Okay, I’m going to need you to be honest with me here. I’m ready for it, I can take the truth. I just really need to know…
Am I insane?
The reason I ask is because I recently booked a family trip to Japan… with a 20 month old child… Not to see family or friends, just because Emma and I thought it would be fun…
Even reading back over what I just wrote somewhat reinforced the slightly unnerving feeling that I may have finally spilt my lollies. However, when I really think about what we are doing and how we are planning it, I’m not so sure. Maybe, just maybe, my sanity is intact. Maybe this idea isn’t nuts after-all.
The Top Five Reasons I’m Not Insane for Travelling to Japan With A Toddler
Japan is safe
According to the OECD Better Life Index website, Japan has one of the lowest rates of homicide in the world. Excellent news!
My experience of Japan in the past has been that it is not too different to Australia for safety. Be sensible and respectful, acknowledge your place as a bumbling tourist and you should have a pleasant and enjoyable trip.
Last time we travelled to Japan, we found excellent standards of hygiene, a logical and efficient public transport system, and local people who were genuinely pleasant and more than willing to help us out with things like purchasing public transport tickets and giving directions.
Even in the massive metropolis of Tokyo, amongst the neon lights and throngs of pedestrians, there is a sense of order and calmness. Most of the population there work hard and live simple lives. There appears to be a high value placed on maintaining the peace, most likely because it greatly benefits everyone.
Amazing food is just around every corner, and thanks to Japan’s obsession with cleanliness, we have never worried about the quality.
Flights can be cheap
I’ll go into this in greater detail in my Booking Flights post, but travelling to Japan from Australia can be cheap. It can also be very expensive.
We made up our minds that we wanted to travel to Japan months ago. We put together a rough outline of the dates on which we wanted to travel, then set about playing the waiting game. We monitored the three major airlines that fly direct from Sydney to Japan, and when we saw the best deal, we jumped on it. It means that we are staying in Japan for a few days longer than we had originally intended, but it also means that we saved over $1000 on the average price.
Air travel prices fluctuate massively. If I were to book the same trip with the same carrier right now, it would cost me over $2000 more. It pays to give yourself plenty of time and to do the homework.
Remember when people said “YOLO” (you only live once)? Well, even back then I was too old and uncool to use it in anything other than an ironic tone. But now, as with all fads, the term YOLO is old and out of fashion – perfect!
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE PEOPLE! If we don’t go now, then we may never go. Circumstances can change rapidly and I would hate to live the rest of my life regretting the decision to not plunge in the deep end and have the experience of a lifetime. Right now, we have the chance. All of our ducks are in a row and I’ll be damned if I let that kind of opportunity pass.
(P.S. I’m so looking forward to the day when Hannah is completely embarrassed by the fact that I’ve used YOLO in a blog post… Hi sweetie, love you).
(P.P.S I really wish I had actual ducks in a row. That would be great.)
We Travel Light
Right now I need to offer a special note of thanks to the awesome companies that have come on board to make this experience as easy as possible for this dad and his family. Because of the products that they have provided us to test during our journey, we will be able to travel very lightly.
BabyBjorn were happy to share their excellent Travel Cot Light, which will make a world of difference to the bulk and weight that we have to lug around. This little beauty is compact enough to fit inside one of our suitcases. It is supremely light, yet still sturdy and obviously built to last. It is a breeze to set up and pack away, meaning that in the most manic, panicked of moments, of packing and unpacking, the portable cot won’t be causing and dramas.
The Gro Company have also jumped on board with the perfect complement to the travel cot. The Grobags are light-weight, high quality and very comfortable. They are the same product that Hannah sleeps in at home, so the element of familiarity should be very comforting as she sleeps in a foreign environment.
RECARO provided a set of wheels. A good pram makes all the difference when travelling overseas. You need a workhorse, something that is heavy-duty, versatile and capable of carrying the endless bags of stuff that accompany a small child. Check out the RECARO Performance Denali Luxury stroller, it’s hard to go past.
Finally, Antler were confident that they could help make our journey a smoother experience with their light and tough Prism suitcase. It is large enough to hold the portable cot, and there is plenty of room to spare for other essential toddler gear (nappies, clothes, toys, etc.). With Antler on board (and the convenience of in-room washers and dryers), we are pretty confident that we can limit our total checked luggage to two suitcases – not bad for two adults and a toddler for 23 days-worth of travel. This will make a huge difference as we walk the streets of Japan’s busiest cities in search of our accommodation.
We have been there before
Japan is no mystery to Emma and I. We both have a long-standing love of the country and we have visited before. Because of this we were able to choose accommodation locations in Tokyo and Kyoto that were familiar to us and suited our needs. We know where to find excellent food and we have in mind some particular attractions that we know will be worthwhile. Of course, we will be incorporating some new experiences and new locations, so it won’t all be the same-old stuff.
Osaka will be new for us, so figuring out the best place to stay was a little more difficult. In the end, we aimed for as close to Namba as possible. We are reasonably confident that we have found a good spot. Even though Osaka is new to us, it is not overly concerning.
There you have it readers, conclusive proof that I haven’t lost the plot. Feel free to disagree and provide reasons why I am most definitely insane in the comments. You know, things like a slightly unhinged near-nuclear dictator with ICBMs pointed in the general direction of Honshu… that kind of thing…
Disclosure – BabyBjorn, The Gro Company, The Amazing Baby Company and The Cache Group of Companies provided Blog Of Dad with free products for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with these products. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.