Monday, 17 May 2010

Us, Saving On Accommodation

Our ways to save a bit of cash on accommodation helped us to lower down our expenses.

The money saved on accommodation can be used for more important stuff like eating good food and shopping. Don't you agree? *^-^*

Memberships do pay its worth, and for us that meant having:

Frequent Flyer Membership even if we don't travel all that much

I enrolled the three of us to Japan Airline's JAL Family Club (JAL FC)  for a mere 3,150yen a year membership.

As JAL FC members, we can pool our mileage and redeem the mileage for vouchers that can be used for shopping, dining and hotel stays in Japan at their JAL Hotel.

A night's stay at Nikko Hotel Nagasaki-Huis Ten Bosch, Nikko Hotel  Ginza and Nikko Hotel Kawasaki were all paid using JAL vouchers. A return trip for three to Tokyo can give me enough mileage to redeem for a 20,000yen worth of vouchers.

Even if we don't have any vouchers, there are good deals on room rates to be found with the JAL Mileage Bank Membership (JMB) which is considerably cheaper than reserving without one.

Hotel Membership

When we were regulars to Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, and Zaini being a Marriott Rewards member; we raked up enough nights and points to redeem for a night or two at Marriott Hotel in Japan. That's usually translated to a savings of between 16,000 - 30,000 yen per night.

Toyoko-Inn is a good option for a cheap yet comfortable stay. Rooms are clean and they are pretty much standard at any locations in Japan. With rooms that cost less than 10,000yen per night for us, free breakfast, laundry option and the hotels' close vicinity to train stations - this chain is our favourite.

Zaini enrolled for a Toyoko-Inn Club Card International Membership and the few privileges the membership accords him are - 30% discount on quoted room rates for check-in on Sundays and public holidays, 6 months' advance reservation (instead of 3 months for general public), early check-in at 3.00pm instead of the normal 4.00pm and for every 10 nights' stay, we get a free single room night.

Membership only cost us a one time fee of 1,500yen and Zaini got his card immediately upon signing up with all the privileges accorded immediately too. You have to be physically at one of the Toyoko-Inn hotel to sign-up though.

Last year, we were in Japan during the Silver Week holiday and raked huge savings because quite a number of nights' stay were discounted. An 8,000yen room cost only 5,000yen for us after discount and that's a double room fit for the three of us. With free breakfast thrown in (and dinner at some branches) that can translate into a pretty good savings.

Other ways of savings for us:

Overnight trips on a sleeper train/bus

 Express Noto

When we were traipsing around Japan using their exceptional train service, fully utilising our JR Pass, we took the Express Noto Midnight Train to/fro Tokyo/Kanazawa and spent the night in the train. Another planned overnight train ride on the Sunrise Izumo didn't pan put because there were not enough seats available. :(

Express Noto Midnight trains has a ladies only compartment, and the compartment even has blankets available for commuters to use. Noto only have seats available and no private berths.

Sleeping on the train by just reserving a seat is of no extra cost to JR Pass holders unless you go for the berth/sleeping compartments. If you need to sleep lying down, the extra fares incurred to use the berth/couchettes on the night trains will be pretty much the same as spending a night in a hotel.

How about you? Any tips you can add to save on accommodation during your trips overseas?

22 comments:

  1. I agree that saving on accommodation frees up financial resources for tours, souvenirs etc. I don't have any tips except to book fairly decent accommodation (at least 3 star).

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  2. hi lina! how are you?

    i don't get to travel as much as before anymore, i guess i'll be the one asking tips from you right now =)

    I usually check package deals when vacationing, sometimes you'll find really good deals therefore cutting your overall cost including foods and so but that applies more for island tours or vacations.

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  3. Lina, I totally agree. For me, accommodations is just for sleeping. I always look for budgets hotels because I'm never really there other than over night. It's much better to spend your money on food, shopping and having a great time. I've learned to travel very inexpensively. Thanks for the info and tips.

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  4. Usually there is a lot of ways to save when travelling, as long as we do our homework on where is good, cheap and reasonable... it is all money saving! Make sure to find out about the get about to places in public transport too. Else we would just end up using the cab all the time and that is costly.

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  5. @Ayie,
    I'm good! :)

    Some places one can get a better deal with packages, some places don't. I wish I can have a getaway to an island soon!

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  6. @Mei Teng,
    I agree. Decent accomodation is a must. (but I insist on no less than 4 star in China)

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  7. @Poetic Shutterbug,
    Yeah, the hotel rooms are just for sleeping, unless we go to a resort for the sole purpose of rest and relax. :)

    Any more tips to share with us on how to travel inexpensively from you? :)

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  8. @Ladyviral,
    homework prior to a trip is definitely a must. :)

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  9. Yes, I rather pay less for hotels and spend more on food and other stuffs!

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  10. I normally travel to enjoy the food and place, not the hotel, so no need high class luxurious hotel unless that trip is meant for staying whole day and relaxing inside a hotel.

    Having said that, the low class hotel must be reasonably clean and....not haunted! LOL!

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  11. Alamak! Why my comment disappeared? OK let me type again!

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  12. Eh? It appeared again! Is this blog haunted?!! *scared*

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  13. @foong,
    Technology savvy hauntings and ghost is more to your alley. XD
    Remember the post abt the ghost that came thru phone call (or something). Lagi scared! LOL
    Clean room is a must for us too.

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  14. during our recent vacation, we went on a coachsurfing home stay program. it's a website that links travelers looking for a great night sleep and free places to stay with willing locals. Although most people might be skeptical about sleeping on a stranger's house, it's actually a great way of saving money when traveling. to find a good host, i'd suggest you always look for the profiles based on only good testimonials written by other travellers on the website. we had a great coachsurfing experience in Athens, Vienna and Moscow.

    http://www.couchsurfing.org/

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  15. Hi..
    nice blog. i enjoy reading it.
    actually, i'm planning for my 1st japan trip this year..but a bit confuse about transportation in Japan.. would you help me on this?

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  16. Lina, I always go to Virtualtourist.com to research everything from hotels to shopping etc... I like the site because it has tips and information from travelers just like us.

    One thing I have found that you can save so much money by taking local transportation and not just in the US. When I traveled to Hong Kong that's all I used to get around and it was great. Also in Los Angeles, CA everyone says you need a car - NOT TRUE. I travel there and never needed a car or taxi.

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  17. Memberships for hotels, and flights truly can and do save you money. Many operate on points and give you free flights or free nights after you've spent a certain amount. Though I generally think the better memberships are those you do not pay to join.

    Have fun in your travels

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  18. @Life Ramblings & Poetic Shutterbug,
    Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

    Couchsurfing sounds interesting. Have to check it out also.

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  19. @nozienna,
    Well, I wouldn't know where to start since I don't know you and your itinerary.

    You can read my previous posts (shameless self promotion here. Hehe) or perhaps head over to Japan-Guide.com for some insight. For train connection and schedule, check out Hyperdia.

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  20. @Sandy,
    Some paid membership is good too, but only if you know that you are going to use it extensively to reap the benefits. :)

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  21. I'm with you! I would MUCH rather save money on travel so that I have lots of cash for eating out and entertainment.

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  22. @401-401...
    well, I do spend a lot on travel, but I try to save cost on sleeping arrangement and splurge on food and other stuff.

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