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We wanted to share a few ideas and resources that we’ve found really useful for making trips more doable, more affordable, and more enjoyable. We’ll be adding more general resources and resources for other countries and regions as time goes on, but for now enjoy our suggestions for Japan!

Japan

Bring an unlocked phone and get a sim card shipped to your first hotel for cheap. You’ll have great data that’s faster than AT&T at home! (Excellent for getting directions, looking at your starred places on Google Maps, checking into Swarm, using the Google Translate app to make sure you’re not ordering mushroom surprise…)

If you’re considering staying at a Hyatt in Tokyo (Andaz, Grand, Park) or the Regency in Kyoto, it’s probably worth getting the Hyatt Visa credit card for the two-nights-free signup offer. That could be worth around $2000 in Tokyo.

Another option is to use the ~50% off discount for the Park Hyatt through Founders Card, but that’s a larger commitment (and lots of other discounts, including for AT&T!). Use Max’s referral link to get it for $395/year (instead of the normal price of$595!). Link may expire – email Max if so for a new one!

If you want to take some great photos of you and your fellow traveler(s), check out Flytographer who hooks you up with a local photographer for a 30 or 60 minute walk-around session. Lots of fun!

If you want to book high-end reservations (like Sushi Sawada) or events, you’ll probably have to / want to book through the concierge of a good hotel. If you’re not sure about your exact dates, do what we did and book multiple refundable reservations for the Park Hyatt until you get it settled!

General

If you want to fly throughout the US with someone else on a regular basis, the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is the best deal out there. You’ll need 110,000 miles in a calendar year to get the pass, but you can get 50k from the Chase SWA Personal Visa and 50k from the Chase SWA Business Visa. Gets you pretty close, and there’s other ways to get that remainder if you can transfer from other programs. We’ve done it for four years now and it works great! Here’s some more info on The Points Guy.

Other favorite travel card? The Chase Sapphire Preferred. It earns 2 Chase points per dollar spent on travel and food and those can be then transferred to a slew of air and hotel programs. Here’s a link for a 50k point signup bonus.

If you’re thinking about staying at a Park Hyatt or an Andaz, you could save a lot of money using the two free nights offered as a sign up bonus for the Hyatt Visa. (Depending on where and when you’re staying, those two nights could be worth $2500….) And if you and a partner both get one, you can combine your two free nights into a four night vacation! You just have to make both reservations and then call Hyatt.

Founders Card can also save you money on hotels (we saved nearly 50% on the Tokyo Park Hyatt, but most of the other hotels we’ve looked at only had a 10-15% discount.) They also offer discounts and/or free status with various airlines and rental car agencies, as well as some miscellaneous savings such as AT&T. Use Max’s referral link to get it for $395/year (instead of the normal price of$595!). Link may expire – email Max if so for a new one!

If you want to get some great photos of you and your fellow traveler(s), check out Flytographer who hooks you up with a local photographer for a 30 or 60 minute walk-around session. We’ve done it in Kyoto, but they have availability all over the US and across the world!

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