Honeymoon update – Japan!

Who would have known that planning for our sweet sweet romantic honeymoon would be such a roller-coaster ride. Let’s do a short recap of how this whole episode has played out over the past few months.

It first started with our views on a honeymoon, whether is was necessary for newly wed couples to embark on the societal norm honeymoon. After our customary wedding, we decided that, yes, we would like to have a trip to celebrate our wedding. And with that, we started our survey of friends and travel agencies. We finally decided that we’ll visit Japan the free and easy way. Then, because of some opportunities, we actually went to Vietnam and had a really great time there. Was that going to be counted as our honeymoon? Nah, it wasn’t. Back to the drawing boards on our Japan trip, until the financial slump went into full swing and investors flock to buy the Japanese yen @%$^@#*! We had to change our plan to Korea package tour instead, in total contradiction of our dislike for tour packages.

All went well in the months leading to our departure date. We’ve changed a fair bit of Korean Won, which is really cheap nowadays. We bought our winter wear and everything. But there was still something, a weak link that could jeopardize our plans. The date of our departure cannot be confirmed until there is a minimum group size of 10 people. We happen to be the first 2 persons to sign up for the tour group, and that was back in Dec 08. Week after week, I would call up the travel agency to check how many people were in the group. Finally, some good news came about 4 weeks from departure. There were then 8 people in the group, only 2 more for confirmed departure. The deadline for the sales was 2 weeks before departure, so that gave the tour agency another 2 weeks go hard-sell and gather another 2 persons for this group. Prospects looked good…

1 week after that (or 3 weeks from departure), the travel agency called me and declared that the trip was going to be canceled due to insufficient group size. I was furious! There was still 1 week to the deadline and they had decided to call off the trip early. Despite numerous discussions and suggestions, they wouldn’t barge and insist that we either select another departure date of the same tour package or we take our full refund. Unfortunately, other confirmed departure dates for Feb 09 were all unsuitable for us. That left us with no choice but to take the full refund, and it also left us with a luggage full of winter wear but no travel plans.

Our travel window was rather tight due to both our work commitments. At the time of the Korea package being canceled, there was only about 3 weeks away from our intended travel date, what can we do? We could look at Korea tour packages from other agencies and hopefully some of them can depart on our dates. But we had already looked at those options and we didn’t like their itinerary. We could start to plan a free & easy to other countries such as Taiwan or China. But with our schedules right now, we dun have the luxury of time to start reading up on a new place and planning a full 10 day itinerary. We had to work with what we already knew. Japan.

We retrieved our earlier 16 day Fantastic Japan plans and scaled it down to fit our current budget. Meanwhile, Japanese yen continued to appreciate against SGD @#$%@&!, so we finally settled on a 12 day Relaxing & Romantic Tokyo free and easy itinerary. Time to make our bookings! And that was when the next hurdle hit us.

There was no problems with the flights as the plane was still quite empty when we selected our seats online. The real problems laid with the hotel bookings. In order to keep a low budget, we had shortlisted highly recommended and popular budget hostels or business hotels with ensuite rooms (it was our honeymoon after all). But with barely 3 weeks to go, these hot tourist properties had already been fully reserved. So it’s back to the drawing boards for us yet again. Slowly but surely, we had to increase our accommodations budget to find vacancies. That took us another 1 week before we finally decided on one that was about 30% more expensive than our original intent. Pricey, but at least we now have a roof over our heads, a silver roof no less.

With all the bookings confirmed, we’re now all ready to go! Despite our higher than expected budget for this trip, we will be visiting many places, take lots of photos, eating delicious food, play in the snow, and enjoying our very first long distance overseas trip together – our honeymoon. I love you dear.



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