Travelling on a very tight budget can sometimes be difficult. We know this for a fact due to our first-hand experiences. And it actually found a seat during our Cebu and Bohol Escapade.
1. Airfare – Getting the best deal for airplane tickets can be challenging because regular fare rates can be quite expensive (plus never forget the terminal fees: Php200/person for Domestic flights), sometimes it will consume almost 50% of your budget. Hence, it is advisable to book your tickets at least 6 months in advance in order to score cheaper seats. Also, last-minute bookings cost about 50-70% more.
Another option, and the best so far, is to watch-out for ONLINE AIRLINE SEAT SALE. The prices can be cut from 70-99% off (other charges i.e. Fuel Charge, Seat Selector, and Web Fees are not included). This is common in many airline companies including Cebu Pacific Air. Visit their website regularly and sign-up for the latest seat-sale updates.
As for our ticket, we booked it 10 months ago from a SEAT SALE PROMO from Cebu Pacific Air.
2. Accommodations – This is the most common obstacle that people encounter when travelling to a new place. If you have relatives residing in Cebu for example it won’t be a problem, but if you are like us who are new to the place intensive research needs to be done. During the research process, we found other posts from various travelling bloggers very helpful which led us to Gran Tierra Suites.
Affordable: The hotel rates range from Php 789.00 – Php 1,189.00 depending on the room type and the number of people who will be occupying the room. The price is very reasonable especially with the amenities that go with it. Based on our experience, the room where we spent two nights is very similar to hotels in Manila which cost about Php 2,500/ night.
Very friendly staff: From the time we called to make our reservations up until our departure the staff including the security guards made us feel very welcome.
Free pastries: We forgot to take photos but once you check-in you will be given complimentary pastries c/o Cebu Cardinal Bakeshop.
Unlimited supply of drinking water: Along the hallway, you will see two water dispensers which have hot and cold features. So you can just buy instant coffee or powdered iced tea and enjoy breakfast and snack time inside your room. (A cost-cutting option). Cups and glasses are provided in the room.
Clean room and bathroom: Considering that this is a budget hotel, we were very skeptical at first because honestly, it is impossible to get a decent room at the very cheap price. However, our point of view changed the moment we entered the hotel lobby.
The staff don’t expect tips: During our arrival, the hotel attendant helped us with all our bags as we went to the second floor where our room is situated. After he turned on the lights and the air conditioning unit, he was just about to leave when we handed the tip, he was somewhat puzzled, shocked, and thankful; then he said thank you and then finally left the room.
Convenient location: Gran Tierra Suites is only 5 minutes away from Fuente Osmena Circle, 10 minutes away from Ayala Mall and 15 minutes away from SM City Cebu.
Unfamiliar hotel to many taxi drivers: As much as we would like to take the jeepney we found it a bit time consuming to learn the twists and turns in order to reach the hotel which was why we stuck to taxis. Since this is a somewhat new hotel, 2 out of the 3 taxi drivers were not familiar with the hotel name which is why it is best that you always keep a copy of the hotel address (particularly the street name).
No elevator: We did not really find it very inconvenient since our room was located directly in front of the staircase going to and from the first floor.
It was really great that we found this hotel because we were able to save thousands of pesos, thus allowing us to splurge a bit on a pricey hotel when we transferred to Mactan Island during our third day. In Mactan, we were able to grab a great deal from Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort.
3. Tours – Many people especially international tourists spend 55-75% of their travel budget on tour packages and tour guides just for the convenience. But did you know that well planned do-it-yourself tours can cut your costs to more than 50%. During the planning phase of our Cebu-Bohol trip, we almost ended up signing for a package being provided by an online agency. But due to further research, we ended up following our do-it-yourself itinerary. The great thing about it is that it contained all the things that we wanted to do and all the places that we wanted to visit without going over the budget.
Tip: When planning your do-it-yourself itinerary, keep in mind the places that you really want to visit and start planning from there. But always remember to keep your plans organized. Print your itinerary and include the name of your contact persons, their contact numbers, and their addresses (especially for hotels/ dormitories/ resorts).
Those are the top three elements that travelers, including ourselves, find as very challenging to fulfill. But unlike any obstacle, this is the type that does not require years to solve; just be ready with your pen, paper, and computer/ laptop/ smartphone.
This is just a teaser of our Cebu-Bohol Adventure.