If you can't find an island you like in the Philippines, you may just not be an island person. The country is made up of more than 7,000 islands, which means every visitor can totally customize the perfect itinerary. Maybe you'll stick to exploring Luzon, where the capital of Manila is located, or paddle alongside some of the world's best surfers who flock to the coast of Siargao. There's a lot to see in the Philippines, and traveling between islands takes time and money. That's why it's smart to visit during the cheapest season, when you can stretch your travel budget. Finding a cheap month to travel to the Philippines from the U.S. means looking to one of the summer months when costs are low but the chance of rain is high.
Most tourists avoid the Philippines between June and September, which is winter in the Southern hemisphere. Leave your parka at home, though, because the weather tends to be warm in the winter. You'll have to brave the rainy season, which can be intense, especially on the eastern island coasts. Typhoons and tropical storms are common. But because it's the least popular season with tourists, the prices for airfare and hotels drop during this period. According to Lonely Planet, you can expect to save between 20 and 40 percent on hotel costs when you book a room between June and September.
The trip between the U.S. and the Philippines is a long one, so flights tend to be pricy. June is the cheapest month to fly to Manila from the U.S. That's because it's the month with the lowest number of flights booked, according to Cheapoair.com. Check your preferred discount travel site online for sample airfares during June and the rest of the summer. You'll find fares are much lower than if you were traveling in January or February. A number of domestic and international airlines fly to the Philippines, so comparison shopping for the cheapest deal will not be difficult.
Avoiding Holy Week
Keeping your trip to the Philippines cheap means not traveling in March or April, specifically around Holy Week. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic country, and the festivities surrounding this miraculous time in the church calendar create a huge demand for hotels, cars, drivers and flights. Due to the popularity of travel during this period, local prices tend to triple around the Easter holiday. You'll have a hard time arriving and celebrating on an affordable budget.
Budget and Safety Considerations
In the Philippines, the cost of nearly everything is negotiable. Talk to the locals before you agree to a price for a taxi ride, boat trip or even a souvenir so you'll know what the going rate is. When you visit during the cheaper months, there will be fewer tourists, so merchants and vendors will be more than willing to offer you a great deal and a good price on the goods and services that interest you.
It's easy to get caught up in the tropical charms of the Philippines, but it's sadly necessary for visitors to remain vigilant while visiting the country. The U.S. Department of State warns travelers against visiting Marawi, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea because foreigners are at risk of being kidnapped for ransom. Check the department's website for current travel warnings before making specific travel plans to the Philippines.