We Asked Japanese Fangirls How They Stretch Their Budget on Trips
They spill the beans on how they manage to take multiple overseas trips each year.
People who love traveling local or abroad know that flights, accommodation, food, and transportation don’t usually come cheap. That’s part of the reason why they often spend their time looking up the best deals and doing a bit of research on the places where they can go to without spending too much.
In this article, we invited die-hard fans of Japanese idol groups, bands, and actors to share their experiences of traveling in and out of the country. These girls travel around the world just to watch their favorite artists’ concerts or actors in stage plays.
Fangirls who agreed to participate in the interview.
Their combined number of trips in a year go up to 59 times.
Johnny’s fan loves idol groups from the talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment. She has traveled eight times in 2018. The K-pop fan, on the other hand, loves Korean pop idols. She has traveled nine times in 2018 and spends more money compared to other super fans. The third participant is a YA (young actor) fan. She loves young male actors and has traveled 14 times in 2018. She even went all the way to Tokyo from Nagoya just to watch a stage performance. The last participant is a Visual kei fan. She has traveled 25 times in 2018 to watch live concerts.
How do you save money when traveling?
Johnny’s fan: For hotel and airfare, I use early bird discount promos and book the cheapest ones available.
Visual kei fan: I book hotels only when I can use coupons. When I’m lucky, I get ¥1,000 deals for an overnight stay. I’m also a paid subscriber to a highway bus reservation website. Since I get discounts and receive updates when there’s an ongoing sale, I take advantage of those.
What about for overseas travel?
K-pop fan: I don’t want to spend a lot on accommodation, so I usually stay at guest houses. When it’s very cheap though, I get suspicious and dig through reviews before proceeding with booking. I once experienced staying at a place where there was no hot shower (laughs).
Is it important to always look for the cheapest deals available?
YA fan: Even if, say, you use the night bus for cheaper transportation costs, once you arrive early in the morning, you’re still going to have to kill some time until the event. Doing so eventually leads to you spending more money than necessary.
Johnny’s fan: That’s why I buy tickets for night buses with free lounge services in the early morning hours. Some even have facilities like powder rooms and changing rooms where you can prepare for the day.
Do you take bullet trains?
Visual kei fan: Never! I don’t have that much cash.
Johnny’s fan: When the venue is too far away and I know I’m going to be uncomfortable riding a highway bus for the trip, I sometimes use the bullet train. When I do, I search for package deals with hotel accommodation to reduce the cost.
YA fan’s travel essentials
“Nothing else matters as long as I have my ticket and my wallet!”
What factors do you consider before booking your transportation and accommodation?
YA fan: Well, a day trip is actually the cheapest way. Lately, I’ve been taking three-day back-and-forth trips when I really don’t want to spend any more money (laughs). I only stay overnight when it is actually cheaper than going home because prices change depending on the season. For example, during Golden Week, the night bus from Tokyo to Nagoya costs around ¥6,000 to ¥7,000. But the day bus only costs around ¥3,000. Plus, there were guest houses where you could stay for only ¥1,000. That’s the only time I’d choose to leave a day before the event and stay the night.
What about your accommodation for overseas travel?
K-pop fan: Yeah. I don’t like spending too much on airfare, so I book night flights a day before the concert and stay at guesthouses. I also once experienced sleeping at the airport. The shortest I’ve stayed in another country was when I arrived in Korea after lunch, attended the concert in the evening, slept at the airport*, then flew back to Japan the next day via an early morning flight (laughs).
*Note: It may not be safe/allowed to sleep at some airports.
Do you have specific conditions when choosing your flights?
K-pop fan: As long as it’s cheap, anything can work for me. To be able to save on money, I take flights from Kansai International Airport, instead of the Centrair International Airport, since it’s not that expensive to travel there from Nagoya. And there’s only one LCC (Low-Cost Carrier) airline from Centrair, so when the departure times don’t match my schedule, I look for alternatives. But I’ve heard that Centrair will be having an LCC exclusive terminal this autumn, so I can’t wait!
Do you have any other tips for travelers?
Johnny’s fan: In my case, I try to predict the concert dates before they release it and book hotels ahead of time.
You can predict those?
Johnny’s fan: They follow, more or less, a similar schedule every year, so it’s not that hard to guess. For example, they usually start in Sapporo in the second week of November. So, I just make myself free for those two consecutive weekends and call various hotels to get the cheapest price on those dates.
Why do you have to do that much?
Johnny’s fan: Because hotels cost higher on concert dates compared to other dates due to the rise in demand from the fans.
Now that you’ve heard the tips and experiences of the fangirls themselves, are you considering traveling more frequently to foreign countries? Which of their tips are you thinking about following for your next getaway? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokai Walker™ (27 August 2019)