Surefire Ways to Travel to Batanes on a Shoestring Budget

Racuh a Payaman Marlboro Hills in Mahatao Batanes
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Ways to Travel Cheaply in Batanes

Just recently, Batanes was added to every traveler’s bucket list – for the simple reason that this island offers what nothing else can: an untouched beauty of nature. Situated far from the majority of the islands of Luzon, Batanes is actually closer to Taiwan than any other island in the Philippines.

Old Houses in Chavayan Sabtang Island
Old Houses in Chavayan Sabtang Island

So, how do you get to experience Batanes without breaking your bank? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Advance Flight Booking

Find Cheap Batanes Flights
Find Cheap Batanes Flights

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Advance booking for Batanes often goes beyond one or three months. No, if you want to be 100% sure about this trip, you’re going to have to find a ticket a year ahead of schedule. This is probably the toughest part because: (1) Batanes flights are always in demand and (2) there are few flights going to the island, and (3) air fare promos for Batanes don’t come often. This is why if you plan to go to Batanes, always have sufficient funding in your debit / credit card and grab the opportunity when you see it.

Take advantage of Seat Sales and Travel Related Expo’s

Local Airlines offering flights to Batanes are offering seasonal seat sales during off peak season, make sure to subscribe to their email list to get seat sale alert on your email. The country’s top tourism organisations are conducting yearly travel expo’s. Two of the major yearly travel events are: Travel and Tour Expo and Philippine Travel Mart.

Be Part of a Group

The bigger group you’re in, the better! See, Batanes isn’t exactly public-transportation friendly. You can’t just jump on a jeep and get to where you want to go. Hiring a vehicle is crucial if you really want to see rolling hills and untouched sea for miles on end.

Exploring Batan Island by Jeep
Exploring Batan Island by Jeep

During one of my visits in the island, I was with a group and we saved a lot since we rented a jeep to tour around the main island. Renting a vehicle will be costly if you are in small group since there will be fewer people to share the rental cost.

Racuh a Payaman Marlboro Hills in Mahatao Batanes
Racuh a Payaman Marlboro Hills in Mahatao Batanes

What if you are traveling to Batanes in small group? The good news is that there are currently tour groups that schedule trips to Batanes on a routine basis. Get in touch with these people and avail of their tour packages, It’s definitely cheaper than having a DIY trip.

Use a Bicycle

Bicycle rentals are abundant in Batanes; so if you have the stamina for it, skip scheduled tours for a day and just wing it. This is undoubtedly one of the cheapest ways to move around town and see all the basic parts of the tour. Of course, you’ll still have to be guided to the more far flung places in the island, but for basic transportation – bikes are your best bet.

Bike for Rent in Batanes
Bike for Rent in Batanes

You can also try renting a tricycle and the drivers usually have a good idea of where to go. Note though that this could set you back as much as PHP3000 for a two person ride. Yes, renting a tricycle is more personalised but it not as fast as other mode of transportation and not all tricycle drivers are trained tour guides.

Find a House for rent or a Lodging House

Hotels are expensive compare to lodging house or house for rent. Fortunately, there are lodges that offer rooms and other basic necessities for a cheaper cost. On one of our previous Batanes trips, we stayed at Novita House – a house for rent located at the town center. We had the whole place to ourselves and best of all, we were able to save more money by cooking our own food.

Inside Novita House in Batanes
Inside Novita House in Batanes

Like airline tickets, however, it’s best to reserve yourself a room before actually flying there. As much as possible, opt for a lodge or a house for rent that gives you access to a kitchen to save more on food.

Where to stay in Batanes:

Food is Expensive!

A meal in Manila will set you back around PHP150 at its cheapest, but a meal in some Batanes Restos will cost more than that. Food Supplies in the island are tough to get due to the relative distance of the island.

Cook Lobster in Batanes
Cook Lobster in Batan Island

Those being said, be prepared for cooking your own food during non-tour meal times. This way, you won’t have to spend as much, plus you’ll be able to make whatever meal you happen to crave. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should skip local cuisines entirely. There are local eateries too that serves “lutong bahay” (home cooked) meals, you will find them in the town center.

Also Read: Batanes Travel Guide: Explore Breathtaking Batanes

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