The Perfect Philippines Packing List!

Planning a trip to the Philippines? You’re bound to have the adventure of a lifetime! And while you’ll be spending most of your time in a swimsuit and flip flops, you’ll probably want to pack a few other essentials as well, just in case.

Read on to learn all about what you should be sure to pack for your upcoming island hopping, waterfall exploring, beach lounging, tropical paradise vacation in the Philippines!


The Philippines Travel Basics

Appropriate Dress in the Philippines

The majority of people living in the Philippines are Christian and you’ll see evidence of that everywhere – from bible verses painted on the sides of tricycles, to giant billboards proclaiming how much God loves you. So there are no religious rules dictating that you need to cover up.

You’ll see tourists and locals alike frolicking on the beaches in skimpy bikinis or wandering around town in cut-off shorts. It’s also fairly unlikely that you’ll visit any churches so there’s never really a need to cover up unless you want to.

Weather in the Philippines

There are only two seasons in the Philippines – wet season and dry season. Wet season lasts from June until October and dry season is November through May. The hottest months of the year are April and May when temperatures average around 34 °C.

Tropical cyclones are quite common in the Philippines from July through September, with August being the most active month. If you plan on visiting during the wet season you should be aware that ferries and boat tours are weather-dependent which could put a big damper on your travel plans.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Chasing Waterfalls

Visa and Passport Requirements for the Philippines

Citizens of most countries are not required to have a visa for a stay in the Philippines up to 30 days (a few exceptions include India, Iran, Jordan, and a few others). Check your visa requirements here. Visitors from Israel can stay for up to 59 days without a visa. Be sure to purchase your return flight to your next destination prior to arriving to the airport or you may be denied boarding.

If you would like to obtain an extension on your 30-day stay, it is easy to do at any Immigration Office in the country. Your first extension will be 29 days and thereafter you may apply for 1 month, 2 month, or 6 month extensions at least one week prior to the expiration of your valid stay. Depending on what country you are from, you can extend your stay for anywhere from 24 to 36 months.


What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines

Baggage for Packing for the Philippines

Travel Luggage

You’ll be taking quite a few rides in tricycles during your time in the Philippines, especially in the smaller towns where there are no taxi cabs. Tricycles are essentials motorbike sidecars and they have minimal luggage space. So the driver will either tie your bag onto the back with some twine or throw it on the roof rack. Better to pack in luggage that has some flexibility and can take a bit of a beating.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Marmot Long Hauler Large Travel Duffle

Carry-On Bag

Bring a carry-on that can double as a beach bag. You’ll be spending a lot of time jetting around on boats and lounging on beaches so this cute mesh tote is perfect for keeping your things organized and easily accessible during your vacation in the Philippines. It even has an insulated cooler bag section to keep your drinks cold!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Mesh Beach Bag Tote

Travel Pillow

The Philippines aren’t exactly conveniently located, especially if you are coming from the US. Bring a travel pillow on your flight so you can get some shut-eye during that long flight. It packs down small so it’s easy to fit this travel pillow in your suitcase.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Trtl Neck Pillow for Travel

Electronics to Pack for the Philippines

Waterproof Camera

Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines are actually under the water. You’ll want to capture the vibrantly colored coral and fascinating marine life with a waterproof camera. GoPro HERO 7 is the most popular but the price point is quite high. There are plenty of similar options available that take high quality photos but don’t charge you for the brand name.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Touch Screen Waterproof Action Camera

Universal Travel Adapter

The outlets in the Philippines fit type A, B and C. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. Meaning you won’t need an adaptor if you are coming from America, China, Japan, or Europe. However you may find that having a universal adapter with multiple USB ports comes in handy so you can charge multiple gadgets all at once.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Universal Travel Adapter

Waterproof Cell Phone Case

Whether you’re island hopping on a boat, waterfall canyoneering, or snorkeling with whale sharks, you’ll want to capture photos and videos of all of your adventures. Keep your cell phone safe and dry with a universal waterproof case by JOTO while snapping away.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Universal Waterproof Cell Phone Dry Bag Case

Dry Bag

If you want to keep more than just your cell phone dry while cruising around the islands, invest in a high quality dry bag that’s large enough to handle your camera and other gear. If you don’t mind if your dry bag leaks a bit, there are plenty of smalls stands all over the country selling inexpensive options as well.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Sea to Summit EVAC Dry Sack

Power Bank

You’ll likely be relying on your phone throughout the day for Google maps, restaurant reviews, and taking photos of the landscape. Make sure your phone doesn’t run out of juice by investing in a power bank. This one by FosPower is small and waterproof so you don’t need to worry about keeping it dry while island hopping in the Philippines!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: External Power Bank Waterproof

Earbuds

Don’t get caught without headphones on that long flight to the Philippines. This set by Focuspower are Bluetooth equipped, can connect to two mobile phones at once, have a long battery life, and have magnetic inductive charging.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Focuspower Wireless Earbuds

Portable Speaker

Long days spent lounging on the beach are more enjoyable when you have a cocktail in hand while being serenaded by your favorite jams. Invest in a set of waterproof bluetooth portable speakers to keep yourself entertained for hours on the beaches of the Philippines!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Apps and Entertainment for your Trip to the Philippines

  • Don’t forget to download offline maps of the cities you’ll be visiting in the Philippines.
  • Download Grab, the Uber of SE Asia (iPhone | Android)
  • Get a subscription to Amazon Audible for access to a huge selection of audio books to listen to while at the beach or on the plane.
  • Check out the must-visit destinations in these Philippines travel guides:

Toiletries to Pack for the Philippines

Containers for Liquids

Transfer all of your favorite products into small, leak-proof refillable travel bottles. They are perfect to throw in your carry-on to freshen up during your long flight to the Philippines.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Leak Proof Bottles for Liquids

Toiletries

There are plenty of pharmacies and beauty supply stores in the Philippines (the most popular is called Watsons) where you can buy many toiletry brands that are popular in the states. However, there are a few things that are difficult to find and/or quite expensive including:

  • Tampons are rare, especially in the smaller towns including El Nido and Coron.
  • Most of the lotions here contain “whitening” agents (i.e. bleach). Bring your own favorite lotions from home if you’d rather leave with a tan.
  • Floss can be difficult to find, even in the larger grocery stores.
  • Sunscreen is expensive in the Philippines! Pack your own to avoid overspending.

Travel beauty essentials to pack for the Philippines:


Beach Wear for Island Hopping in the Philippines

Swim Suit

You’ll pretty much live in your swimsuit in the Philippines so you’ll probably want to bring more than one. Don’t worry about wearing a bikini here, there’s no need to cover up unless you want to.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Swimsuit

Swimsuit Cover-Up

The shade offered on most of the boats is minimal so be sure you have a swimsuit cover-up with you to keep your shoulders from burning!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Swimsuit Cover Up

Flip Flops

You’ll end up wearing flip flops all day, every day while vacationing in the Philippines. Be sure to pack at least one pair!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Comfortable Flip Flops

Water Shoes

In order to visit the most spectacular waterfalls on Cebu Island in the Philippines you’ll be required to do a few water crossings and scramble up some slippery rocks. Be sure to pack some shoes with traction that you don’t mind getting wet. If you don’t want to invest in water shoes, an old pair of tennis shoes will work as well.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Waterproof Sandal Shoes with Traction

Beach Towel

While some hotels and boat tour operators in the Philippines will provide you with a beach towel, many will not. Best to pack your own. Pack a beach towel that is large enough to lounge on, lightweight enough to carry around with you on excursions, and that will dry quickly.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Large Microfiber Beach Towel

Snorkel

If you’re a snorkeling fanatic and can’t wait to see the underwater wonders of the Philippines, you may want to consider bringing your own gear. Most boat tour operators have snorkel masks available for rent but they have been through some wear and tear. You’ll love how well this full-face mask fits your face to keep the water out.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Full Face Snorkel Mask

Pool Floaty

You’ll undoubtedly have a few epic photoshoots while enjoying the crystal clear water and sandy beaches in the Philippines. Bring a fun pool floaty to add a little something extra to your photos and to keep you entertained for hours at the beach!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Avocado Pool Float

Other clothes to pack for the Philippines:

  • Plenty of denim shorts and tanks
  • Dresses for a night out on the town
  • A light sweater for chilly evenings
  • Dressier shoes if you plan to go to a fancy restaurant or nightclub (they often have a dress code)
  • One pair of underwear per day
  • One pair of socks per day
  • Bras
  • Pajamas

Accessories to Pack for the Philippines

Cross-Body Bag

The Philippines is a reasonably safe country but, as with anywhere else, opportunistic crime can happen. Pack a crossbody bag and keep your hand on it when traveling in crowded areas of larger cities. Stay up-to-date on safety and travel advisories here.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Crossbody Bag Purse

Sun Hat

No matter how much SPF you slather on your face, you’re still bound to get more rays than you want in the Philippines. Bring a cute hat with a wide bill to keep your face protected throughout the afternoon.

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Sun Hat Trucker Hat

Sunglasses

Keep those eyes protected from the harsh rays with a pair of polarized sunglasses and a sturdy case to keep them safe in your carry on!

What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Aviator Polarized Mirror Sunglasses

Don’t Forget to Pack

  • Your passport!
  • To purchase your return ticket in advance.
  • Sign up for a credit card with no international transaction fees.
  • To call your credit card company and release your card for use in the Philippines.
  • A backup credit card in case you have any issues with your primary.
  • To upgrade to an international cell plan during the month that you’ll be gone.
What to Pack for a Vacation in the Philippines: Beach Day

Are we missing anything important? Let us know in the comments so we can add it to the list!

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What to Pack for the Philippines

2 Comments Add yours

  1. monicam74 says:

    what size dry bag do you recommend?

    1. Nick Wheatley says:

      That all depends on what you plan on carrying in it. We have a 20-liter dry bag because we’re often carrying around our DSLR camera and an extra lens. In general, I would recommend between 13-20 liters.

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