How Much Do the Philippines Really Cost? $43 Per Day!


How Much is our finance series, meant to tell you how much you should--and shouldn't--spend on the road.

Beautiful beaches and tons of marine life. What more could you want for an island destination?

Bounty beach on Malapascua

The Philippines doesn't get as many budget travelers as the other countries in SE Asia, and that's probably because people think it's expensive. This isn't totally out of line. We each spent $43.71 a day over the course of 19 days, which is way above our $1000 a month goal.

Why? Well the flights to the Philippines cost a ton from pretty much anywhere in SE Asia, but especially from Vietnam. Ours was over $200 each, so that took a big chunk out of our budget. Then we ran into some pretty bad weather, which meant we had to take a last minute flight to Manila. Another $100 each out of our budget.

The good thing is that a 21 day visa is free, so if you're not staying too long, you save money there. But not staying long means making lost of choices, and it's hard to decide just where to go in this country of 7,000+ islands if you only have a few weeks. I've put together my thoughts on where to go in the Philippines, but your ideas may be totally different.

The other reason the Philippines were more expensive for us is probably the same reason they could be really cheap for other travelers. There are lots of beaches. You could lie on them. Or you could dive. We chose the latter.

Exotic's dive boat

Also, a caveat: Rob's iPhone died in the Philippines thanks to a faulty LifeProof Fre cover that was blatantly not LifeProof. Because of that, we had to estimate our expenses for the few days we lost. I think we erred on the side of overestimating, but I can't be sure :o/

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Below is a taste of what you can experience for $43 a day in the Philippines:


Interested in reading more about traveling cheap in the Philippines? Check out our destination pages, Philippines itinerary, and top tips for budget travel in the Philippines.

If you have any tips for backpacking the Philippines, leave a comment!


If you read our About Us page, you know that we're not your typical backpackers. Leaving our beautiful San Francisco loft and Lina's designer shoe collection behind didn't mean we'd revert to the way we traveled (or lived) when we were 17. So even if our trip looks cheap, know that you could spend a lot less. Most backpackers do!