Looking back at the trip and things we would have done differently

It has been about two months now since we’ve been back from Japan, and the team has discussed several changes we would have done the next time around.

  • Reserve domestic plane tickets in advance: one of our mistakes was hoping to purchase a domestic flight ticket the day of departure. Unfortunately, the price was double, and this went against our budget rules (that is, save money!). Buying a ticket for the day after was considerably cheaper.
  • Bring our own GPS: our car’s GPS was completely in Japanese. Luckily for us, we managed to memorize the button combinations involved when putting in telephone numbers to read our destination. Next time, we are going to bring our own fully-functional GPS unit with maps of Japan. We were fortunate to have a HTC HD2 with Google Maps to aid us while we were lost.
  • Purchase an ETC pass: we had to carry cash and coins for the tolls, resulting in a lot of loose change afterwards. Next time, we’ll simply buy an Electronic Toll Collector pass to make our lives easier.
  • Bring an unlocked USB GSM modem: the modem we were given by NTT Docomo was incompatible with our Cradlepoint PHS300 broadband router. Fortunately, we hooked up Hinjew’s HTC Tytn II to the PHS300 as a broadband router so we can share the connection.
  • Use the subway system more: we had no clue the subway system in Tokyo was so efficient, clean and fast. If we had known this, we would have used it a lot more often in the beginning of the trip.
  • Bring more money: preferably US currency, all the hotels we stayed at did not accept the Canadian dollar. The exchange rate at the time (and even presently) is par, so the best time to travel is now! While our budget was 2,200.00$ for the trip (without flight) having more money meant a lot more could have been accomplished. We did stay in some rather expensive hotels when there were cheaper alternatives as we wanted a comfortable trip.
  • Pool our money in advanced: our plan was to split hotels, the car, gas, tolls and the internet among ourselves. Since our budget was about 2,200.00$ each, we should have pooled the money beforehand as opposed to accounting for everything afterwards.
  • Organization: there were times where we could have maximized our stay in a city by visiting more places, but the team did not know how long it would take in terms of transportation (we didn’t want to stay out too late or miss an event).
  • Stay longer: for some (ok, just I, Fallout) eleven days was way too short. My original plan was to stay in Japan for an entire month, but getting time off work was a challenge in itself, let alone budgetary concerns.

All in all, we were all very satisfied with our trip. There is this idea in the air to revisit the country again next year when funds are available and do a “Japanigans Part II”. 🙂 Till then, this blog will be online indefinitely and hopefully updated with some fresh content/news when something relevant comes up.

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