Japan, Traveling on a Budget

Prelude to a Dream

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After my last post, I have become more determined than ever to finally push for that long-awaited Japan trip, something I cheekily dubbed as “JAPAN DREAM 2014.” Yes, I am hopelessly corny that way.

As soon as I have finished posting, I immediately went into action. I checked flights and happily found out return flights going for USD325 (about PHP12,000) at Cathay Pacific (if booked within this period, slightly higher should I opt for a late November booking). I could have easily chose JetStar Asia but I wanted plane tickets that are refundable. I wanted the safety of getting my hard-earned money back should visa problems arise. Yes, I don’t want to entertain any bad juju, but my OC-nature is calling for refundable tickets. Cebu Pacific is out of the question this time. I wanted to be in Tokyo and they only have flights for Osaka. Maybe some other time.

The trip is intended to be my 35th birthday gift for myself. But after working in two different kaishas, I suddenly remembered that my birthday week (and the intended date of travel) falls on Golden Week. So, I checked the Golden Week 2014 schedule online, and sure enough — my birthday week is right at the middle of the celebration. So, it’s either I go ahead and book flights during the Golden Week or move it to a later date. Japan-based friends, what do you think? Is it a good idea to be in Tokyo during the Golden Week?

I already narrowed down my options when it comes to accommodations, as well. There are a number of great guesthouses and hostels in Asakusa but I am partial to KABUKI Khao San Tokyo Guesthouse (currently #1 in its category in Trip Advisor) or any of its other sister establishments, also located in the Asakusa area. This early, I decided that I would rather be based in Asakusa — I wanted to be near the Sumida River and be surrounded by temples and snippets of traditional Tokyo. Other options include Super Hotel, which I discovered through the site, TokyoCheapo, or Toyoko Inn in Asakusa.

After I have posted my plans for my birthday, I have become more determined to make sure it will come true. I already estimated that I needed to raise PHP50,000 to PHP60,000 (Y100,000 to Y120,000) to cover all expenses. I already enlisted the participation of my sister and my husband and they are both stoked looking forward to this trip.

Planning for this trip has made me more grateful that I have a good job and an equally good company. Yes, it’s not perfect but that company has understood me and my need to travel. My only wish is that I’ll get more freelancing opportunities since it will help me build my Japan Fund faster.

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