Preparing for any holiday can be overwhelming if you’re travelling overseas. As I’ve made some mistakes along the way, I have made this article to ensure that my mistakes don’t become yours! Regardless if you’re travelling for the first time or a frequent flier, these are some tips to help the preparation process:
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Booking your flights
An app I like to use and have used for many years and booked countless flights with would be Skyscanner. Once work has approved my leave I am always scouring this app to get the best/ cheapest flight available.
For my flight to Japan I booked through this app. The only thing I needed was direct and cheap, so booking this way at the time was the best option for me.
If you are meticulous and needing extra help I would recommend booking with a trusted Travel Agent. Luckily one of my close mates is also a travel agent and has helped me multiple times in the past. They can tell you which is the best option available and the best flight carrier to use.
In the past 7 months I have had 2 flight cancellations. Why? because you get what you pay for.
Your flight will be a major part of your journey so ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Sometimes saving just a few extra hundred dollars and taking your travel agents advise will make so much difference. They know which flight carrier has the best/ worst reputation. You do not want to experience being stuck in a Country because of a flight cancellation, all because you booked a cheap flight.
There is nothing wrong with booking independently through an app like Skyscanner, however if it is your first time travelling to Japan I would recommend booking with a travel agent. Or at least don’t get sucked in by Jetstars amazing deals. They are cheap for a reason.
Booking your accomodation
With all the different types of options and locations what do I recommend? For my most recent trip to Japan we stayed in Budget – medium – luxury accommodation options, here’s what I recommend you keep in mind when booking your accommodation.
Your flight won’t be the most expensive purchase, it will be accommodation.
If you are on a super tight budget, I used an app called Hostel World. Stick to hostels, capsules and guest houses. However you will be sharing facilities such as bathrooms and for females it will be very crowded in the morning. You can also hear from your capsule everything. You will hear snoring, people walking past, conversations… so if you’re a light sleeper, bring earphones. But overall for budget travelers, it was a great experience and one I would use again!
For all other accommodations I used http://booking.com for hotels. When booking keep in mind Japan has rooms that allow smoking. It will be cheaper but the room will have a smoke scent to it.
Location. What are your intentions for your holiday? Where are most of the spots located that you want to see? As in Japan you will be using trains all the time so ensure your hotel is close to public transport. That is a must.
Make sure you are connected as you will need google maps to get around. There are a few options when getting internet. You can purchase a sim-card with data on it or a wifi dongle that acts as a portable hot-spot.
We chose a hot-spot as we had multiple devices that needed internet. The internet company we decided to go with was https://www.japan-wireless.com/en?fbclid=IwAR0p-aq3vCKJGhSJoyk2gMAPK1nO7a0n1CviaqwWDXfteJkOCeUHMfndXms
For $100aud, had unlimited internet over 3 devices for the entire duration. We picked it up straight from the airport. The internet was super fast and we never had any issues with it.
Plan out your trip
I learnt this trick from our other high-school best mate who is a far more avid traveler than myself and the main source of our travel inspo… you can see her blogs here https://www.facebook.com/findlatertravels/.
This is what she taught us which I will share with you all. When you use google maps you are able to create customised lists and save locations. When you save a location it will come up as a flag, a square or a love heart on maps.
So I will search through pinterest and instagram daily and when I come across something I like, whether its street food, restaurants, shops, a good place for photo-shoots ect. I search it on google maps and save the location. Using instagram most travel-grammers do include the location on their photo, so essentially you just click on the location and open it up in google maps.
I have planned every single trip so far using this tip and will continue to plan future trips like this.
Before you arrive
- No visa requirements if you’re from Australia.
- Purchase your rail pass through a travel agent. I will make a separate article all about rail passes so if you have further questions, let me know and I will answer in depth for you.
- While you’re getting your rail pass, ask your travel agent for travel insurance options and make sure you purchase insurance before you leave.
- Get an international drivers permit! You will need this for Mariokart!
- Google the predicted weather forecast and pack to match the season. Pack, light but smart for example, 2 heavy duty coat, a few hoodies and light layers is all I basically packed for April.
- Save. Save. Save.
And that’s all I can think of!
Preparing for a holiday is all apart of the fun! It’s just as exciting as the holiday itself! Enjoy your trip and check out my other articles for more travel tips.