A Guide to Renting a Car for Your Trip to The Philippines


The best way to explore the Philippines is in a rental car. That way you have control over your vacation and you can make a stop whenever you want to or change your mind about visiting a site.

It’s relatively easy to rent a car as a foreigner visiting the Philippines, as long as you have the proper documents with you and make sure you follow the local rules and laws. It’s important to take proper precautions when it comes to the legal side of things and to have insurance in case you’re in an accident.

Is it Worth It?

It pays off to rent a car while in the Philippines. It is an additional expense to factor in during your trip, but the mobility and a sense of freedom it provides are well worth it. Driving on your own is also more comfortable than any other mode of transportation available and if you plan to be on the road a lot, that’s the best way to go.

Getting into an accident or not having the proper documents with you can add to the cost and there’s no reason to do so. It’s best therefore to follow the rules, drive carefully and you’ll avoid any unnecessary expenses.

What Kind of Documents Do You Need to Rent a Car?

For the most part, the documents you’ll need to rent a car in the Philippines are easy to get to and most tourists have them. You’ll need a passport to prove your identity, International Driver’s License for the Philippines and a national license to prove you can drive, and a major credit card in your name.


It’s also important that the documents are up to date. An international permit is valid for a year, a national license usually lasts five, and if your passport isn’t up to date, you shouldn’t be able to travel abroad anyway.

Road Violations to Be Aware Of

There are a few common road violations that you should be aware of during your trip to the Philippines. It’s illegal to drive without the documents mentioned above (except the credit card). It’s illegal to drive a car used in a crime, and that’s why you should only rent from reputable agencies that won’t use such vehicles.

As is the case in most countries in the world, there are penalties for driving without a seatbelt. There are limits as to what kind of additional equipment you can have when driving and for the most part you can’t have a trailer unless you have an additional permit for it.

Are the Roads Safe?

For the most part, it’s safe to drive in the Philippines and as is the case anywhere else, the traffic will be the worst in the large metro areas. Cities also have a lot of one-way streets so you need to make sure you’re driving in the right direction or you may get a fine.

manila road

It’s also rather common for pedestrians to walk along the side of the highway. This can be somewhat scary for those who aren’t used to that kind of behavior on the road, so make sure you’re not driving too fast and are able to react quickly.

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An Insurance Policy

It’s essential that you have an insurance policy when renting a car. Most agencies will require you to have one and if they don’t you should ask for the option. That way you can have peace of mind in case something happens during your trip.

Some rental agencies will have a steeper charge if your permit is new or if you’re under a certain age. There’s nothing you could do about it and there are often good reasons behind such policies. It is an additional expense but in case you have an accident, an insurance policy can save you a lot of money.

Have an Itinerary

One of the reasons to rent a car is not to have a strict itinerary to stick to. However, having a loose one to help you make your plans and experience as much of the Philippines as you can, is sometimes rather useful.

Set up a short itinerary list before the trip and you’ll have a structure to your trip. Plans can then be changed on the spot if you find a place you want to stay for a while or if you plan to move on faster than you’ve initially planned. The itinerary doesn’t need a timeline but it sometimes helps.

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