Ok, I’m going to talk about Japan (yet again). Haha… Yes, I know I know, I’ve been writing alot of Japan. But that’s only becos we really did enjoy Japan that much. :D Ok, let’s get down to my motivations for writing this post. There are 2. First, to document our lives and also to provide a guideline for others who wish to make an estimate of how much a Japan F&E holiday costs for budgeting purposes. Second, to illustrate the importance of using credit cards to pay for big ticket items. Point 2 about credit cards will be covered in a subsequent post. Let’s begin.
Broadly, there are 2 time frames where we need to make payments. Before the trip, and during the trip. The difference being that, Singapore dollars is most likely to be used before the trip while the foreign currency, in this case Japanese yen, is to used during the trip. For payment in SGD, it is advisable to pay by credit card to earn reward points and cash rebates. For overseas spending, my take is that there are some uncertainty involved in exchange rates and it only makes sense to use a credit card if u r able to achieve savings in point & cash rebates greater than the best money exchange rate available (for example in Chinatown or Mustafa). For us, we were able to get good exchange rates from a Singaporean friend who is working in Japan so we pay everything in cash during the trip. For reference, we’ll be using 1 SGD = 62 JPY. Amounts quote are total spendings for two. Format is item – amount – payment method.
Before the trip
- Northwest Airlines tickets – SGD 1462 – Manhattan Card
- Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku (6 nights) – SGD 1184.21 – Manhattan Card
- Ichinoyu Honkan (1 night) – SGD 312.19 – Manhattan Card
- JR East Pass (4 day flexi) – SGD 678 – Manhattan Card
Total: SGD 3636.40
During the trip
- Food – JPY 70721 (SGD 1140.66) – Cash
- Transport – JPY 35830 (SGD 577.90) – Cash
- Hotel (4 nights) – JPY 34320 (SGD 553.55) – Cash
- Attractions – JPY 25000 (SGD 403.23) – Cash
- Shopping – JPY 32667 (SGD 526.89) – Cash
Total: SGD 3202.23
So, in total we spent SGD 6838.63. But in fact, our actual expense is less than that, becos we were able to get 5% cashback (SGD 181.82) from using our Manhattan Card. We received the cashback 1 month after we returned. This meant that our actual amount spent after deducting cashback is (3636.40 – 181.82 + 3202.23) = SGD 6656.81 (everything included) for two for 12 days in Japan. :D