthy while you’re abroad.
In a destination as wet as the Philippines, you’ll be glad to have a rash guard for daily wear. These are great as they’re quick drying and comfortable, and can be worn in and out of the water. This type of rash guard also provides sun protection and will cool you down in the hot and humid Philippines. Wear it on a hike through the jungle or on a day spent island hopping; this item is perfect for protection from the elements and remaining comfortable during any activity.
15. Mesh Water Shoes
You won’t regret bringing a good pair of mesh water shoes to the Philippines. Great for hikes, kayaking, and water sports, these shoes are super comfy and will keep your feet cool and protected. We can’t recommend water shoes more; my hubby loves his so much he wears them out to restaurants in our home town of Santa Barbara.
A swimsuit cover up is great to have in any beach setting, and the Philippines is no exception. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you’re sure to spend at least part of your trip island hopping and exploring all that this stunning country has to offer. Bring a stylish swimsuit cover up like this one to throw on over your bathing suit after a day at the beach so you’ll feel comfortable walking into a restaurant or cafe.
Nothing’s better for capturing your incredible experience in the Philippines than a small, durable, and affordable underwater camera. Great for filming exotic sea life such as whale sharks, sea turtles, and giant mantas, a camera like this will be a godsend while scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s also great for shooting all your adventure activities, like surfing, zip lining, hiking, exploring caves, and scootering through the cities.
Other Philippines packing list items to consider bringing
Antibacterial hand wipes
Cold and flu medicine
Pain reliever tablets
Nausea relief tablets
Infinity travel scarf
Unlocked cell phone
Waterproof cell phone case
Waterproof diving case
Inflatable travel pillow
Philippines power adapter
Insect repellent wipes
Cash and credit cards
What to wear in the Philippines?
The Philippines is a tropical climate so you want to wear light, breathable clothing. It can cool down in the evenings though so a light sweater and a pair of pants are good to have on hand.
Beach towns are spread across the Philippine islands with a relaxed and casual atmosphere so flip flops, shorts, tees, tanks, beach dresses and bikinis are the norm.
You’ll get a lot of sun in the Philippines so make sure to protect yourself from sunburn and heatstroke. Pack plenty of sunscreens, a hat, and sunglasses.
If you are looking for a trip that goes beyond staying in a resort, you’ll want to pack some comfortable and sturdy shoes. There’s a lot of great hiking routes filled with rice patties, jungles, and waterfalls so shoes are necessary. Also, if you are planning to get around by scooter, shoes are the best way to go.
The Philippines has an abundance of marine life with opportunities to go snorkeling with sea turtles and spotting whale sharks while scuba diving so you’ll want to have water gear. A snorkel, mask, and GoPro are the basic essentials to bring. Also, many areas have sea urchins around and other things that may hurt your feet so it’s good to wear water shoes.
Lastly, torrential downpours can occur between June to September so it’s good to have a light rain jacket and umbrella.
DRY SEASON: November, December, January, February, March, April, May
January and February are the coolest months and May is the hottest month. Make sure to pack light-colored and breathable clothing. You’ll get lots of sunshine so also bring sunscreen and a hat. The dry season average ranges from a low of 75°F to a high of 88°F.
RAINY SEASON: June, July, August, September, October
Don’t be afraid to visit during this time though because the weather can still be hot and sunny during the day with short downpours normally occurring at dusk. During the rainy season bring a light rain jacket and umbrella. It can get very humid so you will want quick-dry clothing to keep you cool and comfortable. The wet season average ranges from a low of 79°F to a high of 88°F.
What NOT to take to the Philippines
2) DON’T BRING a suitcase – The Philippines is not full of paved and smoothe sidewalks like Europe. Instead, there may not even be a sidewalk and/or bumpy, unpaved roads. The best way to travel in the Philippines and the rest of South East Asia is with a backpack.
3) DON’T PACK too many clothes – You’ll be carrying everything on your back so make things easier for yourself and pack light. Packing cubes will be a great help to stop you from overpacking.
5) DON’T PACK soap and shampoo bottles – This only weighs down your luggage. You can easily purchase these items in grocery stores and pharmacies.
6) DON’T BRING lots of makeup – It’s a tropical climate and you don’t want your face to be melting off! Take a hint from the locals and keep minimal.
FAQs about travel in the Phillippines
3) Why visit the Philippines?
With over 7,000 islands there’s plenty of things to see and do in the Philippines. Best of all the locals are very friendly and welcoming to their country.
2) Are the Philippines safe for travelers?
The majority of the Philippines is a welcoming place for tourists with minimal danger. Currently, the biggest risk is terrorism which is limited to a small area of the Phillippines in the areas of Mindanao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Sulu Archipelago which is very dangerous. To get up to date information on the Philippines, check your local government travel advisory and sign up for e-mail alerts which will be sent to you if there’s anything you should be aware of during your trip.
3) Do I need a visa?
Many countries including the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia are allowed free entry into the Phillippines for 30 days without a visa. If you are planning to stay longer, you can extend a tourist visa for a fee. All you need to bring is a passport valid for 6+ months and an onward ticket.
4) What immunizations do I need?
Visit a travel clinic at least six to eight weeks before your trip for full information on the specific vaccinations you will need. It often takes a couple weeks for the vaccination to provide full immunity so this is why you need to go far in advance. The only required vaccination is yellow fever if you’ve visited a country that is in a yellow fever zone, six days or less prior to entering the Philippines. Other common vaccines to get include Diptheria, Tetanus & Polio and Hepatitis B but it is important to consult with a doctor who can properly determine what vaccines you need specific to your trip.
5) When is the best time to visit?
High season runs from December to April when there is little rain and cooler temperatures. Prices are at its peak though where resorts can cost 3X especially at Christmas, New Year, and Easter. Low season with the cheapest prices are June to September but there is a risk of passing typhoons. The shoulder season is in May and November with a hotter climate and some rain but prices are much cheaper.
6) Where should I go?
If you want a beach vacation with little worries and no fuss, you may want to stick to the resorts on Boracay. If you are looking for adventure, check out the unique geological formations and world’s smallest primate on Bohol. For island hopping tours, abundant sea life with a backdrop of limestone cliffs, visit El Nido. Lastly, for stunning rice terraces visit Banaue.
7) Can I drink the water?
Drinking tap water can cause you to have stomach problems and should be avoided. However, you can use it to brush your teeth and wash dishes. Most accommodations will have a water filling station so bring a water bottle with you.
8) Should I learn some phrases in Tagalog?
Tagalog and English are the official languages so it’s very easy to communicate with the locals. Filipino’s will appreciate it though if you learn a few phrases like Salamat (Thank you), Magkano? (How much?), Magandang araw (Good day) and Paalam (Goodbye).
9) How can I get around?
For an authentic experience in the cities and towns, ride a jeepney which is the most popular mode of transportation amongst locals. After WWII, the surplus of American jeeps was converted into colorful transportation for Filipinos. Scooter rentals are also widely available. If you are looking to travel between islands, you can find a few great budget airlines or boats (known as bangkas) and ferries to get around.
10) How much money and what currency should I bring?
The currency used in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. ATMs are available in major cities but often difficult to find on less touristy islands so it is good to have cash. One of the best things about traveling to the Philippines is how cheap it is compared to many other countries including those in South East Asia. If you are budget traveler you can easily get by with $35 a day. A midrange budget will between $35-$100/day and luxury travelers expect to spend $100+ every day.