Japan on $1,500 (including airfare): Part I
Earlier this year I spent a glorious week in Nippon which, if you’re not Japanese, is the the pretentious way to say Japan.
Including my plane ticket, I spent $1,500ish on the entire trip. I stayed in three different and equally awesome hostels, traveled to three different cities, ate mass quantities of quality food, and still had money to buy my family last minute gifts at the airport.
Below I breakdown the cost of my trip as best as I can. Though a lot of prices I got were due to being in the right place at the right time, I hope it makes some of you realize you don’t need to sell your first born and/or soul to have an awesome international trip. Also, I get $1,500 is actually a lot of money for a lot of people. It’s more than possible to take an international trip for $600 or less, but hopefully these ‘tips’ will help you experience an adventure within your budget, whatever that may be.
If after reading the following you have any questions or would like me to clarify anything leave me a comment below and I’ll answer you as soon as possible. And hopefully the questions you ask and the answers I answer will help any other readers.
To keep this post from becoming a novel I’m making this into a two part series. This part will cover the plane ticket and lodging.
Plane Ticket: $600
One day at work my coworker casually mentioned there as a round trip flight to Japan for $600. Did I mention I work with people who track flight prices for fun? The only ‘rule’ for $600 ticket was the trip had to take place before the end of May and it had to booked by the end of that day. Within two hours of learning about the deal I had myself a ticket to Tokyo.
Yes, this is definitely an instance of me being in the right place at the right time. Or, to be completely honest, it was an instance of me not working and instead eavesdropping on my coworkers’ conversation. DETAILS! But, though this was a 24 hour flash deal, they DO happen. And quite often. In my not great experience, The Flight Deal tends to have the best news on awesome flight deals.
Some tips on finding an awesome plane ticket:
- Flights leaving on Saturdays are usually a better deal due to the fact people flying for business don’t fly on Saturdays
- Three months before the desired departure tends to be the sweet spot for ticket prices
- Airlines usually announce their deals mid week (Tue/Wed)
- Visit multiple sites. Google Flights, Hipmunk, and The Flight Deal are the main sites I look at, but I also get e-mails from airline’s on their current deals.
A lot of times ticket deals are short in length and if you think too long about it it’ll be gone. Some times you need to take chances and be impulsive. Within reason of course.
The term ‘hostel’ in Japan really just translates into ‘awesome and affordable accommodations’. Other than being cheaper than hotels, hostels also offer a great environment to meet you new people.
Here are the three hostels I stayed while in Japan
Nui. Hostel – Tokyo: $27/night
At Nui I stayed in an all female dorm, which is a great option for solo female travelers. Like all hostels in Japan, the employees at Nui were extremely hospitable and everything was clean and well kept. At night the downstairs area turns into a lounge/bar and creates a fun environment for locals and travelers to mingle. Though if that’s not your thing there’s a common area only accessible to those staying at the hostel on the top floor. In the morning, the downstair areas becomes a place to eat delicious and affordable breakfast.
PRO TIP: To save money on food find a hostel that serves breakfast. Even if you have to pay for the breakfast, it’ll be cheaper than going out and getting breakfast. I never spent any more than $5 on breakfast and if you know me then you know how much I eat at breakfast so that $5 gets you pretty far.
Piece Hostel – Kyoto: $30/night
In Kyoto I stayed in a dorm (18 beds I believe), but with every bed having a curtain privacy wasn’t an issue. Again, clean and well kept. The showers are on the first floor, right next to the common area, so going back to my dorm after a shower and walking by a family trying to eat dinner was a bit awkward. I may have scarred the children for life. This hostel was massive and was super easy for me to go unnoticed in the crowd, which is actually pretty nice sometimes.
PRO TIP: If you’re short like me request the bottom bunk. I’m prone to getting in and out of bed multiple times because I forgot to do something.
Toco Heritage Hostel – Tokyo: $25/night
This way by far my favorite hostel mostly due to the fact the hostel is actually a guest house in a home built during the Edo period. I could literally feel history. Like Nui, the front lounge area at Toco becomes a lounge/bar area for locals and is a great place to meet new friends. Also like Nui, the living area is only accessible to those staying at the hostel.
PART II will cover transportation, food, and some other miscellaneous things and will be up in a couple of days. If you have any questions or any suggestions please leave a comment below. I would love to start a conversation with you!
Much Love. Always.