Thursday, November 15, 2012

Point of no return

Every time you do something that feels large, whether it's studying abroad, getting married or taking your drivers test, there's always that one point, that one moment when you reach the point of no return. Now, obviously sometimes it is the moment the tester gets in the car or that spot halfway down the aisle, at the very last second that you feel you've reached it. For me, that moment was on Monday.

What's so special about Monday? Let me give you a hint.
On Monday I bought my airplane ticket. I will be leaving on January 3rd at 6:10 in the morning (man it will be a long day) to head to Tokyo and my future at Japan Women's University. The AAA travel agent who helped me with my ticket probably thought I was out of my mind at the time (I had a kind of mini nervous break down), but she was really nice and I ended up buying my round trip ticket for right about $1,900.

Okay, so you're probably wondering with all of the "Save money on your flight" websites out there, why I chose to go through a travel agent? Well, there are couple of reasons for that. Reason number one is that airline companies only sell tickets about 11 months in advance, so right now they are only selling tickets through the end of October. That presents a dilemma for me as I will not be returning until after December 22nd. So when it comes time to make my return date change I can go through my AAA office, or rather, my parents will do it for me since I'll be abroad, and I don't have to worry about the hassles of dealing with an airline company. A flat $250 fee and any increases in return fare will cover it. 

Photo courtesy of Google Maps. Things look a lot less green right about now.

If you've never flown (which I'll be honest, this is my first time!) then the following sentence probably makes sense. If a round trip ticket costs $2000 then the one way ticket probably costs around $1000. Seems like it would make logical sense, yeah? Unfortunately, airline companies are not that logical. What seems to be more the case is the following. If a round trip ticket costs $2000 then so does the one way ticket. Give or take. Now, I can't afford two one way tickets. I'm not made of money. So I opted for the one way and paying the fee to change the date. Saves money. I'm happy. Life solved.

Again, since I've never flown before I rely on the wisdom of the masses (i.e. the internet) to get my information. I've heard that not all tickets can have their dates changed and, not wanting to be left with a bill I can't pay, I opted to spend $50 at my local agent for that peace of mind in knowing that yes, 100% absolutely I can change my return date. The other reason for buying round trip is that I've heard two different stories on entering Japan on a student visa. Some people have said you must have a return flight already booked, others say it's not necessary. I like to air on the side of caution, so my ticket is ready. I'll let you know more after orientation on the 30th.

I'm also currently working on sponsorships. So if you or anyone in your community is interested in sponsoring, please send me an e-mail with a name and address and I will get a letter mailed out!

So that's it for today. If I don't write any more before then have a happy thanksgiving!

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