We are already talking about wanting to return to the Philippines, and for only $50 a day we’d be crazy not to. This budget breakdown spans 15 days and 14 nights or two people, and includes all domestic flights.
Each day since returning from the Philippines, I catch my mind drifting to mango shakes and palm-lined beaches. These frequent and hypnotic daydreams are making my already out-of-control wanderlust surge to unhealthy levels.
We’re already talking about when we will return, and for only $50 a day we’d be crazy not to.
This budget breakdown spans 15 days and 14 nights in the Philippines for two people, and includes all domestic flights. Being that this was a 2-week vacation for us, we spent more on things than we would have if we were backpacking long-term. You could definitely spend less than we did, but it wouldn’t be hard to spend more either.
We keep track of all our expenses using one of our favorite apps, Trail Wallet. Developed by fellow travel bloggers who know how to stay on top of a budget while globetrotting, this app is very easy to use.
If you are a numbers nerd like Ben, you will appreciate that this app allows you to export your budget to Excel for further analysis.
Before your trip:
Plan your trip with the weather in mind! We’ve put together a great resource for evaluating when’s the best time to visit the Philippines based on the weather as well as your travel style and preferences.
Prior to you packing your bags and booking your flights, don’t forget to do this… you’ll thank us later.
Let’s start with the big one – transportation. Since the Philippines is an island nation, getting from place to place can be tricky and may require many modes of transportation.
We took three domestic flights while in the Philippines, as well as ferries, buses, and countless tricycles. Note: international airfare to and from South Korea is not included.
In the Philippines you’ll find budget accommodation, luxurious resorts, and everything in between. We tried to stay mainly in hostel dorms as a way to keep our lodging costs down. Even though we did spend a few nights in private rooms, our average cost per night was only $11 USD per person.
From what we found online, not many people raved about the Filipino cuisine. When we got there, we were surprised by how good our meals were. And on top of that, it was cheaper than we expected. We ate at local joints as well as some “western” establishments, and had tons of fresh seafood.
Oh yeah, and you can’t forget about the fresh mango smoothies that we slurped down every day (full disclosure: most days we had more than one…).
When the price of a bottle of rum is $1.15, you are bound for a good time! Another popular popular drink in the Philippines is Red Horse Beer, weighing in with 6.8% alcohol content. Considering a 500 mL is only $1.80, how could you go wrong? Here is our breakdown for booze-related expenses:
While many things are free to do in the Philippines – ahem, laying on the beach – we did pay for a few activities. One day we pampered with an hour long, full-body massage. At only $8 USD, we really should have gotten one a day!
This category also includes entrance fees, tips for our guides, and other fun excursions.
We purchased a few souvenirs along the way – bracelets, a shawl wrap, and a hand woven basket. There was also the little mishap with the motorbike that Katie crashed. Thankfully no one got hurt and the repairs were only about $40 USD.
(We left those charges off of this breakdown to reflect a typical budget, because hopefully you won’t have that same problem!)
Grand Total (15 days/ 14 nights) – less than $50 per day
Here is the complete summary of the total expenses for our 2-week trip to the Philippines.
Are you planning a trip to the Philippines?
We have TONS of resources on travel in the Philippines and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Philippines Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.
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We want to hear from you!
Do you think you can travel the Philippines on less than $50 a day? Why or why not?
Comments (14) on “Travel the Philippines on Less Than $50 a Day”
This is even on the high side. We have been 1 month there, and been averaging 34€ per day per person, this is about 43$. And we are not the most budget-concerned travellers, as we do diving, boat trips, eat at "restaurants" more often than not, instead of local joints. Maybe one thing is that we don’t spend that much on drinks. And we are on a slower, longer period trip, which makes us do things more spread out, spending probably less in transportation and flights.
Hari – @wearenottourists
Thanks for the comment. Yes, it’s certainly possible to spend more or less depending on travel style — we’re just breaking down how it is possible with just a 2-week vacation to spend less than $50 per day including flights.
As with traveling anywhere, one of the easiest ways to spend less each day is to extend the trip — making the daily average quite a bit less!
It’s great you’re able to experience a long trip in the Philippines 🙂
I love you Blog and as an avid traveler of the Philippines I like to see others travels. I just returned from a two week trip. I currently live in South Korea and I always use Jin Air and fly to Clark International. I hate flying into Manila. Clark now offers flights to Cebu and Palawan. This makes traveling so much easier. My flight from Korea was 190usd and my flight to Palawan was 90usd round trip. My future wife takes lots of pictures and I love to chat so we make friends easily. I am so interested in starting a blog like yours one day. well again thanks for all of your information.
Hey Fred, Thanks for the tip. I haven’t flown into Clark International Airport, but it could be a great way to avoid the chaos of Manila. Thanks!
OMG, this is GREAT! I’m a filipino living in the US and have never visited. Adding to my bucket list now. Thank you!
Wow, what a compliment, Marcia! You’ll definitely have to make it to the Philippines someday. It is one of our favorite countries we’ve visited (and has the best beaches we’ve had the pleasure of exploring)! Cheers!
Booking airfare months and even year ahead would save you a lot. Last year i was able to booked Manila to Palawan to Manila for only Php 875 pesos total. Can you imagine that? It’s really cheap to travel around in the Philippines
Wow, that is a great deal! We weren’t able to book that far in advance because we had to wait to hear about our vacation time 🙁 But our flights were pretty cheap as well! Definitely an affordable vacation destination with some of the best beaches we’ve seen and kindest people we’ve met!
Great BLOG! I am traveling to Philippines in a week. What are you opinions on currency? Should I exchange in the US or wait until I arrive in Philippines?
Hi Sheldon, great question. We almost always withdraw money from an ATM when we arrive in a new country. ATMs typically give you the best exchange rate (often times better than the rate at money changers, so we try to avoid those whenever possible.)
Just make sure that your card has international withdrawl capabilities (most do these days). And to save even more money, apply for a card that reimburses your ATM fees. We love our Charles Schwab card because it has literally saved us hundreds of dollars on ATM fees over our travels, and the card itself costs nothing!
This means that yes, we never have any currency on us when we first get to a new country. We haven’t had any issues with this in all of our travels, as ATMs are nearly everywhere! (And you shouldn’t have a problem finding one when you first arrive in the Philippines). However, if the thought of coming with no money makes you nervous, it’s not a bad idea to travel with a little bit of cash to get you started (you can get the currency at most banks).
Hope this helps! Happy planning and safe travels 🙂
This is so helpful! I will be returning to the Philippines soon. Never have I found somewhere so cheap and beautiful to travel!
Did you guys book domestic flights in advance or once you were out there? Is there much difference in price?
I’m heading to The Philippines for 3 weeks end of February and would ideally like to keep my options open in terms of where I travel to and how long I stay in each destination (want to do Boracay, Bohol & Palawan). Would I be best booking in advance?
Hi Will, great question. We were actually advised to book flights in advance because there are a limited number of flights each day and once they are sold out you’re out of luck. (Certainly depends on the time of year you’re traveling too – it was busy when we went in January)
I totally understand preferring to keep things open, but we opted to book the domestic flights in advance so we were sure we wouldn’t be stuck without a flight.
A couple other things to consider… Flying to Palawan will almost always have a layover in Manila. We had to go from Bohol to Manila then to Palawan, then a 5 hour van from the airport to El Nido in one very long travel day. Keep that in mind when booking flights to Palawan.
And also, when we were looking, all the cheap flights to Bohol were sold out and there were only a couple really expensive ones left. We ended up flying from Boracay (the airport in Kalibo is usually cheaper than from Boracay itself) to Cebu, then we took a ferry to Bohol.
Hope this helps! Have a great trip 🙂
I’m happy you loved you travel in the Philippines. You can really save money with your expenses since food and transportation is cheaper compared to other countries. If you want to you can try to haggle for lower prices especially with the food vendors or when you rent a car or motorcycle.