Honestly I’ve never been afraid to explore, well, at least not until I get there. I have this amazing sense of adventure and courage up until the very last second, then I’m hit with this instant fear when I step off the plane. So, I’m writing this for all of you that need that one last push out the door. Trust me, you’ll survive!
To preface, I have been to Asia before, I studied abroad in Korea, but I didn’t venture outside. However, I am now planning my second trip to Asia this time South Korea and Japan. I am also bringing along my sweet mom because it’s no fun to visit, unless I can show off where I used to live. So, in the chaos of school I started to gather tips from friends and family to give to you.
The JR rail pass is going to be your friend if you plan to travel from Tokyo to Hiroshima or Osaka. You pay for a 7 or 14 day pass that you can use on all the lines that are owned by JR. However, for future reference you can not take “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains! That would result in you having to fork out more money than you want. Also, recommended by the YouTube channel formerly known as Eat Your Kimchi, they say that the trains leave right on the second so be prepared to go early.
Pro tip: if you are traveling domestically, try Google Flights for cheap tickets. I already booked a ticket from Korea to Osaka, Japan for under $80!
Next, If you want, you can book a hotel but I am not. American chain hotels can be very expensive. I want a more personal experience, so, we are going with Airbnb for a fraction of the cost, and staying in a neighborhood with the native people, not all the tourists.
From there, I chose to stay in Osaka instead of Tokyo because of my friends recommendation, “It’s like Tokyo but chill.” I believed in her statement because I think we always need some chill in our life. That was not the only thing, my mom wants to see the old temples and more of the outdoors, and by staying in Osaka, it’s a little less city and not far off is the city Kyoto which has all that we are looking for.
Even though I have never visited Japan, I do know where to find the cheapest food. If you are a college student on an extremely strict budget, go to the convenience store! You will not believe how many convenience stores there are in Asia, and how cheap the food is there. However, if you want that expensive once in a lifetime best quality sushi tasting experience, you need to book it far in advance.
Compared to everything else I have suggested, this is my favorite tip. For my upcoming trip, I am renting a wifi hotspot or wifi egg or pocket wifi made of heavens rays. There are a couple out there, and I am going to try out Tep Wireless. Here, you can choose what country or continent you are going to be visiting, $8.95 per day, and it will be shipped to you a couple days before you trip. What I most liked about this company is that they give you the option to have 4G for an extra $1.95. You may not be convinced to hand out that kind of money, and it may be my anxiety talking, but your slow American data is not going to save you if you get lost, please keep that in mind. (Also, check for coupons! There is always one out there for your first time renting!)
This is just a fraction of the things you can find around the internet to make your trip one to remember. Just keep in mind, no matter how stressful it may feel, this is going to be a fun and wild ride for us all! I hope that you also get to have the experience of visiting Asia one day. Then, when you do go, remember to take lots of photos for me!
ALSO, check out Simon and Martina’s video I referenced: https://youtu.be/-H-XrsVLeMM