Discounts & Cheap Routes
Eki-net is run by JR and often offers seasonal discounts on various shinkansen lines and regions, generally ranging from 10-30% off. The site is in all Japanese and you need to make an account in order to order tickets, but if you can manage the hassle, it cam definitely be worth it.
Air Travel Tips
Japan Travel Websites
Japan-Guide.com is one of the leading websites relating to travel within Japan, offering extremely in-depth information about tourism sites and activities, transportation, and more.
Japan Travel also offers an abundance of information about exploring Japan. While the interface isn’t quite as easy to navigate as Japan-Guide, it offers incentives for locals to blog about off-the-beaten-path activities and locations, so you can find many things to do that aren’t written in any other travel guide.
Wikitravel is a sister site of Wikipedia offering a variety of information when traveling within and outside Japan.
You’ll Never Pack Your Suitcase the Same Way Again After Witnessing This Simple Hack (Definitely check this out for trips requiring 1 week+ of outfits!)
Tips from Tochigi JETs
Get to the airport early so you can sign up for automated re-entry for international trips! Although as long as you have your zairyuu card with you (as you always should), immigration isn’t normally much of a problem as there is a special line for foreign residents in immigration, but you never know! This service is available at major international airports in Japan (including Narita and Haneda), although be aware that they close pretty early for our area (around 4-5 pm), and you must register before you go through the departure examination. More detailed information here. (Kelsey)
Map and mark where you want to go. Before going on a big trip I make a list of places I want to visit, usually more than I can actually see. I then go onto google maps and star all these locations. If the city allows it, I then download an offline map of those areas. If offline maps are not available in the area, I take screenshots of each location with street names or other nearby locations to help taxi drivers. Knowing nearest train stations or bus stops also could save you a lot of time in the future. (Dale)
Investigate and know taxi fares. In many countries, particularly in East Asia, taxi drivers try to take advantage of tourists. Knowing the basic fare of a city will help you negotiate your taxi fare. Always ask for a meter fare unless you are good at haggling. Many East Asian countries use haggling in nearly every transaction, including taxis. Know what you’re paying before getting into the taxi. If you google search for taxi fare estimators, you can get a rough estimate of costs from Point A to Point B. (Dale)
When going to a country where haggling is a thing, you should review the process for that country before going. Knowing what to say and what to offer will save you a lot of money. Just remember the actual price for something is usually around 50-60% of what they are trying to sell it at. Be confident and if it’s too expensive, then walk away. Don’t let yourself to be strong armed into paying more for something you want. I have a general exception to this though. Many store/shop/stall keepers are rude, and just want to make the sale. These are the ones I negotiate hardest with. But from time to time you come across a shop keeper who is friendly, and wants to talk. These are ones I don’t haggle with so much. I am willing to pay a little more from a person who is friendly towards me. (Dale)
When traveling/sightseeing, shoes are very important. Make sure you bring a comfortable, sturdy, and previously worn in pair of shoes. Traveling you can do a lot of walking around, foot and knee pain can slow you down and could make things less enjoyable. (Dale)
Only taking a backpack or otherwise worried about space in your luggage/carry-on (especially during the winter when clothes take much a ton of space)? Make your last (return) day clothes a comfy shirt and sweatpants, and wear them as pajamas until then. (Kelsey)
I cannot stress this enough: drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration is extremely common while traveling, between the heat, general stress, and probably some drinking your body will be starved for water. Know your country though, most likely you will want to stick to bottle water or distilled water. Don’t let yourself become over extended. If you’re feeling sick (particularly in the summer/heat) stop, find a place to cool down and drink some water. (Dale)
Bring your student ID with you if you still have it. A lot of places will accept them even abroad to get you discounts, and oftentimes the expiration date is still a bit farther off in the future. (Even if it’s past the date, as long as it’s not in Japanese/whatever language, people often won’t pay attention to it anyway.) (Kelsey)