Friday, September 21, 2012

Home for the Holidays? Maybe Not

It's pretty much spot-on the right time to book for the Christmas season...but flights to Tokyo are still $1300 round-trip from Toronto. I've seen a fairly unchanging flight market since I arrived in T.O. (it's never been less than $1100 via Air Canada, unlike when I was living in Japan and caught a few Golden Week tickets for $800 RT) and sad to say that these inflated prices are not going anywhere. Most likely, it's a result of the very high yen prices that we've seen in the past two years.

So what can you do to get to Japan affordably? Well, this trick isn't well-suited to the holiday season, because even though not as many people travel over Christmas (they're ready to go by New Years!), but if you're flexible with your dates and times for your trip, how about trying a Japanese budget travel agency? I used to book flights with the Osaka branch of No.1 Travel, and got good deals with them. You do, however, have to be careful that the taxes and fees (which are still displayed separately by Japanese agencies) don't add up to more than the Canadian version would have cost. Have a look:

Cheap flights from Toronto to Japan
Oh my!

Now, looking at Vancouver, that's a cheap price (and they offer Toronto, it just isn't popular enough right now to be on the front page). That fuel surcharge of 47,000 yen, however, is going to be brutal. I wouldn't recommend this particular "special" deal. If you're in the right place at the right time, however, you can get some fantastic prices. I picked up a one-way China Airlines flight via Taiwan on very short notice for 57,000 yen including taxes and fees. If you're vigilant and flexible, you may be able to score just as good a deal!