I’m sure many of you have seen the best FlyFork’s flight deals to Asia – and lucky me, I was able to book one with ANA Airline (All Nippon Airways) to Hong Kong! It was back in November 2015, when the flights only cost $594.10 CAD (taxes included) to fly round trip from Vancouver to Hong Kong. However, deal flights sometime consist long layovers – and for us, it was an overnight layover in Tokyo. Despite this, my boyfriend and I were still pretty excited about the short layover trip, and I’d like to share my experiences and tips with you!
3 Travel Tips for Long-haul Flights
Travel Tip #1: Always check if you can get emergency exit seats! These seats give you extra leg room and more “breathing space”. However, some are already reserved for parents with a baby on board – the same seats provide a bunk bed for the baby. We were ecstatic when we found out we’re able to reserve these awesome and spacious seats online for free! Please make sure you read over the rules and regulations – they vary from airline to airline. As for ANA, you are required to speak either Japanese or English, are over the age of 15 with no accompanying children, and are physically capable to help others.
Travel Tip #2: Pack a pair of indoor slippers for your long hour flight. As you will be seated in the plane for long hours, you will most likely have swollen feet by the time you get off the plane. Your blood circulation through your legs and feet isn’t that great when you’re stuck in a cramped space, so it’s often recommended to walk around the aisles and exercise a little on your flight for every couple hours. It also gets ten times more comfortable if you prepare yourself a pair of soft indoor slippers.
Travel Tip #3: Prepare a pack of Gravol. Everyone who has tons of travel experience would know that this is a must for your trip. Many people, like me, get seasick on planes especially during the taxiing and landing. I, myself, got sick a few times when the pilot twisted and turned the plane during landing. This also acts as a sleeping aid as well for those of you who have trouble sleeping.
Side Note: If you’re as adventurous as me, go ahead and spend the night exploring the city! Skip out the hotel and start planning shops and restaurants that are open in at night! I guarantee that you’ll have no regrets. 😉
My Layover in Tokyo
Our trip included an overnight layover at Tokyo before we reach Hong Kong – and we considered this as a double plus since we always wanted to visit Japan! Even though the shops might be closed by the time we get to central Tokyo, we were still excited to catch a little glimpse of Japan.
At first, we planned to stay by a hotel close to Narita since we had an early flight to Hong Kong departing from that airport. However, hotels there were a little pricy and so we decided to do something we would never do here in North America – renting a space in a cyber café!
Hints and Tips for your Layover in Tokyo
Bus Shuttles – Surprisingly very convenient and on time! They were never late and they come by very often. Price is definitely on the high end, but it’s definitely worth paying for if you’re carrying multiple luggage. However, make sure you buy/book your shuttle times ahead of time so you are guaranteed a spot to get in.
Luggage Lockers – Lockers are also widely available by most train stations. They have various sizes with the largest one spacious enough for your typical check in baggage (44 in x 16 in x 22 in). You can rent them by hours or by days with a rate at around 300 to 600 Yen for eight hours depending on the station and the size you are renting. Please note that if you leave your baggage inside overtime, you will need to pay extra to open up your locker again.
Cyber Cafés – Cyber cafés in Japan are everywhere – in fact this is where many businessmen would stay for a night! Fact: most locals reside an hour or two off central Tokyo, so it wouldn’t be surprising to miss the last train going back home. We stayed at Gran Cyber Café in Shinjuku which is around a ten minute walk from the bus shuttle stations. Typically, they provide you a small cubicle with a full mattress and a computer. I would definitely recommend this cheap alternative for your overnight layovers if you’re travelling alone or with a friend. There’s optional showers available as well. PS: Snoring is okay.
Smoking – Interestingly enough, you are not allowed to smoke on the streets in Japan! Although smoking is widely accepted in the culture, it is also heavily regulated in Japan. No-smoking signs are pretty much all over the streets. If you need to smoke, you’ll need to locate some smoking areas or see if any indoor shops allow smoking inside.
Expensive Cabs/Taxis – In my opinion, Japan is probably the most expensive place in Asia to live in. Whether it’s for food, transportation, or accommodation, prices are similar or even higher than Vancouver. Please be aware that cabbing in Japan can be quite pricy. Average rate starts at 730 Yen (approximately $6.50 USD) on the first mile, and 570 Yen ($5 USD) per mile thereafter. Stalling time is also an extra rate of approximately 80 Yen ($0.70 USD) per minute. Please note that these rates are just a rough estimate.
Look Up! – Unlike shops and stores in North America, many restaurants and stores are located in upper levels of street buildings. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Asia, I highly suggest you to get used to “looking up” when you’re walking down the streets. I, like many others, never look up (we never need to since street shops in Canada are only one-storey-high). A lot of restaurants including fast food chains could be located on the upper floors – you might save yourself some time and hassle to find the closest restaurant!
Article is written by a guest blogger, Lisa Leung, a young Vancouverite who loves to write about anything she can imagine! She lives by eat, sleep, and travel. Feel free to check out her site, www.LazyReads.com, for more of her blogs!