The Most Budget-Friendly Time Of Year To Visit The Philippines

The Philippines is a destination that you can travel to practically any time of year, but that really depends on which part of the archipelago you want to visit and what you want to see, do, and experience during your trip. With 7,641 islands, you won't lack for places to explore, sights to view, food to taste, and activities to enjoy, such as snorkeling and diving. Plus, the locals are friendly, hospitable, and speak English.

Another major draw is the fact that it is an affordable destination. You won't break the bank when you vacation here, not unless you want to. According to Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker writing on the Nomadic Matt blog, it's possible for backpackers to spend $20 or less per day on their visit. For this reason, it's a bucket list trip for many tourists, especially budget travelers. For those who are looking to save more, schedule your vacation to the country during the most budget-friendly time of year.

The most affordable time to visit the Philippines

The most budget-friendly time to visit the country is during its shoulder season. Destinations have a high season when prices peak due to high demand, and a low season, typically the worst time to visit weather-wise, according to TripSavvy. Shoulder season is the time between high and low seasons when airfare and hotel prices are cheaper, attractions have a smaller crowd, and the weather is good. In the Philippines, shoulder season is May and October, according to The World Pursuit.

May is still summer in the country, so expect scorching heat, though rain may start falling toward the end of the month, ushering in the rainy season, which starts in June. As such, Lonely Planet recommends foregoing the beach for the highlands, such as Baguio or the Cordillera, to remain cool and enjoy lush landscapes. May is also the time for Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan, which are celebrated countrywide, and Magayon Festival, which is a month-long festivity in Legazpi, Albay.

Meanwhile, October is part of the rainy season, though the weather is starting to transition to the cool, dry season. Be cautious of typhoons, but in general, you can still catch cheaper prices and thinner crowds before high season peeks its head toward the end of the month, per Lonely Planet. October is also when Bacolod, the City of Smiles, celebrates its MassKara Festival, and you'll feel Christmas, which the country starts celebrating earlier than the rest of the world in September.

More tips to save on your trip to the Philippines

Vacationing during the shoulder season already makes a trip to the country affordable. But if you want to save more, you absolutely can. For one, steer clear of tourist hotspots. Head to underrated or less touristy destinations instead, not only to save a few bucks, but to actually see and experience authentic local life and culture, suggests Will Hatton (via Nomadic Matt). If popular destinations are on your bucket list, however, keep your visit short, advises The Culture Trip.

Another money-saving tip is to keep an eye out for airline seat sales, such as Piso Fare (flights with ₱1 — about $0.02 — base fare) from Cebu Pacific. Hatton also recommends signing up for Air Asia's newsletter to keep updated on the airline's seat sales. And when traveling between the different islands, getting on a ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off ship) through their partner buses will be cheaper than flying, and riding an overnight bus to destinations that will take you six hours or more to get to will help you save on accommodation costs, says The Culture Trip.

Speaking of accommodation, skip the expensive hotels and seek out pension houses instead. According to The Culture Trip, pension house rates range from $5 to $10 per night. When it comes to food, follow the locals. Hatton suggests asking the local guesthouse staff, while The Culture Trip recommends looking out for local diners called karenderias, food courts at malls, and fast-food chains, in addition to eating street food.