How I Scored Affordable Tickets to Japan

How I Scored Affordable Tickets to Japan

June 6, 2017

*This post is not sponsored.*

For us unfortunate souls stuck in the Midwest section of the US and middle of Canada, flights anywhere can reach exuberant amounts of cash. Especially when said flight has an international destination. If you’re lucky and book weeks in advance, sometimes you can score tickets to Tokyo for $1,200-$1,500+. Luckily, I didn’t pay that price!


“How?” you ask.


Great Question!


I pride myself in my ability to find good travel deals and that’s exactly what I did for both my trip to Montreal and to Tokyo. Below, I’ll outline steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the best ticket price for your next trip.

This is specifically for flights. Later I will review the cheapest means of travel in the US/Canada which will include driving, train, and bus. So stay tuned for that!

First, make a list of up to three airports you can fly out of. In my hometown, my only affordable option was to drive 5 hours to Denver and fly out of DIA. However, I live on the other side of Nebraska now and have access to fly out of Lincoln (LNK), Omaha (OMA), and even Kansas City (MCI). MCI is obviously a reach origination point as it’s about a 4 hour drive.

Even if you only have small airports within 6 hours drive, you should check their prices because you may be surprised at their pricing.

One great thing about LNK and OMA is the prices tend to be about the same, the only difference is usually arrival times. At one point LNK was $300 cheaper to fly to Tokyo than OMA was! LNK is a very small airport too.

After you have a list of origin airports, compile a list of destination airports. For Tokyo, people normally fly into Narita (NRT). However, Haneda (HND) should be considered as it also is very functional and offers great deals.


Next, utilize Google Flights.


*Note that most prices do not include tax or additional fees. I use them to help find the cheapest airline. Make sure to try different origination and destination points and analyze them to find the cheapest routes!

After, go directly to the airline’s website. Why? More often than not, you will find cheaper prices because you’re not going through a third party. Yes, all those booking sites are third parties and will have you pay extra fees that inflate the price!

If your trip is not for a while and you just want to watch the price, I recommend following the various origin and destinations using Google Flights and Hopper. You should also experiment with different dates if possible. Just make sure you don’t overstay your visa if you’re staying and extended time. You don’t want to get banned or deported.

This method will normally work for most travelers but it’s important to note some other options. The ultimate option to flying is to use a buddy pass! That requires family or friends than can provide you one through their work.

The option I used, because I don’t have the network connections, is student discounts! Not just any student discount site either since I compared them and one consistently stood out among the rest and beat competitor’s pricing.


StudentUniverse is by far my favorite.


Not only did I score tickets for $400~ cheaper than if I bought directly through the airline, but that price also covers travel insurance in case I need to cancel the tickets or my luggage gets damaged.

With tax, fees, and insurance included with the ticket price and a $20 promo code applied, my total round trip from OMA to HND came out to $934. Immediately after booking you’re provided with your airline’s booking code.

Mine was through United which I have an awards card with. I linked my trip to my membership card to receive points. Don’t forget to get your points! At this time you should also pick out your seats if the airline allows. I scored some great seats.


**I booked tickets about 4 months in advance.


Lastly, don’t forget to pack. Checkout my ultimate backpack list here for ideas and gear up your reading ability to make smart food purchases in Japan.

Share your best airfare scores in the comments below!

P.S. If you’re not a student you might be able to get youth pricing. 🙂