Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or this is your first trip, it helps to know what to pack for Palawan ahead of time.
Palawan is without a doubt a fascinating part of the Phillippines full of natural wonders. It may be a completely different world for you in terms of climate and surrounding. To make the most out of your tropical holiday, feel free to bookmark this comprehensive travel packing list. It will help you make sure that you’ve thought of everything else you may want to pack for Palawan.
What to Pack for Palawan
Choose Your Luggage
When it comes to the dilemma of suitcase vs. big backpack, it all depends on your travel style, preferences, and needs. For a hassle-free travel, choose a luggage that is lightweight, versatile, and big enough to hold all your travel essentials.
If you are not really planning to rough it or travel by public transportation around Palawan, then you may opt for a suitcase or convertible backpack.
A rolling luggage would be fine especially if you are just flying directly to Palawan from Manila or from another city in the Philippines. There’s no need to punish yourself by carrying all your stuff on your back – especially if you are not really that type of traveler. The airport transfer service can take care of transporting your luggage to your hotel.
If you are planning to explore Palawan and travel by public transportation, a convertible backpack is recommended. You may be going through different types of terrains, switching from airports to uneven roads. In some places in Palawan with really bad roads, it can be such a hassle to drag a suitcase on wheels.
For light packers or those who are not planning to extend their Palawan trip, a duffel bag, carry-on, or travel backpack will do if you don’t want the extra weight of wheels. Traveling with a backpack means ultimate versatility and hands-free mobility. While a carry-on luggage means you can save on check-in fees, save time at the airport and won’t worry too much about the airlines losing your luggage. Make sure to double check airline baggage rules of the ones you are flying.
Organize the Basic Items
If you are thinking about what to pack for Palawan, then you should start with the basic items such as proper clothing and comfortable footwear.
If you are going straight to El Nido and have lots of activities you plan to do, that means you would be bringing a fair amount of gear. You need to keep everything organized to make room for all your travel essentials. Using packing cubes or packing organizers can make all the difference. These neat little things will not only let you know exactly where your stuff is, but your clothing can be compressed and arranged so you can fit more in your bag. You can save precious time by not having to rearrange your entire bag again and again.
Packing for Palawan is pretty simple but remember that it has a very warm and humid climate. The great thing is that there’s no need to worry about wearing conservative kind of clothing in this region, you can wear almost any type of comfortable wardrobe to survive the oppressive heat. Stick with breathable and lightweight clothing that covers you up and keeps the mosquitoes away.
Clothing Packing List
- Lightweight clothing that can be layered
- Cotton and Linen T-shirts, tank tops, sleeveless shirts (white or light colors that do not attract insects)
- Summer dresses or skirts
- Boardshorts or shorts
- Loose pants
- Swimsuit or swim trunks (consider a wet/dry organizer)
- Rash guard
- 1 lightweight long-sleeved shirt
- 1 windbreaker, rain jacket or raincoat
- Thin socks
- Flip flops
- Slip-on sandals (easy to dry when wet)
- Breathable slip-on shoes or sneakers
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Hiking shoes (if you plan to hike!)
- Sun hat or cap
- Sunglasses and glasses case
- Glasses and prescription glasses
- Waterproof watch
Note: This packing list only serves as a guide. This does not mean that you overpack or pack a lot of clothing options. We highly recommend anyone to pack smart or pack depending on your chosen activities and destination. Ask our itinerary specialist if you want to learn more about what to pack for Palawan.
Pack Your Toiletry Bag
If you’re traveling with a carry-on luggage, keep your toiletry bag light. Make sure that all liquids, creams, pastes, aerosols, and gels are in 100ml or less per container and must be placed in transparent resealable plastic bags measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm. Please check Philippine Airline’s restricted items for more information about how to pack safely or what to pack for Palawan.
The Toiletry Basics
- Sunscreen (you can get this in Palawan but it will be cheaper if you buy it before you arrive)
- Face cream or lotion with SPF
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash
- Antibacterial soap, bath soap, or moisturizing body wash
- Hairbrush or comb and hair ties
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Lip balm with SPF, lip gloss
- Makeup and makeup remover wipes
- Skin moisturizer, lotion, and hand cream
- Contacts, contact case, and solution
- Feminine hygiene products
- Personal hygiene items
Other Toiletry Bag Essentials
Travel Health Items
Make sure to check the CDC website for comprehensive travel vaccines, medicines, and travel advisory. The CDC and WHO recommend these vaccines for the Philippines: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Cholera, and Rabies.
- Insect repellent/bug spray
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- Sunburn relief
- Diarrhea medicines
- First aid kit (bandages, moleskin, adhesives, gauze, etc.)
- Motion sickness pills or bands
- Pain and fever relievers
- Allergy medicines
- Hydrocortisone or antibacterial ointment
- Cold medicines and throat lozenges
- Personal prescriptions
Bring Your Adventure Gear
Wondering what to pack for Palawan adventure? There are two types of packing lists – packing list and adventure packing list. If you are traveling to Palawan, it is without a doubt that you’ll be taking boat trips, water sports, and other adventure activities. For a hassle-free travel experience, we recommend you to bring your own adventure gear instead of renting. Besides, it’s safer or more hygienic to use your own stuff.
- Dry bag/float bag
- Action camera or underwater casing for camera
- Floation accessory for camera
- Action camera stick
- Waterproof cellphone case
- Aqua shoes or waterproof shoes
- Snorkeling gear (this is usually included in the boat trips)
- Headlamp (if you’re camping, hiking or traveling during dawn, dusk or nighttime)
- Hydration pack
- Signaling whistle (for safety!)
- Multi-purpose knife
- Wetsuit, regulator, dive computer, scuba mask, and snorkel (if you’re scuba diving)
- Dive logbook and license
- Mesh bag for your scuba gear
Prepare Your Daypack
Make sure you have a sturdy daypack or a small carry-on bag with a few toiletries, gadgets, personal items, travel documents, and other travel essentials you’ll want with you on the flight or anywhere you travel in Palawan. It’s always nice to have a bag that you can easily bring anywhere and with easy access to everything you need. Remember to keep it light as you’ll be carrying all of this all the time. Here are some of the things to include in your daypack:
- Cellphone and charger
- Powerbank (check airline carry-on baggage rules)
- Action camera, video camera, waterproof camera
- Laptop, tablet, compact MP3 Player, e-reader, and chargers
- A Bluetooth speaker or travel speaker
- Adapters and power converters (The standard voltage is 220V, plug types A, B, & C.)
- Mobile hotspot or pocket wifi
- Helpful travel apps (maps.me, google maps, money conversion, dictionary)
Comfort, Information, and Entertainment
- Water bottle (this can easily be refilled with filtered water anywhere in Palawan)
- Travel guides, maps, phrase book, and language guides
- Travel pillow, ear plugs, and eye mask
- Books and magazines
- Travel journal and pen
- Deck of cards
- Nuts and beef jerky (in case you can’t get a snack somewhere!)
Check the Things for Travel Security
Although Palawan is a generally safe place to travel to, it’s still the travelers’ responsibility to keep themselves and their belongings safe at all times. In most of the big cities in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world, it pays to always be on the lookout for pickpockets. Make sure to consider the following safety travel essentials:
- Luggage travel lock
- Money belt or neck wallet (keep your passport and credit cards here)
- Undercover bra stash (for cash and credit cards only)
- Leg wallet
- Padlock, safety lock (for some hotels with lockers)
- Laptop security cable
- Reflective clothing (for riding motorbikes around Palawan)
Money belt or neck wallet is always recommended to bring when traveling as it lets you keep your money, bank cards, and other valuables close to your body.
Gather Important Travel Documents
A travel document holder will come in handy as it keeps all your travel documents organized. Having all the important documents together will help ensure that you have everything you need to travel from one place to another. The following are some of the important documents you need to bring:
- Passport/visa(s) (check here if you need a visa to travel to the Philippines)
- Car and/or motorbike license
- Scuba diving license
- Personal ID/Student ID card
- Cash, Debit, and Credit Cards
- Travel, dive, health, and medical Insurance
- Doctor prescriptions
- Transportation tickets (flights, van, bus, etc.)
- Reservations, itineraries, and booking confirmation
- Tour and hotel contact information
- Frequent flyer/loyalty cards
- Emergency contacts and address book
- Copies of all these things (in case you lose the travel document organizer)
As part of travel planning, make sure that your passport, credit cards, and IDs are not expired. Passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. Make sure to inform your banks if you’re traveling abroad to avoid your cards getting blocked. It is also important to have soft copies of all the travel documents saved in your email.
And of course, part of this comprehensive travel checklist is to ensure that your home is in order before you travel to Palawan, especially if you will be traveling for a while or extending your trip. This includes pre-paying your bills, making sure that the appliances are turned off, having a house-sitter to take care of your pets and plants, setting up an out of office message or email autoresponder, locking all doors and windows, emptying your refrigerator of anything that will expire and storing all valuables in a safe place. Thinking through home care before you leave ensures a worry-free holiday.
Remember, this packing list serves only as a guide. Each traveler may have different needs.
Make sure to plan the activities and tour in advance to know more about what to pack for Palawan. Planning gives you more time to think through your packing list and ensures a hassle-free vacation. Packing light is always recommended as it helps with mobility and gives you more freedom. As a general rule, respect the culture, people, and places you visit. If everything is in order and planned perfectly well, you’ll definitely have a great time in Palawan!
Please don’t hesitate to ask our itinerary specialist if you have any burning questions about your Palawan trip or if you need more packing advice.
Karen is the local expert and itinerary specialist of Palawan AlterNATIVE. When she’s not traveling, she likes to immerse herself in a good book or blog about her life. Parts geek, parts scuba diver. Her other obsessions include things-to-do lists, cycling, solitude, and cryptocurrency. She currently lives with her cat in El Nido.