What should you pack for a trip to The Philippines?
Travelling to The Philippines is an adventure of a lifetime. If you’ve never been, you’re in for a treat. It’s a beautiful tropical country located in Southeast Asia that is famous for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. (Spoiler alert: it’s my favourite place in the whole wide world.)
But packing for the Philippines is another story!
With over 7,000 islands to explore, it can be overwhelming to decide what to pack for your trip – especially if you’re visiting different islands. The climate and weather can vary between islands too.
So to make it easier for you, I’ve compiled this handy list of essentials to pack for your trip to the Philippines, split into Clothing, Accessories, Electronics and Toiletries – plus some bonus tips to ensure you have an amazing – and safe – trip!
Some of these things can be bought when you’re there, but if you’re keen to avoid shopping and head straight into nature, get these essentials ready to go in your suitcase. Let’s dive in.
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Essential Philippines Packing List
Essential Clothes to Pack for The Philippines
Comfortable versatile footwear – You’ll be doing a lot of walking and exploring in the Philippines, so it’s essential to pack comfortable footwear. Whether you’re exploring a city or trekking through jungle, you’ll need comfy shoes.
I usually pack a pair of sneakers and sandals that I can easily slip on and off.
I always bring a pair of Crocs as they’re great as slippers, for the beach and on rocky terrain – plus they’re easy to clean! My favourite sandals are these Timberland buckle ones – they have a secure buckle and provide stable foot support for high arches, so I don’t feel pain after walking for ages.
Light cotton clothing – The weather in the Philippines is hot and humid all year round – even in monsoon season. Pack light and breathable cotton clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. It’s important to pack clothes that travel well and are versatile in every kind of weather. I always bring flowy dresses, shorts, and loose tops to keep cool, plus a couple of lightweight cardigans or sweaters. For blokes, I’d recommend light overshirts, sweaters and cotton trousers. Some cities like Baguio get chilly at night. Layers are key! I’m a big fan of UniQlo’s reliable linen and cotton ranges. Great quality and decent prices.
Light rain jacket – The Philippines has a tropical climate, which means rain is always a possibility, even during the dry season. Rainy season that lasts from June to November. But since rain can spring up at any time of the year, it’s always a good idea to bring a light rain jacket or poncho. This will come in handy, especially if you plan to explore the country’s natural attractions, such as waterfalls and mountains.
Swimwear – The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, so it’s crucial to pack your favourite swimwear. Remember that sometimes western sizing might be hard to find in more rural areas too, so if you’re a particular size or prefer a certain fit/style, it’s easier to bring swimwear along in advance. Whether you plan to relax on the beach or go island hopping, make sure to bring a swimsuit that you’re comfortable wearing.
Essential Electronics to Pack for The Philippines
Power bank – A power bank is a lifesaver when traveling, especially in the Philippines where battery can drain quickly in the heat. Power outages are common in the Philippines, so it’s essential to bring a power bank to keep your electronic devices charged. This will come in handy, especially if you’re traveling to remote islands where electricity may be limited. I always make sure to bring a power bank so that I can charge my phone and camera on the go. I use this one!
Universal adapter – The Philippines uses Type A, B, and C plugs, so make sure to bring a universal travel adapter. The Philippines also uses 220V, 60Hz electricity, so if you’re coming from a country that uses a different voltage, you’ll need a universal adapter. This will allow you to charge your electronic devices without any issues. This is the one I use!
Waterproof camera – The Philippines is a paradise for photographers, so don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera to capture all the beautiful moments. Whether you plan to snorkel, dive, or swim, a waterproof camera will let you take stunning underwater photos. I have used a GoPro for the past 8 years and I LOVE the accessories too! I rarely travel without an underwater dome. (Check out my Travel Photography Essentials Guide.)
Waterproof phone pouch – The Philippines is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so especially if you’re island-hopping, you’ll want to take plenty of photos. Protect your prized mobile when you’re inevitably on a boat! I always bring a waterproof phone case to protect my phone from sand and water. Trust me – better safe than sorry. You can buy these cases on the islands too, but if you want to be ready to go, I’d suggest packing one in advance. It’s handy!
Bonus: Portable speaker – It’s not essential, but having a cute little portable speaker is great for playing music on the beach or in your hotel room. I usually bring mine to create a chill, relaxed vibe in my room or by the sea. It makes you feel more relaxed and at home.
Essential Accessories to Pack for The Philippines
Waterproof bag or dry-bag – If you plan to go island hopping or spend time at the beach, a waterproof bag is a must-have. This will keep your valuables, such as your phone, camera, and passport, safe and dry. Plus they strap easily around poles or beams and help secure your belongings which is great if you’re on a boat sailing over particularly choppy water.
Quick-dry towel – A quick-dry towel is a must-have when traveling to the Philippines, especially if you plan to visit the beaches or waterfalls. These towels are lightweight, absorbent, and dry quickly, making them perfect for travel.
Travel pillow – If you’re taking a long-haul flight to the Philippines or travelling long hours via bus or car, a travel pillow is a must-have. This will help you sleep comfortably on the journey and prevent neck pain. Nobody wants a crick ruining their trip! Long rides can be uncomfortable – especially if you’re caught in traffic on the way to a faraway destination like Sagada or Baguio – so a travel pillow will make your journey far more comfortable.
Hat or cap – The sun in the Philippines can be intense, so it’s crucial to protect your head and face from the sun’s rays. Pack a hat or cap that will provide shade and keep you cool. If you’ve got long hair like me, I’d recommend a cap that lets you wear a ponytail or bun!
Sunglasses – In addition to a hat or cap, sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. Choose a pair that offers 100% UV protection and is comfortable to wear.
Reusable water bottle – The Philippines is committed to reducing plastic waste, so it’s always a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle. Fill it with purified water at your hotel or at refilling stations, now widely available in major cities and tourist areas. If you’re keen to avoid plastic like me, I’m a huge fan of a BPA-free stainless steel water bottle like this one from Chilly’s. This iglu stainless steel bottle has its own handy straw. I’ve also got an Ocean Bottle one made from recycled ocean plastics which is super lightweight/travel friendly!
Essential Toiletries to Pack for The Philippines
Insect repellent – Mosquitoes and other bugs are prevalent in the Philippines, and they can be a nuisance, especially during the rainy season. Pack a good quality insect repellent to keep these pests at bay. I always pack insect repellent to protect myself from bites, since mine swell up and become huge – Smidge is a highly rated deet-free repellent, as is Incognito. I also really recommend wearing mosquito-repelling bracelets like these woven ones or Parakito, which are both cute and functional.
Sunscreen – The Philippines is a tropical country with intense heat and strong UV rays. A good sunscreen is a must-have to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure to pack a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher. My fave is Sun Bum as it’s reef friendly, vegan and travels well. The Philippine sun can be SUPER intense, so I recommend bringing a high SPF and reapplying throughout the day – even when it’s cloudy.
First Aid Kit – Accidents can happen when traveling, so it’s essential to bring a basic first aid kit. Pack items such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes and cream, hand sanitiser, pain relievers, and any prescription medication you may need. I usually bring hayfever/allergy tablets, paracetamol, ibuprofen, and probiotics with me.
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Are you going island hopping in the Philippines? Wondering what to wear for island hopping?
Head over to this guide: What To Pack for Island Hopping In The Philippines
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Must-Haves for Your Philippines Trip
Travel insurance is a must-have, especially when traveling to a foreign country. Make sure your policy covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations. I’ve personally used Trailfinders for the past 10 years and they’ve been amazing.
Cash – Although credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, it’s always a good idea to bring cash when traveling to the Philippines. You’ll need cash for small purchases, such as street food, souvenirs, and transportation. I always bring a mix of pesos, pounds and dollars to exchange or withdraw from ATMs.
Packing for a trip to the Philippines can be overwhelming, but with these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for your archipelago adventure. Remember to pack light, comfortable clothing, protect yourself from the sun and bugs, and stay hydrated. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all the beautiful moments and immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture.