How Much Does Backpacking or Traveling Around the Philippines Cost?

The Philippines is one of our favorite countries in Southeast Asia. Traveling through the Philippines is everything you dream of if you’re fond of bounty islands. Think of powdery white beaches, crystal-clear blue seas, green mountains with wild jungles, friendly people, and perfect waves for both beginner and experienced surfers. The Philippines is certainly not a very expensive travel destination, but you do need a bit more budget than for other countries in Southeast Asia.Exactly how much budget you need varies for everyone because no one has exactly the same travel style. To give you an idea of the average costs, this article covers everything about prices for hostels & hotels, transportation, excursions, and food in the Philippines. With that, you can make a good estimate of your budget for the Philippines.


(Possible) Pre-travel Costs

Airfare: These costs are unavoidable but can be kept low by booking early. Our advice is to book about 5 months before the departure date. With a bit of luck, you can find tickets to Manila for around $540.

Vaccinations: Although no vaccinations are mandatory for the Philippines, it is advisable to get vaccinations against DTP and Hepatitis A. Including the cost of the consultation, you’ll be spending around $70. Malaria occurs in the Philippines, so you can choose to take malaria pills. During the trip, you’ll need to take one pill every day, and additionally, one pill per day for 1 day before and 7 days after your trip. The pills cost about $2 each. Always check your health insurance policy carefully because there is a chance that you can claim all the costs of vaccinations and malaria pills.

Backpack and Travel Items: Backpacking without a backpack is out of the question. A decent backpack costs about $100, and you’ll also need some travel items. Want to know what’s handy to bring? Check out our packing list for backpacking.

photo-1462557584262-45e483d4b235 photo-1452441271666-5d998aa2f6cc

Food and Drink in the Philippines

This is likely where most of your budget will go, which is a shame because Filipino cuisine is not particularly remarkable. There are significant price differences among restaurants, so it’s smart to check the menu before sitting down. On average, you should expect to spend about $6 per meal. Ordering a local dish will be a bit cheaper, while ordering pasta will probably cost a bit more. A beer will cost you approximately $1.40 and a soda $0.75. Overall, you can estimate the costs for food and drink at an average daily budget of around $17 to $23 without alcohol. It can be cheaper if you pay attention to prices and eat a lot of local dishes.


Another part of your budget will go towards fun excursions. Fortunately, most excursions are not too expensive in the Philippines. For example, a day of island hopping in El Nido costs about $35 per person including food and drinks. There are also more expensive options such as learning to dive or surf. A week at a surf school costs about $430 including accommodation, and a diving course costs about $340. For regular excursions and activities such as renting a scooter or a day of island hopping, you should budget an average of $13 per day. This also depends on how active you want to be.

backpacking philippines Island hopping philippines

Travel Costs in the Philippines

Transportation in the cities costs next to nothing. You can travel by jeepney (a kind of bus) or tricycle (motorcycle with sidecar) for just a few cents. Even bus transportation between cities and towns is not very expensive. Often, you’ll spend hours on the bus for just a few dollars. The real costs are the plane tickets between the major islands, especially if you don’t book in advance and travel during the high season. If you book early or travel off-peak, a 1.5-hour flight costs about $45. If you book last minute during the high season, it can go up to $100. The high season is from December to April. So, check the prices early on websites like

backpacking philippines

Prices for Hostels and Hotels

Accommodation in the Philippines tends to be slightly pricier compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. For a basic double room with a private bathroom, you can expect to pay around $24 per night. If you’re seeking more luxury, anticipate spending at least $48 or more per night. Opting for a dormitory will typically cost around $12 per night. We’ve curated a list of hostels and hotels where we’ve had fantastic experiences, incorporating tips from fellow travelers. These accommodations are often in high demand, so it’s advisable to book in advance. You can discover our favorite places to stay in the Philippines here.

Average Daily Budget for the Philippines

When you tally up all the expenses, you can travel around the Philippines with a daily budget of approximately $40 per person. However, it’s wise to budget a bit more generously, as you might decide to indulge in activities like a diving course or other costly experiences once you’re there. We budgeted around $1700 per person per month because we participated in many activities. This can be cheaper if you’re frugal with your spending and refrain from splurging too much. Conversely, it can quickly become more expensive if you frequently opt for upscale accommodations. Don’t be deterred by the fact that traveling in the Philippines is slightly more expensive than in a country like Thailand. The Philippines is definitely worth spending a bit more money on!