The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands just waiting to be explored by excited adventurers. Whether you like beaches, mountains, or cities, there’s something for everyone in this breathtaking country.
When traveling to the Philippines, be prepared to be amazed by the outstanding landscapes, delicious food, and some of the nicest people in the world.
Like with any trip, it’s important to be prepared by packing the right things. Follow this packing list and you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip to the Philippines with everything you’ll ever need.
Choosing a Travel Bag for Your Philippines Trip
Picking a good travel bag is the first step to packing for any trip.
Like most countries in Southeast Asia, I’d recommend packing in a sturdy backpack for this trip. Besides the roads not being entirely suitable for a suitcase, if you plan on traveling around a lot, it’s much more practical to carry a backpack.
However, if you plan on staying in one place and will arrive there by car from the airport, a suitcase should be just fine for your trip.
Top Backpack Picks
If you do go the backpack route, here are some awesome bags that I can recommend.
Osprey backpacks have always been my go-to as their super high quality, have tons of compartments and pockets, and are long-lasting.
Not only is this backpack super sturdy and reliable, but it opens like a suitcase rather than a backpack. Using the Fairview will keep your belongings organized and easily accessible for whenever you need them.
Plus, this backpack comes in different sizes and different colors, so pick one that’s best for you!
I absolutely love this backpack because it has all the qualities Osprey is famous for (durable, practical, well-made) with an added bonus. Not only is this backpack good for packing all of your clothes, but the detachable daypack is great for all your odds and ends and comes with the main pack!
Skip buying a separate daypack and get it all in one go. The Farpoint 55 also opens like a suitcase, making it especially practical for travel.
Top Suitcase Picks
If you prefer to go the suitcase route, here’s a great bag for all your travel needs.
This is an awesome suitcase that’s bound to fulfill your luggage needs. The hard shell is guaranteed to protect your belongings and the built-in TSA approved lock is further assurance that your stuff is safe and sound.
This suitcase also has two charging ports on the side if you wish to connect a powerbank to keep your electronics fully juiced, as well as a three-year warranty in case you run into any issues.
No matter which travel bag you choose, I highly recommend using packing cubes to keep everything inside organized, easily accessible, and compressed.
Gone are the days of digging around to find what you’re looking for. With packing cubes, simply pick the right one and grab whatever you need without messing up the rest of your luggage. These cubes are practical and beyond useful. They’ll completely change the way you pack!
Top Daypack Picks
A good daypack is essential for any trip. Not only does it fit all your odds and ends while traveling, but it’s perfect for day trips, exploring, and beach days.
Traveling with a ton of electronic gear and equipment? The Nomatic Travel Pack is the perfect bag for your travels. It’s seriously one of the best backpacks we’ve ever owned because it fits everything we need for travel days or afternoons spent sightseeing. You can always get to what you need easily, ideal if you’re always on the go.
Prefer a daypack that you can keep stored until you’re ready to use it? Zomake has an awesome packable backpack that folds up and is easily stashed.
When it’s unfolded, you get an awesome lightweight, waterproof daypack with pockets throughout. It’s a good size, making it perfect for hikes, boat rides and any other adventures you plan on having.
Philippines Clothing Packing List
There are two seasons in the Philippines: dry season which runs from November to May, and wet season which goes from June to October. But no matter when you visit, the Philippines is going to be hot and humid.
Besides the weather, the Philippines is a largely Christian country, and there aren’t really any restrictions on what you can wear. While you may see signs proclaiming love for God, you won’t get a second look if you’re wearing a pair of short shorts and a bathing suit top.
Your best bet for clothing is packing light, breathable items that are light-colored to reflect the sun.
Women’s Clothing to Bring to the Philippines
It’s time to pull out all that vacation clothing that’s been sitting in the back of your closest, just waiting for the opportunity to be worn. Flowy skirts and dresses, bikinis galore and cute sandals — be sure to pack them for this trip!
Here are a few suggestions and some inspiration for what you should pack for a trip to the Philippines.
Tops and Bottoms
Bring along a few pairs of everyday shorts that you can throw on for a stroll through town or a walk to the beach.
There are so many great outdoor activities in the Philippines. Whether you’re going to hike, explore national parks, or wander around cities, athletic shorts are sure to keep you feeling cool no matter what you’re doing.
Sundresses are the perfect clothing item for the Philippines. They’re easy to throw on and are sure to keep you looking good throughout the day and on a night out.
Now’s the time to break out the elephant pants you’ve been dying to wear, or the linen pants that have been sitting in the back of your closet for years.
Flowy pants are a must for the Philippines, especially for nighttime. The lightweight fabric will keep you cool, but the long length will protect you from vicious mosquitoes. If you don’t have a pair, wait until you arrive and pick up some at a night market!
It can get cool in the evenings or early mornings in the Philippines so having a light cardigan will come in handy. Plus, it’ll keep you comfortable in air-conditioned places too.
Undergarments and Beach Wear
Bathing suits are probably the most important article of clothing on this list. With the vast crystal blue ocean surrounding you, it’s nearly impossible to resist getting your feet wet while in the Philippines.
Beach days, boat rides, snorkeling and diving, the Philippines has every water activity you could dream of. Bring lots of bathing suits and get ready for some fun in the sun!
You’ll probably spend most of your time walking around in a bathing suit coverup. They’re super flowy and breezy, not to mention cute!
Don’t forget to pack enough underwear for your trip!
Be sure to bring enough socks for all the adventuring you’ll be doing! Go for a pair of lightweight ankle socks to keep your feet fresh in your sneakers.
Shoes and Accessories
Throw a pair of sturdy flip-flops in your bag. You’ll probably be wearing these for most of your trip so be sure they’re broken in and comfortable to walk in.
I always pack a pair of Rainbows for my adventures because they’re long-lasting, extremely comfortable, and reliable.
Pack a pair of sneakers for all the hiking and exploring you’ll be doing! Plus, if you want to work out while in the Philippines, a pair of sneakers is essential.
A sarong is an extremely versatile piece of clothing. It can be a beach towel, picnic blanket, makeshift curtain, bathing suit cover-up and more! I frequently travel with one of these and it almost always comes in handy at some point.
Men’s Clothing to Bring to the Philippines
Not to worry guys, you certainly don’t need your Sunday’s best for a trip to the Philippines. Stick to essential, everyday items and you should be just fine.
Tops and Bottoms
Stay cool in a t-shirt or tank top! Go for t-shirts made from lightweight, breathable fabric to keep you feeling cool no matter how hot it is outside. Another good option is dri-fit clothing which wicks sweat instead of absorbing it.
Warm weather calls for shorts, of course! Bring along a few pairs of everyday shorts to wear when you’re not at the beach.
If you plan on exploring all that the Philippines has to offer, you may as well be comfortable. Athletic shorts are a must-have for any type of physical activity!
Perfect for evenings when the mosquitos are in full force. You’ll stay cool while avoiding bug bites — a total win!
A sweatshirt in a climate like the Philippines may not make sense at first, but as soon as you step into an air-conditioned bus or hostel, you’ll be grateful you have it.
Undergarments and Beachwear
Bring along all your board shorts, or bathing suits of your choice. You’re going to need them for all the beach fun you’ll be having!
No matter what kind of underwear you like, be sure to bring enough of it to last you the entire trip.
Don’t forget your socks! You’ll definitely need them whenever you wear your sneakers.
Footwear and Accessories
A sturdy pair of flip-flops is essential for this trip. Whether you’re wearing them to the beach or to walk around in, you’ll probably be in flip-flops for most of your time in the Philippines.
A good, lightweight pair of sneakers is important if you plan on trekking through national parks and taking some rad hikes. Extra points if they’re breathable!
Keep that head protected and sun out of your eyes with a trusty hat.
Philippines Packing List: Essential Items
Here’s a list of items you absolutely need to bring with you on a trip to the Philippines.
The sun in the Philippines is hot, hot, hot! Protect that skin with a high SPF sunscreen. If you’re planning on doing lots of water activities (as you should be!), be sure that your sunscreen in reef-safe to protect our oceans as well as your body.
Protect your eyes with a pair of cool shades. We love sunglasses from Woodies because they’re affordable, stylish, and ship anywhere in the world. Plus, they offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, so you are fully protected against harmful ultraviolet rays! What more could you ask for?
Bugs in the Philippines can be killer so be sure to cover yourself with bugspray to keep them away, especially at night time and during rainy season!
Not only will you be chilling on the beach, but you’ll likely be taking boat rides, going kayaking, and doing other water activities. Make sure your belongings are well-protected from water with a durable and dependable dry bag.
This item is absolutely essential especially for boats because most of the time you’ll have to walk through waist-deep water to board and you don’t want your things (especially electronics) to get wet on the way.
While tap water in the Philippines isn’t suitable for drinking, it’s still a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle with you to cut down on plastic waste. Most places that offer accommodation will have somewhere for you to fill it up.
If you’re looking to save space in your luggage, go for a collapsible water bottle that weighs next to nothing when empty.
Another option is an insulated water bottle which is heavier but keeps your water cold all day. The choice is yours!
There are two seasons in the Philippines: wet and dry. Wet season is riddled with random showers and sporadic downpours, meaning having a raincoat is absolutely essential.
Even if it’s not a wet season, it’s always good to be prepared by packing a lightweight, compact raincoat, just in case.
A quick-dry towel is great to take along on any water adventure. Whether it’s a boat ride, diving trip, hike to a waterfall, or just a day at the beach, bring along one of these to dry off when you’re finished splashing around.
Plus because it’s quick-dry, you’re able to repack it without it getting everything else in your bag wet!
Basic toiletries like shampoo and soap can be purchased when you get to the Philippines to save space and weight in your luggage. But it’s a good idea to bring along some everyday items that will keep you fresh on a long trip.
I recommend bringing your own lotion with you. Many places in Asia, the Philippines included, put whitening agents in their lotion. Don’t get caught by surprise by purchasing it there! I’d bring your own.
If you feel like bringing all of your toiletries with you instead of purchasing them when you land, there are some great kits that include everything you’ll need for a trip. They have full toiletry kits for both men and women, all in travel sizes and a convenient carrying case.
You’ll be spending most of your time outside when you visit the Philippines so I recommend keeping the electronics you bring to a minimum and sticking with the essentials.
There are several different kinds of outlets you may run into while in the Philippines, so it’s a good idea to have a universal adapter that will work with any plug.
Whether you want it for the beach or long bus rides, music will definitely round out your trip. Bring a pair of good headphones to keep the tunes flowing all trip long.
I’m a huge fan of traveling with a GoPro, especially to places with water-related activities. Not only is a GoPro waterproof, but it’s shockproof and extra durable to survive any adventure you take it on. The footage is high quality and awesome for looking back on in the future!
If you do choose to bring a GoPro, I also recommend getting a floating attachment so that if it falls into the water you’ll be able to retrieve it without a problem.
If you’re an avid reader, a Kindle is a practical way to make sure you still get your book fix no matter where you are. Take as many books as you want with you, without the extra weight or space they take up in your bag.
Keep all of your electronics charged with a portable power bank. Just don’t forget the charging cord!
Other Items to Bring to the Philippines
There’s a variety of extra items that you can pack to enhance your trip to the Philippines. While these items aren’t entirely necessary, they may make for a more comfortable and convenient trip.
Just off the Philippines shore is a complete underwater paradise waiting to be explored by eager snorkelers and divers.
While gear is widely available for rent pretty much anywhere where there are diving and snorkeling, it’s much more comfortable (not to mention sanitary) to use your own equipment.
If you want to bring your own snorkel gear but are overwhelmed with all the options, be sure to check out our guide to the best snorkel gear.
As mentioned earlier, tap water in the Philippines is not suitable to drink. However, with this nifty device, you can drink as much as you want without any problems.
The Life Straw effectively removes parasites and bacteria from water, making it safe to consume. It’s lightweight, and durable, making it a handy tool to travel with.
If you do happen to get stomach sick while in the Philippines, activated charcoal pills are sure to help you through it. The charcoal in these pills binds to toxins in your stomach and flushes them out, getting rid of whatever’s causing your stomach problems. I never travel without them!
If you’re prone to sunburns, it’s definitely a good idea to bring some aloe along with you. The sun in the Philippines is super strong, so relieve your red skin with this cooling gel.
With all the water activities you’re bound to take part in while in the Philippines, it’s a good idea to make sure your phone is properly protected. With the right case, your phone will not only be protected from water, but be able to be submerged for underwater photos and more!
Be prepared for any minor accidents with a travel first aid kit. It’s always a good idea to bring one of these along, no matter what kind of adventure you’re having.
Stick it in your backpack for a day trip or pull it out whenever you need a band-aid. You can’t go wrong erring on the side of caution!
Document all the people, places, and things you’ll see along the way. A journal is a great piece of memorabilia to look back on after your trip!
With so many water-based activities available in the Philippines, you may want to pack a pair of water shoes to protect your feet from reefs or sharp rocks.
Tips for Traveling to the Philippines
Here are a few things to be aware of when traveling to the Philippines.
While people in the Philippines mainly speak Tagalog, they also speak English too. You shouldn’t have any problems communicating while visiting this country, but it may be nice to learn a few Tagalog words or phrases before going as a sign of respect to locals.
The local currency in the Philippines is the Peso. Be sure to exchange money or use an ATM to withdraw Pesos to pay for what you need, because it’s a mostly cash economy.
A word to the wise: don’t carry all of your cash with you while walking around. Only take what you need and leave the rest in a safe place for later use.
Have an Outbound Ticket
My biggest piece of advice is to always enter the country with an outbound ticket. Don’t go to the Philippines on a one-way ticket, because you’re sure to be stopped at immigration and risk the chance of being sent back to where you came from.
While other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, issue the same warning, the Philippines is definitely the strictest about it. This is a risk you certainly don’t want to take!
Insider Tip: We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. We’ve used these websites all over Asia and it saves us the hassle of lining up in travel agencies or bus stations.
There are loads of places to stay all over the Philippines, from inviting guest houses, to rocking’ hostels, massive villas, five star hotels and everything in between.
Check out our article on best places to stay in the Philippines for insider advice on accommodation all over the country!
We have tons of resources to help you plan your Philippines adventure, whether you’re looking for places to visit, things to see, what to eat, or great spots to stay. The best starting point is our complete Philippines travel guide.
We hope this packing list helps you feel more prepared for your upcoming trip to the Philippines. Safe travels and happy packing!
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