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Budget Travel Tips for Your Trip to Cebu

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Most international tourists spend around $1,000 on a trip to Cebu.

All set for an exciting trip to Cebu? Once you’ve prepared your travel documents, finalized your bookings, and reviewed your itinerary, make sure you’ve got your budget planned out as well. 

To make the most of your trip, we’ve gathered a few budget travel tips for you. 

It’s common knowledge that planning a trip can be stressful, especially when you’re on a budget. Although some people are good at spending their money while on vacation, others have a hard time managing their expenses and often resort to overspending.

So how do you avoid overspending? There are many ways to save big on your vacation money without compromising your trip to Cebu.  

Below are some helpful travel tips for you:

1. Get local transportation for cheaper fares.

Public transportation is cheap and convenient in Cebu City, so taking the jeepney or bus should be your first choice for getting around town. If you want to avoid having to deal with traffic jams and crowds of people during rush hour, you can grab a taxi. Taxis allow you to travel faster and more conveniently. 

Important tip:  Beware of the broken taxi meter. If you see that the meter is turned off, that’s a red flag. Some taxi drivers will take advantage of you by asking for fixed rates instead of going by the meter, especially when you’re a foreigner or someone who’s not familiar with the place. 

Among the other travel tips you need is checking the meter to see if you’re being ripped off or not.

If you want to feel safe and secure while getting around Cebu, you can use the Grab app. It’s a mobile app that assigns taxis and private cars to nearby commuters through a location sharing system. 

There’s also a Grab Taxi feature where you can avail a taxi service instead of a private car (also known as a chauffeured ride). The app provides you with transparency in information about your taxi-booking – the driver’s name, their license plate number, and the estimated fare. All vehicles and drivers found in the app are registered and verified. 

Related: How to Make Daily Commute in Cebu Less of a Hassle

2. Book your hotel in advance.

It’s advisable to book your hotel accommodations at least one month before you plan to visit Cebu. This will give you time to browse through the different hotels that are available, compare prices, and choose the one that suits your budget. 

Fortunately, there are many hotel booking apps that you can download on your mobile phone to help you find some of the best hotels in Cebu. 

Booking hotels via an app is now preferred by many people because of its ability to search and filter your choices. Booking through a third-party app also has the advantage of getting a room at a lower price. They can offer discounts and deals, as well as cashbacks and rewards. 

Important tip: When you book a hotel, read up on the reviews and feedback of those who have already experienced the overall service of the hotel. 

3. Get a local SIM card for cheaper call rates.

We get that roaming allows you to make calls, send texts, and even use wireless data when you’re outside of your network boundaries. But the downside is that roaming data comes with very expensive rates and sometimes extra charges to your account. 

Of course, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars just for a single call. That’s why you need to get a local SIM card. In Cebu, there are many convenience stores or telcom kiosk shops that sell different SIM cards. 

Here are the two most common local SIM cards:

  • Globe Telecom 
  • Smart Communications 

4. Aim for Off-Season.

Traveling during the off-season makes for a more enjoyable trip to Cebu.

One of the travel tips you need to know is to avoid high-season woes as much as possible. Sure, it’s fun to hit up the hottest travel spots – but not during the peak season. One of the greatest benefits of off-season travel is not having to deal with swarms of tourists at major attractions. 

In addition, low seasons often lead to a drastic reduction in hotel, hostel, and AirBnB rates in many places. Traveling in the off-season also means cheaper dining. Restaurants are open to cater to locals, which means you won’t be paying inflated prices for a single meal. 

Aside from saving money from traveling during the off-season, you can also have a far more intimate exploration of the city. You can take the time to slow down and get to know the locals. 

Important tip: The absolute cheapest time to take a vacation in Cebu is usually around late August to early September. 

Other Budget Travel Tips

Common travel tips tell you to control your expenses by spending on a daily budget.

When traveling around Cebu, learn to avoid tourist traps. Keep in mind that Cebu is a highly-urbanized city, which means it has plenty of fancy restaurants, entertainment, and activities for tourists – all of which usually cost a lot of money.

Other than the usual tourist traps, you can also fall into the trap of your own spending routines. When traveling, be open to allocating your budget for other new experiences. You can always get back to your routine and spending habits when you’re back at home and not on a budget.

Some examples include:

  1. Starbucks habits. Starbucks continues to get hundreds of customers on a daily basis. If you usually have your coffee at Starbucks, then you need to cut back if you want to save up on your trip. An estimated $10 coffee can hurt your budget if you’re not careful.

    Tip: Instead of going to Starbucks every morning to grab a coffee, you can make your own coffee. Or you can take advantage of the free coffee at your hotel. If you want to enjoy your coffee elsewhere, you can seek out small coffee shops and cafes in your area. 

  2. Frequent takeouts and fancy dinners. There’s nothing wrong with having a preference for fine dining in Cebu throughout your trip. But on top of the fancy food you order, you’ll also be paying for tax and service charges.

    Tip: Pick one meal per day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – that you’re going to splurge on. Try some of Cebu’s traditional dishes, or in other words, “eat what the locals eat.” But if you insist on going to the best restaurants, get some recommendations from the locals

How Much Do I Need for My Trip to Cebu?

It’s recommended that your maximum spend be around PHP $50-55 (PHP 3,069.58) per day. Although this is not a restrictive rule, it’s best that you keep your spending within this range. 

As of writing, $1 is equivalent to PHP 55.40. If you have a budget of $55 (at most) a day, you’ll need to analyze your spending and cost of living based on your travel interests and style. 

If this budget fits your food, accommodation, and transportation expenses, then you’re on a good travel budget. Then again, it always depends on what you want to eat, your mode of transportation, and the places you want to visit.

So you’re ready to fly to Cebu? Take note of these budget travel tips and experience a stress-free trip to Cebu like no other!

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