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Philippines Budget Traveler’s Guide

Budget Traveler’s Guide to the Philippines: Top Tips to Explore the Philippines on a Budget

The Philippines is one of the top destinations in the world. Not only does the country offer a breathtaking scenario, but it also has a mind-blowing 7,641 islands to choose from. Moreover, the place is a melting point of various cultures, including Spanish, Chinese, and American.

Additionally, it helps that the Philippines is among the best budget-friendly tourist destinations in the world. The island nation boasts of pristine white sandy beaches, secret lagoons, inexpensive local cuisine, friendly locals, and more. These factors make the Philippines a traveler’s delight. What’s more, the country enjoys a tropical climate, which is hot and humid all year round for the most part.

The best time to travel to the Philippines is during the dry season, between November and April. However, the shoulder seasons in May and November are best for those who want to travel cheap as there’s less crowd and the weather in the Philippines is enjoyable. Here are other ways to explore the Philippines on budget.

Choose Hostels Over Hotels

The hostel culture is not yet prevalent in the Philippines. However, several good hostels in and around Manila offer an excellent stay at an attractive cost. Usually, people refrain from opting for hostels because the common notion is that a hostel requires them to share a dorm room with several other people. However, that’s not the case. 

Most modern hostels also offer private rooms, which cost higher than a dorm but just a fraction of what a hotel room would have cost. Moreover, hostels are fun for solo travelers and those on a budget. There are travelogues filled with recollections of friendships and bonds formed in the dorms of hostels. Additionally, most hostels have some or other activity going on, which lets travelers meet like-minded people and learn about the local culture.

Some of the most popular hostels are located in Manila, Cebu, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa. These are the hot spots for travel and tourism in the island nation. Some of the most popular hostels include Z Hostel in Manila, Casa Bonita Inn Oslob in Cebu, and Villa Travelista Travel Lodge in Puerto Princesa. 

Try Couchsurfing in The Philippines

One of the biggest trends popular with solo travelers and backpackers in the Philippines is Couchsurfing. The service lets users find hosts native to the country and stay at their homes at no cost. The platform does charge a monthly or annual fee, but that’s minimal compared to the price of hotels or even hostels in some areas.

With this service, tourists get to find free accommodation in the Philippines and experience the local lifestyle of the place from close quarters. However, one can see how this might go wayward, staying with strangers in a strange country. 

Therefore, always do your due diligence before going forward with this arrangement. If you land a safe and friendly host, you can stay in the Philippines for free, and it doesn’t get better than that.

Commute Using Ferries or Buses

As mentioned before, the Philippines comprises a whopping 7,641 islands, with each island offering something unique. While it’s impossible to scale all islands, it’s also impractical to scale just a handful of them. Firstly, you’ll need a long itinerary and travel duration to explore them properly. Secondly, commuting to and from these islands can claim a considerable chunk of your travel budget.

Therefore, it’s best to stick to a couple of must-see islands for backpackers or solo travelers on a budget. The next step is to commute to these islands either by ferry or bus. Quite obviously, flying to various islands will be much more expensive than taking a ferry or bus.

Dine at Local Markets

Thanks to the convergence of various cultures, the Philippines has exquisite cuisine with some of the most delicious dishes in the world like Chicken Adobo and some polarizing dishes like Balut. When vacationing in the Philippines, instead of dining in fancy restaurants or your hotel restaurant, head out to the local market like Salcedo Saturday Market.

In such local markets, you can easily score an indulgent meal for as low as $1 in some places. Try popular local dishes like Kare Kare, Balut, Adobo, and more in these markets.

Explore the Unexplored

Popular tourist spots in any destination will have a premium attached to them when it comes to the cost of living. The Philippines is no exception. Manila is the most expensive of all the places in the country, and it’s advised not to spend a long duration of time here to avoid blowing up the budget.

The El Nido and Cebu islands are relatively cheap compared to Manila. However, if you want to stretch your budget, head to lesser-explored islands like Siargao, Sagada, and Port Barton. You’ll still be able to experience Filipino culture and cuisine but for a lot less. 

The key takeaway from this article is that while the Philippines is one of the most affordable places to travel to, you can travel there for a lot less by taking some extra measures. Moreover, with the money saved, more opportunities open up, which would mean a happy traveler.

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