Nothing feels better than when you’ve finalized your travel plans and all that’s left to do is pack. The Phillippines, with its 7,000+ islands, has a lot to offer from jungles beaches to amazing waterfalls, spectacular caves and unique geological formations which means deciding what to pack for the Philippines can be a bit tricky. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered and based on my Philippines itinerary, here’s what to pack for 2 weeks in the Philippines!
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Things to Know Before Travelling to the Philippines
Best Time to Visit Philippines
November, December, January, February, March, April, and May make up the dry season in the Philippines which is also the most popular time for tourists. The weather is hot and humid with the lowest amount of rainfall during these months.
June, July, August, Septemeber, and October make up the wettest months. Tropical storms can arise between August and October but prices in accommodation significantly drop at this time which is why it’s the low season.
Best Islands to Visit in Phillippines
During my 2 week trip to the Philippines, I went to the islands of Boracay, Bohol, and El Nido.
- Boracay – Very touristy but an amazing powder sand beach and great resorts if you just want to stay in one place and relax.
- Bohol – Fantastic geological formations with the chocolate hills and the world’s smallest primate
- El Nido – A great adventure whether you are looking for luxury or on a budget. Nacpan beach is one of the most beautiful beaches not overrun by tourists and there are many small islands you can explore on your own by kayaking.
Other noteworthy places include the Batad Rice Terraces, Coron with an amazing Japanese cargo wreck dive, Tubbataha Reef, Vigan, Negros, Taal Volcano and many more! Get more info on these other places by checking out Thrillist Travel.
- Many nations including the US and Canada are allowed free entry into the Philippines for 30 days visa-free.
- Just keep in mind that your passport needs to be valid for 6+ months and that you are required to provide proof of onward traveling before entering.
In the Philippines, their currency is the Peso. In Manila and Boracay, ATMs are readily available but on less touristy islands it may be hard to withdraw cash so it’s good to bring money with you for your trip.
- If you are on a low budget, plan to spend up to $35 USD/day.
- For a midrange budget plan to spend around $35-100
- Luxury travelers around $100+ each day.
- For more details on how much money you would need for backpacking in the Philippines, check out Lonely Planet.
Tipping is not required in the Philippines. Some establishments in high touristy destinations may include a service charge with the bill. If you are wanting to leave a tip, just add 10% to the bill and round up for cab fares.
Safety in the Philippines
The Philippines is generally a safe country to travel to full of friendly and welcoming locals. Recently, terrorist groups have been active in the Philippines, however, that is limited to certain areas like the Mindanao Region and the Sulu Archipelago. You will be fine in places like Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan.
The best thing to do while planning your trip is to check with your government travel advisory which will let you know the risk levels and any health issues/climate advisories to be aware of.
- As a Canadian, I’ve found Government of Canada’s website to be very helpful
- Americans can check with the US Department State
- Travelers from the UK should look at GOV.UK
What to Pack for 2 Weeks in the Phillippines
I loved backpacking around the Philippines! To start with, you are going to want to use a backpack to pack your things since many of the islands have bumpy, unpaved roads that wouldn’t be easy for a suitcase. The majority of airlines will take up to a size a 35-40L bag as a carry on which is the best way to go when backpacking in the Philippines.
A popular option amongst travelers is the Osprey Farpoint 40L travel backpack. It comes with a lockable main compartment, a mesh back panel to help improve ventilation while you are carrying it on your back and zippered front pockets to keep your things organized. I spent five months traveling from Scotland to Greece and Kenya with a 35L so it definitely is possible!
If there’s no way you can travel with a bag this small, Osprey’s next size up is also a good choice at 55L. This bag has the same features as 40L but also comes with a bonus travel day bag attached.
All of Osprey’s travel backpacks come with a lifetime guarantee.
Another item to help you pack light is packing cubes.
These are designed to fit in a carry on bag so you can ensure that you don’t overpack and keep your clothes safe from leaking bottles (yes I once had my clothes covered in sunscreen!).
When I’m out exploring, I love to bring a backpack, that’s lightweight and compact to store my things for the day in like sunscreen, a water bottle, and towel. I also do a lot of snorkeling, kayaking and beach bumming so I always bring a dry bag that’s fully waterproof.
Packing for the Philippines
- Bikinis (2)
- Undergarments (10)
- Bras (2)
- Pairs of shorts (3) and 1 pair of sport shorts
- Black leggings
- Tank tops (4) and 1 dry fit tank
- Tees (4) and 1 dry fit tee
- Dresses (4) and 1 fancy dress for fun nights out
- Travel Infinity Scarf – This is super useful to have. It has a secret pocket inside to store your passport, money and credit cards. Also, I’ve used it as a pillow in flights, a shawl for cooler evenings, head cover is mosques, and something to sit on at beaches!
- Pairs of socks (5) – You’ll most likely be wearing sandals the majority of the time and will only need to bring more socks if you plan on doing a lot of hiking.
- Light sweater for cool summer evenings
- Dry fit sweater
- Microfiber fast drying towel – a compact towel that will easily dry in 20 minutes
- Water Bottle – You can’t drink tap water in the Philippines so it’s important to stay hydrated. I like this collapsible water bottle since it’s compact and BPA free.
Philippines Travel Clothing Tips
* Many hostels offer cheap laundry service. Rather than overpacking, bring less and just get your laundry done.
What Shoes to Bring to the Philippines
When it comes to footwear, the paths you will most likely be walking on will be dirty and unpaved. You will want a pair of sturdy and comfortable shoes which is great for riding around on scooters and jungle trekking. Most of your time will be spent in sandals, so those should be very comfortable as well.
- Sandals that can handle long walks. I like crocs because they are very comfortable and stylish at the same time so I can wear at the beach or dinner.
- Runners – I love my Nike Free 5.0 runners because they’re lightweight and easy to pack in the bag.
- Water Shoes – If you are planning to visit waterfalls, go snorkeling or doing some kayaking to a deserted island, I’ve found it very useful to wear water shoes to prevent slipping and protect your feet from sea urchins.
Use shower caps for packing your shoes.
- Toiletry Bag
- Travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Face Wipes – easier to carry around than a bottle of face wash and super handy to have for those extra sweaty days
- Daily Moisturizer with SPF
- Nail clippers
- Hair Elastics
Philippines Travel Tips
- One of the best tips I can offer about travel in the Philippines and the rest of Asia is that it’s almost impossible to find tampons!
- I’ve found packing a menstrual cup to be super useful. You can keep it in for up to 12 hours and it is eco-conscious. Yes, I was scared to use it at first but now I’ve mastered using it and best of all no more spending money on tampons and pads!
- I save space and minimize weight by purchasing my shampoo, conditioner and body wash while I’m there. You’ll find familiar brands like Tresemme and Herbal Essences in the Philippines.
- I only bring some mascara for makeup as most women don’t wear much in the Philippines and it’s too hot to be wearing a lot.
What Medicine to Pack for the Philippines
Before you even think about packing for your 2 weeks in the Philippines trip, it’s important to get your travel vaccinations. You should visit your doctor or a travel clinic at least six weeks in advance. It can take some time before the vaccination kicks in so that’s why you need to go in advance. Common vaccines you may get before going to the Philippines include Diptheria, Tetanus & Polio and Hepatitis B. Consult your doctor though as personal vaccination requirements vary based on where you are backpacking in the Philippines.
If you are traveling to a country where yellow fever is prominent like Kenya, you will need to get a yellow fever vaccination and certificate to enter.
Medicine you should pack for your trip to the Philippines includes:
- Dramamine for motion sickness
- Anti-diarrheal caplets
- Flu/Cold Medicine – more difficult to find in Asian countries and instructions will not likely be written in English
- Pain Reliever Tablets
- Travel first aid kit
- After bite (this is very hard to find in the Philippines which I learned the hard way after being eating alive by sand fleas on Nacpan beach in El Nido).
Since I’m a digital nomad, I’ll probably be packing a lot more than what a normal traveler will bring. I’m only packing my MacBook because I will be blogging. If I was to go on just a vacation I’d bring just my GoPro and camera. When you are thinking about what to bring for backpacking in the Philippines always ask yourself, is it worth lugging this around?
Tech in My Bag
- Macbook Air
- 2 TB external hard drive
- Unlocked cellphone – You really don’t need this for the Philippines unless you want it to take pictures.
- Smartphone Camera Lens – If you are bringing your smartphone this nifty gadget is great to have. It clips onto your phone and allows you to take wide angle shots as well as really zoom in to capture far-off objects just like a professional camera.
- Go pro camera, vest, and stick – I love my GoPro and take it on all trips where I plan on doing adventurous activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and riding on a scooter. It can record videos as well as take pictures. This is great to have on a Philippines trip especially if you want to record anything in the water.
- Portable Charger – Keeps your phone charged on the go.
- E-Reader – If you plan on reading any books while on your trip save valuable packing space with a Kindle. My husband Jugo loves his since he can use it day or night and it has anti-glare so perfect for beach reading.
- Headphones – I always pack a cheap pair since I often lose them.
- Headphone Splitter – allows you to connect up to 5 headphones to your device. Great if you want to watch a movie together.
- Travel Adapter – In the Philippines, they use 220 volts which means you may need a power adaptor. This one is great because it also has dual USB charging ports so you can charge multiple items at the same time.
- Electronics organizer – Makes it easy to keep everything in one place.
Planning to Visit More of Asia?
What do you think of this list for what to pack for 2 weeks of backpacking in the Philippines? Did I miss something? Add your comment below!
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