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The Ultimate Packing Guide to the Philippines Travel

Planning your trip to the Philippines soon? We know it can be overwhelming. Even if you are an expert backpacker, your list constantly changes in time. In our case, from packing with two (2) main luggage and one (1) carry on, now we're down to 1 of each. Collectively, Josh and I made an extensive packing list guide to make your packing a breeze. We both put our heads together and made up this ultimate guide on what to pack, how to pack it and why to make your Philippines trip amazing.

I (Heyz) was born and raised in the Philippines and grew to love my country in a heartbeat. Josh on the other hand went on an unplanned backpacking trip to the Philippines for a month and ended up staying for two, if not for visa extensions nightmares, he could have stayed longer and carried on traveling around the country.

Why not? The islands are surrounded by pristine beaches and turquoise blue water, this makes us the mecca of underwater and watersports adventures. We also pride ourselves on our lush landscapes and friendliest people in the world.

We worked so hard to put all the information you will ever need in one place. We also made a printable PDF of the checklist because we know you won't remember it all. Let's go.

Table of Contents

Most airlines allow one  carry on luggage that is under their respective weight limit (typically around 5 to 10 kilograms only).

However, there are also some airlines that allow two items: one carry on luggage and one personal item (handbag, a backpack, a laptop bag, an umbrella, a briefcase, etc.) Whenever possible we  travel light and there actually been times that we do NOT have any check-in baggage at all. 

We only bring along one carry on backpack (with all our essentials), and one luggage that contains our clothes in it. This made an advantage  avoiding long check-in lines and getting out of the airport quickly without waiting for your checked in luggage to appear in the luggage conveyor. 

If carry-on allowance is not on our favor, either one of us will have one checked in luggage and combine our heavy items in there. 

These are our combined checklist as digital nomads.

What Should Be in Your Carry-on

Travel Packing Essentials

Passport, ID , Keys, World Nomads, Credit Cards ,Bracelet, Money, Safety wing
Passport, ID , Keys, World Nomads, Credit Cards,Bracelet, Money,
  • Passport, ID's and Business Cards

    Needless saying this is the most important one

  • Visa

    Most countries get a 30 days visa on arrival to the Philippines. Do you want to check if you need a visa? iVisa provides expedited processing and guidance for travel visa applications since 2013.

  • Cash, Debit and Credit Card

    Josh is using the Halifax Clarity Card (UK CC) as his main travel credit card. He gets charged 200~300 pesos every time he withdraws in the atm. He also travels with different cards in case any of them get lost or have any issues while abroad. I, on the other hand, don't have a cc (yet) because cash is still the king in the Philippines. Since I have a local bank and I don't incur charges when withdrawing cash in my bank's ATMs, I withdraw cash and Josh pays me back through Transferwise. Or if we swipe Josh’s card for payment, I pay him back through my TransferWise account. It is a multi-currency account to receive money with international bank details. It is quick and easy and costs way less than Paypal. I work online and I switched from Paypal and Payoneer to Transferwise to receive payments.

  • Travel Insurance

    They always say if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling’. Seriously, make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. We’ve been traveling for quite some time now and at that time we both have tried many different travel insurance providers. Now, we use either World Nomads or Safety Wing, depending on our travel style and needs.

  • Drivers License

    If you are a foreign national and will be in the Philippines for less than 90 days, your regular drivers license from your country is acceptable as long as it’s valid. Afterwhich, you will not only need to obtain the appropriate long-term Philippine visa but you are required to get an international driving permit. I happened to chance upon this online application with IDA (International Drivers Association) when I (Heyz) and Josh planned on driving around Morocco. If you still don't have one, I recommend that you get it now. They’re fast and legit, you can get a soft copy (as fast as 2 hours) or hard copy (express shipped worldwide). It can also be used to drive to other countries.

  • Paper Copies

    In case of loss, theft, and other emergency situations, I always make sure to bring photocopies of my: passport, ID cards, and other travel documents (air and hotel booking, travel insurance printout, emergency contacts, etc.) as a part of my carry on packing list.

  • Other Valuables

    Jewelry, keys and some other expensive items are things that I wouldn’t want to put in my check-in luggage.

  • Extra Clothing

    In case you loose your luggage, or spill liquid to clothes you wear, it helps to stow at least a pair of shirt & shorts and a pair of undies in your carry-on. Sure, you can also buy them at the airport or anywhere else but just in case of emergencies. It’s best that you save yourself from those costs and hassles.

Electronic Gadgets for Digital Nomads

Iphone, Kindle, Macbook Laptop, GoPro, Power Bank, Speaker, USB, Cord, Chargers, Portable Charger, Adapter
Iphone, Kindle, Macbook Laptop, GoPro, Power Bank, Speaker, USB, Cord, Chargers, Portable Charger
  • Smartphone

    We can't live without it. We use it for communication and navigation.

  • eReader (Kindle), Tablet or iPad

    Josh reads a lot so he always uses his kindle. Very useful during commute when signal sometimes is not a guarantee. I, on the other hand don't like reading much so my iPad comes in handy when I download Netflix and watch it offline.

  • Laptop

    I(Heyz) always put it in my carryon bag. I manage an online agency and we blog so this is at the top of my packing list every time. Josh and I share the laptop. He use my laptop from time to time when doing his football trades and in editing blog articles.

  • Underwater Camera

    We can never go wrong with this. We always find a good underwater activities and it would be nice to freeze beautiful moments underwater.

  • Power Bank

    We used to have two but I broke mine. Now we are sharing one and by far we never had problems running out of batteries on the road.

  • Pocket WiFi

    This is an investment especially for those who are just starting online. Most international data plans are expensive but I am keeping one just in case we really needed it somewhere in a remote island of the Philippines. Paying extra money for convenience and efficiency is not too bad.

  • External Storage

    Along my travels, I've had 3 instances that I broke my laptop. It's inevitable. I learnt it the hard way but now I always make sure important files and pictures are backed up. It saves us time and hassle when it happens.

  • Accessories, Chargers, Adapters, etc

    Needless to say these are important and must be in your carry on bag all the time.

Things to Pack for Comforts While En-route

Snacks, Water Bottle, Neck pillow, Sleep asks, First Aid Kit, Ear Plugs, Jack Links, Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Hygiene Kit, Pen and Paper, Sunglasses, Reading Glasses
Snacks, Water Bottle, Neck pillow, Sleep asks, First Aid Kit, Ear Plugs, Jack Links, Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Hygiene Kit, Pen and Paper, Sunglasses, Reading Glasses

What Should Be in Your Personal Luggage



Personal Items

Guide on Choosing The Right Things to Pack for the Philippines

Packing light is packing smart so you can move quicker. For the long commutes on ferries and buses we don’t want you to be tired carrying a lot of luggage and miss an experience of a lifetime on this island paradise. We wish we had this guide when we were just planning our trip. It would have been much easier!

Choosing Your Luggage: Backpack or Suitcase?

Picking a good travel bag is a very essential step to packing for any trip. Backpack or Suitcase, which is better? That is the most common argument on the road. Josh and I have different insights on what’s the best traveling bag. For us, there are no right or wrong answers. It depends on what you are comfortable carrying. Josh wears a backpack while I carry a 4 wheeled suitcase. Don’t get me wrong, I still consider myself a backpacker with a suitcase. And just to let you know, I prefered to carry a backpack before. Even more so in my younger years where I climbed mountain peaks and camped almost every weekend. Then as years pass my preference just changes especially when I learnt that I have scoliosis (my xray shows a letter “S” shape of my spinal cord) and carrying heavy backpacks will worsen it. Different things work for different people, some prefer the suitcase on wheels, some prefer the backpack and some prefer to have a boyfriend who carries your bag for you (I call these people smart, wink wink).This review is just a guide to help you decide on what to bring (if you haven't decided yet). We are also taking into consideration the Philippines travel condition. Lets see the pros and cons. Please read through.



Top Recommended Bags

  • For Backpacks

    Osprey Fairview (high quality, lot of pockets and opens like a suitcase)

  • For Suitcase

    Reyleo Hardside Luggage (hard shell cover, built-in TSA approved locks, 2 charging ports and comes with a 3-year warranty)

These are some of the pros, cons and recommendations in choosing a luggage based on our own personal experiences. We hope you get the bigger picture and decide which one is best for you.

Choosing Your Travel Clothes

There are two seasons in the Philippines: dry season (November to May) and wet season (June to October). But no matter when or where you visit in the country, the Philippines is going to be hot and humid.

It is advisable to wear loose, lightweight cotton and linens throughout the year. It is best practice to pack light, breathable items that are light-colored to reflect the sun.

Choosing Your Footwear

You bring footwear depending on the activities you are planning to do in the Philippines. If you will be mostly going to the beach or snorkeling, flip flops and waterproof shoes are your “must haves”.

If you plan on going more to the mountains and trekking to viewpoints, trek sandals will do. They are lighter and more breathable than trekking boots. If trek sandals are not your style then trek shoes is best for you.

If you will be walking on flat terrains or around the city, make sure to wear light and comfortable footwear to not tire your body in your day's activity.

Highly Recommended Footwear

Recommendations for the Rest on the Checklist

We’ve thrown in the links of the products we personally use or highly recommend. Below is a list of items you may want to pack, however as we have said before we strongly recommend packing small and light.

If you can fit everything into a small suitcase or backpack then you can save money on your flight by not having to check in the bag at the airport.

Also packing light will save a lot of effort. Carrying 20kg on your back for a long period is not fun. Josh’s backpack weighs 9.5kg and I still think that I have packed too much. Remember if you forget anything (other than the essentials above) you can always buy in the Philippines.

The Ultimate Philippine Travel Packing Checklist

  • Travel Must Haves
  • Medicine Kit
  • Toiletries
  • Eco Friendly Options
  • Electronics
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • For Him
  • For Her
  • Nice to Have
  • Useful Apps

Travel Must Haves

First Aid / Medicine Kit

You can find pharmacies fairly easily anywhere in the Philippines so we carry a few for emergencies only


Eco Friendly Options


For Camping or Trekking

For Water Adventures

For Him

Headwear / Eyewear



Toiletries / Accessories

For Her

Headwear / Eyewear



Toiletries / Accessories

Nice to Have

Useful Apps to Download

Booking Transportation

Booking Hotels

Getting around

Useful Applications

Money Apps

Finding a Community

10 Steps on How to Pack Your Bags for the Philippines

Step 1: Lay all your things on a bed or floor so you can see them all.

To make sure you don’t miss a single thing when packing.

Step 2: Put your travel essentials (passport, visa, insurance printout, and your major credit card) in a travel passport wallet.

Secure all of this before your trip. make sure to put it in a safe place in your carry on bag.

Step 3: Pack the toiletries into your toiletry organizer and make sure they fit.

If you are putting toiletries in your carry on bag, double-check that the liquids make it to the TSA standards of 100 millilitres per item. If it does not fit then you don’t need it. Usually, you will need a clear bag for carry on toiletries because of airport security reasons. As per TSA ”You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.” 

Step 4: Put all your medicines in one small clear pouch/bag.

It will be easier for you to check the contents without taking the whole thing out. 

Step 5: Using a packing cube, put your undies and socks altogether.

Leave a pair or two for your carry on bag for easy access in case you need to check in your backpack. Also, sometimes your luggage can get lost in airport check-ins and it may take days for the airline to get it back to you.

Step 6: Put your clothes in pairs in a clear ziplock.

For example, in a ziplock put 1 shirt and 1 shorts or 1 shirt and pants. This will make your life easier, you will not need to think about what to wear every day and especially when you need to change in a hurry in between your travels. Then put it all together in one packing cube

Step 7: Pack your footwear individually in the packing cube.

It is smart to have a separate bag or packing cube for your footwear to avoid getting other items dirty.

Step 8: Put all your electronics (its chargers and accessories) in one packing cube

If you have a dry bag you can make use of it here.

Step 9: Put all the things inside your daypack/backpack/luggage.

The rule is if you will not immediately need it put it at the very bottom of the bag.

Step 10: If you still have room in your bag, check on the checklist “extra”.

If it doesn’t fit, you don’t need it.

Final Thoughts on What to Pack for the Philippines

That’s it! Congratulations. You are all set for the Philippines. We hope you guys find it very helpful. We use the checklist and guidelines ourselves to make sure we don’t miss anything. Again this is just a guide and guides are not there to make your packing more difficult. If you don’t have it and you think you won’t need it then it's fine. You can buy these things while in the country too. The important thing is you just go with the flow and enjoy the adventurous ride. I know we may have missed some things off the list. If you think so too, please leave a comment and we will add that to the updated guide. Have an awesome time in paradise!

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The rates, contact details and other information indicated in this post are accurate from the time of writing but may change without itchyfeetadventures’ notice.  It is strongly advised to check the up-to-date prices by clicking on the buttons that leads you to the vendors website for booking/purchase. The website and its writers shall not be held liable for the price change and it’s only purpose is to provide estimation of the current prices upon writing.

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Hazel Apuhin
Hazel Apuhin

If you can't find me in front of my laptop, I am out chasing for sunsets or having a little trek to the viewpoints. It is just nice to disconnect from online and reconnect to the nature. Nature never ceases to awe me. I started to work online (since 2015) to be able to travel farther and longer. And so I did.

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How about you?
  • If you’re a newbie to travelling the Philippines, did you find this post helpful? What other things would you like to know about travelling longer or how to work online to sustain a travel lifestyle?

  • If you’re an experienced traveller or an online nomad reading this post, do you have any other ideas to contribute on how to start a work and travel lifestyle? We would love to hear them!

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Welcome to Itchyfeet Adventures!

We are Josh and Heyz. We are your local travel guides to the Philippines. We will give you 7,641 reason to make Philippines your favourite Southeast Asia destination.

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How about you?
  • If you’re a newbie to travelling the Philippines, did you find this post helpful? What other things would you like to know about travelling longer or working online to sustain a travel lifestyle?

  • If you’re an experienced traveller or an online nomad reading this post, do you have any other ideas to contribute on how to start a work and travel lifestyle? We would love to hear them!

Did you like this article? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube and be notified of our newest updates!

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