best laid plan ????!!! – part 1

femaleTraveller. airport  - business hrMy blogging sister, Marsha@tchistory gal … she asked me the other day how I plan my itinerary for my travel when I travel alone??!! I have never really thought about – but she gave me the idea to this post. Maybe someone will find it helpful.

To travel as single female – can be brave, but I done it before …. and I have learned my mistakes.

In April next year am I travelling to Hong Kong and Japan on my own. The reason to that I will be doing it alone, nobody of my friends can afford to come uk

The planning of a holiday trip is half the fun … but there is loads of time by the computer put into it and strangely enough, me with no patience what so ever normally – when it comes to travel planning I have all the patience in the world.

I have been both to Japan and Hong Kong in the late 70’s. Hong Kong I know better than Japan, because I know where a lot of hotels and landmarks are … even if there has been such a massive development of Hong Kong, but I know my bases for a visit.japan - com

1. Excel file; with two sections; 1 for flights, hotels, domestic travel – 2 for tours, airport transport, special restaurant treats ect. (sorry it is in SEK, Swedish krona) click here: japan file

2. Route; I start looking for flights – to find out which route is the best and fastest – and where to maybe do a stopover for a couple of days. I only use one website for flight search and on Momondo can I move dates back and forward easy to find the best flights and most acceptable flight times. Just to move departure one day can make difference of 1000’s SEK.

http://www.momondo.commonondo - novoed com

3. Dates; what do to see and do. For me Japan during the Cherry Blossom Festival is the main event and that happens in the beginning to the end of April, depending where I want to go.

4. Destinations and nights; decide my destinations and divide my days between them.
Hong Kong, 5 nights
Tokyo, 5 nights
Kyoto, 5 nights
Hiroshima, 4 nights
Island of Miyajima – the Itsukushima Shrine, 1 night
Narita International Airport, 1 nightjapan - iwaso com

5. Airlines, connections and prices; – for maybe getting cheaper flights, if not booking all in one booking. If I had book all flights in one booking; Copenhagen – Hong Kong – Tokyo – Hiroshima – Tokyo – Copenhagen it would have cost me about 25.500SEK.

Now I have bought flights with Finnair; Copenhagen – Hong Kong – Tokyo – Copenhagen (with change in Helsinki both ways) – 5.800SEK.

I will book a flight with Hong Kong Express Airlines to Tokyo for 1500SEK – and Hiroshima to Tokyo with ANA All Nippon for 800SEK = 8.100SEK. A massive saving on 17.400SEK/£1.500/$2.525/€1.880 = that is a LOT.

foreign-money - tubefilter com

Hong Kong Express Airlines fly to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, that is quite closer to the city than the Narita, also something to think about.

Also I decided to fly back to Tokyo from Hiroshima instead of taking the train, because then I only need 1 week travel pass for the train, and I will be free from transporting myself from Tokyo Station to the airport.

The last night in Japan I have booked a hotel night at Narita International Airport. Just to get the shuttle bus after breakfast to the terminal … no stress, no worries about morning rush hour traffic – nothing, only minute between hotel and terminal.fuji - japan-guide com

6. Domestic transports; check out the best way to travel inside the country. Japan is it very easy, Shinkansen – the bullet trains. And for the same line covers all my destinations. Rail pass for the Shinkansen trains can only be bought online and will be mailed to you. I will buy a weekly pass for 1900SEK.

I notice that JR rail pass doesn’t allow me to travel on the really fast Shinkansens, but there is still enough speedy trains to travel on – not all of those trains has “green cars” (1st Class) so 1st Class rail pass that I planed will be wasted. If I want to travel on the N700 (NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO) trains do I have to pay the full wack.

HyperDia is a website that tells you departure times, platform numbers, connections and prices for destinations in Japan. hand - uk

7. Airport transport fares; sometimes is it cheaper to take a chauffeur driven transport from the airport to the hotel than taking a taxi, like in Tokyo – taxi is very expensive and there is a bookable taxi companies that is much cheaper. For me to take public transport on arrival is not even to think about.

Something I only do in Brussels, London and Tegel, Berlin. I also add all airport transport cost on my file. But for departure I use Airport Shuttles from my hotel.

There is websites that calculate taxi fares all over world; It will give you a rough idea about how much it will cost you and then you can compare with all other alternatives.Hong Kong taxi sign - livpage com

8. What to do and see; check out all tours and attractions I want to do/see and the cost. But also to get ideas what to see on my own. roofs - iwaso com

9. Where to stay; finding out where is the best area to be staying at every destination, and then I look for hotels in the area and put hotel names on file.

– Hong Kong: so near the harbor as possible – perfectly on the Kowloon side,
but harbour view not necessary
– Tokyo: in the Chiyoda-ku area around the Imperal Palace and close to Tokyo Station.
– Kyoto; the famous Gion district, also called the Geisha District.
– Hirsomshima: by the Peace Memorial Park.
– Miyajima Island; view over the the Itsukushima Shrine

Also I have to think about that I’m not too fare away from the railways stations I’m going to travelling from and to.

geisha - lonelyplanet com

10. Reading reviews; restaurant – locate post office, underground,  cultural events, embassies and do translation cards on service and items that I maybe have to use and buy – ect. Especially for Japan. If I need buy a fragrance free body lotion, ボディローション、無香料. Google translator – a true blessing.

I have also contacted the Japanese Health Care information for a translation for Tena pads. They have most needed products already translated on their website – but not my incontinence pads, but for 1100 Yen they will translate everything and anything for me.

11. Hotel bookings; start with booking hotels where I pay later to the hotel. Because the earlier booking the better price, but the closer to the departure I check with websites that is full pay and most the time they have cheaper prices.

resturant, hong kong- irminastyle com

Also as when travelling alone don’t use hotels in back alley streets – book hotels with bright entrances and door men – along busy streets.

I book more than one hotel on each destination when there is free cancellation. Most hotels in Japan haven’t opened their booking for 2015 yet. So even if the booking site says hotels are fully booked on chosen dates, check the hotels website that they give the same information. Also always check the hotels website prices and compare; it happens that the hotel’s website is cheaper.

Also sometimes prices are cheaper if booking happens early, but it can also be cheaper if waiting up to 2 weeks before arrival.

hong kong hotel room - hong-kong-hotels ws

12. Hotel reviews; I always read because then I know what to expect; if rooms are small, cleanness, how wifi works on the rooms, staff, bed comfort and hotels location — it’s the minuses and cons I’m most interested in.

13. So far am I just now!!!!

I will be flying out on 1st of April and be back home 24th. And the only worries I have is will my body and the problems I have with feet, lymphoma, knee, bladder and ass … hold up. If I don’t give it a try I will never find out.

luggage stuffing

My biggest hurdle will be the luggage – will only be able to manage one suitcase with 23 kilos max. I have never travel light, that is going to a hug challenge.

”The man who goes alone can start today,
but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”
Henry David Thoreau

Images provide by and thanks to;

37 thoughts on “best laid plan ????!!! – part 1

    • Yes, you’re so right – to take on the stress at home through planning and seeking so much information as possible, make the travelling more comfortable.
      The only thing with Japan is that think any street signs or any sign will only be in Japanese, On the underground etc.
      I know the bullet trains do all their information in English too. Always a blessing. *smile
      My post contains information that can be handy for destinations all around the world.
      Thanks … Colleen.

  1. I would love to go to Japan but I am one who cannot afford such a trip. Reading all your plans I don’t think I would want to bother. I prefer to go through a travel agent and have it all done for me.

    • Jo, it’s all about cost – through a travel agent it will be about 25-35% more expensive and I rather spend those money on exciting food and restaurants.
      I been arranging my holidays over internet for about 15 years now.
      But I understand the thinking behind your comment.
      I can only afford the trip because of the UK pension lump-sum. Money that I didn’t expected and make it possible for me to do some great trips for some years to come. *smile

  2. Japan is great to travel as a girl because if you need to there will be ultra clean toilets everywhere, I mean with space for your many bags, paper, water jet (as in japanese toilets) so when I need to I head to a department store.
    I don’t travel light either because when I come back from Japan I’m ALWAYS sending back a box with the post office , by boats it takes 2/ 2 and half months and it’s quite cheap. I just came back and my suitcase was 22,6 – quite a feat- I bought something to weigh it before it’s a very convenient and small kind of handle you attach to your suitcase so you can check its weight. You can get it in Japan from Bic Camera or similar store for 1600 yen.
    have fun I’m just back from Japan and I can wait to go back!

    • So glad you stopped by and took your time to comment on my post. Thank you so much.
      I sent half back my suitcase back from Hong Kong many years ago and it worked fine – but my problem is that I have to start to two cases … it only cost $25 extra for an extra suitcase, my problem is how to be able to handle them .. when travelling around in Japan on my own.
      I have a little luggage scale – I wouldn’t be able to pack without it … and best little travel tool I ever bought.
      I’m sure that I want to go back … to Japan before I even have departure.
      I’m so excited to … go back!!!

    • Suzanne, I’m not surprised that you are organized too when planning a trip. *smile
      When I do short trips .. for short trips, I don’t bother … but when trips will cost quite a lot of money, I have to.
      Thanks, Suzanne … I’m sure I will have fantastic trip, but a little worried over Japan – so intense and not many speaks English. Have to use arms and legs. I wish you a pleasant weekend.

  3. Oh, my! What an organised lady 🙂
    I do lots of research for a trip too but I’m a bit harum scarum with my note keeping.
    I’m impressed, Vivi 🙂 I’d settle for just Hong Kong and Kyoto, not wanting to be greedy. Happy holiday hugs 🙂

    • Jo, my first thought was only Hong Kong – but with being so close to Japan, only 4 hours away and I wouldn’t be able to afford another ticket in that direction. There are other places I want to see too.
      And I have to do a stopover with most airlines to Tokyo.
      Kyoto is supposed to be fantastic and I’m now staying 5 nights instead of 3. Easy to reach other interesting places from Kyoto. I hope I will meet some Geishas. *smile
      I have to be organized for this trip because I need to see where the money has to go and how much.
      I have a trip to Dubai and Australia on my radar too. Glad that I have months left before takeoff. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Nia, thanks for your support. Means a lot to me.
      I booked my Christmas now – and I’m spending it in Istanbul … staying at Elite World Instanbul Hotel, got a fantastic deal. Decided to go Istanbul because there is no Christmas celebration as such, nothing is closed for days. I’m not a big fan o Christmas.

  4. 😀 Gosh, you are such a well organized cookie, my dear Wivi! You’ve really travelled the world and know what to look out for! I am looking forward to more travel posts!
    Hope you are well!!!
    Many hugs xoxo 🙂

    • Dia, thanks for asking …. Things are stabile with me and I’m happy over that.
      Leaving for Chicago and Las Vegas on Tuesday.
      Yes, I’m always organized when doing longer trips – except my packing.
      Glad there is some months to go yet before takeoff. And this time is a trip that I will have problems with the language and that is a challenge.
      I promise you will be feed up with all my writing and all my images about my trip.
      Dia, thanks for you fantastic support.
      I wish you a lovely weekend.

      • *laughing …. have packed my friends suitcase, no problem … but my own will be a problem. To much shoes, clothes and handbags .. *smile

      • Bye, Bye …. all ready to go … with to many shoes .. and dresses, but still kilos in good – so space for shopping at Nordstrom Rack!

      • 🙂 Oh, gosh, Nordstrom’s…need I say more! This time I envy you!! Wish you a very safe and fun journey with your friend and ENJOY!!!
        Many hugs and xxx 🙂

      • Thanks, Dia …. we have a great time … but it have been hot here too … after this thunder storm we had this afternoon has it gone very nice. Both feet and bank account is suffering – Nordströms Rack we been twice too … but I didn’t find anything. Here in Chicago they have all the big department stores as NYC has, but a lot more shopping friendly. Many midningt hugs back.

      • Now waiting for room service and our last breakfat in Chicago – still fantastic weather and we are moving on to a rainy and thundery Las Vegas. Great!!!!!
        In transit hugs.

      • How is Las Vegas? Hope the weather is better and that you’re not gambling away all your hard earned pennies, hahahaha 😀 (as if you would!).
        Enjoy and say HI to Siegfried and Roy, should you see them 😉
        Many hugs xxx .-)

      • Siegfried and Roy … I didn’t see, but I asked for them – nobody seems to know … but Copperfield was in town. Las Vegas, very mixed feeling – not really my thing … far too touristy for me. Nothing is for real what so ever; expect our breakfast diner Coco’s. But I been there and have the T-shirt now. Some great shopping at the Las Vegas outlets.

      • Thank you so much, but it’s great to be home. Only that body clock that is … messed up again. Slept 14 hours last night and can’t sleep at all tonight.

  5. Organized is just the first word here – thank you for useful tips! This will be a wonderful journey, I’m sure. Looking forward to photos and stories!

  6. You do your research just like I do…the more you know, the better the trip will be. The longest you will be staying at one location seems to be five days. When I’m traveling, I take that into consideration. When I move to the next location, I know that no one will have seen what I’ve worn before so I can wear the same things again. 😀

    • Karen, just as I’m doing … where the same outfit at every location. So glad it’s not only me that plane the wardrobe too – but still I bring too much stuff with me in case. *smile
      Have a fantastic weekend.

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