I needs to travel home on the cheap! (From Tokyo to Ohio)
July 18, 2013 2:20 AM   Subscribe

I am going to be moving back home from Japan (Narita or Haneda) to Ohio (Cleveland-Hopkins) in about 3 weeks to a month. I have not purchased a plane ticket yet, and have no clue where to start. I am considering doing a bit of traveling in between, but don't have too much money to spend so I would like to iron out the details of my return plans first. Help me, Metafilter!

I've got three different ideas for how to do this:

A) Direct flight home (One-Way)

B) Flight to LA to visit friends, then home

C) Trek about Southeast Asia for a bit, then California or go home

These are obviously in very different price ranges. I have a bit of leisure money saved up, and the price of the ticket will play a big part in which option I choose. So of course I'd like to find a very cheap option.

I've only used a few travel ticket sites before, and am not sure what sites to search to get the cheapest airfares. Are there any sites that are reliable for this? (I know kayak... that's about it)

PS: I am willing to return to an airport farther away from Cleveland (for example, Akron/Canton or even Chicago) to save cash.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Kamelot123 to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
I personally like Skyscanner for this type of search. Really flexible in lots of ways!

Things to be aware of: a one-way ticket is often much more expensive than a return. It can be worth getting a return even though you'll only use it one way.

Also, Obon is coming up, and prices for all travel out of Japan will skyrocket. Play around with dates and airports, as these things make a huge difference, especially when you're looking at such an intense peak travel season.
posted by harujion at 3:03 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Honestly, if you're not leaving Japan tonight, you're lookin at crazy airfares. Airfares go up with the end of the school term (basically Friday and Saturday, the 19th and 20th), and they don't go back down until mid-September. You're looking at double to triple the normal airfare, and most flights have likely been fully booked for weeks, if not months.

It might, if you do a lot of looking,find a flight to another cpun try, you might find a cheaper flight from, say, Thailand.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:49 AM on July 18, 2013

As harujion said, It may be less expensive to get a round trip ticket, even if you don't plan to use the return.

KAL has round trip flights for about $1,600 to LA. Then just do a cheapo flight home. Try the flights on Tuesdays, for some reason, they're the cheapest.

Now, another option would be to see if you could be an air courier. You can call the airlines directly. I'd start with Delta, since they do flights from Japan. Email them and see what they say. KAL or JAL may be other options as well. I wouldn't hold my breath, but it may be a thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on July 18, 2013

My unexpected experience on traveling from Tokyo is that the travel agents can still get you good prices. I was reluctant at first but came around after friends and colleagues were finding better prices through the likes of HIS and JTB than I was online. Whether or not you buy through them, they will sit down with you to make a proposed itinerary and price. Especially for complicated trips (e.g. open-jaw or multi-city), they can propose some interesting solutions.

Besides that, seconding the above advice of other residents and ex-residents.
posted by whatzit at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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