I’ve had a couple of requests to write a post about how much I spent in the Philippines. I have been very reluctant to actually sit down and face the fact that I was a rubbish budget traveller in the 3 weeks we spent in the Philippines.
We stayed in cushy private rooms, ate out 3 times a day and divulged in nightly cocktail binges.
And the figures ain’t pretty.
But I will confess to you anyway and also give some pointers to my past self about how I could have been more cautious with the pennies…
All prices are per person based on two sharing over 20 days. I calculated the costs at £1=68 php.
Regardless, our nightly average cost of accommodation only came to £8.50 p/p.
Overall I spent £171.50 on accommodation for 20 nights.
The cheapest was £5.80 a night for a 10-bed dorm and the most expensive was £14.70 for a plush place in Boracay.
How I could have saved money: Obviously I could have stayed in more dorm rooms or traded beach front accommodation for something more modest. As it was peak season places booked up quick and prices were hiked up accordingly. Book in advance on sites like Agoda or be prepared to barter hard for longer term stays.
Food and Alcohol
As I was totting it all up I simply couldn’t believe it. Well, I kind of could as its me all over…
I spent £425 on food and drink ALONE. Almost half my entire spend.
That’s what eating out in restaurants and bingeing on cocktails does to you! That’s a hard to swallow average of £21.25 a day.
How I could have saved money: Easily. I worked out that if I ate fried rice 3 times a day then I would have only spent £70.50 over the 20 days. But, I wanted cocktails on the beach and to eat slap-up Filipino fare with my feet in the sand. I ate from food markets and in tiny family-run roadside joints so it wasn’t all fine dining and tiny umbrellas in my drinks. I just like my food ok?!
The boat trips cost a total of £60.30 and the moped for two days was £9.55p/p. This made the overall total for activities a reasonable £69.85.
We met a few people who had hired a boat and a captain and created their own blend of Tour A and C. Splitting the costs between a group meant that the cost came to around £6 p/p saving almost £30!
Chuck in 3 internal flights totaling £82.28, a return journey to Boracay from Kalibo for £17.65 and Puerto Princesca to El Nido and back for £16.17 and various terminal fees of £17.64 for a grand total of £155.61.
How I could have saved money: I kept transport costs cheap and to a minimum. I spent a lot of time walking or travelling as the locals did and got a the internal flights for a steal! If you’re planning on booking internal flights in the Philippines book in advance. Also, only take hand-luggage and you can score flights for as low as £15 one way.
We had some unexpected costs such as £10.29 on suncream and £1.50 on sun-hats. We also splashed £1.40 on a litre of local rum, funded my Buko addiction spending £22.20 over the 20 days and keeping ourselves hydrated with £29.40 worth of water.
This all came to £64.79.
How I could have saved money: I could have risked bringing the suncream I left in Manila. I thought that there might be a 100ml rule for internal flights but not so! Suncream on the islands was really hard to hunt down and very expensive.
I’ve heard that there are clean water taps on Boracay and El Nido which are free or a very minimal cost which I will make the most of next time!
The Overall Cost
Yup, it’s more than I had anticipated and I definitely could have spent a lot less. But would I change it? Nope.
As an introduction to my new #gaplife, living the life of luxury in the Philippines was perfect. Lazing around on beaches, sipping on coconuts and slipping into a clean, comfy bed every night was bliss!
When I inevitably return to the Philippines I’ll be more budget conscious (promise). It’s definitely possible and will be just as fun. Just you wait!
Have you been to the Philippines? Did you stick to a budget? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages.