Philippines

Traveling Philippines Tips – Visa, Vaccines, Safety, Solo Travel, and Advice

The Philippines is growing into being one of the most desired travel destinations around the world not only for it’s beautiful island and rice terraces, but also for it’s kind and hospitable people.

If it’s your first time coming to the Philippines, do some reading and research and learn a little about what Filipino culture and humor is like.

One concern on everyone’s mind before they go to any country is if it’s safe and if they need certain vaccines prior to going.

I can assure you after 8 years of living in the Philippines, and I can assure you it is quite safe and you dont need any major vaccinations outside of what you should already have normally… but read on to make sure you know the specifics!

Do You Need Vaccinations/Immunizations Before Going To The Philippines?

No matter what country you’re planning to visit around the world, one question you should ask yourself first is: “Do I have my vaccination shots updated?”

The Philippines isn’t significant in regards to the types of shots you should have versus other countries around the world. But when its typhoon season and flooding begins to happen, it’s always a safe bet to keep yourself up-to-date on your shots before going anywhere.

As a standard you should have the following shots up-to-date whether you’re traveling internationally or not: 

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Flu Shot Vaccine
  • Tetanus Shot

Additional shot for South America, Africa, and Asia:  

  • Typhoid Fever

While if you’re just sticking to the cities in the Philippines (Manila, Cebu, Davao,etc) you should be good with your basic immunization shots that you have from your home country.

But – it’s always best to take the necessary precautions against all fatal illnesses that you can. If you’re pregnant, it’s best to consult your doctor as there are additional vaccines you may need to take.

Kids Riding Jeepney Philippines
The jeepney is one of the most common forms of transportation, but many of the street children do not have shoes to wear, so it’s always important that you keep your feet covered to prevent getting diseases.

Is the Philippines a Safe Country?

Contrary to international news, the Philippines is actually a very safe place to visit for foreigners as long as you follow a few basic rules.

  • Do not travel with large amounts of cash.
  • Leave your passports in your hotel safe deposit box.
  • Do not go out in unknown areas late at night alone.
  • When in Manila, stick to the safe areas of the city: Makati, BGC, Ortigas, and Eastwood.
  • Take Grab Car to get around the city for maximum safety while traveling.
  • Do not keep your cell phone out when walking on local streets except in areas where security guards are present.
Manila Traffic Busy Streets Philippines
In the cities, the streets may appear crowded, noisy, and dark – thats why it’s best to take safe travel options when going in between different parts of the city.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the Philippines, and I myself have lived in Manila for almost 8 years already and haven’t had any issues with safety in all of the years I’ve been here. Sure, a kid or two try to reach in my pocket sometimes but you just have to be observant at all times.

Should You Travel Alone To The Philippines?

If it’s your first time in the Philippines and you’re coming from a western country, it can be quite a culture shock. I do not suggest that you visit the Philippines for the first time alone unless you already know friends here who will take care of you.

Bring a friend for your first trip. 

If you’ve been here before, you’ll already understand the culture and norms so you’ll feel right at home. The country is safe to travel even alone and I do it all the time as a bright-n-shiny-white American boy 😛

Here are just a few great shots from the Philippines including their beautiful islands, amazing markets, playful children and endless “chocolate hills”. You’ve gotta come see them all!

US Citizens Traveling To The Philippines

If you’re a US citizen traveling to the Philippines, a few suggestions coming from a fellow citizen to you:

  • Visa On Arrival: No need to check if you need a visa, you’re good to enter the country and get a visa upon arrival. Just make sure your passport is valid for 6 months past the date you’re going to leave the country (best to renew it at least 1 year before expiry).
  • Pack Light: There are so many great stores here to buy clothing at and it’s very affordable! I suggest to pack one suitcase full, and leave the other one empty so you can fill it up with stuff from here!
  • Shorts/Tank Tops: Don’t pack anything to keep you warm. The country is HOT all year round. If you’re headed to Baguio or Sagada or another mountain area at most you’ll need a hoodie.
  • Cell Phones: Ensure your cell phone can be used internationally. At the airport you can get a SIM card to put in so you have a local number with data. Google Maps and Grab Car should be downloaded prior to coming!
  • Book Return Flight: Make sure you book your return flight leaving the Philippines or you’ll be stuck at the immigration desk until you do.
  • Bring Chocolates: If you’ll be coming here and you have friends/colleagues here, bring them chocolates from the US – It’s like gold!
  • Be Kind – But Firm: Filipinos are extremely nice people and 99% of those you meet are going to be absolutely kind and wonderful. The other 1% you will have to be aware of: homeless people asking for something, street kids, the taxi driver trying to get you to pay 10x the correct rate, a tour group that charges you alot of money to go somewhere, etc. Everything in the Philippines is affordable and much cheaper than in the US. Do not be afraid to push back if something doesn’t seem right.

Countries With Free Temporary Visa To The Philippines (2018)

Citizens from the below countries traveling to the Philippines for both business and tourism can enter the country without a pre-arranged visa to stay for up to 30 days  as long as they have a return ticket(flight/boat) exiting the Philippines and their passport is valid for at least 6 months past their period of stay (7 months validity minimum).

Below are the countries included:

Andorra
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil*
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel*
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Norway
Oman
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Republic of Korea
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Tajikistan
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Vatican
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia
Zimbabwe

*Brazilian and Israeli nationals are given fifty-nine (59) days stay based on existing agreements. 

It is important to note that anyone entering the Philippines will still be subject to checks by the Bureau of Immigration for blacklist orders.

Information contained in this article:

  • Vaccinations travel Philippines
  • Traveling Philippines tips
  • US citizens traveling Philippines
  • Traveling Philippines immunizations
  • Traveling Philippines alone
  • Immunizations travel Philippines
  • Traveling Philippines advice

Hope to see you soon in the Philippines, but no matter what you do – keep traveling and smile always 🙂 

Philippines Islands Blue Water

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