Traveling to the Philippines: A Guide to Travel Insurance and Tips for an Amazing Experience
Whether you’re a digital nomad looking to sip drinks in an island bar while you rule the world from your laptop, an adventure seeker looking for a deserted island to hide away on and explore, or a newly married couple looking for the perfect mix of exploration and romance, the Philippines draws travelers from all over the world to the white sand beaches of its more than 7,000 islands. From the party-like atmosphere of the cities to the thrill of exploring seemingly uncharted territory, the Philippines provides a laid back vibe perfect for any type of traveler.
Planning travel for both long term and short term stays in Southeast Asia requires quite a bit of brainwork. From travel insurance options to can’t miss experiences and everything in between, here are our best tips for making the most out of your excursion to the Philippines!
Why Do I Need It?
Any time you travel, it’s important to take certain precautions to protect yourself and the money you invested in your trip. Travel insurance is one of the most important things that a world traveler can have in their pocket. It can provide financial coverage in the case of medical emergencies abroad, it can help you recover lost or stolen personal items, and arguably most importantly, it can help you get a full refund in case you have to cancel your trip altogether for a covered reason.
You may think that your employer/domestic medical coverage is enough, but we suggest you take a look at your policy. Most domestic health insurance companies—as well as Medicare—do not cover medical services provided in foreign countries. Travel insurance can provide you with financial assistance in case you have to visit a doctor or hospital abroad, and ensures you don’t get stuck paying hefty medical bills.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
The good news is that getting the coverage you need for your trip to the Philippines is a lot cheaper than you may think. Depending on your level of coverage, length of your trip, and the total cost, travel insurance will run you about 5-10% of your trip cost for basic coverage, while premium options can be up to 12% or more of your trip cost.
It’s important to ensure you’re getting the best price for the coverage you need, and you can do this by getting quotes from various providers before committing to a certain one. Fortunately, ouur travel insurance comparison tool makes finding and comparing travel insurance policies easy. Simply enter your trip information, select the coverage options you need, and you’ll immediately get back multiple quotes from a variety of providers.
Even better, you can easily compare and purchase your selected policy right through the tool at the lowest price guaranteed. It couldn’t be any easier, and with that out of the way, you can continue planning your dream trip!
Currency Exchange & Tipping Customs
The Philippine Peso (PHP) is the official currency of the Philippines. Exchanging your money is super easy on most islands, and you can do so in the airport or in one of the many shopping malls. You can also find ATMs throughout the larger cities so you can take out cash directly from your bank account instead of exchanging.
When it comes to tipping in the Philippines, unlike other Asian countries, tipping is encouraged and becoming more expected. Luxury hotels in high-tourist areas expect tips as part of their income, and this includes bellhops, laundry, and maid service. When out to dinner, check to see if there is a service charge on your bill. If not, feel free to leave 10% and be sure that your server gets it directly. Tour guides should get 10% of the price of the tour ticket if they work for a company while tipping self-employed tour guides a bit more is fair.
Weather Conditions & Packing Suggestions
The Philippines are close to the equator in Southeast Asia, so you’re looking at a very tropical climate. Basically, here’s what you can expect: hot, humid, heavy rain showers.
You’ll find the southern islands are uniformly warm and humid with year-round rain showers. As you move further north, you’ll find a clearer distinction between seasons. For example, Luzon has three distinct seasons: a somewhat chilly season from November to February; hot and dry from March to June; and the lovely torrential typhoon season from July to October.
Depending on which islands you’re visiting, you may need to diversify what you pack to accommodate the amount of rain you’re likely to encounter. But you may want to invest in bringing durable rainwear and lightweight, breathable clothing like cotton.
Can’t-Miss Authentic Experiences in the Philippines
Whether you’re traveling for work or play (or a little bit of both), make sure you take the time to experience everything this laidback culture has to offer.
- Foodie Paradise. A true melting pot of Western colonizer and Asian influence, Filipino food emphasizes heartiness and freshness rather than spiciness. If you love learning about culture through food, be sure to add a food tour in the Pampanga province to your itinerary. For the more adventurous culinary explorer, or for those who are looking to dare a travel partner, you can try the popular Filipino street food: balut, which is a fertilized hard-boiled duck egg considered a delicacy to the locals.
- Island Hop. As an archipelago, or group of islands, there are more than 7,000 different ones to explore, so make sure you take the time to enjoy more than just Manila! It’s easy to get around thanks to low-cost airlines offering travel between the islands. There are three domestic options that offer transport between the larger domestic hubs like Cebu and the smaller island airports. Ferry service is also available for those that want to enjoy some sunshine while they move between islands.
- Fiesta in the Philippines. No matter where you travel, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in culture is to attend one of the large cultural festivals. For the Philippines, the third Sunday of January is the Sinulog Festival. You’ll find a mardi-gras like atmosphere with pop-up parties, lots of flowing alcohol, and a whole lot of dancing. The rowdy party atmosphere culminates with the Grand Parade, which is a huge procession that snakes through the streets of Cebu, while impromptu parties appear along side-streets. It’s a time of celebration and one that you truly need to experience to believe! Pit Senyor!
Really, no matter where you go in the Philippines, you’ll find yourself in paradise! Here are some of our top favorite places you should consider for your itinerary.
- Matinloc Island
- Surigao del Norte
And if those aren’t enough, we also threw in some of the more unique finds that we recommend as well! Happy travels!
- Matukad Island
- Lahos Island
- Malapascua Island