Category Archives: Holidays

Printed Itinerary for Z

When I was younger, I used to gloss over the itineraries provided by travel agencies. Fast forward to today, since most of our trips were free and easy, there was no itinerary except for a trusty excel template.

Z asked many questions and repeated questions about the trip. So much so that I decided to make him his very own version of the itinerary. It would save my breath from telling him what we would be doing from day to day, where we would be staying and more.

I was so happy whenever he asked me anything about the trip that I could tell him, “Go read your itinerary!”

A 2pp Tri-fold itinerary   

 

The feedback for this from a parent’s point of view was awesome. Z stopped asking me repeated questions and had a very good idea of the itinerary. He went as far as to tell his preschool teacher and friends about it. His teacher noted that he remembered many details by heart. It showed how he was able to grasp a big picture when he was passionate about something. Didn’t we always? 

Arranging for ski lessons

I talked about how hard it was to book ski lessons despite making my intentions known very early. We eventually sorted that out but I thought I would like to record the ski lessons’ booking schedule and costs.

1. 22nd Dec: Private lesson for 4 of us, Tomamu resort, English instructor, 9-11am, 42K yen

2. 23rd Dec: Private lesson for 4 of us, Tomamu resort, Japanese instructor with basic English, 12-2pm, 40K yen

3. 25th Dec: Class lesson for Z & X, Rusutsu Shin Crayon Ski school, 945-1515 including lunch, 16K yen per child

*We were on waiting list for the 1030am English class.

4. 26th Dec: Class lesson for Z & X, Rusutsu Shin Crayon Ski school, 945-1515 including lunch, 16K yen per child

*We were on waiting list for the 1030am English class.

Psyched about the holidays #postdated

At the point of recording this, we were 10 days to the departure date. 

The itinerary was confirmed in June. I had purchased the USJ express pass in September and the Disney Park tickets in October.

It was so far back that I had to recap what I had booked, revisited the navigation plans and took the chance to file the documentation. I also showed the kids videos of kids skiing to get them excited and mentally prepared about a snowy holiday.

Meanwhile, this was our travel itinerary in a nutshell.

17th Dec – head to the airport 

18th Dec – Osaka

19th Dec – USJ

20th Dec – Osaka city 

21st Dec – Tomamu resort, Hokkaido

22nd Dec – Tomamu

23rd Dec – Tomamu

24th Dec – Rusutsu resort 

25th Dec – Rusutsu 

26th Dec – Rusutsu 

27th Dec – Otaru

28th Dec – Tokyo 

29th Dec – Fuji-Q

30th Dec – Disneyland

31st Dec – Tokyo

1st Jan – Odaiba

2nd Jan – Shopping

3rd Jan – Home sweet home!

Booking ski lessons

Booking a ski trip during peak season not only meant we had to pay through the nose for ski lessons, it was also very difficult to secure ski classes. It was no thanks to the rigid nature of their customer service. In person, Japanese service was great. Over email, the customer service became non-existent.

I started hounding the hotel over ski lessons’ booking since Jun 2015. However, they kept saying the schedule was not out. After repeated reminders, they finally replied to say that the website was opened for booking. However, it was only available in Japanese. To rub salt to the wound, the system was buggy.

I ended up without a private lesson…

I had to call them directly at this point (and incurring international call charges!!!), kicked up a fuss over email and eventually had a favourable response from them.

Lesson learnt: Just pick up the phone and call.

Though on the other hand, I had perfect support via email from another resort. 

Getting a Data Sim Card for Japan

JAPAN LTE DATA SIM 5GB (2) Qty: 2 @ ¥5,300 = ¥10,600

Fri Dec 18 2015 – Sat Jan 2 2016 (16 Days)

In May 2015, I tried a basic sim card at ¥1,900 which offered 7 days * 100MB a day due to this ‘Fair Usage Policy’. Once you exceeded the first 100Mb of the day, the speed be reduced to nearly non existent. I could barely upload much pictures or blog on the go. While there was wifi in the hotels, there were some places which did not provide wifi.

In Sept 2015, I tried the portable wifi router which cost ¥920 per day and offered 1GB for every 3 days. After which, the ‘Fair Usage Policy’ kicked in. Another painful part was that the battery of the router would drain alongside with the phone. I could conserve its battery turning on only when I needed to use it but the boot-up time was annoying. Sometimes, things got critical when you only wanted to check the maps.

Given that we would be going in winter, I was sure that the cold weather would drain battery very fast, given how the Tateyama trip drained my power bank before my phone battery was even dead. What was the point of a power bank? On hindsight, I should have tried to keep it warm.

Furthermore, having sim cards instead of a shared router meant Mr H & I could split up at theme parks for queuing and not worry about being unable to find each other.

It was apparent that I preferred a sim card to a router. My friend did the homework and found this Sakura Mobile sim card. There was a promotion of 20% more data for usage in Dec-15 & Jan-16.

There were 3Gb, 5GB & 7GB options. We picked the 5GB each because we knew we probably had to share with the kids, partly because the price difference between 3GB & 5GB was only ¥1000. It seemed like a pretty decent deal. That being said, if only Singtel had a similar product like M1 Passport, that would have been much more awesome.