Hidden Costs of Traveling 5 Tips to Keep in Mind
If you’re thinking of moving to Japan (or anywhere across the globe) for school or work or even just to travel then there is somethings you should know. If you are traveling to go to school or for work you’re most likely going to try to pack everything you can think of when moving and for the most part it’s a good idea. But you might want to know some secrets of cheap flights to places like Japan.
My wife and I recently just made it to Japan and we flew from Colorado DIA to LAX (Los Angeles) and then LAX to TIA Taipei (Taiwan) then Taipei to FUK Fukuoka, Japan. Thing is we started off with a cheapo flight by Frontier Airlines in the states to travel to LAX we then had to recheck our baggage before getting back on the plane because of a 13 hour layover. Then we traveled to Taiwan by China Airlines and then again took China Airlines to Fukuoka.
So here is where the first step comes in:
1. DON’T TRUST YOUR TRAVEL AGENCY IF IT’S PURELY AN ONLINE PURCHASE
Why? Well we quickly found out, yes they did note that bags shouldn’t be over 50 pounds and we’ll get to that a bit more here in a second, but you need to CALL your airline you are using to make sure how many bags you can check on and how many personal and carry on items are allowed before fees. We used a service called Kiwi and they were totally wrong! We could only have 1 single carry on, the e-ticket from Kiwi and information they gave us said we could have a checked bag, 1 personal item and a carry on. Well needless to say that $200 ticket for both of us was jacked up to $290 for our carry on bags and checked bags.
It would have only been $215 but we were over 7 pounds on one bag… So that bumped us up $75 just for that bag. So here comes tip number 2.
2. Make sure you have an accurate scale at your home so you can weigh your bags before getting to the airport. So you may be stuck with a $100-$200 fee to check bags, but at least you can stay under the radar of the $75 over weight bag fee!
So as you can guess, you do NEED things going half way across the world and the airlines take advantage of that, so don’t be fooled by cheap prices. For those going to Japan, A LOT of things can be repurchased for peanuts at local 100 yen shops.
4. Make sure you take carry on baggage into mind because the weight for each carry on can change from airlines to airlines even if you just carried on that baggage from another airlines.
This happened when getting checked in to China Airlines. Each carry on turned into a checked bag, and thankfully the man we checked out with on China Airlines was nice enough to give us a pass on all of them, otherwise it would have been another $300 for all our bags even though a few of them were carry on bags from before.
So we paid around $1,300 for both tickets when we initially purchased it. It would have quickly been pushed up to $2000 for our tickets after baggage fees if we were to have to pay all the fees.
5. The best bet sometimes is to calculate if it could be cheaper to pay for less flights and checking of baggage. Not only will you save money or maybe just break even, but you’ll have to worry less about rechecking bags in other airports, which makes flying a lot less stressful.
Bonus tip #6: Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to pack. Having to pack to travel across the world is stressful no matter when you do it, but it’s worse if you do it the night before you’re leaving.
About the Author
I've been interested in Japanese as a language and as a culture since I was about 15 years old. In April 2017 my wife and I moved to Fukuoka, Japan to go to school for 2 years. We've since returned to America and now are looking to expand Nihon Scope further for future visitors of Japan to get in touch with the best school they can. We're also here sharing our experiences of Japan and the culture. Get in touch with us on Facebook for the quickest response!