TT – How to plan a trip

Quick review on how to plan a trip!

  1. Who are you going with?  Why go with anyone, go solo!  If you can’t go solo, make sure you pick people that you can travel with; people who are like you when you travel.  So that means if you’re like me on vacations and like to rise early and make the most out of your day, sleeping late too, make sure your travel partner(s) does too!  This also entails activities, sights, capabilities and whatnot.
  2. When are you going?  Peak or non-peak season?  Make sure you research the climates, weather, activities, seasonal differences, prices, natural disasters, and limitations.  This is very important because if you decide to go during non-peak season to save money or whatnot, you may be expecting paradise but it could actually be a nightmare thus being the non-peak season; not always the case though, but it can be!  Also, activities and sights may be unavailable during non-peak seasons so be wise and research thoroughly!
  3. Where are you going?  By the way, these are not in any particular order!  I usually start with one and move onto another.  If you’re like me and want to go everywhere, then just pick a spot and start planning!  Of course during your research if it’s not the best idea, you can always switch and continue to do so until you find the perfect trip for your preferred time period.  Pay attention to location, climate, culture, environment and customs!
  4. Why are you going?  This is quite essential to any trip, especially if it isn’t open-ended!  I think that only open-ended trips can have an open-ended reason for going!  Try to match your location and activities with your purpose, if that wasn’t obvious enough.
  5. What are you going to do?  Kick back on the beach, drink/smoke all night long and party, outdoor activities like rafting and hiking, or maybe just sightseeing?  These should be match everyone’s tastes in your group, unless sometimes you split up; which is completely fine and actually preferable if you know each other well enough!
  6. How? How will you pay for the trip?  How will you get to your destination/what form of transportation suits your needs?  How will you get to the airport or station?  How will you get around your destination?
  7. Book the trip!  Use several sights to look at flights like Hipmunk, BookingBuddy, Expedia, Orbitz, CheapTickets, Priceline, etc.  Same goes for accommodation, there are many options like Couchsurfing, House Sitting, Pet Sitting, renting apartments from others like on Airbnb, hostels, hotels, motels, friends and family.  Think about your trip purpose, group and activities as everything should complement one another.
  8. Post-booking preparation entails little significant details like:
  • Whether or not to use cash or credit cards
  • Getting your passport, papers and documents required to leave (your country and enter another).  Make sure your passport doesn’t expire during your trip, you may not be allowed to even leave.
  • Take off from work!
  • Do you know how much you’ll be charged, if any, if you use your card internationally?  Can you even use your cards internationally?  Tell your bank/institution of your trip and make sure that they’re capable of being used, even if you don’t need them; you never know what may happen!
  • Also, as mentioned above make sure to look into tips, customs, culture of the destination so you’re not an ignorant tourist pissing off locals; you want to be friends with the locals as you get the best tips from them on food, activities, locations, etc.

Hopefully you found something you didn’t know about earlier or maybe the whole thing is useful for you!  This post more or less represents what goes through my mind when thinking or planning a trip of any sort.

Is there anything that I missed?  Maybe you plan your trips a bit differently?  If so, let me know! 🙂


TT – What to bring to Japan

Packing for a trip is generally very easy for me, just pack the necessary clothes plus my laptop/tablet, phone and camera.  All of my trips thus far have been relatively short, or the weather was pretty constant and therefore packing was very simple.  This time around I am heading to Kyoto, Japan where they have all 4 beautiful seasons; I hear it is similar to North Carolina’s weather so it shouldn’t be too bad, but packing is a different story.  In addition to the difference in climate, there’s the culture too; Japan being quite unique.  Thus, I researched what I needed to bring; I already spent the past couple weeks researching other cultural differences, save that for another time.

As with anything unknown to me, I started to research on the Internet.  I started with YouTube J-vloggers; I spent days watching videos on random topics related and unrelated to packing for Japan.  After realizing that I spent too much time on YouTube and that I had an incomplete packing list, I resorted to a simple Google search.  I do not know why I didn’t start with Google like I always do.

Anyways, below are the most important and common items that I came across and a brief explanation as to why people included/mentioned them on their lists/videos:

  • Deodorant – it is not common to wear, and the only available products are spray
  • Shampoo – medicated kinds like for dandruff are unavailable
  • Cologne – not part of the culture nor sold in stores
  • Rice cooker – even used ones being sold are more expensive than those in America
  • Can opener – apparently can’t be found easily
  • Spices – bring favorites as not all are available in stores, even import stores
  • Presents – for teacher colleagues at schools as it is a custom, typically edibles like candy
  • Hand Towel / Hand Sanitizer / Tissues – for public restroom use
  • Bug spray – expensive
  • Apparel and Footwear – larger sizes are unavailable, if you’re larger than an average asian then prepare; keep in mind the culture too, like switching into other shoes/slippers entering buildings

You may be thinking, “EWWW they don’t use deodorant?!” Yeah, it’s true.  I heard that the Japanese only started selling spray deodorants not too long ago.  I haven’t heard any complaints about distinct body odors though; the way I think of it is it can’t get worse than the summer evening rush hour in NYC on the 4 / 5 trains from Grand Central to 14th St Union Square!

Anyways, in the end I packed everything above except the can opener.  I kind of forgot about it and did not bother because I’m sure I can find one!  Hopefully…

Might do a part two to this post in the future if there’s a need!

Feel free to comment if you have questions or concerns or just email me at!  Don’t forget to subscribe for further info; won’t just pertain to Japan!  My next post may be about some magical world… 🙂