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Old 01-13-2016, 02:51 PM
3,784 posts, read 3,007,981 times
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Hello all. One of the things I have always been hoping to do (especially while I'm young, so sometime in the next 2-3 years), was go to the Far East for perhaps like 10-14 days. I currently reside in Tampa Bay. Considering all MAJOR expenses (flight, hotel, attractions, getting around, eating as cheap as I can, etc.) what is about the cheapest rate I could pull that off for? Is it possible to get RT flights from the East Coast (don't care if it's Spirit or some flybynight thing, the cheaper, the better) for $1,000 or less pp? What about hotels over there, etc.? I am a VERY low maintenance person, in fact I find charm in how little I can spend and how simply I can live at times. But, I would like to see the major attractions there, and I would like to be safe. Really, the places I would want to see would be Tokyo, Mount Fuji, perhaps some Japanese Gardens, Beijing, and the Great Wall (Basic stuff). But, I would be willing to branch out to see Kyoto, or Seoul, or somewhere else within range of those two cities if it would be worth my time, and not too difficult to manage. The ULTIMATE (perhaps wishful thinking) goal would be (with everything, even food/souvenirs) included, spend $4,000 or less for two people to go to those places for 10-14 days. Is that impossible? Or is there a way I could do so even more inexpensively? Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated! Or like a book or guide that talks about like "Hardcore Budget Traveling".

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Old 01-13-2016, 03:01 PM
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You can try a search engine like Kayak.com. You can fly through the Middle East (Qatar, Emirates/Etihad) for <$1K RT. I would suggest you travel right after CNY because that would be considered low season. Take one Intl flight into the region then one regional carrier around the region.

Stay exclusively in Hostels - some not so nice but most are cheap and great for a social outlet and suggested sights to see. You could Fly Air Asia (the hub is KL and they go everywhere in Asia at reasonable prices) take buses where possible - all big cities in Asia have cheap bus and train service.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:11 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,076 posts, read 19,024,811 times
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Japan is the most expensive country in the Far East.

Believe it or not, sometimes group travel is cheaper than doing it on your own. Have a look at tge tours offered by Friendly Planet. We did a two week tour of Thailand with them sone years ago. Their price - which included airfare from NY or LA, all intercountry flights and transportation, all hotels, a few meals, and many tours - was about $300 more than I could have booked the international airfare alone! Great company who I would use again.

Smart Travel is another one to look at.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:12 AM
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I would suggest only one country at a time - China...or Japan. Not both for 14 days.
Don't forget visa's for China in your planning.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:20 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
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The Lonely Planet books tend to be geared more toward that kind of sensible budget travel.

USA-China is actually a pretty competitive airfare scenario right now- lots of Chinese airlines pricing low, and the USA Big Three trying to match. While Tampa low pricing is hit or miss (varies from $1100 to $1800 per ticket for days in May/June) I did find Tampa-Beijing for $1192 for a 14 day trip on Swiss International Depart on June 5, Return June 19 with a connection in Zurich. Orlando has a lot of ticket options in the $1100-$1200 range.

I'm wary about using a ultra-low cost carrier (Spirit, Allegiant, etc.) for positioning to an international flight because they often have issues with keeping to a schedule, and if you get a significant delay with your Spirit flight, your international connection does not have to protect you and is likely to cancel your ticket with no refund, calling you a no-show.

If you and your travel companion have good credit, IHG/Holiday Inn have a co-branded credit card with Chase. Poke around the internet and you'll find offers for a card sign up that will give you 80K IHG points as a sign-up bonus if you spend a relatively modest amount on the card in the first month. So 160K points between you, and if you stick to the Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express part of the portfolio, I'm seeing a lot of redemption options in the 10k-15k-20k per night categories when I search Beijing and Shanghai for rooms. And the Holiday Inn Express hotels are breakfast included like they are in the USA.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:26 AM
Location: Seattle
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For airfare, consult the "mileage run" board on Flyertalk - Mileage Run Deals - FlyerTalk Forums - which shows, for example, round trips from NYC to Bangkok for $676, or Boston to Shanghai for $597.

For the land portion, look at the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree country message boards where budget travelers hang out.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:53 AM
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,593 posts, read 11,082,415 times
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China is fantastic, and I love it, but to the OP, how seasoned of a traveller are you? China, once you get away from Beijing or Shaghai, has a pretty steep learning curve. The food is great, but totally different, not many people speak English, and culturally it's very different.

You can fly from Tampa to Singapore any time in March for under $1000 a ticket on Air China, and the best part is that you can jaw the ticket. So fly to Beijing, spend up to 72 hours (3 days) in Beijing visa free, which is time enough to hit the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, etc. then on to Singapore, which is amazing. Also super cheap to everywhere else in Asia if you want to move on.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:56 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,683 posts, read 16,109,576 times
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Another chance to get some IHG/Holiday Inn points for cheap if you've already got a MasterCard is the Alternate Method of Entry for their current 'Priceless Surprises' promotion that runs through mid-February.

Earn IHG Bonus Points Without Staying At A Hotel! - One Mile at a Time

Go down to- "You don't have to stay at hotels to enter" for an explanation of AMOE.

For each IHG account (you and travel companion) you'll end up with between 45-50K of points for about $50 in postage, which can be carefully leveraged for additional free hotel nights that would cot far more than that for a cash stay. Just note that you have to 1) sign up for an IHG account and then 2) sign up for the specific 'Priceless Surprises' promotion before you send the cards off.

While the turnaround for entries has been slower than the rules have said (I just got a batch of entries yesterday for cards I mailed off in the first week of December) entries have been coming and points have been posting to peoples' accounts.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:37 AM
2,563 posts, read 2,792,539 times
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Try looking at some of the budget travel or backpacker web sites. Most of the kids backpacking around Asia seem to have it all down to a science. The cheap places to stay, the cheap places to eat, etc. Getting there and back would be the biggest single expense. From Tampa, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing around $1500 round trip, unless you happen upon a really good deal. And that can happen if you're flexible and keep your eyes open for specials.

I'm sure China can be cheap, but Japan might be more expensive, no matter how well you plan. And if I were going all the way over to that part of the world, I'd surely try to spend more than 10-14 days. It takes me about seven days just to get over the jet lag, so the first week or so is fairly strange and not much fun. I wouldn't think of trying it unless I had 30 days or so.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:11 AM
Location: Asia
2,761 posts, read 1,103,068 times
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I would suggest only one country at a time - China...or Japan. Not both for 14 days.
Yes. One country and really explore one or two places.

Vietnam is interesting and fairly inexpensive.
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