Lodging in the Philippines: Where to Stay

There is a wide diversity of lodging in the Philippines. From the simple, low-cost hostel to luxury, all-inclusive resorts, the Philippines has accommodations to match every budget. Discover where to stay and how much you will pay when you visit the Pearl of the Orient. The information below provides tips and recommended resources for searching for lodging options in the Phillipine Islands. You can also find accommodation information for specific cities in other parts of our website.

Hostels, Guesthouses and Apartelles

The Q Lodge on Boracay Island Philippines
Other than free accommodations, these are the least expensive forms of lodging you will find. Prices range from less than $5 to approximately $30 a night depending on the size, conditions and location. There are several websites that allow you to search for all three types. The sites with the largest number of listings are Hostels.com, HostelBookers.com and HostelWorld.com.

Each one returns approximately the same number of listings for each destination searched. Most often, they list the very same accommodations. That being the case, which is the best? Personally, we like Hostelworld.com for a couple of reasons. One, the results we found had more hostels than other sites. All three sites listed above list other types of low cost accommodations. However, our experience shows that Hostel World included more hostels in the results that the other sites.

Another feature we liked about Hostel World is that you can search accommodations in the Philippines without having to choose a specific city. Hostel Bookers will not allow you to do this. This is not that important if you have a fixed destination but, if you are still planning which cities you will visit, the feature will allow you to quickly determine where the greatest number of hostels are located.

Hotels and Resorts

Large hotel in the city of Makati, Metro-Manila
There are many excellent hotels and resorts in the Philippines. After using half a dozen hotel booking engines to search for available accommodations, I have found the most useful site to be HotelsCombined.com. Hotels Combined searches over 30 of the world’s leading hotel reservation sites at the same time. My experience is that they return the largest number of hotels and resorts for each city. For example, a search for Davao hotels on sites like Hotels.com, Otels.com, Expedia.com and Travelocity.com returned only 4 to 16 hotels respectively, HotelsCombined.com returned a total of 55 hotels and resorts.

Something else we like about this site is the vast number of reviews. There are some hotels and resorts listed that have over 1000 reviews! Discovering the pros and cons of each accommodation will allow you to make a better decision concerning which hotel or resort is best for you.

Other aspects of the site we like are the ability to sort results by star rating or price or refine your search by star rating or price, the display of several photos on the results page and information about the number of rooms available.

The site includes other types of accommodations such as hostels, bed & breakfast, apartments, inns and vacation rentals. However, there are very few of these in the results and the majority of accommodations are either hotels or resorts. For example, a search for lodging in Boracay returned 168 hotels and resorts but only 28 of all other types combined.

Once you have used Hotels Combined to find the accommodation you want, there is one more place to check. Go to Priceline.com. This site does not have as many features, ratings or reviews as Hotels Combined, but it does have a large number of accommodations and prices that are sometimes lower.

Vacation Rentals

Large vacation home for rent in the Philippines
Vacation rentals include apartments and houses that are usually rented by owners for longer periods of time. While it is sometimes possible to stay in an apartment for one night, most vacation rentals require stays of at least one week. There are pros and cons to this type of lodging. One of the biggest advantages is more privacy. Of course, the disadvantage is that there are usually far less amenities and, usually, no room service.

If you prefer to stay in a vacation rental, you will probably need to dedicate more time to searching. There are far fewer sites online that specialize in vacation rentals and those that do exist list very few vacation rentals in the Philippines. The largest listing we found is at Real Adventures. The majority are apartments in Metro Manila, especially Makati but there are a few in Bulacan, Cebu and Pampangas.

If none of those at Real Adventures appeal to you, your best bet might be to enter into contact with a travel agency or real estate agency in the city you plan to visit.

Free Accommodations

Lodging is one of the highest expenses when traveling. One way to eliminate this cost is to participate in a home exchange. This practice has existed for a long time and grown tremendously over the past decade, especially with the advent of the internet. Even so, it is still not very popular among Filipinos. Sites such as HomeExchange.com have over 40,000 homes listed but only 4 in the Philippines.

Another free lodging option is referred to as couch surfing. You can sign up at CouchSurfing.org and access a community of thousands who participate. People from all over the world open their homes to receive guests who are traveling and want to get to know their country. While the majority of members are located in Europe and the United States, there are members in over 79,000 different cities all over the world.

There are many other ways to save on lodging and other travel expenses. A resource that we have found helpful is Henry Rustkirk’s Insider Secrets to Cheap Flights.┬áThe digital book focuses on the author’s experience working for an airline company and the secrets he has learned over the years. While somewhat scathing, the book is a good resource for tips on how to save a lot of money when booking flights to your destinations.

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