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Japan 101

by @Almallaks

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@Almallaks

We started planning our trip way in advance because we wanted to get the most out of it. We decided to go for 3 weeks and cover as many cities as possible. How did we decide on the cities? After loads and loads, and LOADS of research. There are so many beautiful places in Japan and so many things to see and experience. It is impossible to cover it all, unfortunately. So, it all comes down to preference and what you want to see and do.

Our route:

Tokyo -> Osaka -> Nara -> Kyoto -> Kanazawa -> Matsumoto ->Yamanouchi ->Tokyo

Japan Route

When to go: You can choose to go in any time of year, there are cities for every season: beaches and mountain climbing for summer, ski resorts for winter, and the spring for none other than the beautiful cherry blossoms. That was our choice – the cherry blossoms. So, we chose to go Mid-March to beginning April. But even with meticulous planning, the cherry blossoms bloom according to the weather that year, so it’s risky.  We kept our fingers crossed.

What to do before you go:

  1. If you’re planning on being in Japan for a while and traveling to different cities, the easiest and most economical way to travel is by train. Taking a cab everywhere will get very expensive, very quickly.
  2. We recommend purchasing the Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited access to the Japan Rail (JR) Lines. We took the train everywhere even within the cities whenever we could. You can purchase one of their packages on their website: jrpass.com Here’s the thing, you can only purchase this pass BEFORE you go to Japan and once you land at the airport you activate it.

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Another thing you should look into is getting a MIFI: mobile wireless internet. That way, you can use your phone while you’re there without actually having to get a Japanese line. Cheap and easy. They actually can have it delivered to your hotel and then before you leave Japan, just place it in the cardboard envelope they provide and drop into any mailbox close by and  you’re done.  We got ours from japan-wireless.com

  1. ASK– anyone and everyone that you know who has been to Japan. Everyone has a different experience when they go– the more things you know, the more choices you’ll have on what to do when you get there. And even then, you’ll end up doing only a fraction of that stuff and find your own activities that you happened to come across. It’s just that kind of place.

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Packing:

If you’re planning on doing what we did (3 weeks, multiple cities via train), we highly recommend taking MINIMAL luggage. You will need to be mobile. Their trains run like clockwork, by the minute, literally. There will be a train at 5:17 pm and it will leave exactly at 5:17 pm – no joke. And there will be lots of walking (and getting lost) and stairs.  So, we only took a total of 4 pieces: two carry-ons (small, compact, 4 wheels for easy maneuvering) and two backpacks. And that’s it.

No, we are not kidding. You have to pack extremely well. Things you can layer, things you can re-wear and match with ease. Do not take anything you don’t really “need.”

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OK, Although it’s been a while since we went, we will try to be as thorough as possible. We want to give this beautiful place justice. Stay tuned and read the details of our experience in future posts on hello965.com!!

@Almallaks

Almallaks is all about family health and fitness. Saad and Noor – fitness enthusiasts at heart – with their little girl, Faye, post about their daily life, workouts, food and parenthood in hopes that they can grow as a family, stay active, have fun, and inspire others to do the same.
Instagram: @almallaks – Snapchat: almallaks

Our 5 Pre-Travel Tips!

Hello hello lovely readers!!

It’s a beautiful feeling when you know there is a trip coming up. That tingly excitement which lasts for weeks or even months!

A friend shared with me an article about travel tips (Thank you!), and as I was reading it, it made me realize how little tips can make a very big difference. We traveled, we made mistakes, we learned. Here are some of Hello965’s travel tips that we believe are essential and might change your life forever (given you follow them…).

Ready? Here’s your guide to a stress-free start of your trip.

1. Pack like a pro. This one is especially for the heavy packers, prepare a check list. After a long while of traveling heavy myself, worrying about luggage weight and over packing or even sometimes under packing; I finally perfected packing. As simple as this will sound, my solution was preparing a check list before my trip, and crossing it off as I pack.

Avoid this – prepare your Checklist!

This is what you do: plan your days ahead. You’re going for 5 days? How many outfits are you wearing per day? 2? So pack those 10 outfits knowing which 2 are you wearing for each day, then break it down to the little details during those days. Going on a Safari trip? Again, checklist: (Insect repellent, sneakers, personal-hygiene items, sunscreen, antibacterial wipe, etc..)

Great. You get the idea! Again, it might sound very simple, and this simple tip will make a HUGE difference for your suitcase, and for you. I promise. (#beentheredonethat)

2. Prepare your documents. Print ALL your documents (although its a digital world), but I do advise you to do so. Keep a copy of all your reservations and bookings in one folder, and keep it in your carry-on. On the flip side, keep a scanned copy of all your important documents such as your passport – it really comes in handy in the event of theft.

3. Money. Plan your budget ahead your trip as this helps you keep everything intact. Always travel with a credit card (that has a limit) in case you need it for reservations or other. Get some cash, and exchange it at the airport before you leave! Be prepared.

I noticed something, during travel that happened to friends, and once to me, banks tend to block some accounts due to “unusual transactions” for security reasons obviously. If you’d like to avoid this, it’s a good idea to call your bank, and inform them that you are traveling to XYZ country for this period of time in order for them not to block your account.

4. Keep your phone/electronics alive. Take a portable charger for your phone (make sure the charger is fully charged). Remember, put your smartphone on Airplane mode while on plane to save battery and charge faster. If you happen to forget your charger, use the TV USB slot to charge your phone. You could also be the airport hero, and travel with a power strip/cable.

– A photo taken from google

5. Be comfortable. Pack your own travel pillow and your own blanket in your carry on – always helps me sleep and be more comfortable on flights. Another thing is to prepare your on on-plane music playlist depending on what helps you sleep (and block the noise of the crying baby behind you..)

A photo I found on google, looks so comfy!

Final words: If you wanna be on the careful side, it’s always helpful to take a picture of your suitcase and its contents before you travel. Just incase it’s lost (Which happens alot) you have a picture of how it looks like, and what was in it.

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My Suitcase Tag <3 (from GANT Gifts, Mexico)

 

Safe travels!

Hello965