Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To fly home - Fly From Seoul (Personal Entry)

To fly home from Japan is overwhelmingly pricy. I compared ticket prices from different departure cities on http://www.vayama.com .

Example 1: To Paris

This is relevant to two people at the GaiDai. Assume they fly out on August 4th in either case:

From Fukuoka - $1529 (~€973.66)

From Seoul - $1059 (~€674.31)

Example 2: To Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A sizable amount of the GaiDai students here come from Wisconsin.

From Fukuoka on August 2nd - $2358

From Seoul on August 5th - $1364

Example 3: To Upstate NY (Albany)

Two or more GaiDai students are from Upstate New York. These are the fares for August 4th:

From Fukuoka - $2388

From Seoul - $1432

Example 4: To St. Louis, Missouri

At least two of us are from Missouri. The fares are for August 4th from Fukuoka, August 5th from Seoul. Immediately after the weekend tends to be cheaper most of the time...

From Fukuoka - $2071

From Seoul - $1390

Example 5: To London

We also have some Brits...

From Fukuoka on August 5th - $1388 (~£691.42)

From Seoul on August 4th - $1059 (~£535.61)

My example: To San Diego, CA

I'm visiting an uncle & a friend before I take a domestic flight back to Wichita. My flight leaves Seoul August 10th, so I have 8 days to have fun and visit family in my motherland. Before I discovered the Seoul option, I futilely looked for fares from Japan.

From Fukuoka on August 2nd - $1852 (with the first connecting flight to Seoul, and a layover in my motherland for just 2 1/2 hours.)

From Seoul on August 10th - $990 (after insurance; this is the flight for which I already bought the ticket.)


Buy the ticket for the ferry to Busan. If you show your GaiDai ID, you will get a Student Discount price of ~¥10,400, which is about ~$97.13, ~£49.13, or ~€61.53. (Without it, it's ~¥13,000.) It's called the "JR Beetle" and it's a hydrofoil jet ferry; gets you to Busan in just 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Once there, take the KTX (the Korean Shinkansen) to Seoul, at the price of 47,900 Won. Actually, I can't seem to find the price for that one-way ticket anymore. Either I don't remember where on the Korail site I saw it, or they changed the pricing structure for foreign travelers. The price for a 3-day pass for youth aged 13-25 is 60,700 Won (about ~$60.86, ~£30.78, or ~€38.56.) I hope travelers can still ask for the cheaper one-way ticket at their station. If Korail has an English website, then they should have a few English-speaking employees. I'm sure they'll also have Japanese speakers.

After a brief stay in Seoul, enjoy your cheaper flight back home!

(Note: I didn't put up the flights for the destinations of some of the others at the GaiDai, but now you know to go to Vayama (and any other reputable international discount flight ticket vendor) and find the lowest fares to your destination. It's much cheaper to fly from Seoul than from anywhere in Japan so I strongly recommend you to only fly home from there.)

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