The Philippines is a beautiful and affordable travel destination, but it’s important to budget carefully to make the most of your trip. This guide will help you plan your budget, from flights and accommodation to food and activities.
Average Trip to the Philippines Cost in 2023
A week in the Philippines costs around $5,500 for two people:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $50 a night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,800 round trip per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $75 per person, per day
- Transportation: $60 a day
- Total Cost: $5,420
This, of course, is an average. Someone who is hiring a driver or hopping on multiple flights and heading to in-demand seaside destinations is going to pay more than someone who is content backpacking around the country and crashing in hostels.
This is why we break down our estimates category by category, giving you an idea of what your personal trip might cost.
Take the time to consider not just cost but convenience when pricing out your Philippines trip. One travel reviewer, for instance, says she and her husband likely overpaid for a river tubing expedition.
However, she considered it worth it because she was able to book through her hotel instead of having to navigate local providers.
The Philippines Trip Cost: Average by Item
The costs we give here are translated to US dollars at the exchange rate in effect at the time of writing. Right now, the exchange rate favors the dollar heavily. But, even if the rate changes, you’ll still find many good deals available.
While some expenses associated with a trip to the Philippines are higher than you’ll see elsewhere, accommodations are not one of them. There are a number of cheap hotels in places throughout the country.
In Manila, the highly-reviewed Citystate Hotel Quiapo has rooms starting around $20 a night. Guests praise the friendly staff, clean rooms, and convenient location.
Many hotels are small mom and pop establishments run by friendly couples. One example is Las Residencias Bed & Breakfast in Puerto Princesa. This coastal city is a great starting point for activities like boating, snorkeling, and exploring rivers and caves.
A room at Las Residencias costs around $20. Some parts of the country tend to have more expensive accommodations, but not by much.
Cebu, for instance, is a coastal area with access to white sand beaches, waterfalls, and many nearby islands. Hotels cost between $50 and $75 a night.
Your flight is likely to be the biggest cost when you take a trip to the Philippines. Flying from JFK to Manila will cost anywhere from $1,400 to $2,400 round trip.
Be sure to factor in money for a ride from the airport. Taxis can often have inflated rates. It is best to arrange a ride in advance with a private driver. Many travelers prefer to fly into Cebu over Manila.
They say the airport is easier to navigate and the traffic is not as bad. Cebu may also be the more affordable airport choice.
Flights range in price from $1,200 to $2,500. Because the Philippines is a series of islands, you may wind up taking a domestic flight or two to get from destination to destination.
These tickets usually cost around $50 a piece. Repeat visitors say to book flights well in advance, as last minute tickets can increase in price dramatically.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Filipino cuisine is inherently a fusion cuisine, with influences from Spain, the US, and the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbors. You’ll find Filipino takes on cuisines from Thailand, Japan, and China, as well as local food heavily influenced by those countries.
There are ramen restaurants all over the country, with prices under $10 a bowl. Sushi, Thai food, and other Asian foods from all over are common.
For food that is authentically Filipino (and gentle on your wallet) head for a turo turo. Tagalog for “point point” these cafeteria-style eateries have colorful displays of food where you point to choose what you want on your plate.
Portions tend to be generous, and you can usually put together a combo for under $10. Sitting at a beach bar is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
A bottle of beer costs about 50 cents during happy hour, and a dollar or two at regular price. Art in Island is a large mixed media museum in Cubao featuring many immersive exhibits.
Tickets cost about $14 per person. Manila has a great deal of Spanish-style architecture on account of its early colonization by Spain. This can be seen especially well in the historic district in Manila, Intramuros.
This is a beautiful area where you could easily spend half a day walking, all at no additional cost. Services like massages, manicures, and hair styling are inexpensive in the Philippines.
If you are on the beach, consider hitting one of the many massage providers on the sand. Past visitors say an hour-long massage and a beer cost under $10.
Boat trips are a great way to see the area’s deep, clear waters. Expect to pay between $20 and $25. Interested in scuba? You can do a three-dive trip for under $100.
Reddit posters from the Philippines warn that transportation is both difficult and expensive. The train and bus systems are limited and cabs are expensive.
Within Metro Manila, you can get around using the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRTS). Fares are based on distance, and usually come out between 25 and 50 cents.
There is a national railway system; however, only about 130 km of the system is currently operational. Check to be sure the route you want is available before planning to get around by rail.
Ferries are an option for getting from one island to another. A ticket on Ocean Jet from Cebu to Bohol costs about $15. There’s also a bus system called the UBE Express. Fares are often under $1.
It’s best to go into this one with a lax schedule and a sense of adventure. While there are a number of reviews praising the bus’s comfort and economy, there are also plenty that complain about late buses or ones that never arrive.
However, if you are in the city, most areas are extremely walkable. Tourist attractions are not too far from one another, so you are often best off getting around on foot.
Outside the cities, 125cc motorbikes are adventurous options for seeing the countryside up close. You can typically find rentals for under $20 a day. The 125cc size is manageable for most people.
If you are looking for something bigger, you will likely be disappointed. Most rental places do not have bikes larger than 250cc. You can rent a car pretty cheaply if you want to go places that are outside what you can comfortably walk.
A car rental in Manila costs about $250 for a week. However, be aware that driving in the Philippines can be stressful. Roads are often chaotic and crowded with traffic.
Traffic rules are not strongly enforced, and stoplights are ignored as often as not. One surprising option: hire a private driver. You can often book a driver for $50 to $80 a day.
This gives you not only reliable transportation, but also a guide who is familiar with the area. You will typically also have to pay for your driver’s food and lodging. But, many inns offer “driver’s rates,” which can be as low as $15 a night.
Things to Consider
A few things to consider when planning a trip to the Philippines:
- Carry cash when you can. Many shops do not take debit or credit cards. Around 5,000 pesos in small bills (a little less than $100) should be enough.
- At area attractions, be prepared to pay a tourist price instead of a local one. Locals get significant discounts and these are almost never extended to foreigners. Most prices are low enough that the difference doesn’t add too much.
- It is customary to tip, but tips are usually the equivalent of a few bucks instead of a percentage of the price of the meal. Be sure to tip in small bills, as your tip will be split between several servers.
- If you take a cab, check an app like Waze to ensure your driver is taking you in the right direction. Many redditors warn against drivers overcharging or driving in circuitous routes to run up the meter.
- Factor in extra time. The Philippines has a more lax view on punctuality than is common in the US. Additionally, crowded streets can mean that it will take you longer to get to your destination than you would otherwise expect.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is an unusual tourist destination, so it’s not surprising you have questions. Here are some answers to the most common ones:
How much would a trip to the Philippines cost?
Your budget will be highly dependent on your travel style and the size of your group. Some expenses, like accommodations, scale pretty well when going with multiple people. Others will go up the more people you have with you.
Plan on a little over $1,000 per person for a week, plus airfare.
Is the Philippines expensive to vacation?
It depends on your perspective. Food and transpiration are often cheaper than you’d find in similar destinations. Hotels can be, too. From the US, your largest cost is likely to be your plane ticket to get there.
Is the Philippines friendly to tourists?
In general, yes. The Philippines is safe and welcoming to visitors. But, infrastructure is poor, so expect some inconvenience when it comes to transportation and getting information about local attractions.
However, use common sense. There are areas where property crimes are common, so keep a handle on your valuables. Exercise your usual level of caution when out and exploring, and stay aware that you are in another country.
Is this a friendly country?
Filipino culture is warm and welcoming. It is not uncommon for strangers to strike up conversations. This is a culture that prides itself on warmth and acceptance.
Over to You — Book Your Philippines Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$50 a night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,800 round trip per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$75 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$60 a day|
|💲 Total Cost||$5,420|
A trip for two to the Philippines costs around $5,500. Bear in mind, more than half ot this is airfare; if you find a cheap flight, you can live it up here on very little money. Happy travels!