It’s a long way to the Philippines – and the fact that you can only get there by air is a turnoff for some. If you’re in the mood for adventure and you don’t want to spend a bundle, then be sure to put a trip to the Philippines on your bucket list. It’s an excellent destination for fun and adventure, and thanks to cheap lodgings, inexpensive food, and lots of low-cost attractions, it earns top marks with frugal travelers.
Create an itinerary ahead of time, or be prepared to leave some wiggle room.
One of the best ways to save money on travel in the Philippines is to purchase all of your flights in advance. Book international flights well ahead of time to lock in low rates, and be sure to book interisland flights ahead of time, too.
If pre-planning this way goes against your adventurous nature, don’t worry! There are a couple of other strategies worth trying. First, consider attempting to get cheap last-minute tickets to the Philippines with services such as Justfly. You’ll need to be flexible with travel dates if you do this, and you will probably find yourself on at least one red-eye flight. As for interisland flights, they’re normally available on demand, and prices tend to be affordable in comparison with similar distance flights in western nations.
Stay in touch for less by using VoIP.
Calling the Philippines is normally a costly process, but there’s a way around expensive roaming fees and overpriced calling cards. Viber Out offer VoIP calling plans that are secure, kind to your budget, and accessible from any location with internet service. It works like this: Install a free app onto your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and then use the service to talk to others who use the app without paying a penny. If you need to talk to someone who doesn’t have the app, you can use a cheap prepaid calling plan to dial any cell or landline number. VoIP allows you to completely bypass your cellular service provider, and it lets you put your phone calls into your budget before you pay for them.
Create a travel budget and then plan around it.
Give yourself a daily budget to stick to. In the Philippines, it’s entirely possible to live the high life for under $100 per day, and if you’re willing to try Couchsurfing, stay with locals at guest houses, or try another cheap alternative to a traditional hotel room, you can cut your costs to closer to $50 per day. In case you’re curious, this includes lots of delicious street food, plenty of beverages (including cocktails at an average of $3/apiece or beers at about 99 cents apiece), and all the touring your wandering heart craves.
Prices vary from one place to the next, so be sure to conduct plenty of research while you’re in the planning phase of your journey. Do remember to give yourself a decent cushion for emergency use. If you don’t need it, you can keep it in the bank and put it toward your next adventure!
Get off the beaten path.
The less time you stay around popular tourist destinations such as Boracay, the less you’re likely to spend. Explore uninhabited islands, visit the hot springs in Bicol, or hike through the mountains around Ifugao, where you’ll also find the famous Banaue rice terraces, which date back thousands of years. If you’d like to cool off and explore the underground world, then try hiking through the caves of Sagada or discovering the longest subterranean river on the planet, located in Sabang. These are just a few of the many destinations and adventures available, and most can be had for the taking at well under $20 per day. If your budget is ultra-tight, pick a few pay-to-play adventures, and spend the rest of your time wandering. Visiting free parks, temples, monuments, museums, beaches, and hiking trails are just a few cheap ways to amuse yourself while enjoying the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the Philippines.
Travel under your own power.
While there are times when you’ll feel like spending a few dollars for a ride in an air-conditioned taxi cab, and while some situations call for a guide, it’s also a lot of fun to explore on your own. Rent a motorbike or bicycle, or simply walk around. If you’d like to take a break and continue to see the sights at a relaxed pace, then consider hiring a tricycle, which is basically the same as a rickshaw. Many areas offer public transportation, too, eliminating the need to pay for private transport. Keeping most of your travel on the cheap lets you enjoy some spontaneous interisland flights throughout the Philippines without worry.
These are just a few ways to enjoy cheap travel in the Philippines. The nation’s cities and towns are full of hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. With a little bit of ingenuity on your part, plus a taste for life’s less expensive pleasures, you’ll enjoy every minute of your journey. You may even find yourself hoping for another trip to the Philippines in the future!