Note: this is an article i wrote for R U Ready campaign, but instead of the general one, today i’m posting one that is specifically for traveling in Japan because many people requested for it! Hope you like it!
One of the most commonly asked question on my blog is, “Cheesieeeee!! How do you afford to travel so often and where do you get all the money?!”
Well, i have traveled to more than 10 countries this year alone, so that part is true. And about the money part, of course it falls from the sky, drop from the trees and spurting out of the fountain in my backyard.
No not really. :X
The only advise i can give you on the money part is work hard, and save hard!! However, there are plenty of tips i can share here about is budget traveling. I’m kind of an expert in that field I guess that’s the reason why i can afford to travel as often as i wish, if i plan carefully!
Well, let’s take Japan as an example, shall we? Since i will be going there next January and i have been wanting to write a post like this for a long time!!
1. Travel Buddy
Your travel buddy is super important! Make sure that you guys are on the same wavelength on spending, to ensure a happy and argument-free trip! It won’t be very fun if your friend insist taxing taxi to every single attractions and pay for expensive entrance fee, while you just want to wander in between narrow streets taking photos.
Luckily Audrey (whom i’m going to Japan with) and i are both the super kiam type, we’re perfectly happy with budget hotels, convenient store food, walking a lot and just save all the money for shopping
2. Plan early
This is probably the most important tip to budget traveling. Although most of my trips are spontaneous and i’m always very lucky to get good deals, trust me, it will save you ALOT ALOT if you start planning your trip early. Subscribe to airline newsletters, sometimes you might just catch a deal so good it is unbelievable. We bought our upcoming flight to Osaka for RM746. RETURN. Yes i’m serious.
3. Budget Hotels
There are so many options available!! I’m sure you know plenty of online discount hotel booking sites (like agoda.com, hotels.com). Everyone is intimidated by the hotel prices in Japan and think that they can never ever afford to go there. Not true!
Two years ago i managed to find a decent business hotel in Tokyo for about 5500 yen a night for two person. So that’s only like RM100 per person a night. Not bad, right? The trick is to make advance booking online. When we tried to call the hotel for booking, they actually advised us to make the booking on their website. The price is almost 50% cheaper!
Also, always choose not to have breakfast included in the hotel package, as they can cost alot more!
There are also plenty of good hostels/guest house around, and normally extremely clean. Try searching for 旅館 (Ryokan style hotel), the prices start from 3000 yen.
There’s also another tip that not many people know. Love Hotels are a great choice if you plan to move around alot. It’s the best way to stay in a fancy hotel at an extremely affordable price. The only drawback is that you will have to self-check in everyday since there isn’t a reception.
4. Phone and Internet
Unfortunately Japan is not an extremely wifi friendly place, so the best bet is to rent a local phone. It is still expensive, but i guess it would be better than having a heart attack when you receive your next phone bills. Try to stay in business hotels as they normally provide free wifi or cable internet.
Probably the heaviest and most inevitable expenses. You can save a lot on stuff like hotel and food, but you still need to move around and see things! Taxi is out of the question. Unless you travel by a group of 4 and share the fares. A single Subway ticket cost around 160-290 yen in Tokyo (up to RM12), so the only way to save is to know where you are going, and plan all your activities in one single area at once to avoid moving back and forth too much.
Also, the stations are normally very close to each other. I normally like to just walk and walk and walk (for example Shibuya to Harajuku is just 15 minutes by foot, so that saves you some money already!)
Go back and rest early, unless you really want to experience the night life, as the last train is normally around midnight. So if you go back after midnight you will have no choice but cry over your credit card bills on taxi fares.
5. Eating and Shopping
If you need to get any personal items, 100 yen shop is always the answer. You will be amazed what kind of things they sell there for just RM4.
I always like to eat at ramen or udon shop on the street as they are usually the cheapest (and taste just AS GOOD). If you want snacks and drinks, get it from 100 yen shop or a supermarket instead of a convenient store.
Also i like to carry an empty bottle and fill it up (tab water is safe for drinking, of course), because canned drinks are extremely expensive too. Sometimes without knowing i could spend 1000 yen a day just on drinks from auto-vending machines.
I can’t help much on shopping since i myself am a prey for all the nice Japanese things, which are generally pricy. And Japan rarely have sales of discount. So if you want good bargain maybe you can try out a second hand clothing store. Or just go during Japanese new year where they have Fukubukuro (lucky bags) that have items worth usually 3-5 times the selling price.
6. Entrance tickets
Please be alerted that for some amusement parks/attactions, you can only pre-purchase the tickets over a ticket machine (which you can find in convenient stores like Lawson). An example would be the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Find out early and it will save you from a wasted trip!
I guess that’s all for now! If you would like to have a whole new traveling experience in Japan, maybe you can also consider trying out homestay programs (example, from titanplanet.net). I have done it three times in three different places in Japan, and i must say it’s one of the best travel memories i’ve ever had.
Have fun and save on the kaching kaching!!!
Cheesie’s Slumber Party!
I will be hosting a slumber party some time in mid January, and i’m opening the party to all my readers! Exclusive invites are given out for Cheeserland’s readers! There will be lots of games, prizes and a chance to meet a hunky celeb!
So please leave a comment with your email and tell me if you would like to join