Traveling to Japan can be an expensive proposition, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re prepared. With a little bit of planning and the right mindset, you can stretch your travel budget much further than you thought possible. Read on for a list of things to do before your trip from experts like Kavan Choksi Japan so that you can get the most out of your Japanese yen.
- Know the Exchange Rate Ahead of Time
The first step is to simply know what the current exchange rate is between your home currency and the Japanese yen. This will give you a baseline understanding of how much things will cost in Japan and will help you budget accordingly. You can find the latest exchange rates online or at your local bank or currency exchange office.
- Bring Cash
While credit cards are widely accepted in Japan, there are still some places where cash is the only form of payment accepted. To avoid any awkward situations, it’s best to bring along a decent amount of cash (Japanese yen, of course) with you on your trip. How much you’ll need will depend on your travel plans, but a good rule of thumb is to bring enough for two days’ worth of expenses, just in case.
- Use an ATM
If you run out of cash while you’re in Japan or if you simply want to withdraw more from your bank account back home, using an ATM is a good option. Look for machines that are part of the Global ATM Alliance—a worldwide network of banks and ATMs that includes Citibank, HSBC, Barclays, and more—as they typically don’t charge additional fees for foreign withdrawals. Just be sure to inform your bank about your upcoming trip so that they don’t flag your account for suspected fraud.
- Get a Prepaid Card
If carrying around cash isn’t your thing, consider getting a prepaid travel card before you leave for Japan. These reloadable cards can be used like debit cards at shops and restaurants that accept credit cards—which is most places these days—but they offer better rates than using your regular debit or credit card from back home. Just be sure to check the fees associated with each card before making a purchase; some cards have high loading fees or foreign transaction charges that can take a big chunk out of your travel budget if you’re not careful.
- Use Your Phone’s Mobile Wallet
More and more people these days are using their smartphones as digital wallets and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same while traveling in Japan. Both Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted by many businesses in Japan—look for the contactless payment symbol at checkout—and using either one is usually cheaper than using a traditional credit card since there are no foreign transaction fees involved. If your home currency is different from Japanese yen, just be aware that mobile wallet transactions are typically processed at the current exchange rate, so you may end up paying more (or less) than you expect depending on how the market fluctuates while you’re traveling.
With a little bit of planning ahead, there’s no reason why your trip to Japan should break the bank. By knowing the exchange rate, bringing cash with you, and using an ATM or prepaid card when needed, you can make sure that your Japanese yen goes as far as possible. And don’t forget about mobile payments—they’re becoming increasingly popular all over the world, including in Japan!