If you’re planning frequent travel to Japan, hotel memberships have benefits. Members’ benefits could entail special rate, free breakfast or late check-out. Some hotels even offer free night stay if members hit a number of stays in a specific period.
There are a few Business Hotel chains in Japan that offers memberships. These memberships have an upfront fee of about JPY1,500 which can be easily covered by savings from 2-3 nights’ stay. Most of these Business Hotels have English reservation sites for tourists.
TIP 6 – Pay upfront or pay at lodging
Personally, I prefer to make payment at lodging instead of upfront at point of booking. There’s Pros and Cons to paying at lodging, so pick what works for you.
o You get to ensure there’s a place to stay as you continue to plan out the rest of the trip and have the option to find another more suitable lodging or even change itinerary without incurring any exchange rate losses.
o Sometimes when it gets closer to the date, some hotels may lower their rates to reduce vacancies, you can then book at the new rate and release the higher rate reservation, thus saving some money.
o If you’re lucky, the currency exchange rate may work in your favour.
o You may end up with a higher currency exchange rate at payment time at the lodging. Paying it at booking time may have locked in the better rate.
o Can’t take advantage of limited discounted room rates with no refund deals.
TIP 7 – Discounted deals with No Refunds
When your plans are firm, and you don’t mind paying upfront, look out for heavily discount deals on lodging platforms. The only drawback is No Refunds if you’ve to cancel your trip or change your itinerary.
Some of these offers are for room type that is only decided upon your arrival at the lodging. Who knows you may get lucky and score a nice big room with a fantastic view!
TIP 8 – Recheck rates
When you have booked a stay with payment at lodging option, take some time to recheck the rates as you get closer to your stay dates. Some larger Business / Premium Hotels lower their rates to reduce room vacancies as it gets closer to the stay date. With the savings, you can spend it on something else, like getting a gift for love ones.
Using this method, I once reduced the cost of my stay at a Business Hotel by 50%, essentially getting 2 rooms for the price of 1!
TIP 9 – Lodging options for Solo traveller or when you have a low budget
Hostels/dormitories or guest houses are cheaper options and some of them can be quite nicely done up. Capsule/Cubicle style lodgings are good consideration for single traveler with light luggage.
If you’re adventurous and don’t mind having less privacy, check out Manga/Internet Cafes.
If you’re out in the countryside, then Minshuku and Pensions are good options too.
Another good place to stay are Business Hotels if you prefer room with ensuite and more privacy. Popular Business Hotels get booked up very quickly, so plan and make your reservations early.
For Hostels, Guest Houses, Capsule/Cubicle style lodging and Internet Cafes, guests share bath and toilet facilities. It’s best to bring your own towel and toiletries as a backup as majority do not provide them or are available at a cost.
Do note that some of the Capsule/Cubicle lodgings do not accept cash but only accept cash card or credit card payment onsite.