Updated on January 21, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
What to bring on my Philippines trip?
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 the Philippines – 17 Essentials
8) Travel Insurance for the Philippines – It’s important, no matter where you go and for how long, to always have travel insurance because you never know what might happen. World Nomads is very popular amongst travelers for a number of reasons. Some of the benefits include being able to purchase the insurance before leaving and during a trip. Coverage also includes over 150+ activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, and surfing. Lastly, there’s trip cancellation, emergency medical, dental and evacuation expenses, and covers protection against your travel gear like laptops, cameras and lost bags.
9) NordVPN – Many countries in Asia will censor and have surveillance on your internet activities restricting the use of websites such as Facebook and Netflix. With NordVPN, you can simultaneously connect on six different devices with security protection and access to any website in the world.
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
Insect repellent wipes
Cash and credit cards
What Should I 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.
10 Frequently Asked Questions about travel in the Phillippines
1) 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.