My Travel Costs in Philippines: Itinerary and Budget Breakdown

I have previously written detailed summaries of my travel costs for Central America and South America that seem to be moderately popular. Since I recently finished a full month of traveling in the Philippines I thought it might be helpful to do the same for that country.

How I Travel and Other Observations

Any breakdown of this nature deserves some background information, and the value of my expense tracking will naturally depend on how similar your travel style is to mine. Perhaps the best description of my travel style is comfortable cheap. Whenever possible I try to save costs but I am not on such a tight budget that I will put up with extremely unpleasant or unsafe circumstances just to save a little money. Here are some more details, based on the expense categories I track, of how I travel to help you understand my numbers better:


For lodging, I prefer a private room if it is reasonably priced, but I am fine with a shared bathroom. I am also fine with a dorm room depending on the circumstances, including: if I am in a social mood and want to more easily meet fellow travelers; when the dorm is particularly nice; when I plan to be so busy that I just need a room for sleeping; when I just don’t think the added cost of a private room is worth it.


I have never been a foodie, and while I enjoy trying local dishes, food rarely takes a central role in my travels. Like anyone, I occasionally want to treat myself to a good meal, especially when I am in a country where doing so is reasonably priced, but I don’t do it often. That’s as much personal preference as a concern for my budget.

Travel / Transportation

Whenever possible I walk or rent a bicycle. One reason is simply me being cheap, but more importantly, I like the exercise and I find it a great way to see places I would miss if I took taxis (especially useful since I am always looking for good street art). For longer distances, I generally travel by local transportation and avoid taxis. I’ve never hitchhiked and am slow to the Uber game, though perhaps I should try in the future.

In Camiguin, Bohol, Bantayan and El Nido I rented a motorbike for a day to explore at my own leisurely pace.

Drinks and Entertainment

I am not much of a drinker or club goer. This fact alone is one of the biggest budget savings in my favor.


I found many activities in Philippines required a tour guide (either by natural need or by town/tourism mandate). This added to the costs of enjoying various places, but I think it is good to support the local economy and prices were reasonable.

Internet / Phone

At a friend’s recommendation, I got a prepaid SIM card from Globe but Smart seemed very popular as well. They have different promotions and generally if you go to a kiosk you can inquire about the latest promotions and even have them help you sign up for them.

My Spending by Category

For the 31 days I traveled (including transit to/from Thailand) I spent US$1,123 for a daily average of US$36.24. That includes all expenses including flights. Below are charts breaking down those expenses by category.

philippines total spending by category - My Travel Costs in Philippines: Itinerary and Budget Breakdown

philippines average spending by category - My Travel Costs in Philippines: Itinerary and Budget Breakdown

How I Track My Expenses: Get the Spreadsheet Yourself

There are now some useful smartphone apps to track expenses, but when I started traveling in early 2009 I was still years from owning my first smartphone. Instead, I created a spreadsheet to track my travel expenses, which I still use. I suppose it is a bit old school, but it works for me and if you are interested in using it as well, I gladly make it freely available. Just click through for the Google Sheets version or contact me to request an Excel or Open Office version.

The spreadsheet will automatically convert to US dollars and Euros and it can handle a variable number of days, up to 366 (accounting for a leap year), though there is a smaller one-month worksheet as well for shorter trips. It will also automatically graph your expenses by category. If you do use it and find any errors please let me know.

Spending Breakdowns Around the Web

In my Central America cost breakdown I listed quite a few similar budget breakdowns from other bloggers that I have come across which you might want to check out. Alternatively, Jodi at Legal Nomads offers a regularly updated resources page with an even better collection broken down by RTW and part of the world.

General Observations of the Philippines