Did you save enough money for your trip???
Planning your vacation
So you are planning a trip to the Philippines and you are trying to figure out a budget. This depends on a few factors such as area, traveling, lodging, food, and shopping. The cost will mostly depend on you, but the Philippines can be very cheap if you choose it to be. The following are some thing you might want to consider when planning your trip.
“You will be expected to pay for the family in whatever activities you are doing. If you and the family are going out to dinner, then expect to be picking up the bill"
First, your biggest expense is going to be your plane ticket. These prices can dramatically swing according to time of year, or even by the week, from 400-2000 USD. A great source for finding the best times of year to save money on your flight is Skyscanner. You can actually search by the month instead of specific dates to find the best possible price.
Hotels and lodging
Are you staying with your girl or do you need a place? You have a few different options here ranging from very cheap to not that expensive.
1. Hotels -- If you are in a smaller area or a province that has a hotel, it might be your only option. In the provinces you could expect to pay around 800-1200 PHP or $16-24 per night. If you are in a city area you will be looking at 1500-2500 PHP or $30-50 USD. You will find several within these ranges. At $30 USD per night, you will be looking at something more basic, but should be fairly safe. You might have a smaller room and a outdated bathroom. When you start getting up closer to $50 USD, you start getting into four star hotels. Just read the Google reviews beforehand. Hotels will start getting up into the American style of pricing the closer you get to the airport. The destination hotels, such as beach resorts, can dramatically change in price according to time of year and location. The bigger the tourist spot, the more you will pay. These can range anywhere from $40-100 USD per night.
2. Hostels -- Hostels will be one of your cheapest options outside of staying with relatives. In the Philippines you have options that Americans would consider basic luxuries, such as hot water and air conditioning. In some hostels, you will find a range of luxuries you will have the option to buy. For example, one large hostel I visited had an option of:
A. a room that would be shared with 6 other people, with a footlocker to keep you belongings.
b. a room to yourself, with a community bathroom down the hall.
C. a room to yourself with your on bathroom.
3. Renting a House -- This can be a great option and can be a very cost effective if you can find the right deal. If you are planning on simply visiting your fiancé' and not traveling at all. However you usually need to make the arrangements to book a house weeks in advanced and most people want to travel there first time to Philippines
3. Renting a House -- This can be a great option and can be a very cost effective if you can find the right deal. This might be the way to go if you are planning on simply visiting your fiancé and not traveling. However, you usually need to make the arrangements to book a house weeks in advance, and most people want to travel around the Philippines the first time they visit.
You can eat as cheap or as expensive as you want. Your cheapest options will be street vendors, and of course eating whatever amazing food your fiancé as been wanting to cook for you. Street vendors or eating at home will cost you roughly $1 per meal or 50 PHP. When it comes to restaurants, anything that is American-style like Starbucks or McDonalds, expect to pay a similar price as in the US. Perhaps it might be 10-20% off. If you stay away from your mall chain restaurants, most places will have a good menu option for 100 PHP or $2 USD... Must tries are Lechon and sweet tocino. Over all, the food cost is very affordable.
Traveling and shopping
Traveling in the Philippines by boat or bus is extremely cheap. My wife and I would regularly take a 4 hour bus ride and it would cost us about $3.50 a piece. Boats are a little more, but for a couple-hour ride to jump islands you might spend $5-10 USD depending on if you want air conditioning or not. Everyone thinks they are going to go to the Philippines and buy a brand new Iphone for $10. Sorry, this simply is not the case. The Philippines is extremely cheap when it comes to travel, lodging, food, and living expensive. However, if you want anything more modern such as a watch, TV, phone, washing machine, etc., then expect to pay comparable prices. Clothing is an item that you can usually get vary cheap, if you stay out of the big malls.
You will be expected to pay for the family in whatever activities you are doing. If you and the family are going out to dinner, then expect to be picking up the bill. As expensive as this might sound, take a deep breath. Probably four times a week we would take my wife's family with us to dinner--6 people in total. They would always order something cheaper on the menu because they are used to not wasting money. On average, one night out with the family at a restaurant would cost a total of 800-1000 PHP or $16-20 USD.
It is very hard to give an exact number of how much money you need, because there are so many factors. I have heard of people going for a month on $1,000 USD, but I would not recommend it. I would say, if you are wanting to have fun without going to an extreme, $500 a week should be more then enough. If you are wanting to rent private boats with champagne, then you might want closer to $1000 per week. If you are staying with family and just focusing on spending time with her at the house, then maybe you can get by with a lot less. It is better to bring too much then not enough. Just make sure if you are trying to make it on a super-tight budget of say $200 per week, then have available funds somewhere else in case you need to access it.