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Anyone Travelling? Tips here please!


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I couldn't find a separate post on specific tips when traveling, so here is where we can offer our suggestions and tips to help others.

 

Japan

I'm thinking of traveling to Japan next winter (Jehovah willing), and have been doing some research on the net.  Since I am from a warmish climate, I've never experienced snow.  But a trip to Japan in winter would not be complete without a trip to the Snow Monkeys at the very least.  I also like the idea of seeing nature north of Sendai.  All up around 10 days is all I can spare, so I'm basing myself in Tokyo with day trips to Nagano/Jigokudani and Hakone, then north to Naruko Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture.   Anyone who has traveled to Japan in winter care to share their tips please?  Or any brothers/sisters living in Japan can recommend what it's like to live in Tokyo in winter, so I have an idea what to pack?  Arigato :)

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Here's a tip if you plan on using credit cards (or card) - Call your credit card company and let them know where you are going and the dates you will be traveling with your card.  Some credit card company's stop payments if they detect the charges are coming from out of state or country.  This also helps to stop fraudulent activity on your card while you are gone!

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On 7/10/2016 at 2:33 PM, shali said:

Here's a tip if you plan on using credit cards (or card) - Call your credit card company and let them know where you are going and the dates you will be traveling with your card.  Some credit card company's stop payments if they detect the charges are coming from out of state or country.  This also helps to stop fraudulent activity on your card while you are gone!

If your current credit card charges a foreign transaction fee, look around for a card for the trip that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. Having a separate card specifically for vacations is helpful in case it gets stolen, you can close the account without affecting your primary credit card.

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On 7/10/2016 at 2:14 AM, hatcheckgirl said:

I couldn't find a separate post on specific tips when traveling, so here is where we can offer our suggestions and tips to help others.

Just a general travel tip;

We usually travel with a large piece of luggage each and a smaller carry-on piece each, it's easier to navigate the airport with just two pieces of luggage each that can be strapped together instead of juggling luggage, backpacks, bags, etc.

However, there have been times that we would be unexpectedly be put on a smaller plane or bus that wouldn't accept the carry-on and we'd have to check in the carry-on, so I always make sure the carry-on luggage has a TSA approved lock and luggage tags. I also have a small backpack in the carry-on luggage so I can transfer the critical items to the backpack before I check in the carry-on.  The backpack is also handy for day trips. I also keep a luggage lock on the backpack in case we take a bus trip and have to leave the backpack on the tour bus. 

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There are so many variables in day tripping especially international. Thanks for the tips.

It's recommended  to take a copy of your primary I.D. and your passport, and to keep them separate. 

Also anticipate obtaining an international drivers license for car rentals in Europe.

To take in the local cuisines it's advisable to convert some currency at your bank before traveling to foreign destinations. Quite a few smaller places do not accept Mastercard or Visa.

We always tend to over pack...anticipating foul weather.  Always leave a little room for those unexpected nick knacks, like beer glasses, coffee mugs or that stylish Italian leather jacket from Venice. 

Trip advisor destinations has some excellent reviews...pros and cons for sight seeing, restaurants and hotels. And most important  by all means check out JW.org for meeting times and locations.

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9 hours ago, Precision said:

 Always leave a little room for those unexpected nick knacks, like beer glasses, coffee mugs or that stylish Italian leather jacket from Venice. 

I take a small digital luggage scale to ensure I am below the airline luggage weight limits.

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10 hours ago, Precision said:

I didn't realize that they actually weigh the luggage.  Must be just checked bags...Anything to make another buck.   

 

 

 

 

Doesn't it also have to do with safety? How much fuel is taken on board and how to balance the load of luggage and passengers? If there is no limit on weight, how can they calculate all that? 

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2 hours ago, Sylv said:

Doesn't it also have to do with safety? How much fuel is taken on board and how to balance the load of luggage and passengers? If there is no limit on weight, how can they calculate all that? 

I assume it also has to do with how much weight the luggage handlers are required  to move. We had one case that was overweight and the other was underweight and we had to shift the load. OTOH, if a piece is overweight,  they just charge you more....

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Getting back to the card issue...

 

There are traps in travel cards, the promise of 'no conversion fees' can be a mask to hide the fact that they use a different conversion rate and it costs you more anyway!

 

Debit cards and credit cards, putting aside the issue of whether or not you advise the bank of your overseas travel, generally have a fee per purchase on them. It might be, for instance $3.50 that they charge each time you go to a shop and make a purchase while you're away, which is more than conversion rate anyway. Drawing cash in the foreign land then becomes a reasonable thing.

 

Alternatively, travel cards which you load before you go don't have such charges, but do include a conversion rate. I'm not sure which travel cards allow spending in Yen, but a little research at the banks will give you this information. Check them all thoroughly and you can save quite a bit of money.

 

The Australia Post 'Load & Go' travel cards are a good option, but they don't do Yen, just Euro, USD and NZD from memory. I'm not sure of the Cash Passport Mastercard, which can be had from Australia Post and a number of different banks. That's something for you to research, but they have a 1% loading charge as well as the conversion rate charge. Virgin and Qantas Frequent Flyer cards are among those whose conversion rate deficit exceeds the usual conversion charge.

 

The system, as we know, is designed to cost us money, it's up to us to chase around and investigate which will take the least of our hard-earned.

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Thanks Raymond, I've been using travel cards on my trips to Europe and Pacific. This time I realise that I will need notes not plastic in Japan. As sophisticated as their society is, they require payment in cash for a lot of places. The travel card is still a good option as withdrawing cash is cheaper than withdrawing from your credit card.

 

But if someone who has traveled to Japan in winter in snow can give me a heads up for what to pack, that would be really helpful. I'm traveling light as well - no big suitcases on those crowded trains. 

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