Preparing for a Trip to Tokyo, Japan with A Toddler

Flights
Korean Air, United, Air Asia, Delta Airlines, and Japan Airlines all service nonstop flights from Seoul to Tokyo. Check out each company website to price compare. I have had luck finding cheaper flight tickets directly on the company website. After I check the company website I go onto price compare sights such as bookings.com, dohop.com, Expedia.com, or Orbits.com.

Hotel
We decided to use the perks of working for the government and stay in the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo. The hotel is in a prime location in Tokyo, only 7 min. walk from the subway. 


Flight to Hotel Connection
We used the New Sanno Hotel website to make our decision to use the Airport Limousine Bus to get from Narita Airport to the New Sanno Hotel. (Link Here)  It is a large bus that costs 3,000 yen per person and takes roughly 2 hours. Tickets for the bus have to be purchased at the airport. For scheduling check out the bus website. (HERE)


Sights
Anyone would be overwhelmed with trying to see EVERYTHING in Tokyo on vacation. This part of our prepping usually takes the longest but is the most enjoyable. I usually start with guide books, pen, and paper. I jot down things I would enjoy seeing as I flip through the guide books. At this point I usually end up with 3 pages of sights. Once I'm fairly confident I've written down everything I would enjoy doing I start the process of pruning my list. Google tends to be less overwhelming when I know exactly what I'm looking for. I start with google images and type in each sight I want to see. Sometimes what a guide book described as "breathtaking" ends up being far less then when you find real pictures of the area. The list begins to get shorter at this point. Then with the remaining sights I start to do internet searches for fellow blogging parents in regards to visiting the site or doing the activity with a little one in tow. Sometimes I discover that although the view from the mountain top is amazing there are 37450938409 steps you have to climb up in order to see it. Not exactly my idea of fun with a toddler on my back. The list gets shorter. The last thing I do is run all the points left on my list into google maps. Once you enter the location into the map, right next to the name will be a pull-down button. Click "save to map" and create an event. Then as you continue to type in each location you can choose to save it to the map you created. Once you finish you have a customized map of all the sights on your trip. (Sweet!) If I still have too many sights listed than I have time I do one last pruning. I check the sights dates and hours of operation. I also take note if something is far off from the other sites I want to visit. Is that sight worth the time and effort it will take to get there and back?



Once I've got my customized map and location list I start to schedule our time. I take a look at our arrival time and location of the airport in regards to our hotel. Will it take half the day to get settled or are things fairly close? As a general rule I try to not schedule anything more than food on the day we arrive. Sam usually needs time to adjust and recover from the travel, no matter how "short" the trip was. I have discovered that if I push her too hard it tends to backfire. Based on operating hours, tips I find on blogs, and location I set out our daily schedule. I have a personal rule of no more than 2 activities/sights a day. I even had this rule prior to Sam because I enjoy relaxing on my trips. If it was up to Sam's daddy we would do 5 things a day and come home completely exhausted. Not my idea of a nice vacation. Thankfully I can now use Sam as an excuse to slow down. ;) Using the customized map I group the sights into 2s based on proximity. If Sam would enjoy one of the sights on the list I try to schedule it in the morning. Experience has taught me that she is more likely to sleep through the second activity than the first. Once our schedule is set I start looking closer on our map for transportation. Are we going to use the subway, bus, or taxi?

We aren't stuck with the plan of course, flexibility is a must with a sippy cup sojourner. It's just nice having a game plan. If we're exhausted after visiting a temple we can just hail a cab even though we planned on taking the subway, no problem. Just because something is on the schedule doesn't mean it has to happen. Making a detailed plan saves us time on our travels. There is nothing more frustrating than spending five days in a location, not to mention the money, and come home with having only seen 2 places and spent the rest of the time lost, finding out the sight is closed, or having to spend half the day planning what you're going to do that day. Planning ahead just makes sense!

One last note about planning, the weather! If there is rain I try and just plan to do everything as scheduled but just plan the appropriate clothes. This game plan isn't for everyone. In case of rain or bad weather it might be worth the time to plan for some "just in case" indoor activities.

Here are the guide books we bought. (Top 10 is also available on Kindle.)






Preparing the Kids:  When traveling with Sam now that she is old enough to enjoy parts of our trip we try to engage her in the planning of our trips.






Helpful Websites:
The New Sanno Hotel
Narita Airport Shuttle
Tokyo Weather




Comments