by Chris Devers
Question by ewr750: We are visiting Japan & general region, Which is better: package deal or ???
I feel it would be better to get in on a tour package so we would have english speaking guides and fellow american travelers. This may include the hotel reservations, airfare & all taxis, trains etc.
My girlfriend assures me that we “can take the road less travelled” the majority in China, Japan Thailand etc. speak plenty of english to help us navigate.
We can just show up at the airport, taxi to hotel, and go it on our own.
I’m not sure this is a good idea for the first time.
What do you think? Is english speaking prevalent enough?
(i think she is overconfident from recent trips she made to England, france & italy I think Asia will be different from Europe)
Answer by TokyoE
If you sign up for a tour package, odds are not everyone in the group is going to be American. If it is an “English tour” people can be from Canada, England, any English and non English speaking countries as well.
Whatever you do DO NOT, and i have to repeat DO NOT take the taxi from the airport to the city, any of the major international airports that is.
Not because you will get ripped off that is not likely to happen, but because none of the airports are really centrally located near the city.
For example from Tokyo to the Narita International Airport, it takes 1 hour by fastest train, now imagine the taxi fare going on streets, in traffic and tolls!!
In Japan and urban areas the vast majority of people use public transportation, eg trains and buses.
The rail system in Japan is fantastic, most trains and train stations have signs that are bilingual in Japanese and English and so are some announcements.
So if you needed to get to a major hotel from the Airport, yes there is English assistance at the airport to direct you to which train or bus you should take.
I wouldn’t say English speaking is prevalent enough, I would say assistance in English is out there where anyone could plan a trip before hand and get around without a lot of trouble if you stick to the main cities and visit major sights used to seeing tourists.
There are pros to tours, but I find more cons to tours. Eg, I don’t like tours, I like to explore on my own, and not where the tour goes.
If you do your research beforehand, have things written down and directions, and you’re aren’t going toooo far off the beaten path (eg sticking to major cities or tourist spots), then I don’t htink you will run into any MAJOR problems.
They key is proper planning, so getting a book like Frommers Japan (which is a good travel guide) and visiting online resources is a great place to plan and do your own trip.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!