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The Philippines On A Budget: Detailed Philippines Travel Budget

Traveling to the Philippines had been a dream of mine for years. To be more precise, since the moment I found out one of my favorite TV shows (Survivor or Expeditie Robinson as it is called in the Netherlands) was recorded there.

Never having traveled outside Europe before and therefore being used to a pretty high price level, I was completely amazed to find out that you can get a whole meal for just 100 pesos (about 2 euros) in the Philippines.

And after traveling around the Philippines, I can confidently say the Philippines are a very budget-friendly destination. Check the post to find out exactly how much it costs to travel in the Philippines.

Philippines travel budget

A typical Filipino boat (the Balangay) with floaters on both sides and colorful paintings on the hull.

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Travel to the Philippines on a budget

The islands I saw on the show were just perfect. Everything you ever imagine about a tropical island.

Palm trees. Coconuts. White sand. Jungle. Clear blue ocean. Colorful fish.

The only thing missing was a hammock, but hey, it’s a TV show about survival;-).

I dreamed about going there one day to see such beauty with my own eyes. And after years of dreaming that's exactly what I did!

Have you been dreaming about visiting this amazing country too and are you interested in the costs of backpacking around the Philippines? Keep reading, in this post I'll try to answer all your questions!

Big Lagoon, El Nido Palawan. One of the most beautiful places in the Philippines.

How much does it cost to travel the Philippines?

In the infographic below you can find a detailed budget breakdown of our trip to the Philippines. This gives you a quick overview of how much (or actually how little) you can spend during your trip to the Philippines.

Of course, the amount you'll spend depends on your travel style, the length of your trip, and the type of accommodation you choose.

However, compared to countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe, the Philippines is a very affordable destination.

Generally speaking, you can travel around the Philippines on a budget of $35-$70 per day (per person). As you can see in the infographic, we spent $63 per day as a couple.

This Philippines travel cost post includes all the expenses during our 3 weeks in the Philippines, as well as a breakdown per category (accommodation, transport, food, and activities).

Read all about out the costs of traveling in the beautiful Philippines in this budget breakdown infographic.

Facts and figures about our Philippines backpacking budget

  • I traveled to the Philippines with my husband, all our expenses are for the two of us together. We were backpacking around Southeast Asia and budget travelers, so we really tried to make the most of our money during our entire trip.
  • Because the exchange rates vary from day to day, I quoted all prices in the local currency: Philippine pesos (PHP) as well as Euros (€) and US Dollars ($).
  • At the time of our trip, the exchange rate was approximately 50 PHP for €1 and 45 PHP for $1. You can check the current exchange rate on
  • In total we spend 56.650 PHP (= €1133 = $1259) during our 3 weeks in the Philippines. This comes down to an average of 2833 PHP (=€57 = $63) per day and includes all our Philippines costs. As you can see, it's definitely possible to travel to the Philippines on a budget!
  • This budget travel guide does not include the plane ticket from Hong Kong to Manila and the plane ticket from Manila to Hanoi.
  • We visited three different islands in the Philippines: Luzon, Palawan, and Bohol.
Sunset on the beach of El Nido, Palawan

How to save money when planning a trip to the Philippines

The good news is: traveling to the Philippines on a tight budget is definitely possible!

That being said, it's important to plan carefully, look for discounts, and be flexible with your itinerary to make the most of your travel budget for the Philippines.

Avoid peak season (travel during the low season instead)

Start by researching the best time of year to visit the Philippines as flight costs and hotel prices vary throughout the year.

The high season in the Philippines is from November until April. During these months accommodation prices are at their highest.

So if you have the option to be flexible with your travel dates and able to travel during shoulder season, this is a great way to save money on your Philippines trip.

Beautiful white sand beach on Bohol

Save money on flights

You can look for a cheap flight to the Philippines on websites like Try different travel dates and see how this affects the price of your flight.

Generally, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Airlines often offer discounted fares on these days, so it's worth checking the booking sites and comparing prices on different days of the week.

You’ll get a better deal by booking your flight in advance. For domestic flights 1-3 months before your trip is ideal.

I booked our ticket from Luzon to El Nido and from El Nido to Bohol a few months in advance and got a great deal (around $25 per person including luggage). Reputable low-cost airlines in the Philippines are Cebu Pacific and Air Asia.

For international flights, it’s best to book 2-8 months in advance. Tickets to Manila are pretty much always the cheapest option but keep an eye open for tickets to Mactan Cebu International Airport (the second-largest airport in the Philippines).

Lastly, you may be able to find cheaper flights if you're willing to be flexible with your departure and arrival times.

Sure, it’s not ideal to arrive in the middle of the night, but if it saves you hundreds of dollars it’s worth losing one night of good sleep.

✈️ Click here to find the best ticket deals

Book your accommodation in advance

Once you've got your flights booked, it’s time to research budget accommodation. I always use Agoda and Booking to find the best value-for-money accommodation for our trips.

I recommend checking both platforms before you book to make sure you get the best deals on hotel rooms.

Please note that Agoda includes taxes in their price whereas Booking doesn't always include this. Make sure to check this before finalizing your booking.

Also, if you're in a country with hefty ATM fees or a limit on how much cash you can withdraw per transaction it can be better to book with Agoda as you can often pay online with your credit card (thereby reducing your need for cash).

Cost of travel in the Philippines

Now that you know some great ways to save money in the planning phase of your Philippines trip, it's time for a deep dive into our Philippines travel expenses.

Our Philippines travel expenses can be divided into four categories:

  1. Accommodation costs: 26% of our travel budget, on average 725php (= €14,50 = $16,10) per day
  2. Transportation costs: 24%, on average 682php (= €13,60 = $15,20) per day
  3. Cost of food: 35%, on average 990php (= €19,80 = $22) per day
  4. Activity costs: 15%, daily cost of 436php (= €8,70 = $9,70) per day
Alona beach Bohol

1. How much does accommodation cost in the Philippines

Good accommodation doesn't have to be expensive in the Philippines! In total we spend 14500 PHP (€290/$322) on accommodation, averaging 725php (€14,50/$16,10) per day.

We stayed in private rooms with our own bathroom most of the time, sometimes even with breakfast included.

In the table below you can find the hotels that we stayed at (only the ones I recommend and I'd book again myself).

LocationHotel RatingPrice per nightBook
BatadHillside Inn Batad7.5€11,50/$12,50Agoda
Cebu CitySkypark Pensionne7.4€16,5/$18,15Agoda
LobocFox & Firefly Cottages9€28/$31Agoda | Booking
PanglaoAnanda Resort7.9€25/$27,5Agoda | Booking
Puerto PrincesaPalawan Village Hotel7.6€14/$15,40Agoda
Puerto PrincesaTia Mers Guesthouse7.7€11,40/$12,65Agoda
El NidoCamp Talusi Hills9.2€18/$20Agoda | Booking

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Check the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Budget hotels in the Philippines

Fox & Firefly Cottages, Bohol

2. How much does transportation cost in the Philippines

Let’s take a closer look at public transportation in the Philippines. There are many ways to travel around the country, such as local buses, tuk-tuks, taxis, and minivans.

A budget-friendly way to travel in the Philippines is by catching a bus. Bus services are available in all of the major cities and most of the smaller towns as well.

The easiest way to get from A to B in the Philippines is by booking your transportation ticket via 12Go Asia. This is an online platform where you can book tickets for buses, ferries, minivans, and private transfers all around Southeast Asia.

I've used 12Go Asia several times and had great experiences with both the ease of booking on the platform itself as well as their fast and friendly customer service when I needed to amend our booking.

For example, you can use 12Go Asia to book tickets from:

How much did we spend on transportation in the Philippines?

In total we spend 13630 (€273/$303) on transportation, averaging 682php (€13,60/$15,20)per day. Transportation costs are split into four categories:

• Flights
• Night bus
• Boat tickets from Cebu to Bohol and vice versa
• Other transportation

Cheap flights

With a mascot like CEB, who doesn’t want to fly with them;-)
With a mascot like Ceb, who wouldn’t want to fly with Cebu;-)

Do you know the beautiful tropical islands I was talking about at the beginning of this post? There are more than 7000 of them in the Philippines!

This means that to get from one place to another, you will have to take a flight every now and then. Enter Cebu Pacific. They have regular peso sales where you only pay taxes for your flight. Not a bad deal.

If you are planning a trip to the Philippines, I strongly suggest keeping an eye on their site because these seats sell out fast.

Night bus

From Manila, we took a night bus to Banaue, a journey of around 355 kilometers. The good thing about taking a night bus is that it saves you a night of accommodation costs and a day of valuable time.

The downside of traveling by bus?

Sometimes a night bus is just a regular bus, meaning you try to sleep sitting up while driving over the bumpiest road ever so your head keeps banging into the window or against the head of your neighbor:-).

Totally worth it though, because the ancient bus did manage to get us to Banaue where we got to hike the incredible rice terraces!


Boat tickets

A small oversight on my part in my research before going to the Philippines was failing to notice that there is an airport in Tagbilaran.

Which is in Bohol…

And that was where we wanted to go…

Instead, I booked a flight to Cebu City, meaning we had to take a boat from Cebu to Bohol.

Not a problem, there are plenty of ferries from Cebu to Bohol. On the way to Bohol, we took a boat from Cebu Pier to Tubigon, which cost us 590 PHP.

On the way back we took a boat from Tagbilaran to Cebu Pier at a total price of 1030 PHP (including luggage and terminal fees, whatever works to get more money from tourists;-).

Click here to book ferry tickets.

Other transportation

When writing this post I considered splitting the costs per type of transportation. But then I started counting and realized we traveled with 10 different types of transportation vehicles!

Yes, I was pretty amazed too! You already know about planes, night buses, and boats. We also traveled in a jeepney, tuk-tuks, taxis, public buses, minivans, a scooter, and last but not least: a private car.

3. The cost of food and drinks in the Philippines

I have to admit, Philippino food wasn't my favorite cuisine. I preferred the food in other Asian countries we visited (like Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam).

That being said, we did eat some really tasty food during our 3-week Philippines trip, particularly at Oasis Resort and Seaquest Divers on Alona Beach (Panglao).

Some of the best things to eat in the Philippines include:

  • Adobo: a savory stew of chicken, pork, or seafood cooked in a garlic-vinegar sauce
  • Kare-Kare: a stew made with oxtail and vegetables in a peanut butter sauce
  • Sinigang: a savory soup made with tamarind, vegetables, and meat
  • Lechon: a roasted whole pig
  • Halo-Halo: a sweet and creamy dessert made with shaved ice, condensed milk, fruits, and beans

All of these dishes are packed with flavor and are sure to have your taste buds dancing. And there's more good news: the food in the Philippines is not only really tasty, but it’s also very cheap!

That is if you eat local food at local restaurants. Eating Western Food always triples the price of dinner when traveling around Southeast Asia.

When it comes to saving money on food: explore the local markets to find inexpensive meals, and try delicious street food whenever you have the chance.

Food in the Philippines - BBQ fish and fresh fruits
This food was cooked on a makeshift BBQ and tasted absolutely delicious.

How much did we spend on food and drinks in the Philippines?

In total we spend 19800php (€396/$440) on food, so the average cost of food was 990php (€19,80/$22) per day.

After cooking our own meals for 6 weeks in New Zealand, eating out three times a day was a nice change. I did get sick once, like pretty much anyone traveling to Asia for the first time, but only for a couple of days.

My best tip on how to avoid food poisoning while traveling in the Philippines is to eat fresh, clean, and cooked food.

Be sure to only consume food from busy restaurants and street vendors (where lots of locals are also dining), and avoid eating raw food. Make sure that all food is cooked thoroughly and served hot.

If you're eating raw fruits and vegetables, scrub them with clean water and a brush before eating. Additionally, make sure to always stay hydrated and drink only filtered (I use this water filter bottle) or bottled water.

Lastly, practice basic hygiene such as washing your hands thoroughly before eating. Following these simple tips should help you stay safe and enjoy your time in the Philippines (and Southeast Asia as a whole).

4. Price of activities in the Philippines

When you’re in the Philippines, make sure to take advantage of all the free activities the country has to offer, like exploring historic cities, local markets, National Parks, and white-sand beaches.

Doing so will help you make the most of your vacation while still sticking to your budget.

The beautiful rice terraces in Banaue

When planning your Philippines trip, it's also worth looking into tour companies that offer (discounted) activities that can help you save money while still getting the best experience.

Klook is the largest tour operator in Southeast Asia, but Get Your Guide has been working really hard on growing their SEA offers as well so be sure to check out those websites as well when you're planning your Phillippines activities.

How much did we spend on activities in the Philippines?

During our trip around the Philippines, we spend 8720php (€174/$194) on activities, averaging 436php (= €8,70 =$9,70) per day. Here are three activities I highly recommend:

Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Philippines

5. Travel insurance costs

I didn't include the cost of travel insurance in our Philippines budget breakdown because we use our travel insurance for all our trips, not just for our Philippines itinerary.

However, that doesn't take away the fact that making sure you have proper travel insurance is super important.

It helps protect you and your belongings in the event of a mishap during your travels. Furthermore, it provides coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost or stolen items, and more.

Also, having good travel insurance will provide you peace of mind, knowing that if something goes wrong, you have a safety net in place.

With so much to consider when planning a trip, having the right travel insurance can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey without stressing out about things that can go wrong.

Plan your Southeast Asia trip like a pro with these tools:
✈️ Find the best flight deals on
? Book your transport tickets (train, bus, ferry, minivan, and more) via 12Go.Asia
?️ Find your dream accommodation on or Agoda.
? Book the best tours with Klook and Get Your Guide.
? Plan your journey with the Lonely Planet.
?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing.

Philippines budget trip: in conclusion

Now you know all about the travel costs in the Philippines. I had an amazing time and it completely lived up to my tropical island vision, so I totally recommend going there!

Below you can download the budget breakdown infographic. If you have questions, leave a comment or send me a message.

This post was updated in December 2022.


Thursday 3rd of August 2023

As a filipino I was more than over joyed when reading your thoughts on the philippines and the prices are understandable as you guys are tourists but jeep travel prices here in pampanga, luzon can vary from 12 - 30 ish pesos and I also hope that when you came here it was not a rainy season as it could easily compromise some of your trips! Mabuhay at Salamat sa pagpunta dito sana nakapag enjoy ka dito Lotte!


Monday 1st of May 2023

Hi Lotte, I'm glad you have fun traveling the Philippines. You have shared a detailed budget breakdown. One of the reasons why I keep visiting the country is its versatility. There is a place for everyone. With its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and friendly locals, the Philippines is a great destination for backpackers and budget travelers.

Greetings from Daniel


Monday 1st of May 2023

Hey Daniel,

Thanks so much for your kind words, the Philippines is a wonderful destination and also very budget-friendly:-)


Denise - Follow my footprints

Saturday 9th of January 2016

Mmmmm... dat eten! De Filippijnen lijken me schitterend. Die stranden! En knalgroene rijstvelden, daar hou ik ook van.


Sunday 10th of January 2016

De Filipijnen zijn echt prachtig, zeker de moeite waard ondanks dat het eten een beetje tegenviel;-) Gelukkig hebben we daarna nog heerlijk gegeten in de rest van Zuidoost Azië!


Friday 8th of January 2016

Wat een super mooie infographic is dat zeg! Helemaal zelf in elkaar geflanst? En 57 euro met z'n 2'en is een mooi bedrag! Heb je hier een app voor gebruikt om dit bij te houden?


Friday 8th of January 2016

Dankje:-) Ja €57 is een prima bedrag met z'n 2-en! Ik heb de infographic gemaakt in PowerPoint. Het kostenoverzicht heb ik bijgehouden in Excel, ik had een kleine laptop mee waarop ik een uitgebreid reisverslag en reisoverzicht (waaronder financiën) bijhield. Afgelopen trip naar Parijs heb ik voor het eerst de Trailwallet App gebruikt en dat beviel ook prima. Maar omdat ik nog meer dingen noteer, naast alleen budget info, heb ik toch voorkeur voor Excel;-)


Tuesday 5th of January 2016

Wauw zeg, zo uitgebreid en in detail. Hier gaan veel toekomstige Fillipijnen-bezoekers écht iets aan hebben. Bij mij kruipt deze bestemming ook steeds hoger op het lijstje, zeker na het zien van jouw foto's! Die infographic is super handig.


Tuesday 5th of January 2016

The Philippines are awesome, definitely recommended! Fijn te lezen dat je de infographic handig vindt:-)