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How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines (+ money-saving tips)

How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines (+ money-saving tips)

Last Updated on May 16, 2023

Traveling in the Philippines can be pretty cheap if you plan your trip properly, which mainly means map out your route before you go and book your flights. If you’re like me who has a hard time planning anything in advance, you’ll have to fork out a lot for plane tickets for flights that leave a couple of days later. If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines and aren’t sure how much to budget for your trip, read on to get the answer to the question: How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines?

After breaking down my travel expenses, I am also sharing some things to consider when planning a trip to the Philippines, and how you can save money while traveling in the Philippines.

Note: I am using the currency exchange rate from Philippine Pesos to US Dollars from February 2015 – 1PHP = 0.02269 USD; the exchange rate might change slightly over time.

2020 Update: The PHP – USD exchange rate is slightly better now: 1PHP = 0.020 USD.

2023 Update: The PHP – USD exchange rate is currently 1PHP = 0.018 USD.

philippines prices

How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines?

Daily travel expenses in the Philippines

My daily travel expenses in the Philippines came to US$56.55, which include said pricey flights, but not my flights in and out of the country. If I leave out my costs for flights within the country, my daily expenses come down to US$43.45. It’s not necessarily cheap, especially for South East Asia, but it is still less than $50 a day. I am confident that you can travel the Philippines comfortably on $50 a day, including flights, if you book them in advance and get better prices on them than I did, and on $40 a day if you don’t plan on doing any pricey activities such as diving, boat trips or renting motorbikes – but you’d be missing out if you didn’t include at least some of these things.

Budget breakdown: How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines

For a better idea of what to expect with regards to cost of accommodation, tours, public transportation and food, read on for my detailed budget breakdown, in which I share how much I spent on what while traveling in the costs Philippines

Cost of Accommodation in the Philippines

The cost for accommodation differs quite a lot, depending on where you go. In Boracay the cheapest private room I could find (in high season) was PHP1,250/ US$28.32, a dorm room in Boracay was PHP600/ US$13.60. Dorms in a central location in Manila are also around PHP600, slightly cheaper in older hostels or hostels that aren’t located as conveniently as the hostels in Makati, for example.

For a budget hotel, check out the Red Planet Hotel in Makati (Red Planet Hotels is a budget hotel chains with around 30 hotels in South East Asia), which starts at US$25 a night. Less touristy islands like Siquijor had private rooms for as little as PHP500 /US$11.33, and the cheapest dorm I came across in the Philippines was PHP250 /US$5.66. The cheapest private room I found in El Nido was PHP600 /US$13.60, dorms in a centrally located hostel were also around PHP600.

Average per night: PHP500 /US$11.33 (2020: US$10 / 2023: US$9.22)

el nido kayak

I don’t have a single picture of a place I stayed at because the accommodation in the Philippines is frankly nothing to write home, or to blog about!

Cost of Transportation in the Philippines

My flights were all around US$100 but you can easily get better deals than I did if you book in advance – much better deals, for as little as US$15 during flight sales, or around $30 if you book in advance. I share more tips on finding the cheapest flights below.

The other main transportation you’ll take will be ferries, which range from PHP25 /US$0.57 or PHP62 /US$1.40 for short rides to PHP395 /US$9 for longer rides (3-4 hours). On top of that, you’ll always pay a terminal fee (see below). The most expensive ferry fee I paid was PHP965 /US$22, which included the ferry ticket, a surcharge for my luggage and the terminal fee.

Other modes of transport you’ll encounter are buses, which range from very basic city buses to more comfortable long-distance coaches. A 4-hour bus ride on Cebu Island cost me PHP175 /US$3.95, a night bus from Manila is PHP470-530 / US$10.66-11.90. The 2-hr bus ride I took on Bohol was PHP30 /US$0.68.siquijor ferryMotorbike rentals start at PHP250 /US$5.66 per day.

A taxi from Manila airport into town was PHP200 /US$4.50, a shared tricycle from the ferry port in Boracay to White Beach was PHP20 /US$0.45 – just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Average: PHP1,780 /US$40 for a flight, PHP210 /US$4.70 for a ferry ride.

Cost of tours in the Philippines

Island tours and sunset cruises on Boracay were PHP800 /US$18, a walking tour in Manila PHP1,200 /US$27, a snorkeling tour Apo Island PHP1,000 /US$22.50, island hopping tours in El Nido were between PHP1,200-1,400 / US$27-31.50; Sabang underground river PHP1,500 /US$33.72; a motorcycle island tour in Siquijor PHP700 /US$15.75.

Average: PHP1,000 /US$22.50 (2020: US$20 /2023: US$18.46)

travel costs Philippines

Island Hopping Tours in El Nido: A full day of snorkeling, a lunch buffet and island hopping for PHP1,200 /US$27

Cost of Food in the Philippines

A meal in Boracay cost me around PHP300 /US$6.75, up to PHP500/ US$11.25 for a nicer meal. Prices in Manila were about the same. Food from a street food stall is between PHP25-50 /US$0.56-1.12. In other places, I usually paid around PHP200 /US$4.50 for a cheaper vegetarian meal, dishes with fish or meat were usually around PHP300 /US$6.75. I usually paid PHP190 /US$4.30 for breakfast, but in touristy areas (El Nido or Boracay) up to PHP350 /US$8 and a fancy breakfast in Manila set me back at PHP650 /US$14.72. A big bottle of water averaged PHP30-50 /US$0.68-1.13, a decent cup of coffee was between PHP100-125 /US$2.30-2.83; a fresh fruit shake cost around PHP110 /US$250.

Average: PHP200 /US$4.50 for a vegetarian meal & PHP300/US$6.75 for a non-vegetarian meal.Food in the Philippines

Cost of entertainment in the Philippines

Let’s start with alcoholic drinks: Beer is usually between PHP40-60 /US$0.89-1.35, in some pricier places PHP80 /US$1.79. Cocktails were on average around PHP200 /US$4.50, but can be pricier in some bars in Manila and Boracay. I never paid entrance fee for nightclubs since I only went to clubs and bars that didn’t have a cover fee.

Average night out: PHP250 – 500 /US$5.66-$11.33, depending on your drink of costs Philippines

Things to consider when budgeting for a trip to the Philippines

Arrive with a return ticket!

Most countries require proof of a return ticket out of the country, but I’ve seen this rarely checked, especially in South East Asia. In the Philippines, however, I had to show my ticket and prove that I’d be leaving again. Luckily I bought a ticket from Manila to Bangkok the night before I boarded my flight to the Philippines, otherwise I wouldn’t have been allowed on the plane.

Plan well in advance

My main recommendation is to plan your trip as detailed as possible – especially the flights you’ll be taking. Since you’re only issued a 28-day tourist visa in the Philippines anyway, you should know your dates for at least some of your flights costs Philippines

Factor in terminal fees

When you take a ferry or a plane, you usually have to pay a terminal fee in the Philippines. These vary considerably – from PHP100 (US$2.27) to PHP200 (US$4.54) at airports to as little as PHP14 (US$0.32) at ferry ports. While they are not outrageously high, it is still an expense you need to factor in. Sometimes they are included in the ferry ticket, other times they are not. When leaving the Philippines, I paid the highest terminal fee: PHP550 (US$12) at Manila Airport.

Compare airlines in the Philippines

I found that when it comes to travel costs in the Philippines, it can make a huge difference which airline you took. Unfortunately, Cebu Pacific, the least reliable airline, often had the cheapest tickets (none of my flights was ever cancelled, but I was usually delayed – other travelers were less lucky), but sometimes PAL Express or AirAsia had better ticket prices. It pays off to compare prices on each individual website instead of using flight comparison websites because they usually don’t include all of the budget airlines and/or don’t factor in extra charges for luggage.

tarsier in bohol corella

Cheapest activity in the Philippines: Visiting these cute little tarsier guys in Bohol – PHP50, around US$1

Avoid high season if possible

This one might be obvious, but especially destinations like Boracay or Palawan, which are very popular with Filipino travelers and visitors from other Asian countries, fill up like crazy during local Holidays such as Holy Week or Christmas, and prices for accommodation sky rocket.

Planning around the seasonal weather is a good idea anyway, because you don’t want to cruise around the islands near El Nido when it’s raining or overcast, or get rained out during your beach vacation in Malapascua.

Hhow much does it cost to travel in the Philippinesow I tracked my travel expenses in the Philippines

I used my indispensable travel budget app Trail Wallet to track the costs of traveling in the Philippines. I highly recommend this app to track your travel expenses.

Have you been to the Philippines and got any tips to share on how to travel in the Philippines on a budget, or were you able to spend less than I did during your trip? Please share your experiences in the comments below!


Friday 22nd of December 2023

This is awesome. I am going in February and trying to figure the cost of thing. the internet prices are all over the place and was not aware of Terminal fee's


Wednesday 4th of May 2016

I am so proud being a Filipino! Thanks for visiting our country, I hope you will never get tired or bored visiting our place. yes, traveling in the Philippines is better cheaper compared to other countries that's why a lot of tourists don't hesitate to visit here. I highly suggest that you would also visit Cagayan de Oro,Camiguin,Palawan and Siargao for your next visit, I am sure, you will have a wonderful experience again.


Friday 6th of May 2016

Thanks, Jenifer! :) You live in a beautiful country and thanks so much for the recommendations for my next visit. I definitely want to check out Siargao - high on my list! - and return to Palawan. And now I've added Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin, wow.. looks amazing!! Thanks again :)

The Philippines Backpacking Guide | The Travelling Tom

Saturday 23rd of April 2016

[…] is generally inexpensive in the Philippines, there are a wealth of markets and street food stalls in most locations. Fast food is popular in the Philippines and there are a lot of outlets in all locations if you […]


Tuesday 29th of December 2015

Hey Dani! This has been a really helpful post! I'm planning a slightly ambitious shoe-string budget trip to the Philippines in March 2016 :) I was just wondering when you visited Philippines and the duration of your stay. Also, what was the weather like at the time? It will give me a slightly better idea of what to expect.


Tuesday 29th of December 2015

Hi Nina, thanks so much! I went at the beginning of this year and spent a total of just over three weeks in January and February 2015 there. The weather was still great at that time of year - I think the monsoon season doesn't hit until May, so you should be good :) Let me know if you have any other questions :)


Monday 19th of October 2015

Nice post Dani. I'd love to travel to the Philippines..there's some great prices on flights from Australia these days Cheers


Tuesday 20th of October 2015

Thanks, Emma! I met a guy from Australia in the Philippines who told me his flight from Oz to the Philippines was cheaper than one of the flights he took within the Philippines!! There must be crazy good offers now :)