Re-configuring my budget for Japan

With the schedule of 9 days seemingly being the time table for the Japan trip, it’s time to take a look at my budget.  I should be able to save a few dollars on the hotel because my sister has her reward points and perks with the Marriott, so that will be a big help.

The schedule for the 9 days total, not counting Kyoto at this stage, just Tokyo.

Saturday May 17th – Leave Tampa (1)

Sunday May 18th – Arrive in Tokyo (2)

Monday May 19th – First full day in Tokyo (3)

Tuesday May 20th – Second full day in Tokyo (4)

Wednesday May 21st – Third full day in Tokyo (5)

Thursday May 22nd – Fourth full day in Tokyo (6)

Friday May 23rd – Fifth day in Tokyo (7)

Saturday May 24th – Leave Japan via Narita or Haneda airports (8)

Sunday May 25th – Arrive home (9)

Now, here is my projected budget:

Airfare: $1650-$1800

Food: 3 meals a day x 9 days total for the trip = 27 meals

27 meals x $25 per meal (high cost estimate) = $675

Visiting sites (tourist stops during the trip): 9 days x $20 average = $180

Travel (bus, train, subway, or taxi): 9 x $15 a day = 135

Total for 9 days: $2640

So let’s break it down.  Airfare is cut and dry.  The meals, averaging 3 a day and pricing them fairly high since Tokyo is an expensive city, gives that estimate of $675 total (could vary).  Visiting sites is the tourist side of things and the travel covers all the transportation in and around the Tokyo area.  Total is right around $2700 and might as well call it $3000 just to be safe and have some spending cash left over.

There will be other expenses that will have to be figured out like cell phone service (rent a phone or how much will my normal phone cost over there), buying drinks, going to expensive restaurants, and other things that are just not jumping out as the main costs for the trip at the moment.

So, those who have traveled overseas, does this seem right?  Does it cover most of the costs I should expect?  I’ll have extra money for food, tourist sites, etc. but I think overall this should be the overall budget I am aiming for.


4 thoughts on “Re-configuring my budget for Japan

  1. I budgeted $3200-4500 per head for a ten day ski trip to Japan (upcoming) with four days of skiing and six of whatever, so that doesn’t seem too far out. We have more stops which ups our travel expenses (and skiing isn’t the cheapest activity), although starting from Singapore our airfares are about half the price of yours, which is a fair difference, plus some of our accommodation in Tokyo is covered by The Company.

    I think in Japan, as with many places, it varies a lot depending on your itinerary and the types of activities you prefer. The big cites are relatively expensive, although a stay at a Tokyo hostel with free strolls through parks, temples, fish markets, etc etc is going to be a lot cheaper than a different type of gig and last I checked the food and accommodation in Japan is very acceptable even at the bottom, so don’t be afraid to go there. Even the 7-11 bento boxes were good, and those hole-in-the-wall noodle bars? Mm mmm.

    That said, my budgeting trick is to add up all the costs plus about a 30-50% markup for “incidentals”. I’ve always been amazed how many little extras crop up. If I were you, I would take my $2700 and aim to bring another $1k or so for safe keeping.

  2. I completely agree. The $2700 is the flat cost for most of the airfare, food, and the tourist sites we are going to be visiting. We are doing the temples, shrines, and won’t do anything that is too pricey like Tokyo Disneyland. I am planning on saving an extra $1000 just to have some spending cash and all the little fees that could pop up and eat away at the overall budget. Even being on a plane, an additional $5 for a drink and such could add up.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on the food prices and that’s where I came up with the $25 per meal. I am looking forward to the bento boxes and the little noodle shops, so those will help save money and the overall budget, but it’s something I want to be prepared for.

  3. I just checked my spreadsheet… sorry I have to pause there as this is the first time I’ve done a proper budget for a holiday but my father-in-law demanded it… I sound so organised… anyway. Where was I?

    Oh yes, my food estimate is lower than yours, but that was one thing I thought I’d underestimated on. You can get some economies of scale travelling as a family group in places where it’s common to share dishes and we find we can’t eat “out” more than once a day with the kids and survive, but even so I secretly think your estimate is more like it.

  4. I really appreciate your feedback. It will be just myself and my sister on this trip, so we won’t be able to do the large family style meals. I’ve been to large cities like New York, Chicago, and others, so I figured I need to add the higher prices into the estimates so I wouldn’t be caught off guard and would the right goals in the budget set.

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