Out of all of the nations in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is one of the easiest for Westerners to travel to.
There are a number of reasons for this: many travelers report that the country has a very positive high energy vibe, English is widely used, and the country itself is very beautiful with much to do.
But at the same time, this doesn’t at all mean that your trip to the islands is going to be completely uneventful. For instance, bad weather conditions can screw up many people’s trips, including for those who are very season and experienced in planning travel.
This is just one thing that you will have to prepare for, so with that said, here are the top five tips for traveling to the Philippines for the first time:
Watch The Weather
Fundamentally speaking, you don’t at all want tot ravel to the Philippines when the weather is going to be bad. Many people, however, are under the mistaken belief that every island in the nation (and there are over seven thousand islands) will have the same weather.
But this is not true at all. On the contrary, there are four separate climate zones with in the Philippines, and while rains can be pouring down in one region another may be bright and sunny. It’s up to you to research this ahead of time to ensure that the region you visit will have good weather (take note that in the capital, Manila, the wet season is usually July to September).
Carry The Local Currency
Yes, you should be able to use your credit card wherever you want, so long as your card allows foreign transactions and hopefully has small transaction fees at that. But at the same time, it’s always wise to have physical Philippine pesos in your pocket too for emergencies, tipping, and instances where credit or debit cards may not be accepted, such as in smaller and less populated provinces or for certain public transportation options.
The good news is that converting US dollars into Philippine pesos is not at all difficult, and can be done online on a matter of minutes. You can then have the pesos sent to you from an online exchange, which should have a cheaper rate than using an exchange serviCe at the airport.
Utilize Tranport Apps
Transport apps are simply going to make life much easier for you when you visit the Philippines, especially for when you’re checking out the big cities like Manila. Needless to say, Manila is a very populated and bustling city, and the heavy traffic and variety of public transport options can make things rather confusing for first time visitors.
One of the best types of travel apps to use will be a car booking apps such as Uber, which are generally speaking safer than taxis despite being a little bit more expensive.
Research Public Transport Ahead Of Time
You most likely won’t be able to use transport apps for transportation options in the smaller cities and provinces, so you’ll need to research what the public transportation options are for those areas ahead of time, if applicable. The most common public transportation options in the smaller towns and provinces are cabs and tricycles, and they are usually much cheaper too.
Always Tip Your Servers
Last but not least, tipping is considered a necessity when you visit the Philippines. No, it’s not required by the government or anything, but because services are provided at a very cheap rate in the country it’s considered to be one of the most polite things to do.
A 15% tipping rule is a good golden rule to follow for restaurants, tour guides, hotel services, spas, salons, and cabs alike. Since most people who work in those departments only make minimum wage, you’ll definitely be helping them out in a lot of ways just by adding a ten to fifteen percent tip.
Traveling To The Philippines
Obviously there are a lot more tips out there that you could learn on traveling to the Philippines, but the ones that we have covered here today are a good place to start. And besides, you can never truly learn enough until you actually travel there, so there shouldn’t be much stopping you from actually packing your bags and booking your flight.