Washer and Dryer
I’m not sure if you know the mark-up of laundry service in any commercial hotel, but they are astronomical. Some range from 100-200 PHP/2-4 USD per item. A standard daily load of laundry can sometimes set you back 50 USD or more. When looking for a private rental, ensure it has a washer/dryer in the unit. Wash and dry your clothes with one setting while you sleep and keep your hard earned money for the nightlife. It is common for condos in the Philippines to have a combo unit due to the size constraints.
Oh, I bet it never crossed your mind that you might not have hot water for a shower. Although we always assume we will have hot water in Western countries, it is not guaranteed in much of SouthWest Asia. Waking up and jumping into the ice bucket challenge will definitely not get your vacation off to a good start. In-line adjustable heaters or a hot water tank (rare) are a must.
Many of the crimes in the Philippines are not planned, but crimes of opportunity based on the negligence of travelers. Ensure the property has 24 security, roving guards, and doormen to make sure only occupants have access to the building. A solid safe for locking up passports, travel documents, credit cards, etc., should also top your list of “must haves”.
There are many options for internet in the Philippines, but each has its own unique issues:
Pocket Wifi – Some rental owner go the cheap route and purchase a pocket wifi which gets its signal through a sim card. These pocket wifi’s generally have extremely slow connections if any at all.
DSL – Internet connection through a router connected to the landline telephone jack. Low speeds and constant resetting are reported.
LTE Sim Card – Allows you to put the sim card in your cellphone and have internet wherever you go. Very convenient, but speeds vary by location and very expensive for stays less than 1 month.
Cable – Best in my opinion. The modem and router connected to a subscribed cable service provider which has great service, connections speeds, and reliability. No problems with video chatting with your friends with a cable connection. Not only will you have a fast connection, you will have access to many TV channels other than the local Tagalog networks.
Although many people, including myself, love to dine out during our travels, it can get quite expensive on a daily basis. Western style breakfasts are not popular in the Philippines and can be hard to find, so if you’re a pancake or bacon and eggs kind of person, you may want to ensure your rental unit includes amenities to cook your own meals.
Carefully read the description of the vacation rental and ask the owner about any these items if they are not listed before you book the unit.