Tokyo City Guide

Things to Do, Where to Stay, and How to Get Around

Fun Facts About Tokyo

  • Tokyo is the most populated city in the world, with a population of 38 million people in the Greater Tokyo Area. That’s greater than the entire population of Canada!
  • The emoji that many people think is the Eiffel Tower is actually Tokyo Tower. Modeled after its French look-alike, it’s the second tallest building in the city (next to Tokyo Skytree).
  • The three busiest train stations in the world are all in Tokyo. More than 3.5 million commuters pass through Shinjuku Station every day.
  • Tokyo has the most Michelin stars of any city. It is home to 13 three-star restaurants, Michelin’s highest designation.
  • Tokyo is ranked the safest city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit, making it a reassuring destination for travelers.
  • Shibuya crossing is the world’s busiest crosswalk. Often as many as 2,500 people cross at a time!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Tokyo?

Well, that depends. Tokyo has plenty to offer all year round, from seasonal landscapes to animated festivals. When planning a trip to Tokyo, take time to consider what’s most important to you. Are you traveling on a budget? Do you want to avoid tourists? Is there a specific event you’d like to attend?

Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Tokyo:


For Weather

  • Spring – Cherry blossoms signal the first signs of spring around late March. As the weather warms up, Tokyoites flock to the city’s many parks and gardens for picnics in the open air. By May, the temperature reaches an average of 73°F (23°C), with an average low of 59°F (15°C). Be sure to leave by June, when the rainy season arrives and you’ll find it impossible to go anywhere without your umbrella!


  • Fall – The oppressive summer humidity finally disappears once typhoon season dies down in September. By October, temperatures reach the same range as in May, and the fall colors begin to paint the city. This dry and mild climate is ideal for sightseeing and makes getting around more comfortable, which is important considering how much you’ll need to use public transportation.


For Seasonal Events

Cherry Blossom Festivals (March) – Cherry blossom season, or sakura matsuri, is easily Japan’s favorite time of the year. When you see the canopies of pink and white for yourself, you’ll understand why. Tokyo celebrates sakura season with a number of week-long festivals throughout the city. Nakameguro Cherry Blossom FestivalChiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival, and Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival are all great opportunities to admire the flowers and sample Japanese street foods from the yatai (food stalls).

PRO TIP: Cherry blossom season usually arrives in Tokyo during the last week of March, but you can never be too sure. Check festival websites and the cherry blossom forecast to confirm before booking your trip.


Kanamara Matsuri (April) – The first Sunday in April is the Kanamara Festival in nearby Kawasaki. Though it is traditionally a festival honoring fertility and happy marriage, today it is better known as the “penis festival.” Centered around a procession of giant phallic statues, the Kanamara Festival is one of Tokyo’s quirkiest celebrations.

Tsutsuji Matsuri (April) – Visit Nezu Shrine at the end of the month for the Bunkyo Azalea Festival. The shrine is home to 3,000+ azalea plants, including some rare varieties which are in full bloom this time of year.

Sanja Matsuri (May) – Sanja Matsuri is a traditional Shinto festival honoring the founders of Tokyo’s largest temple, Senso-ji. For three days on the third weekend of May, see priests, geishas, musicians, and dancers animate the Asakusa neighborhood. This is a great way to learn about Tokyo’s history and experience Japanese traditions, like taiko drumming, for free.

Sumo Grand Tournament (May/September/January) – The Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) opens its doors for 15 days in May for one of three annual Sumo Grand Tournaments. The other Grand Tournaments take place in September and January.

PRO TIP: Those who plan on traveling to Japan to watch sumo wrestling (the country’s national sport) should book tickets in advance, as these are very popular events.


Tanabata (July) – High humidity and hot temperatures can make Tokyo summers nearly unbearable. However, the city’s many summer festivals make travel worthwhile. July’s Tanabata (star festival) marks the beginning of the summer festival season with its colorful decorations. Celebrate by writing down your wish and hanging it from a bamboo branch.

Obon (July-August) – Later in the month, Tokyo’s first Obon festivals begin taking place. People hang lanterns and perform folk dances at altars and shrines across the city to honor dead ancestors. If you miss the July festivities, don’t worry. A second round of Obon festivals takes place in August.

Firework Festivals (July-August) – Summer in Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without hanabi (Japanese firework festivals), the largest of which is the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival. Over one million people gather in Asakusa on the last Saturday in July to watch 20,000 fireworks illuminate the night sky. It’s an hour-and-a-half-long spectacle unlike any firework show you’ve ever seen.

Summer Sonic Music Festival (August) – Summer Sonic is Japan’s largest music festival, taking place in Tokyo and Osaka for one weekend in mid-August. Here you’ll find the biggest names across all genres of the Japanese and international music scenes.

Rugby/Baseball/Soccer Season (October) – For sports fans, there’s no better time of year to visit Tokyo than October, when rugby, baseball, and soccer season are in full swing. Catch a rugby or soccer game at Ajinomoto Stadium or a baseball game at the monumental Tokyo Dome.

Winter Illuminations (December) – Winter weather in Tokyo is chilly, but the glistening winter illuminations throughout the city make it worth hanging out outside. Each neighborhood puts on its own light show, sometimes accompanied by seasonal attractions like outdoor skating rinks and Christmas markets.


New Year’s Eve Celebrations (December 31) – New Year’s Eve is particularly festive in Tokyo, where people flock to the streets at midnight banging pots and pans. The best way to spend this holiday is with locals, eating the bountiful array of dishes in Osechi Ryori (traditional Japanese New Year’s Eve meal).


For Cost Effectiveness

 Mid-January to March – Late winter is off-season in Tokyo. This is when you’ll find that flight prices and hotel rates drop. However, traveling during this time of the year also means you’ll have to deal with chillier temperatures, shorter days, and fewer festivities.

Late May – The first week of May is Golden Week – four days in a row of national holidays – during which many businesses shut down. Many Japanese take this opportunity to go on vacation, which temporarily hikes flight prices to all destinations in Japan, including Tokyo. Just after Golden Week ends, however, flight prices tend to drop.


For Fewer Tourists

Fall – One of the most beautiful times to travel to Tokyo, fall is also one of the most peaceful times, as most tourists head back to school and work. October and November may offer fewer festivals, but the nice weather makes up for it.

January to February – Naturally, Tokyo is the least crowded during its winter months. Tokyo winters aren’t too cold, though. January temperatures fall to 41°F (5°C) on average, with February temperatures just a few degrees warmer. If you don’t mind missing out on the festival season, this could be the perfect time for you to visit.

Getting to Tokyo

Now that you’ve decided when you’re traveling to Tokyo, it’s time to figure out how to get there. Tokyo has two international airports, Narita and Haneda, each with its own pros and cons. Get to know both of them before booking your flight.


Narita International Airport

Located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) outside of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture, Narita International Airport is the most popular airport for non-Asian airlines. It is a hub for United and Delta, so you may find prices to and from hub cities in the United States more affordable than from Haneda. Narita is also a hub for Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (known as Zennikkū or ANA) international flights.

For those who prefer to arrive early before a flight, Narita is the best choice. There is an extensive shopping mall, plenty of restaurants to choose from, a cultural center and art gallery, as well as nine premium lounges.

The major downside of flying to and from Narita is its distance from the city. Getting to the airport from central Tokyo can take 1-2 hours and might set you back a hefty sum, depending on your means of transportation.

VERDICT: Choose Narita if you value more international flight options.


Getting to Tokyo from Narita

Although Narita Airport is far from Tokyo proper, transportation to and from the city is actually quite simple. You have four options:

  • JR Narita Express – Also called N’EX, this Japan Rail-operated train connects Narita Airport to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, and Tokyo stations in central Tokyo. Prices vary from ¥3,020 ($27.48) to ¥4,730 ($43.03) depending on class and distance. A one-way trip to Shinjuku takes about 85 minutes and costs ¥3,190 ($29.02) for a basic ticket. You can save money by buying a round-trip ticket (valid for two weeks) for a flat rate of ¥4,000 ($36.39). The Narita Express is also covered by the JR Rail Pass.

  • The Keisei Skyliner – Traveling 100 mph (160 kph), the Keisei Skyliner is the fastest way to get to Narita Airport. This is the best option for accessing East Tokyo because it departs from Ueno station. A one-way trip between Ueno and Narita takes about 40 minutes and costs ¥2,200 ($20.02). However, to access west Tokyo, you’ll have to transfer to the Narita Express or to JR metropolitan trains.

  • Bus – Buses are the cheapest way to access Narita International Airport, often costing as little as ¥1,000 ($9.10). This is also the best option for traveling to locations in the Greater Tokyo Area. Check the timetables to find out which bus is best for you.

  • Taxi – Tokyo taxis are expensive. Avoid taking one to or from Narita if possible, at the risk of spending upwards of ¥20,000 ($181.96).


Haneda International Airport

Only eight miles from Tokyo Station, in the heart of the city, is Haneda International Airport. The second busiest airport in all of Asia, Haneda beats Narita in terms of size and traffic – but only when it comes to domestic and intercontinental flights. Non-Asian international airlines are increasingly establishing routes to Haneda, but there are still fewer options than you’ll find at Narita.


Haneda also offers a wide assortment of restaurants and shops. There are seven premium lounges and one free-access lounge for all passengers.

Compared to Narita, accessing Central Tokyo from Haneda is a breeze. Getting to the city center costs a fraction of what it costs to get there from Narita, but it doesn’t necessarily save you time. Most trips require you to take two trains, which can be a hassle when toting around luggage.

VERDICT: Choose Haneda if you prefer to be close to the city.


Getting to Tokyo from Haneda

The biggest benefit of arriving at Haneda International Airport is that getting to central Tokyo is cheaper and often faster. You have four options:

  • Keikyu Line + JR Yamanote Line – To access central Tokyo, you’ll need to take two trains. It’s a quick, cheap journey that requires transferring and buying two separate tickets. First, take the Keikyu Line from Haneda to Shinagawa Station. It takes 15 minutes and costs ¥410 ($3.73). At Shinagawa Station, transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. The Shinagawa to Shinjuku leg takes 20 minutes and costs ¥200 ($1.82).

    Note: The Keikyu Line is not covered by the JR Rail Pass.

  • Tokyo Monorail + JR Yamanote Line – An alternative to the Keikyu Line is the Tokyo Monorail. From Haneda, take the Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station. This leg of the trip takes 15 minutes and costs ¥490 ($4.46). Transfer to the JR Yamanote Line and get to Shinjuku Station in 25 minutes for just ¥200 ($1.82). The entire journey is covered by the JR Rail Pass.

  • Keikyu Limousine Bus – For a direct journey, the Keikyu Limousine Bus connects Haneda with central Tokyo and the Greater Tokyo Area. A trip to Shibuya costs ¥1,030 ($9.37) and takes about 60 minutes. You might sacrifice time and money, but it’s a much easier trip, especially if you have heavy luggage.

  • Taxi– Once again, this is the most expensive option. A taxi ride from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo costs about ¥7,100 ($64.60).

Transportation in and Around Tokyo

Confused by all those trains and station names? It’s only natural. Tokyo is equipped with an incredibly extensive public transportation system that includes trains, subways, and buses. The primary train lines are operated by Japan Rail, while private railways connect Central Tokyo with the Greater Tokyo Area. In addition to the rail system, Tokyo also has two subway networks.

For first-time travelers to Tokyo, the various transportation networks can seem overwhelming and confusing. Here’s what you need to know to navigate Tokyo with ease.


JR Trains

Japan’s public rail company, Japan Rail (JR), operates five lines that run through central Tokyo and parts of the Greater Tokyo Area.


  • Yamanote Line – The circle line that connects most of the major neighborhoods in central Tokyo.


  • Keihin-Tohoku Line – Runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the eastern side and continues to Yokohama.


  • Chuo-Sobu Line (Local) – Runs through the center of the Yamanote Line.


  • Chuo Line (Rapid) – Also runs through the Yamanote Line, connecting Shinjuku with Tokyo Station.


  • Saikyo Line – Runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the western side and connects central Tokyo to Odaiba.



Private Trains

Connecting central Tokyo to outer Tokyo and nearby prefectures, Tokyo’s eight private railways are essential to getting to non-central locations in the metropolis. Most of the private railways connect to stations on the Yamanote Line for convenient access.


  • Tokyu Railway – Connects southwest Tokyo to neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture.


  • Tobu Railway – Connects north Tokyo to Saitama Prefecture and Tochigi Prefecture. Use this railway to access Nikko, a popular destination for day trips from Tokyo.


  • Seibu Railway – Connects northwest Tokyo to the Tokyo Tama (outer Tokyo) region and Saitama Prefecture.


  • Keio Railway – Connects west Tokyo to various neighborhoods in the Tokyo Tama region.


  • Odakyu Railway – Connects west Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture. Use this railway to access Hakone, another popular day trip destination.


  • Keisei Railway – Connects east Tokyo to Chiba Prefecture, including Narita International Airport.


  • Keikyu Railway – Connects south Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture, including Haneda International Airport.


  • Tsukuba Express – Connects east Tokyo with Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture.



There are two subway networks in central Tokyo, with a total of 13 lines. Some subway lines turn into private train lines once they leave the city center, so be aware of your train’s destination before boarding.

  • Tokyo Metro – Nine lines that cover the majority of the area within the Yamanote Line circle.


  • Toei Subways – Four lines that cover the eastern area of the Yamanote Line near Ginza.


Tokyo Toei Buses

Foreign bus networks can be intimidating, but they are also a great way to get your bearings in a new city. Central Tokyo’s Toei buses cover all the main neighborhoods within and around the Yamanote Line. Toei runs over 1,400 buses per day, which make stops at each of the Toei subway stations from 6AM to 10PM.

Unlike other buses in Japan, Toei buses follow the same system as most western buses. Enter at the front of the bus (the opposite of most Japanese buses) and pay a flat rate of ¥210 ($1.90) for a one-way journey.


Tickets, IC Cards, and the JR Rail Pass

Tickets for trains and subways in Tokyo vary by distance, meaning a one-way ticket might only cost you ¥130 ($1.15), while another might cost you over ¥1,000 ($9). To avoid spending half your travel budget on transportation, consider one of the following options:

  • Get a Prepaid IC Card  IC (Integrated Circuit) cards are practical for hopping between train lines. You can load these rechargeable cards at any train station kiosk to receive contactless access to public transportation. You can also use them for purchases at many konbini (Japanese convenience stores).

    The benefit of an IC card is convenience, but the drawback is that you won’t actually save any money. You are credited for the full value of each trip you take.

    IC cards relevant to Tokyo include Suica (the IC card for JR trains in the Greater Tokyo, Niigata, and Sendai regions) and Pasmo (the IC card for Tokyo’s railway, subway, and bus system – alternative to the JR Pass).


  • Buy a Day Pass – Unfortunately, because each rail and subway company operates on different tickets, day passes are usually only valid on single networks. Therefore, day passes are a good option if you plan on exploring a single area of Tokyo at a time (read: one network).

    The most useful day pass is the Tokunai Pass, which allows access to all JR trains for 24 hours and only costs ¥750 ($6.75).

    Tokyo Free Kippu is one day pass which does cover multiple networks, including JR trains, Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway. This pass costs ¥1,590 ($14.30) per day.


  • The JR Rail Pass – Many travelers to Japan find the JR Rail Pass enticing, as it provides unlimited uses of JR trains to tourists. However, if you plan on staying in Tokyo, a JR Rail Pass won’t actually save you much money. You’ll need to buy additional tickets for every trip on a non-JR train. However, it does cover the Narita Express and is useful if you plan on traveling beyond Tokyo. 


Tokyo Water Bus

The Water Bus is a fun and atypical way to explore Tokyo Bay and its islands, such as Odaiba. Three lines offer access to different parts of Tokyo Bay:

  • Asakusa-Odaiba Direct Line – Travel from the cultural center of Asakusa to Odaiba for a relaxing sightseeing cruise through the city. The trip takes about 50 minutes and costs ¥1,560 ($14) one-way. This is a great way to see the Rainbow Bridge!


  • Sumida River Line – This line runs along mainland Tokyo from Asakusa to Hama Rikyu Garden. The trip takes about 25 minutes and costs ¥980 ($8.80)


  • Odaiba Line – Access Odaiba Seaside Park from Hinode in just 25 minutes for ¥410 ($3.70). There, find the Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center.



Tokyo’s taxis are known for being expensive, so budget travelers should avoid using them whenever possible. This may be easy to do during the day, when public transportation is up and running, but once trains stop around midnight, taxis may be the only option for transportation. Typical fares start at ¥410 ($3.70) for one kilometer and increase by ¥90 ($0.80) for every 280 meters traveled. 




If you find yourself in need of a taxi, you can hail one by using the JapanTaxi app or by going to a taxi stand, which you can find in front of most train stations. A green light signals that a taxi is available and a red light signals that it is not.

Once you’ve found a taxi, there is certain etiquette to follow. First of all, don’t open the door. Taxi doors are operated with a remote control by the driver, who will also close the door for you. Have your destination’s address ready to show the driver so he or she understands where you are going. Most taxis accept cash payment, but some also accept payment by credit card or IC Card.


Renting a Car in Tokyo

If you plan on staying within Tokyo borders, renting a car is probably an unnecessary inconvenience. However, if you’d like to explore the nearby prefectures or visit a lesser-traveled region of Japan, you might consider renting a car.

Popular car rental companies include Orix Rent-a-Car, Toyota Rent-a-Car, and Nippon Rent-a-Car, which are all located on the outskirts of central Tokyo. Prices per day tend to be at least ¥10,000 ($90), not including toll and fuel prices.


PRO TIP: Compare rental car rates using Tabirai.


In order to reserve a car, you must be over 18 and possess a valid non-Japanese driver’s license. For travelers from Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, Slovenia, and Taiwan, this can be a Japanese translation of your driver’s license. For all other travelers, you are required to have an International Driver’s License, which you should purchase at your country’s Department of Motor Vehicles in advance.

Finally, keep in mind that Japanese roads are left-oriented, so you should be comfortable driving on the left side of the road. Make sure to brush up on Japanese driving rules, as all road signs are in kanji (one of three Japanese scripts)!

The Quintessential Guide to Tokyo Neighborhoods

Tokyo is truly massive. The Greater Tokyo Area spans a mind-boggling 5,240 square miles and includes over 1,000 train stations. To make the area more manageable, it’s divided into 23 special wards and 26 surrounding cities. Each of these wards and cities has a distinct personality and so much to explore.

From the areas that can’t be missed to the ones you’re better off avoiding, here’s a breakdown of Tokyo’s neighborhoods.


Tokyo’s Most Popular Neighborhoods

Asakusa – In the heart of Edo-shitamachi (old town Tokyo) sits the city’s oldest and grandest temple, Senso-ji. Walking around these ancient streets gives you an idea of what the city was like hundreds of years ago. Also in the neighborhood is Tokyo’s tallest structure, Tokyo Skytree, where you can view the city from 2,000 feet in the air.




Shinjuku – In the busiest neighborhood of the city you’ll find a little bit of everything. For most of the day (and even throughout the night), office workers in suits shuffle through the streets of departments stores and izakayas (Japanese gastropubs). At night, Shinjuku is a prime neighborhood for bar crawling, karaoke, and even late-night shopping at Don Quijote.  


Harajuku – Bright colors, platform shoes, improbable styles, and funky patterns are the norm in Harajuku, where more is more. If you ever wanted to try out a statement look, like goth or Lolita, do it here and no one will bat an eye. Behind the bustling Takeshita-dori shopping street is the Meiji shrine, a peaceful reprieve and one of the most popular shrines in Tokyo.


Akihabara – For all things otaku (Japanese geek culture), come to Akihabara. Here, you’ll find bookstores and libraries of manga and anime alongside electronics stores, arcades, and maid cafes.


Shibuya – After meeting up with friends at Hachiko statue, wander the bubble-gum-colored streets and alleys of Shibuya. Costume stores, themed restaurants, arcades, and an entire building dedicated to photo booths are just a few of the fun establishments you’ll find in the most recognizable district of Tokyo.


Roppongi – Located in the geographical center of the city, Roppongi is home to the esteemed Mori Art Museum, a must-visit for modern art lovers. At night, the neighborhood transforms into a meeting place for nightclub-goers and partiers.


Ginza – Luxury department stores like Ginza Mitsukoshi and Tokyu Plaza Ginza sell the world’s finest brands in this upscale neighborhood. It’s also just a jaunt away from the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, where 5 million pounds of fish (worth $28 million USD) are sold fresh every day!


Best Neighborhoods off the Beaten Path

Kichijoji – The neighborhood surrounding the tranquil Inokashira Park is adored for its labyrinthine shopping arcades and the hidden stand-up bars and food stalls of Harmonica Alley. Kichijoji is also where you’ll find the Studio Ghibli Museum, which celebrates the master animators behind classic films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.


Chofu – Outside of central Tokyo is the town of Chofu, where temples, shrines, and the Jindai Botanical Garden serve as peaceful breaks from the city. It’s also home to Ajinomoto Stadium, the Tokyo HQ for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.


Shimokitazawa – Cozy cafes, thrift shops, and record stores make up this haven for hip Tokyoites. Though the neighborhood is quite popular now, its low-key location, low-rise buildings, and quiet atmosphere long kept it off the beaten path.


Yanesen – On the eastern side of the city is an area referred to as “Yanesen,” a portmanteau of Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi. These three neighborhoods exude all the cool of Shimokitazawa but remain unspoiled by popularity. Edo-era shrines and temples are scattered around, and ancient spaces are transformed into innovative pop-up shops and galleries.


Daikanyama – Sometimes called “the Brooklyn of Tokyo,” Daikanyama is one of the coolest upcoming neighborhoods around. Understated bars and unique shops line its quiet streets. One of the most popular attractions is T-Site, a bookstore broken into fragments and nestled among the trees.


Neighborhoods to Avoid

Kabukicho – Within the confines of Shinjuku is the seedy quarter of Kabukicho. As you walk down the streets of this red light district, you’re bound to be harangued by street hawkers and scammers selling X-rated experiences. Kabukicho isn’t all bad, this is where you’ll find the Robot Restaurant (now closed), but you’re probably better off staying away if you’re with your family or partner.


Ueno at Night – By day, cultured locals and tourists frequent the museums and parks of the Ueno neighborhood. At night, the busy shopping street of Ameyoko lights up with carnival-style food vendors and shops. Nearby, though, some of Tokyo’s homeless citizens are known to harass passersby. You might not need to avoid Ueno altogether, but you should be on guard when walking around at night. 


Roppongi at Night – The thrill of Roppongi’s raucous nightlife is quickly lost on victims of the area’s rampant scamming. Roppongi-based thieves often target tourists who let down their guard in the area’s nightclubs and bars. Those who go out in this area should watch out for unsavory characters and keep an eye on their drinks, as spiked drinks are a growing problem in Roppongi.

Tips for Staying Safe in Tokyo

  • Leave your credit card at the hotel. Especially if you plan on going out at night. Japan still runs on cash, so once you’ve withdrawn all that you need, safely store your cards at your accommodation. Most scammers target people they see using cards.

  • Get a theft-proof bag. Visitors to Tokyo don’t have to worry too much about pickpockets. Still, whenever you’re in a crowded area, it’s best to keep your belongings close to you, just in case. Invest in a money belt or theft-proof bag to ensure the security of your belongings.

  • Avoid bars advertised by street hawkers. In neighborhoods popular for nightlife like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Roppongi, street hawkers try to lure passersby for a drink. These are the bars that are most likely to scam you. Seat fees, overpriced drinks, and guilt-trips to get you to buy multiple rounds are just a few of the ways these bars take advantage of tourists.

  • Keep an eye on your drink. Men and women are both targets of drink-spiking. A good way to protect yourself from these criminals is to keep your drink in front of you at all times and keep your hand over the top of your glass.

  • Don’t get too drunk. Assault doesn’t occur very often in Tokyo, but when it does, the victims are often drunk. Visibly drunk tourists are sometimes targeted by thieves and fall victim to physical harassment that may end in theft. Keeping your wits about you is a good rule of thumb.

  • Register your trip with your embassy or consulate. Just in case something happens, like a natural disaster or medical emergency, let your government know where you’ll be traveling ahead of time. For Americans, this means enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

  • Get travel medical insurance. Even a mild injury or sickness can put a damper on a trip. To make sure you have coverage if an accident or sudden illness befalls you, purchase travel medical insurance

Learn what travel medical insurance is or discover why you may need it for your trip to Japan. 

  • Call 119 for an ambulance. Easy to remember, but you should jot it down in your contacts anyway.

Where to Get Medical Help in Tokyo

Let’s say some unfortunate medical problem does occur during your trip to Tokyo. Not fun, but definitely not the end of the world. If you have travel medical insurance, you’ll at least know you’re covered for eligible illnesses and injuries.

One thing you can be sure of in Tokyo is that you’re never far from a hospital or medical center. However, finding one with English-speaking doctors is another story.

So that you don’t waste precious time on your trip trying to explain your ailment charades-style, here’s a list of English-speaking medical facilities throughout the city:

St. Luke’s International Hospital

9-1 Akashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8560

Tel: (+81) 03-3541-5151

Mon-Fri 8:30AM-11AM

After hours available


Tokyo Metropolitan Hiroo Hospital

2-34-10 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013

Tel: (+81) 03-3444-1181

Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat 9AM-12PM

After hours in case of emergency


Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Medical Center

1-29-60 Musashidai, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-0042

Tel: (+81) 04-2323-5111

Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM

After hours available


Jikei University Hospital

3-19-18 Nishi Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8471

Tel: (+81) 03-3433-1111

Mon-Sat 8AM-9PM, Sun 10AM-2PM

After hours available


NTT Medical Center

5-9-22 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-8625

Tel: (+81) 03-3448-6112

Mon-Fri 8:30AM-11AM, 1:30PM-3PM

After hours available


Sanno Hospital

8-10-16 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052

Tel: (+81) 03-3402-2187

Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5:30PM

After hours not available


Seibo Byoin International Catholic Hospital

2-5-1 Nakaochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 161-8521

Tel: (+81) 03-3951-1111

Mon-Fri 8AM-11AM

After hours not available


Tokyo Adventist Hospital

3-17-3 Amanuma, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 167-0032

Tel: (+81) 03-3392-6151

Mon-Thu 9AM-5PM, Fri 9AM-12PM

After hours available


Tokyo Midtown Medical Center

Midtown Tower 6F, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6206

Tel: (+81) 03-5413-0080

Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM, Sat 9AM-12PM

After hours not available

Where to Stay in Tokyo

Where you choose to stay can make or break your trip. Luckily, Tokyo has unique accommodation options for all budgets that succeed at making sleep a notable experience.

Before deciding where to stay, our Tokyo City Guide explains the six types of accommodation you’ll come across in the city:

  • Hostel – An affordable dormitory with communal living spaces such as bathrooms, a kitchen, and lounge areas. They mostly accommodate young adults and sometimes even have an age limit.


  • Manga Café – A cybercafé and manga (Japanese comics) library with small, individual cabins. This is not likely to be an accommodation at which you plan to stay, but it can provide a good fallback in case of emergency.


  • Capsule Hotel – Similar to a hostel, but with more privacy, these Japanese hotels are often booked for one-night stays. Guests are assigned private “capsules,” human-sized cubbies with a bed, electric panel, and sometimes a television. Some capsule hotels may be reserved for men only.


  • Love Hotel – Also uniquely Japanese, this is a kind of motel that you can book hourly or nightly. The name comes from the fact that the clientele are usually couples looking for a short stay. It’s also a quirky experience, as love hotels are almost always themed.


  • Ryokan – A traditional Japanese guesthouse with tatami (straw mat) rooms, access to an onsen (Japanese hot spring) or sento (Japanese bathhouse), and communal living areas where guests can lounge in a yukata (Japanese house kimono). Staying at a ryokan provides a unique cultural experience.


  • Hotel – Western-style accommodations with fully private rooms and bathrooms. In Tokyo, a city that values design, there are many boutique and luxury hotels to choose from.


Budget Accommodations


Book and Bed

The self-billed “accommodation bookshop” is a dream-come-true for bibliophiles who’ve always wanted to sleep in a bookcase. In this concept hostel, you can snuggle up with a book before falling asleep. Locations in Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Asakusa.


1-17-7 Lumiere building 7-8F, Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0021

Rates from ¥1,620 ($14.60)


Nine Hours

This popular capsule hotel is available for one-night stays only. A bath towel, face towel, loungewear, and toothbrush are provided for each guest. Nine Hours has locations in Shinjuku, Takebashi, Kanda (women only), Akasaka, and Tamata. Also available at Narita International Airport. 

Nine Hours Shinjuku-North building 3-8F, 1-4-15 Hyakunincho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0073

Rates from ¥4,900 ($44)




°C Sauna + Sleep

Inspired by Scandinavian wellness traditions, this concept capsule hotel – pronounced “Do-C” – features an on-site sauna. Stays are limited to one night and facilities are separate for men and women. Located in Ebisu.


1-8-1 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013

Rates from ¥4,900 ($44)


Oedo Onsen Motogari

Often called an “onsen theme park,” this extensive onsen (hot spring) facility hosts guests overnight. There is a large, on-site food court where you can sample foods from all across Japan. If you have any visible tattoos, this is not the place for you, as they are forbidden in the onsen area (as is tradition in most of Japan). Located in Odaiba.


2-6-3 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064

Rates from ¥4,436 ($40)


Mid-Range Accommodations


Hotel Koé

Hotel Koé is more than an accommodation. This hotel is a concept space with a public shopping area, gallery, performance space, café, and restaurant. The rooms are ultra-modern and ideal for those who enjoy sleek interior design. Located in Shibuya.


3-7 Udagawa, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042

Rates from ¥21,591 ($194)


Claska Hotel

This western-style hotel offers the hospitality of an inn and the services and atmosphere of a luxury establishment. Once a traditional Japanese hotel, Claska retains the minimalism of Japanese tradition while being familiar enough for tourists to feel at home. Located in Meguro.


1-3-18 Chuo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 152-0001

Rates from ¥13,000 ($117)


Bed & Art Hotel (BnA)

Each room in this independent art hotel is decorated by a different Japanese artist. The hotel also features a bar, gallery, and rooftop lounge. Located in Koenji and Akihabara (rates are higher at Akihabara).


2-4-7 Koenjikita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 166-0002

Rates from ¥16,000 ($144)


Luxury Accommodations




Live like a Meiji emperor in Tokyo’s first luxury ryokan. This 17-story establishment features private baths in each room, in addition to the onsen (hot spring) available to all guests. Located in Otemachi.


1-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004

Rates from ¥67,200 ($604.50)


Park Hyatt Tokyo

Famously featured in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, the Park Hyatt is a favorite of luxury travelers to Tokyo. The hotel features a bar, indoor pool, and fitness facility, each with panoramic views of the city. Located in Shinjuku.


3-7-1-2, 3-7 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1055

Rates from ¥90,000 ($809.50)


The Ritz Carlton Tokyo

The Ritz Carlton is located in Tokyo’s tallest residential building, from which you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. As one of the world’s preeminent luxury hotel brands, you can expect fine dining, a relaxing spa, and impeccable hospitality. Located in Akasaka.


Tokyo Midtown Building, 9-7-1, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6245

Rates from ¥122,500 ($1,102)


Near Ajinomoto Stadium


Creston Hotel

This budget hotel is an easy walk to the stadium in Chofu, making it a perfect option for sports tourists planning on catching a soccer or rugby match in Tokyo. Because it has a carpark, Creston Hotel is also a good home base for people who plan on renting cars for traveling outside of Tokyo. Located in Chofu.


1-38-1 Kojima, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-0026

Rates from ¥11,389 ($102)


Hotel Musashino no Mori

The Musashino “Forest” Hotel is a convenient accommodation for sightseeing in outer Tokyo. Western and Japanese-style rooms are available and full and half board are optional. Located in Fuchu.


6-12-8 Shiraitodai, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-0011

Rates from ¥4,500 ($40.50)


Full Board vs Half Board: What’s the Difference?


Full Board – Typically includes bed, breakfast, packed lunch, and an evening meal

Half Board – Typically includes bed, breakfast, and an evening meal (but no packed lunch)


Keio Plaza Hotel

If you’re planning on visiting the Ajinomoto Stadium, but want to stay in the city center, the Keio Plaza Hotel at Shinjuku Station is in a convenient location. Twenty minutes on the Keio Line will get you from the stadium to the hotel. This hotel is known for some of its rooms’ colorful Hello Kitty themes. Located in Shinjuku.


2-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 160-8330

Rates from ¥23,275 ($209)

What to Do in Tokyo

Now that you’ve settled the logistics, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. Tokyo is truly a city with limitless possibilities when it comes to attractions and entertainment. To make your travel preparations easier, here are some recommendations for how to fill your days.


Art & Culture

Yayoi Kusama Museum

Yayoi Kusama is one of Japan’s most celebrated modern artists. Her artwork is displayed all throughout the country, but her largest collection is in Tokyo.


Address: 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0851

Hours: Thu-Sun/Holidays 11AM-5:30PM

Access: Waseda Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line)

               Ushigome Yanagicho Station (Toei Subway Oedo Line)

Cost: ¥1,000 ($9) *tickets must be purchased online before the date




Shibuya 109

This iconic department store is responsible for the gyaru fashion style that is popular in Shibuya. Shop costumes, wigs, and other fun attire.


Address: 2-29-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043

Hours: Mon-Sun 10AM-9PM

Access: Shibuya Station (JR Shonan-Shinjuku, Saikyu, Yamanote Lines, Tokyo Metro Ginza, Fukutoshin, Honzomon Lines, Keio Inokashira Line, Tokyu Denentoshi, Toyoko Lines)

Cost: Free Entry


The National Art Center Tokyo Gift Shop

The National Art Center Tokyo is a fantastic place to see a rotating exhibit, but it’s also a one-stop shop for unique Japanese gifts. Great for finding artisanal products from Tokyo creators.


Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-8558

Hours: Sun-Thu 10AM-6PM, Fri-Sat 10AM-8PM

             Closed Tuesdays (except holidays)

Access: Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)

               Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Toei Oedo Line)

Cost: Free Entry



The Japanese take their stationery very seriously. Come explore the best office goods Tokyo has to offer, shop for fine stationery, and order custom notebooks at Kakimori.


Address: 1-6-2, Misuji, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0055

Hours: Tue-Sun 11AM-7PM

Access: Kuramae Station (Tokyo Metro Asakusa Line, Toei Oedo Line)

               Asakusabashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Tokyo Metro Asakusa Line)

Cost: Free entry


Cultural Experiences


Kabukiza Theatre

Come see a performance of traditional Japanese kabuki theater in Ginza. English captions are available.


PRO TIP: Kabuki performances are divided into five acts. Save money by opting for Hitomaku-mi (single-act) tickets.


Address: 4-12-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

Hours: Daily shows at 11AM, 4:30PM

Access: Higashi Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Asakusa Line)

               Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Lines)

Cost: Full show for ¥4,000-¥20,000 ($36-$180), Hitomaku-mi (single-act) tickets for ¥500-¥3,000 ($4.50-$27)


HiSui Tokyo

This multi-art school is where to go to participate in Japanese culture by learning a traditional art form. You may have the opportunity to learn batto (Japanese swordsmanship), shodo (calligraphy), waso (kimono dressing), and sado (tea ceremony).


Address: 4-3-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

Hours: Mon-Sun 10AM-8:15PM

Access: Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Lines
               Yurakucho Station (JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku Lines, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)

Cost: From ¥10,000 ($90) for a 30-45-minute lesson


Haginoyu Sento

This four-story-tall sento (public bath facility) is one of the most popular bathhouses in the city. Opened in 2016, the facilities are clean, comfortable, and relaxing.


Address: 2-13-13 Negishi, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0003, Japan

Hours: Mon-Sun 6AM-9AM, 11AM-1AM

             Closed the third Tuesday of the month

Access: Uguisudani Station (JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku Lines)

               Uguisudani Ekimae bus stop (Toei Bus)

Cost: ¥460 ($4.15)


Tokyo Whiskey Library

Head to the Tokyo Whiskey Library in Omotesando to imbibe in Japanese craft whiskey. Here you can sample some of the country’s finest whiskeys.


Address: 5-5-24 Minimi Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062

Hours: Mon-Fri 6MP-3AM, Sat 3PM-3AM, Sun 3PM-Midnight

Access: Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Honzoman Line, Chiyoda Line)

Cost: Free entry




Tokyo Sushi Academy

Sushi lovers can’t miss the opportunity to make sushi with the masters. All fish comes fresh from the nearby Tsukiji Fish Market.


Address: Tsukiji KY Building 2F, 4-7-5 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045

Hours: Saturdays at 9AM, 1PM, 3PM

Access: Tsukiji Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

               Tsukiji Shijo Station (Toei Oedo Line)

Cost: ¥5,000 ($45) for a 90-minute course


Offbeat Activities


Karaoke Kan

One of hundreds, if not thousands, of karaoke joints in Tokyo. No trip to Tokyo is complete with a cathartic karaoke session.


Address: 1-5-12 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023

Hours: Mon-Sun Noon-5AM

Access: Shinjuku Station (JR Yamanote, Chuo, Chuo-Sobu, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku Lines, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Toei Shinjuku, Oedo Lines, Odakyu Odawara Line, Seibu Shinjuku Line)

Cost: ¥175 ($1.60) for 30 minutes (Mon-Thu before 7pm)

           ¥1,985 ($17.90) for all night (Mon-Thu)

           ¥2,650 ($23.80) for all night (Fri-Sun)


Nakano Broadway

Skip Akihabara and get your geek fix at this shopping mall, where you’ll also find the pop-art-inspired café of Takashi Murakami’s creation, Bar Zingaro.


Address: 5-52 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0001

Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM-8PM

Access: Nakano Station (JR Chuo, Chuo-Sobu Lines, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line)

Cost: Free entry


Akiba Fukuru Owl Café

You may find cat cafés all over the city, but for a truly unique experience, visit the Akihabara owl café. The space is intended to be a peaceful healing zone – that means no phones allowed.


Address: 67 Kanda Neribeicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0022

Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 12PM-7PM (by reservation only)

             Closed Tuesdays

Access: Akihabara Station (JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku, Chuo-Sobu Lines, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

Cost: ¥2,000 ($18)


For a Breath of Fresh Air


Yoyogi Park

Not far from the Harajuku neighborhood is a sprawling Western-style park. Yoyogi Park is ideal for picnicking, people-watching, and relaxing in nice weather.


Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0052

Hours: Mon-Sun 5AM-8PM

Access: Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line)

               Yoyogi-Koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)

               Meiji-jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines)

               Yoyogi Hachiman Station (Odakyu Line)

Cost: Free entry


Mount Takao

The most visited mountain in the world, Mount Takao sits just a train ride away on the outskirts of the Greater Tokyo Area. This is your chance to leave the city and reconnect with nature.


Address: Takaomachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0844

Hours: 24/7

Access: Takaosanguchi Station (Keio Takao Line)

Cost: Free entry


Chidorigafuchi Boating

In the moat along the Imperial Palace, you can rent colorful rowboats for a romantic afternoon. The best time to do this is during sakura season, as the cherry blossoms hang overhead. 


Address: 1−2 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0082

Hours: Tue-Sun 11AM-4:30PM

Access: Kudanishita Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai, Hanzomon Lines, Toei Shinjuku Line)

               Hanzomon Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line)

Cost: ¥1,000 ($9) for 60 minutes

Tokyo Dining: Classic Dishes & Where to Eat Them

Tokyo is heaven for foodies. Sure, it may have more Michelin stars than any other city, but here, even the average hole-in-the-wall serves up world-class meals. The ritual of food preparation in this city is as revered as its matsuri (cultural festivals), especially when it comes to Tokyo’s most emblematic dishes.

Because it has been the seat of international trade for the last 200 years, Tokyo’s cuisine has largely shaped the world’s conception of Japanese food. Sushi, tempura, and ramen, for example, all come from the bustling capital. But those aren’t the only local specialties. Here’s the Tokyo city guide to traditional dishes and where to try them for yourself.


Edo-Style Sushi

Sushi has never been unique to Tokyo, but Tokyo’s Edo-style sushi, or Edomaezushi, inspired the sushi most people recognize today. Unlike sosaku sushi, or “creative sushi,” which incorporates multiple ingredients (think California roll or spider roll), Edo-style sushi focuses on single flavors. It is also known for its incorporation of wasabi.



Where to Eat Edo-Style Sushi Like a Local:


Sushi Dai

Address: 6-5-1 Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0061

Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30AM-2PM

Access: Tsukiji Shijo Station (Toei Oedo Line)

               Tsukiji Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

Price Range: ¥2,500-¥4,000 ($22.50-$36)

Reservations Available: No


PRO TIP: Go for sushi breakfast after visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market.


Where to Eat Michelin-Starred Edo-Style Sushi:


Sushi Matsuda

Address: 5-8-11 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Hours: Mon-Sat 12PM-2PM, 5:30PM-10PM

Access: Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Ginza, Honzomon Lines)

Price Range: ¥35,000 ($314.80)

Reservations: Required


Shoyu Ramen

Since ramen made its way to Japan from China in the late 17th century, it has been uniquely adapted in each of Japan’s regions. Tokyo’s take on the trendy dish is called Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen for its soy sauce-flavored broth. The noodles are traditionally topped with pork slices, half an egg, and sliced leeks.


Where to Eat Shoyu Ramen Like a Local:


Shibasakitei Chofu

Address: 3-25-52 Nishi Tsutsujigaoka, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0006

Hours: Tue-Fri 11AM-2PM, 6PM-12AM, Sat/Sun/Holidays 11AM-4PM

Access: Tsutsujigaoka Station (Keio Line)

Price Range: ¥500-¥600 ($4.50-$5.40)

Reservations Available: No


*Close to Ajinomoto Stadium


Where to Eat Michelin-Starred Shoyu Ramen:


Sobahouse Konjiki

Address: 2-4-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022

Hours: Tue-Sun 11:30AM-3PM, Tue-Sat 6:30PM-9:30PM

Access: Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)
       Shinjuku-sanchome Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi, Fukotoshin Lines, Toei Shinjuku Line)

Price Range: ¥850-¥1,200 ($7.60-$10.80)

Reservations Available: No



Soba can be intimidating to foreigners who don’t know how to eat it. Most people are familiar with the ramen-like soup, but soba is also eaten cold. When served cold, the thick buckwheat noodles (naturally gluten-free) are sprinkled with toppings like leeks or nori (seaweed) and dipped in an accompanying bowl of daikon (Japanese radish) broth.


Where to Eat Soba Like a Local:


Kanda Yabu Soba

Address: 2-10 Kanda Awajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0063

Hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11:30AM-8:30PM
             Closed Wednesdays and holidays

Access: Ochanomizu Station (JR Chuo, Chuo-Sobu Lines, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)
               Awajicho Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)
               Kanda Station (JR Keihin-Tohoku, Yamanote, Chuo Lines, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)

Price Range: ¥700-¥1,800 ($6.30-$16.20)

Reservations Available: Yes


Where to Eat Michelin-Starred Soba:



Address: 5-23-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

Hours: (Lunch) Tue-Fri 11:30AM-3PM, Sat 11:30AM-8PM, Sun 11:30AM-5PM
             (Dinner) Tue-Sat 6:30PM-9:30PM
             Closed Mondays, open holidays

Access: Meiji-jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Line)

Price Range: ¥2,000-¥4,000 ($18-$36) for lunch, ¥3,000-¥10,000 ($27-$90) for dinner

Reservations Available: Yes



Tempura was born in Tokyo in the 16th century after traders from Portugal introduced the concept of frying foods in oil. The fried fish, seafood, and vegetables became a popular fast food during the Meiji Restoration of Tokyo, when street food vendors began selling it with rice or noodles. The rice and tempura dish, called tendon, is still very popular across the city, though tempura is just as tasty when eaten by itself.


Where to Eat Tempura Like a Local:


Dote no Iseya

Address: 1-9-2 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0021

Hours: 11AM-2:30PM
            Closed Wednesdays, holidays, fourth Tuesday of the month

Access: Minowa Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

Price Range: ¥1,500-¥2,500 ($13.50-$22.50)

Reservations Available: No


Where to Eat Michelin-Starred Tempura:


Mikawa Zenzankyo

Address: 1-3-1 Fukuzumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0032

Hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11:30AM-1:30PM, 5PM-9PM
             Closed Wednesday

Access: Monzen-Nakacho Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, Oedo Lines)

Price Range: ¥18,000 ($161.90) for lunch, ¥20,000 ($180) for dinner

Reservations: Required + ¥10,000 ($90) per-person deposit



One dish that hasn’t gained popularity overseas (yet) is monjayaki, often simply called monja. Tokyo’s equivalent of Kansai’s okonomiyaki, monja is made of finely-chopped vegetables and seafood in a watery batter, cooked on a teppan grill. At monja restaurants, ingredients usually come in a bowl for the customers to prepare for themselves. There are currently no Michelin-rated monjayaki restaurants.


Where to Eat Monjayaki Like a Local:


Kondo Honten

Address: 3-12-10 Tsukishima, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0052

Hours: Mon-Fri 5PM-10PM, Sat/Sun/holidays 12PM-10PM

Access: Tsukishima Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Toei Oedo Line)

Price Range: ¥1,500 ($13.50) for lunch, ¥2,500 ($22.50) for dinner

Reservations Available: Yes


PRO TIP: This restaurant is located in the Tsukishima neighborhood, home to Tokyo’s famous “Monja Street.”


Unagi no Kabayaki

Unagi, or freshwater eel, is a favorite among Japanese. It’s especially popular in Tokyo, the home of unagi no kabayaki (grilled eel). This dish is prepared by coating fresh eel in unagi sauce and grilling it over charcoal. Despite its humble origins as a street food, you can now find it in many fine establishments, including seven Michelin-starred restaurants.




Where to Eat Unagi no Kabayaki Like a Local:



Address: 7-6-16 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, 125-0052

Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM-7PM

Access: Shibamata Station (Keisei Kanamachi Line)

               Kanamachi Station (JR Joban Line)

               Koiwa Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line)

Price Range: ¥3,500 ($31.50)

Reservations Available: Yes


Where to Eat Michelin-Rated Unagi no Kabayaki:


Unagi Hashimoto

Address: 2-5-7 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0005

Hours: Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-8PM

            Closed Thursdays, once a month on Wednesday

Access: Edogawabashi Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)

Price Range: ¥3,100-¥5,400 ($27.90-$48.60)

Reservations Available: Yes

Where to Go for an “Only in Tokyo” Dining Experience

Tokyo is a city renowned for its inherent contradictions, where you can witness cultures clashing at every corner. So, while traditional cuisine maintains its importance in the city, Tokyo is also the breeding ground for plenty of weird and wacky concept dining experiences. Incorporating modern themes such as pop culture and technology, these concept restaurants and cafes represent the more flamboyant side of the city.

Kawaii Monster Café

Conceived by Japanese artist and designer Sebastian Matsuda, the Kawaii Monster Café is the perfect representation of its home neighborhood, Harajuku. Visiting this café is like diving down the rabbit hole – it’s separated into four trippy zones and hosted by an improbable cast of characters that look like they were born in a fever dream.

The café’s dishes are just as mind-boggling as the décor. Chocolate chicken and colorful poison cake are just a couple items on the menu.


Address: YM Square 4F, 4-31-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30AM-4:30PM, 6PM-10:30OM, Sun/holidays 11AM-8PM

Access: Meiji-jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines)

              Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Ginza, Honzomon Lines)

Price Range: ¥1,000-¥2,000 ($9-$18) for lunch, ¥2,000-¥4,000 ($18-$36) for dinner

Reservations: Recommended


Genki Sushi

Genki Sushi is Tokyo’s preeminent conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Customers sit at a bar facing the conveyor belt, where they order sushi, maki (sushi and raw vegetables wrapped in seaweed), or small dishes like yakitori (skewered meats) on a tablet. This cheap, novel experience is a tourist favorite, especially among solo travelers who feel at home among other single diners.


Address: Leisure Plaza Building 1F, 24-8 Udagawa, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0042

Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM-12AM

Access: Shibuya Station (JR Shonan-Shinjuku, Saikyu, Yamanote Lines, Tokyo Metro Ginza, Fukutoshin, Honzomon Lines, Keio Inokashira Line, Tokyu Denentoshi, Toyoko Lines)

Price Range: ¥600-¥1,100 ($5.40-$9.90)

Reservations Available: No


Sakura Tei

This indoor-outdoor establishment buried in the backstreets of Harajuku is the largest okonomiyaki (grilled cabbage pancake) restaurant in Tokyo. The colorful interior, cheap drinks, and convivial environment make it a great place to visit with friends and taste the beloved Kansai dish.


Address: 3-20-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM-11PM

Access: Meiji-jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines)

              Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Ginza, Honzomon Lines)

Price Range: ¥1,000-¥1,500 ($9-$13.50)

Reservations Available: No


Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory

This tiny bakery in the Setagaya neighborhood of Tokyo, not far from Shimokitazawa, is a garden hideaway and the perfect spot for afternoon tea. It was opened by the sister-in-law of Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of the acclaimed animation studio known as Studio Ghibli. The bakery and café’s main attraction is its adorable cream puff in the shape of Totoro, Ghibli’s most popular character. 


Address: 5-3-1 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0033

Hours: Mon-Sun 10:30AM-7PM

Access: Setagaya-Daita Station (Odakyu Odawara Line)

              Shin-Daita Station (Keio Inokashira Line)

              Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu Odawara Line, Keio Inokashira Line)

Price Range: ¥400 ($3.60)

Reservations Available: No


Zauo Fishing Restaurant

This is your opportunity to see if a fish really does taste better when you’ve caught it yourself. A visit to Zauo comes in two parts: first, sit in the fishing area, cast your line into the pool of live fish, and wait for something to bite. Next, hand over your catch to the chefs, who will prepare it however you desire. Beware: it may take a while for a fish to bite.


Address: 3-2-9 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023

Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30AM-2PM, 5PM-11PM, Sat/Sun/holidays 11AM-11PM

Access: Tochomae Station (Toei Oedo line)

Price Range: ¥4,000-¥7,500 ($36-$67.50)

Reservations Available: Yes

Where (and What) to Drink in Tokyo

Don’t be fooled by their conservative demeanor; the Japanese love to drink. In addition to its revered cuisine, Tokyo has a thriving drinking culture that imbues everyday life. As soon as the work day ends, you will see the bars fill up with happy hour patrons and you might even catch a suited businessman sipping a can of chuhai (Japanese alcoholic soft drink) on the train ride home. 




Most of the time you’ll see Tokyoites drinking beer, the preferred alcohol of the Japanese. But you’ll be missing out if you stick to Asahi and Kirin. As this Tokyo City Guide explains, Japan has many other unique liquors to try. These are the Japanese drinks you need to taste and where to find them in Tokyo.

*You must be 20 years old to drink alcohol in Japan.



Sake, Japanese rice wine, is one of the most popular Japanese liquors for foreigners. You can drink it hot for a drier flavor, or cold to pair it with sweet foods. Different designations, like Honjozo or Daiginjo represent how polished the rice grains are before fermentation, and the title Junmai (literally, “pure rice”) means that no additional alcohol was added in the process. Sake has an alcohol content of 10-20%.


Try Sake Here:


Junmaisu Yata

Address: ILA Dogenzaka Building 5F, 1-6-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043

Hours: Mon-Fri 4PM-11:30PM, Sat-Sun 3PM-10:30PM

Access: Shibuya Station (JR Yamanote Line, Denentoshi Line, Toyoku Line, Ginza Line, JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line, JR Saikyo Line, Keio Inokashira Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line)

Price Range: ¥500 ($4.50) by the glass, ¥2,000 ($18) all-you-can-drink



Shochu is a Japanese distilled liquor similar to vodka or brandy and made of grains and vegetables such as barley, rice, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes. With an alcohol content of 20-40%, drinking shochu on its own is not for the faint of heart. It’s usually cut with a mixer like tea, juice, or sparkling water.


Try Shochu Here:



Address: 3-9-9, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0022

Hours: Mon-Fri 5PM-11Pm, Sat/Sun/holidays 12PM-4PM, 5PM-11PM

Access: Shinjuku-sanchome (Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line, Marunouchi Line, Shinjuku Line)

Price Range: ¥3,000 ($27) all-you-can-drink



Japan has risen to the top rungs of whiskey manufacturers around the world, and in short time, too. In fact, whiskey aficionados regularly make the trip to Tokyo to get a taste of some of the best and most exclusive whiskeys from top producers like Nikka and Suntory.


Try Japanese whiskey here:


Nikka Blender’s Bar

Address: 5-4-31 Minami Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062

Hours: Mon-Sat 5PM-11:30PM

            Closed Sundays and holidays

Access: Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Ginza, Honzomon Lines)

Price Range: ¥3,000 ($27) for a tasting set



Fans of sweet liquors will love umeshu, Japanese plum wine. It’s widely produced, but many Japanese also make it at home. The sweet drink is served on the rocks and is particularly popular with those who don’t usually enjoy drinking alcohol.


Try Umeshu Here:


Bar Gen & Materiel

Address: 2-9-10 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043

Hours: Mon-Sun 5PM-12AM

Access: Shibuya Station (JR Shonan-Shinjuku, Saikyu, Yamanote Lines, Tokyo Metro Ginza, Fukutoshin, Honzomon Lines, Keio Inokashira Line, Tokyu Denentoshi, Toyoko Lines)

Price Range: ¥1,200 ($10.80) for a three-glass flight



In Tokyo, cocktail culture is venerated. Seriously, you’ve never seen cocktails served like this before. Cocktail-making is treated as a sacred craft in this city, where bartenders even take the time to hand-chisel balls of ice to perfection.  


Try Artisanal Cocktails Here:


Bar Benfiddich

Address: Yamatoya Building 9F, 1-13-7 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023

Hours: Mon-Sat 6PM-3AM

            Closed Sundays and holidays

Access: Shinjuku Station (JR Yamanote, Chuo, Chuo-Sobu, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku Lines, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Toei Shinjuku, Oedo Lines, Odakyu Odawara Line, Seibu Shinjuku Line)

Price Range: ¥1,500-¥2,000 ($13.50-$18) per cocktail


Craft Beer

The craft beer scene in Tokyo has exploded in the last decade. Avoid the big names in Japanese beer and try one of the many microbrews brewed locally in Tokyo, like Baird. Because craft beers have long been popular with foreigners, craft beer bars in Tokyo usually provide an interesting setting for Japanese and foreigners to come together and exchange.


Try a Tokyo Microbrew Here:



Address: 2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0026

Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30PM-11:30PM, Sun 3PM-11:30PM

Access: Ryogoku Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Tokyo Oedo Line)

Price Range: ¥500-¥1,000 ($4.50-$9) per glass

Tokyo Itinerary Ideas

With so many things to do and places to discover, planning your trip to Tokyo can feel overwhelming. Keep in mind, you’ll be ten times more overwhelmed if you arrive with no plans at all and no idea where to begin.

Also, many activities require booking in advance. So, to make your travel planning a little easier, here are some sample itineraries for inspiration.




One Day: Central Tokyo

  • If Tokyo is just a one-day stop on your Japan travel itinerary, keep it simple and stick to central Tokyo. Choose no more than three neighborhoods on the JR Yamanote Line to explore. Then stop for a mid-day break at Yoyogi Station and take a breather at Yoyogi Park.


One Week: Central Tokyo and the Greater Tokyo Area

  • Day 1: Give your trip context by exploring Tokyo’s roots in Asakusa. Then spend the evening relaxing at an onsen, like the nearby Jokotsuya.

  • Day 2: Hop on the Water Bus and go sightseeing along the Sumida River. When you arrive in Odaiba, head to Palette Town and see digital art at teamLab borderless.

  • Day 3: Stroll the stalls and have sushi breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Then head over to Ginza and catch an act or two at the Kabukiza Theatre.

  • Day 4: Get your pop culture fix in Shibuya. Then take a walk north to the next-door neighborhood of Harajuku for some shopping and to satisfy your sweet tooth.

  • Day 5: Leave the city center to visit Chofu. Grab some ramen at Shibasakitei, then marvel at the flowers of Jindai Botanical Gardens. End the day watching an evening rugby match at Ajinomoto Stadium.

  • Day 6: Get to know the Tokyo art scene at Roppongi’s Mori Art Museum or the National Art Center Tokyo. Then spend your last night singing your heart out at a Shinjuku karaoke joint.

  • Day 7: Grab a souvenir from one of the Shinjuku department stores before saying goodbye to the city from the observation deck at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck.


Two Weeks: Greater Tokyo Area and Nikko

  • Day 1: Dive right into the heart of the lively city by getting to know Shinjuku. Between wandering the streets of izakayas (Japanese gastropubs) and department stores, admire the Japanese gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen.

  • Day 2: See an exhibition at one of the museums in Roppongi and go shopping for unique creations at National Art Center Tokyo.

  • Day 3: Head to Kichijoji to see how real Tokyoites live. Spend the afternoon relaxing at Inokashira Park before munching on yakitori (Japanese skewers) and sashimi (sliced raw fish) for dinner at the park’s local izakaya (tavern), SubLime.

  • Day 4: After visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market, head south toward Tokyo Bay to discover the attractions of Odaiba.

  • Day 5: Take a city break and hop on the Keio Line toward Mount Takao. Spend the day hiking and maybe even say hello to the macaques at the Mt. Takao Monkey Park.

  • Day 6: Visit Akihabara to see just how ubiquitous geek culture is in Tokyo. In the evening, walk over to Ueno and grab a street food dinner at the Ueno Ameyoko night market.

  • Day 7: Get to know the origins of Tokyo in Asakusa, the cultural center of the city. Just before sunset, hop on the elevator that takes you to the observation deck of Tokyo Skytree and see if you can spot Mt. Fuji.

  • Day 8: Escape Tokyo for the day and take a day trip to Nikko, where you’ll see breathtaking nature and magnificent shrines.

  • Day 9: Take the opportunity to participate in Japanese culture by taking a class at HiSui Tokyo.

  • Day 10: Be hip and go thrift shopping in Shimokitazawa. In the afternoon, walk to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory for afternoon tea and a kawaii (“cute”) pastry.

  • Day 11: Spend the day focusing on your well-being at Oedo Onsen Monogatari, where you can split your time between the onsen (hot springs) and the food stalls.

  • Day 12: Dedicate the day to pop culture in Shibuya and Harajuku. Maybe even buy a costume and be someone else for a day. Half the people in Harajuku are in cosplay anyway.

  • Day 13: For your penultimate day in Tokyo, follow the temple route in Yanesen that leads you past many of the area’s 117 temples.

  • Day 14: Finish your trip right where you began – in Shinjuku, Tokyo’s beating heart. Take your pick of the many restaurants for your last meal before saying sayounara to Tokyo.

Final Tips for Traveling in Tokyo

  • Wait in line. The Japanese take their lines very seriously, especially in Tokyo, where Tokyoites line up for trains, restaurants, and even shops. Follow their lead and take your place in line. No one likes a pushy tourist.

  • Carry a trash bag with you. Public waste bins are few and far between in the Japanese capital. You won’t find them on street corners like in most other cities around the world. To avoid littering (a big no-no in Tokyo), keep a disposable waste bag with you at all times.

  • Get an IC card. These rechargeable transportation cards will make your trip run so much smoother. Having a Pasmo (prepaid IC card of Tokyo's railway, subway, and bus operators) or Suica (prepaid IC card for JR trains in the Greater Tokyo, Niigata, and Sendai regions) will save you the confusion of buying multiple train tickets. They’ll even come in handy in case you run out of cash. 

  • Make reservations a week in advance. At least. Between the city’s millions of residents and its 28.7 million annual tourists, space in restaurants and hotels is highly sought after. Planning in advance and reserving the activities that mean the most to you will ensure you have an enjoyable trip.  

  • Bookmark the Tokyo City Guide. This will give you quick access to all the practical info you need on accommodations, medical facilities, restaurants, and attractions featured above.

Now that you’ve read everything you need to know to plan the Tokyo trip of your dreams, it’s time to start packing


WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies.

WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.

WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states.

In the State of California, operating as WorldTrips Insurance Services. California Non-Resident Producer License Number: 0G39705

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In the State of California, operating as WorldTrips Insurance Services. California Non-Resident Producer License Number: 0G39705
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Travel advisory levels are as follows: Exercise Normal Precautions Exercise Increased Caution – Heightened risks to safety and security Reconsider Travel – Serious risks to safety and security Do Not Travel – Life-threatening risks NOTE: Some travel medical insurance benefits may not apply if your destination country is under a level 3 or higher travel advisory on the start date of your trip, or if your destination country has been under a level 3 or higher advisory in the 60 days prior to your trip. PRO TIP: Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided to U.S. citizens by the U.S. Department of State. It allows you to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Benefits include: The U.S. Embassy will provide you with important, real-time updates about the safety conditions in your destination country The U.S. Embassy will contact you in case a natural disaster occurs, or civil unrest breaks out in your destination country Friends and family can easily contact you in an emergency Tip #2: Visit the “Country Information” Pages at Travel.State.Gov The first search bar you’ll see on the “Travel Advisories” page at is labeled “Learn About Your Destination.” Enter the name of a country you’d like to explore. Then click the search icon. This will take you to a country profile page. At the top of that screen, note the travel advisory level, the reason for the advisory, and the issue date. Click the “Read More” link to see additional information. Review any recent Embassy alerts directly below the travel advisory section. Scroll down to the tabs below the “Quick Facts” section. The “Health” tab is one of the best resources available for general health information on a specific country. It provides information on a country’s water quality, the standard of care in local health facilities, and prevalent diseases. Also read through the information in the “Safety and Security” and “Local Laws & Special Circumstances” tabs. Program the local emergency phone numbers from the “Safety and Security” tab into your phone for easy access. Bookmark the “Country Information” pages of any destinations you’re still interested in visiting so you can easily return to them later. Tip #3: Use Google to Find Recent News Reports Do a quick Google search for the phrase “Is it safe to travel in [destination + year]?” This query will turn up relevant news reports on recent crime and health hazards in your potential destination. Be sure to check the date on any articles you read – only those from the past few months will still be relevant. Tip #4: Check Out the World Health Organization (WHO) Website Select a potential destination country from the alphabetized list to view its country profile. You’ll find relevant statistics, news stories, and information about diseases pertinent to that country. Tip #5: Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website On the CDC’s “Destinations” page, use the drop-down menu under “for travelers” to select a potential destination. Check the “traveling with children” box and any others relevant to your trip. Then hit “go.” You’ll then land on the “Travelers’ Health” page for the country, complete with travel health notices, vaccine and medical information, tips for staying safe and healthy, and even a healthy travel packing list. For an overview of the healthcare system in some of the most popular international destinations for families, see “What to Expect from Healthcare Abroad.” Tip #6: Visit Travel Forums for Tips and Advice Travel forums allow you to post questions and get feedback from travelers and locals. If you don’t have a specific question in mind, search for the phrase “safety + [destination]” to find already-existing threads on the topic. Here are a few of our favorite travel forums: Tip #7: Explore Expat Websites for Additional Information An expatriate (expat) is a person who has moved abroad from their native country but maintains citizenship in their native country. Expat websites are a great source of information because they strive to provide everything an individual needs to know to live and work abroad. offers information for 52 countries and 419 cities respectively. Not Sure How to Choose Safe Accommodations Once You've Picked a Destination? Follow these tips for booking safe accommodations for your family vacation abroad: 1. Check User Reviews Before you book your accommodations, make sure your resort, hotel, or other lodging has positive reviews from previous customers. TripAdvisor is one of the most popular review sites. It allows users to review accommodations, restaurants, and activities. Another site to check out is Oyster, which sends its own “special investigators” to hotels across the world to inspect them in person and review them for vacation goers. The site currently offers ratings for 42,000 hotels in 76 countries. PRO TIP: Visit reviewers’ profiles to make sure they’re legit and have reviewed multiple places. 2. Check Out Street Views You can also type the address of potential accommodations into a site like to get a – you guessed it – instant street view of your potential host address! This can help you determine whether the surrounding areas look safe enough to ease your mind for family travel. 2. How to Get the Best Value From a Family Trip Family vacations aren’t cheap. In fact, Resonance Consultancy’s 2018 Future of U.S. Millennial Travel report found that the average vacation costs $4,580 for a family of four – and that’s just in the USA. Luckily, there are strategies you can take to squeeze the most value out of your international family trip. Here are 12 tips for finding the best deals on flights, accommodations, activities, and food as you travel abroad with your youngsters. Tips for Getting the Best Value on Flights 1. Travel in the Off-Season or Shoulder Season Travel tends to peak in spring, summer, and around the holidays. Unfortunately, prices tend to peak at these times as well. Travel in the off-season to secure the best deals on flights, lodging, and activities. However, be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather. Also, consider whether your off-season vacation means pulling your children out of school. Another option is traveling in the shoulder season, which typically means decent weather and still-affordable travel. The shoulder season is the season between peak and off-peak. For example, Italy’s peak season is mid-June through August, and its off-season is November through March. So its shoulder seasons are April through mid-June and September through October. You can also check out this chart highlighting the cheapest and most expensive months to travel to different regions around the world, according to a 2018 study of over 1,000,000 international trips by When to Travel the World for the Cheapest Airfare DESTINATION CHEAPEST MONTH TO TRAVEL MOST EXPENSIVE MONTH TO TRAVEL ASIA November June AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST February July CARIBBEAN January December CENTRAL AMERICA & MEXICO September December EUROPE March July SOUTH AMERICA February December SOUTH PACIFIC May December 2. Fly During Less Popular Times Choose a midweek departure (Tuesday – Thursday) or snag super early or late departure and arrival times for the cheapest ticket prices. If you’re worried about making a flight at the crack of dawn with your children, consider booking a room at an affordable nearby Airbnb. You can also use sites and apps like Skyscanner, Momondo, Vayama, and Hopper to find the cheapest rates. 3. Purchase Airline Tickets on a Monday Purchase international airline tickets on Mondays and domestic airline tickets on Thursdays. That’s when flights are cheapest, according to 2017 research from airfare forecasting company Hopper. In fact, Hopper found that booking an international flight on a Monday as opposed to a Tuesday resulted in average savings of $30 a ticket. If you can’t book on a Monday, the next best day to book an international flight is Thursday – followed by Wednesday. Avoid booking on a Sunday, when both domestic and international flights are most expensive. 4. Book Your Flights in Advance A recent study from reviewed over 1,000,000 international trips taken by U.S. travelers in 2017 to identify the exact number of days prior to a trip when international airfare is cheapest. The site also uncovered the prime window of time when you’re most likely to see the lowest airfares. Here are the results: Best Time to Purchase International Airline Tickets for the Cheapest Rates DESTINATION PRIME WINDOW FOR PURCHASING TICKETS BEST DAY TO PURCHASE TICKETS ASIA 40 days – 7 months before departure 120 days before departure AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST 96 days – 9½ months before departure 199 days before departure CARIBBEAN 30 days – 11 months before departure 207 days before departure CENTRAL AMERICA & MEXICO 14 days – 6 months before departure 70 days before departure EUROPE 45 days – 8 months before departure 160 days before departure SOUTH AMERICA 35 days – 11 months before departure 110 days before departure SOUTH PACIFIC 54 days – 8 months before departure 197 days before departure 5. Get a Credit Card That Rewards Travel Travel credit cards allow you to rack up points you can redeem for free flights and hotel stays. Many travel credit cards also offer huge bonuses to cardholders who meet a minimum spending requirement within the first three months. For example, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card entitles individuals who make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days to receive a bonus plane ticket (for just the cost of taxes and fees) when they purchase an airline ticket. According to Nerd Wallet, these are the best airline credit cards of 2018. 6. Sign Up for Frequent Flyer Programs These are loyalty programs offered by individual airlines that allow you to rack up “miles” based on how far you fly or how much you spend. You can redeem these miles for free flights. Many also offer perks such as priority check-in, flight upgrades, and luggage fee waivers. But you and your spouse don’t have to be the only ones accumulating miles and perks. You can sign your kids up for frequent flyer accounts and let them take advantage of the rewards, too! See a roundup of the best airline elite status programs here. Tips for Getting the Best Value on Accommodations 7. Rent a House Instead of Booking a Hotel With the rise of vacation-rental services like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, booking an entire house, condo, or cabin for your family trip has never been easier. Not only do home rentals typically provide a lot more bang for your buck than a standard hotel room, but they also provide a lot more space. According to vacation-rental site VRBO, the average vacation rental is 1,850 square feet. This is significantly more space than the average hotel room, which measures only 325 square feet. This extra space can be great for separating bickering siblings or accommodating a loud snorer. Plus, you’ll likely have access to a kitchen where you can save money by cooking some meals yourself. And you can recycle outfits if you have access to a washing machine. This could mean packing fewer items – and saving on checked luggage fees (that’s what we call a “twofer!”). How to Get the Best Value from a Hotel If home rentals aren't your thing, these tips will help you get the best value out of your hotel stay: 1. Use TripAdvisor and to find hotels that offer freebies like Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfasts. 2. Choose a hotel that’s slightly off the beaten path, as hotels in the heart of the city are bound to be more expensive. But be sure to check out your transportation options and make sure the lower price is worth it. 3. Contact the hotel to ask if they offer any discounts or specials for booking directly. And be sure to ask about the cancellation policy! 4. Enroll in hotel loyalty programs to unlock secret prices and take advantage of perks, such as room upgrades and free breakfasts. 5. Sign up for a hotel credit card that accumulates rewards points each time you use it – with extra points when you use it to book hotels or flights. Then, redeem your points for free stays! 8. Check Out Deals Online offers packaged deals on vacations around the world. You can browse deals by destination or by interest, with categories like “all-inclusive,” “beach,” or “outdoor and adventure.” Check out Groupon’s “Family Fun” deals here. HolidayGuru is another great site offering discounted trips and vacation packages. The team behind HolidayGuru checks websites like LivingSocial, Click&Go, and to provide visitors the very best deals. Check out the site’s “Family Holiday Deals” listing here. Tips for Getting the Best Value on Activities 9. Get Tickets for Attractions Online Child-friendly attractions like zoos, theme parks, and aquariums frequently offer discounted tickets in advance online. And if you purchase ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about your kids getting restless as you wait in line. And let’s be honest, that’s a pretty big win, right? 10. Seek Out City Passes See if your destination offers a city pass, which may provide free or discounted access to local sites, attractions, and public transportation. The Roma Pass, for example, provides tourists to Rome with free admission to a museum of their choice, discounts on events and exhibits, and free use of public transit for 48 hours. It costs just 28 EUR per person (about 33 USD)! 11. Search for Free Entertainment One approach to discover upcoming free entertainment is to contact the local visitors’ bureau and ask! Also visit the websites of local parks and libraries, which likely provide a community calendar of cheap or free events, like an outdoor concert series. If you want to hear live music, look for restaurants that schedule performers with no cover charge. Finally, check local colleges and universities for a list of upcoming guest performers. Still struggling with your budget? Here are the best tips on budgeting for a family vacation! Tips for Getting the Best Value on Food 12. Skip the Tourist Traps Restaurants are bound to be pricier near tourist attractions. You’ll often find restaurants a couple of blocks away that serve more authentic fare at even better prices. But you don’t have to wander around aimlessly searching for hidden restaurants – strike up a conversation with the locals! They’ll be able to give you the inside scoop on the best food at the best prices. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are also great for finding restaurants on a budget. 13. Prepare Food Yourself If you have access to a kitchen where you’re staying, eat some of your meals in! Hit up the local grocery stores to find fresh, low-cost food to prepare for your family. Just because you prepare your meals at your accommodations doesn’t mean you have to stay there and eat it. Pack up a picnic and take it to the local square or a nearby park for a fun dining experience both you and the kids will enjoy. See more tips for saving money on food while traveling with your family. 3. How to Build a Personalized Travel Itinerary It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of activities you want to tackle on your family vacation abroad. Use these 5 steps to organize your thoughts and create a travel itinerary personalized to you and your family. Step #1: Gather Your Most Important Trip Information Key trip information may include details of the following: Departing flight – Airport and airport map, airline, gate number, flight number, boarding date and time, departure time, seat number Arrival flight – Airport and airport map, arrival gate number, arrival time, checked bag pickup location, transportation location Accommodations – Hotel name (or the name of another lodging), address, contact information, and directions Car rental – Name, address, contact info, reservation details, and pick up instructions Reservations or purchased activities – Date, time, location, and tickets/confirmation for any activity reservations you’ve made ahead of time Store this information in multiple locations that are easy to access while traveling. Print it out. Store it in a notes app like Evernote or Google Keep. Email a copy to yourself. Store it in a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. You might even consider packing a USB drive with a copy stored there as well. Basically, store it everywhere you can so it’s accessible regardless of your situation. Step #2: Make a List of All the Experiences You Want to Have Evernote is a great app for creating and storing lists like this one. As you create your list, consider: Types of food you want to eat/specific restaurants you want to try Museums you want to visit Attractions you want to explore (theme parks, zoos, aquariums, etc.) Landmarks you want to see Events you want to attend Be sure to consult your family as you create your list – you don’t want to plan something that will bore your children to tears! PRO TIP: Make a separate list for each city you’ll be visiting. For larger cities, consider further splitting your list into districts. Best Resources for Exploring Activity Options – Discover suggestions and reviews of restaurants and activities in your destination. – Find and book attractions or see prices. – Get help deciding when to go and what to do – or see example itineraries! – Buy a guidebook for your chosen destination. Around Me (App) – Search for nearby activities by category (movie theatres, restaurants, concerts, etc.). Step #3: Fill in the Details: As you research, make a note beside each activity indicating the following: The estimated amount of time you think it’ll take. While some excursions may take an hour or two, others may be an all-day adventure. The estimated cost of each activity. This way you can factor it into your budget – or swap it out for a more affordable activity later on. How much are tickets per person? Can you eat there? Do you think you’ll want to purchase souvenirs? Opening and closing hours. Seasonality. Make sure your desired experiences will be available during your trip dates. PRO TIP: Mark each of your “must-do” activities with an asterisk to ensure you include them in your itinerary. Step #4: Map Your Activities to Their Location Now you should pinpoint the location of each activity using an up-to-date map. This way you can order itinerary items in a way that makes the most sequential sense. Google My Maps is a great resource for this. It allows you to create a map for your trip and use pins to mark the locations of places you plan to visit. You can also: Create a separate “layer” for each day of your trip or for each city you will visit Edit pins to add important details Measure the distance between two locations Add directions and time estimates for traveling from one point to another via car, bicycle, or foot Because it’s a Google service, Google My Maps also pulls in relevant information for each location, such as its website, phone number, address, and even reviews. PRO TIP: Use one color or icon to distinguish your “must-do” activities. You may also choose to categorize locations with different icons and/or different colored pins (e.g. yellow fork & knife icon = restaurant). Use whatever system works best for you. Not familiar with Google My Maps? Follow the steps in this tutorial from to map your bucket list items to their location! Step #5: Create Your Itinerary Open Word, Excel, Google Docs, or the Evernote app. Then take the following steps to create your personalized travel itinerary: 1. Establish one column for each day of your trip, using the day and date as each column header. 2. Below each header, add the name of the city or district you will be visiting that day. 3. Start filling in the first column by listing your arrival airport and arrival time. 4. Begin adding activities to each column, starting with the sites and attractions you must visit on specific days or at specific times due to open hours or reservations. If you are required to be somewhere at a certain time, list the time first and in bold to make sure you don’t overlook it. 5. Add the relevant details you noted in Step #3 to each item, including time estimates, cost estimates, and opening and closing times. 6. Add the “must do” items (and their relevant details) that you marked with an asterisk in Step #3. 7. Add the rest of the items (and their relevant details) from your master list, placing them in the column that corresponds to their location. 8. In the final column, account for your travel back to the airport, your return flight departure and arrival times, and your travel from the airport to your home. Important! Be sure to reference your map frequently to ensure you list your stops in sequential order. Optional: 9. Factor in breakfast, lunch, and dinner – plus naps or breaks. 10. Include your means of transportation from one place to another and your estimated transportation time. 11. Add an “Alternate Activities” list for each city you will visit in case of transportation issues, inclement weather, or unexpected closings. Leave Room for Spontaneity Aside from activities that require you to be somewhere at a certain time, don’t stress about assigning specific time frames to the items on your itinerary. As long as you prioritize your “must-do” activities and note opening and closing times, you should be able to accomplish everything you want to on your family trip abroad. You may even consider leaving a couple of afternoons wide open in case you get behind schedule or find that you’re exhausted from all the excitement. Or fill this time with something spontaneous later on! Itinerary Tips for the Most Popular Types of Family Travel Activity & Adventure Expedition When planning for adventure travel, be mindful of your kids’ mental and physical limitations. You don’t want to plan a day full of activities that will leave them exhausted by noon. Before booking an excursion, check tour company cancellation policies in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, or you find that you’ve overscheduled your days. Add backup items to your itinerary in case the weather prohibits you from outdoor activities. Research highly-rated tour operators and read reviews of others’ experiences before booking. Beach Getaway If your kids aren’t in school yet, consider traveling in the shoulder season for your destination – the season between peak and off-peak seasons. The shoulder season typically means cheaper rates and more manageable crowds. Stay updated on your destination’s weather conditions by checking sites like and the World Weather Information Service. Also, look for tour operators and hotels that offer hurricane policies and weather guarantees. Search the web for the current conditions of any beaches you plan to add to your itinerary. Pay special attention to current hazard ratings and safety alerts regarding potential dangers like strong currents or surges. Note whether the beaches you plan to visit are kid-friendly and whether they offer lifeguards, restrooms, and nearby food options. Camping Excursion Consider your kids’ previous camping experience. First-time campers may be better off visiting a campground in a state or national park that offers toilets and running water. Make sure the remoteness of your campsite and the activities on your itinerary are in line with your kids’ expectations. Some families like to spend all their time inside the campground. Others enjoy exploring nearby towns and attractions by day and sitting around a campfire by night. To avoid sold-out campgrounds, make reservations ahead of time. Many state and national parks begin accepting reservations for their campsites up to a year in advance. Cross-Cultural Exploration Consider purchasing a city pass. These passes often provide free or discounted admission to local sites and museums in addition to free use of public transportation. Purchase tickets for concerts and other attractions online. This will ensure the activities you add to your itinerary don’t sell out – and help you avoid standing in a long line with restless toddlers. Add museums and events to your itinerary that offer free admission to young children. Leave open space in your itinerary to explore hidden treasures that only the locals can suggest. 4. How to Prepare for Safe and Healthy Family Travel Abroad Before you take your family abroad, be sure to check the following items off your to-do list. These 11 steps will ensure your family’s preparedness when you encounter an emergency overseas. 1. Check Travel Advisories for Your Destination Visit and use the search bar to find the page for your destination country. Then click the link and note the travel advisory level, the reason(s) for the advisory, and the issue date. The safety and security status of a country can change in an instant, so be sure to check back frequently. 2. Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) This free service from the U.S. Department of State allows U.S. citizens to “enroll” a trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to receive real-time alerts about the safety conditions of their destination country. STEP also allows the U.S. Embassy or family and friends to easily contact you in case of an emergency. 3. Schedule a Doctor’s Visit and Get the Required Vaccinations Go to the "Travelers' Health" page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see the required and recommended vaccinations for travel to your destination country. Use the drop-down menu under the “For Travelers” heading to select your destination country. Then, check the “Traveling with Children” box and any other boxes that apply to your trip. Hit “Go” to see a list of required and suggested vaccines for your trip. Beside each vaccine listed, you’ll see green text that says “Traveling with Children.” This information will help you determine which vaccines are safe to administer to children and at what age. According to, frequently recommended vaccinations for children traveling internationally include: Meningitis Rabies Typhoid Yellow Fever Children may also have an increased risk of contracting malaria in countries where malaria is prevalent. If you’re traveling to a malaria risk area, ask your pediatrician about antimalarial drugs. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and pediatrician about 4-6 weeks before your departure to get your vaccinations and ensure everyone is healthy enough for international travel. This will allow enough time for most vaccines to become effective. Be aware, some vaccines have a long process involving multiple shots. For example, the full vaccination for Hepatitis A consists of two shots administered over six months. It’s best to look up vaccination information as soon as you determine a destination. Traveling Abroad with Your Baby? "Although all kids get the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months of age, any who will travel outside the United States before that should get the vaccine as early as six months of age.” – 4. Prepare Written Copies of Your Child’s Medical History While no one wants to think about the possibility of their child getting sick or injured on a family trip, these things do happen from time to time. In a moment where you’ll likely be under extreme stress, it’s best to be prepared. That’s why suggests preparing a written copy of your child’s medical history to carry with you on your trip. It can be as simple as a handwritten note card that you keep in your purse or wallet. Your child’s medical history should include: Your name and your child's name Your address and phone number Your child's blood type Previous immunizations Your pediatrician’s name, address, and office and emergency phone numbers A list of current health problems your child is facing A list of medicines your child takes, dosage, and the pharmacy's name and phone number A list of allergies to medications, food, insects, or animals A prescription for glasses or contact lenses The name, address, and phone number of an emergency contact back home 5. Prepare Prescription Medications Carla Blieden, PharmD, MPH of Travelwise Vaccination Services, recommends only taking the amount of medication needed for the number of days you will be away – plus a few days extra in case you experience a long layover or a change in your itinerary. If you’re taking a trip of a month or longer, or if you or your children will need an early refill of any of your prescription medications, “have your pharmacy call your insurance company for a vacation override for your billing cycle,” Blieden suggests. Carry all medications in the original container. If you can, make copies of your original prescriptions and bring them with you. 6. Get Family Travel Medical Insurance Family travel medical insurance is designed to cover you and your family for the unexpected medical expenses you might incur while traveling abroad. First, check your current health plan to determine whether it provides international coverage – even if your visa does not require health insurance. Many domestic health plans don’t offer this coverage. If your plan doesn’t cover you and your family after you’ve departed the U.S. – or if this coverage is very limited – then consider travel medical insurance for the length of your trip. Travel medical insurance is our business, so we know how important it is. But don’t just take our word for it! Important government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State strongly encourage travelers to purchase travel medical insurance for overseas adventures. These types of plans cover treatment for unexpected injuries and illnesses incurred abroad and provide emergency travel benefits like Emergency Medical Evacuation. According to the CDC, “the cost of evacuation can exceed $100,000.” Could you afford this cost without insurance? Learn how to choose the best travel medical insurance for your family. 7. Look Up the Nearest Hospitals and Know the Emergency Number Before you travel abroad, find the emergency phone number for your destination country in the sidebar of your destination’s “Country Information” page at If you’re headed to the Schengen Area, you can also find the information here. Write down the name, address, and phone number of local hospitals near your accommodations. On the “Country Information” page, click to expand the “Health” tab. Here you’ll find links to the websites of the local hospitals, which will provide their addresses and contact information. If you purchase travel medical insurance for your family trip abroad, you may also have access to an international provider search engine that allows you to locate doctors and hospitals in your destination country. Some plans can also refer you to adequate treatment facilities and help with prescription drug replacement via phone. 8. Pack a First Aid Kit It’s always a good idea to bring along a small first aid kit – especially when traveling with children, who are prone to minor bumps and scrapes. Trips with Tykes recommends infant pain relief medications, teething tablets, and diaper cream for babies and toddlers. For young children, you’ll want to pack your go-to children’s pain relief medications and children’s cough and cold medicine. You may also want to have some Pepto-Bismol on hand for cases of travelers’ diarrhea. While diarrhea is unfortunately common during travel, it is especially common for babies and young children, who can become easily dehydrated. As a side note, drink only bottled water and avoid non-cooked foods (especially salads) for a much better shot at avoiding traveler’s diarrhea altogether. 9. Research Local Laws and Customs To keep your family safe abroad, it’s important to make sure you understand and respect the local laws and customs. The “Local Laws and Special Circumstances” tab of your destination’s “Country Information” page is a great place to start researching local laws. A quick Google search of “etiquette and customs in [destination]” will also turn up important information about the local culture and how to effectively communicate with locals. 5. How to Keep Your Children Safe While Traveling Abroad It’s likely that one of your top concerns in traveling abroad with your children is how to keep them safe. The following tips will help you keep your kids safe in transit, while exploring your destination, and in your accommodations. It’s likely that one of your top concerns in traveling abroad with your children is how to keep them safe. The following tips will help you keep your kids safe in transit, while exploring your destination, and in your accommodations. In Transit In the Car Before you start your journey, check for potential hazards. Hazards include approaching storms or natural disasters, heavy traffic, and adverse road conditions. You can do this by utilizing apps that inform you of these types of hazards in real-time. For weather conditions, check out the Weather Channel app. To help you avoid traffic, crashes, and construction, download an international travel app like Waze Navigation & Live Traffic or Inrix. Keep in mind wi-fi and cellular reception may not be as prevalent in your destination country as it is in the United States. Plan ahead and check for these hazards when you have the opportunity. Have a plan in place for traveling with a car seat. While lugging around a bulky car seat is not ideal, it is important. When you rent a car seat abroad, you have no way of knowing whether the seat has been properly cared for or whether an accident has left it compromised. The rental company could also provide you a seat that defies the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics for your child’s age and size. Or the car rental company could run out of car seats entirely. According to USA Today, all U.S. airlines and most international airlines will allow you to bring a car on the plane for free – either as checked luggage or a carry-on item. Travel bloggers The Family Voyage urge you to bring your car seat as a carry-on so you can ensure its safety. They also recommend using your stroller as a trolley to easily transport the car seat through the airport. DID YOU KNOW? In 2015, Consumer Reports sent child passenger safety technicians to two major car rental companies. They found that most rental car seats were missing their owner’s manuals and many had missing parts. On the Plane Use a child restraint system (CRS) to keep your child safe. If you bring your car seat as a carry-on item, it may be able to double as your CRS. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, this is the safest place for a child on an airplane. “Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence,” the administration notes. Make sure your CRS is both government and airplane approved, as not all car seats are approved for airplane use. Look for text printed on your car seat that reads “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Learn how to install a CRS on an airplane. On Public Transportation Establish a plan in case you and your child are separated on the metro system. You may direct your child to get off at the next stop and wait for you on the nearest bench. Or you may encourage him or her to get off at the next stop and find a metro employee at the closest ticket window. No matter your plan, make sure you both know what it is. You can do this by sporadically asking questions like: What will you do if you get on the train first and the doors close? What will you do if we are separated in the crowd? How will you recognize a metro employee? What Does Your Plan Look Like? "We had a plan for the Underground and metro in which we would enter and exit in this order: parent, child, child, parent. That way, if a child didn’t make it on or off, there would always be a parent with him or her.” – Carrick Buss, father and co-creator of family travel blog Along for the Trip As You Explore Your Destination During Activities Dress children in brightly-colored clothing that is easy to spot. Calgary’s Child Magazine recommends lemon yellow and lime green because they attract the eye. Snap a photo of your child before you venture out for the day. That way, if you get separated and seek help finding your child, you’ll have a recent photo of him or her in that day’s outfit. Talk to your kids about what to do if they get lost. At each attraction you visit, establish a “lost area” where you’ll meet in case you get separated. Make sure your kids know who to talk to in an emergency (a police officer, a hotel manager, etc.) – and who not to approach. DID YOU KNOW? A parental survey conducted by the Center to Prevent Lost Children revealed that 90% of families have lost a child in a public place at least once. Arm your children with your contact information. Include your name and phone number, the name of your hotel or lodging, and an alternate contact number. This could be a business card in their pocket or a hospital-style I.D. bracelet. Jessica Hentze, a contributor to The Survival Mom travel blog, suggests a lanyard with an attached I.D. holder. Teach your child to attract attention if grabbed by a stranger. Travel blog IHeartFamilyTravels recommends teaching your child to yell “This is not my parent! Help!” in these types of situations. That way, nearby individuals won’t mistake your child’s screaming for a run-of-the-mill temper tantrum. Take the proper safety precautions. Ensure your children wear the proper protective gear for each of your activities. If you go bike riding or horseback riding, for example, make sure your kids are properly fitted with a helmet. If you go boating, make sure your kids wear life vests. On a tour or excursion, make sure they follow the safety advice of the tour guide. Quiz them on the instructions to make sure they heard and understood the guidelines. Learn how travel medical insurance can be there for you if your child is injured abroad. In Water Take precautions to prevent drowning. Only swim in well-maintained, supervised areas. Keep your eyes on your children and stay within arm’s reach in the water. Use the proper safety devices for smaller children. Important! While the advice above may seem obvious, it’s important to know that drowning is quick and silent. In fact, it only takes two minutes of submersion for a child to lose consciousness and four to six minutes for a child to suffer irreversible brain damage. Martin Eichelberger, MD, of Children's National Medical Center, shares that "young kids rarely make a big splash, thrash around, or scream for help like you see on TV. They usually fall in head first and sink to the bottom like a rock." Beware of dry drowning. “Dry drowning occurs when, after being submerged in water, a person's vocal cords experience a spasm and close, making it difficult to breathe,” shares Dr. Mike Patrick of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. If your child is submerged in water, keep a close eye on him or her in the 24 hours after the submersion, notes Live Science. Watch for symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. If you witness any of these symptoms, don’t wait – get medical attention for your child right away. In Your Accommodations Beware of potential fire hazards. Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, shared the following hotel safety tips in a segment on CBS This Morning: Book a room on a lower floor in case of a fire. You’ll have a better chance of getting your children to safety, and firefighters will have a better chance of fighting the fire on lower levels. Make sure there is a hard-wired smoke detector in each room. If you’re above the third story, make sure there’s an automatic sprinkler system in each room as well. Before you unpack, make sure you have shared at least two fire escape routes with your children. You should find a map on the hotel room door highlighting the nearest exits. Child-proof your accommodations. Scan each room for sharp objects and potential choking hazards. Check the carpet, underneath the beds, and even in drawers and cabinets. Use duct tape to tie up cords, soften sharp corners, and tape off electrical outlets (from Use disinfectant wipes to clean bathroom surfaces, furniture, and the remote control. If you’re using a hotel crib, recommends replacing the bedding and examining the slats to ensure none of them are missing, loose, or broken. See other safety tips for traveling with children – from the top 20 family travel bloggers themselves! Don’t open the door unless you can verify who’s on the other side – and instruct your children to do the same. If a visitor arrives at your door with an unexpected delivery or claiming to be from maintenance, call the front desk and verify that they are who they say they are. It’s better to be safe than sorry. NEVER leave your kids alone in the hotel room. The 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann is a painful reminder to never leave your young children alone on vacation. Even if you’re just down the street. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. While this is a rare occurrence, it’s still something to watch out for when staying in a vacation rental. If you can meet the rental manager in person, ask how the utilities work and whether the air conditioning and heating systems have been inspected recently. Don’t stay anywhere that doesn’t appear well-maintained or properly managed. You can also pack a portable carbon monoxide detector like this one. 6. How to Keep Your Children Healthy While Traveling Abroad From minor aches and pains to mosquito-borne diseases, there are a number of potential dangers you may encounter when traveling abroad. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to mitigate your risk and prepare for healthy travel with your family. In Transit On the Plane Be prepared to fight jet lag. This "temporary sleep disorder” caused when your circadian rhythms – which signal to your body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to be asleep – are synced to your original time zone, rather than to the new time zone you’ve entered. The extreme fatigue brought on by jet lag can result in gastrointestinal issues, to which travelers – and especially babies and young children – are already more susceptible. To help your family conquer jet lag, follow these tips: Book an overnight flight, if possible. Alternatively, pack sleep masks, ear plugs, or noise-canceling headphones for each of your children to help them sleep on a daytime flight. Slowly begin shifting your children’s sleeping and eating schedules to coincide with those in your destination. Begin at least four days before departure. Ensure your children drink plenty of bottled water throughout your flight. Dehydration can increase the severity of symptoms. Babies and young children become dehydrated more quickly than adults. Avoid the airport Starbucks and keep your kids away from beverages loaded with caffeine. Caffeine causes a drop in blood sugar which robs your body of its energy reserves. Be prepared to fight ear pain. Ear pain on airplanes is brought on by rapidly changing air pressure. Unfortunately, kids frequently experience this discomfort upon takeoff and descent. That’s why it’s helpful to keep a few coping strategies up your sleeve. KidsHealth recommends providing a child-safe pain reliever to your children 30-60 minutes before takeoff to help ease the pain. Encourage them to swallow, yawn, or chew gum to help their ears adjust. Nursing or sucking on a bottle can help infants. Disinfect everything. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and E. coli are common in environments like airplanes, where groups of people are crowded together in a tight space. In 2014, Auburn University researchers found that MRSA can live on the seat-back pocket of an airplane for a week, while E. coli can survive on an airplane armrest for four days. Infection with MRSA can cause skin diseases and pneumonia, and E. coli can be especially dangerous to young kids. E. coli can lead to severe diarrhea and hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a disorder which is more frequently fatal in children under five years old. Thankfully, the following hygiene practices can lower your risk: Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down seat-back pockets, tray tables, armrests, seatbelt buckles Ensure your children wash their hands after using the airplane bathroom Don’t allow your kids to eat directly off tray tables As You Explore Your Destination During Mealtime Be careful what you eat. While you want your children to enjoy the culture and have the experience of trying new foods, it’s important to take steps to avoid contamination and food-borne illness. Especially in developing countries without proper health regulations. “I would advise parents who are traveling with young children for the first (or any) time not to let children eat anything they have not approved,” shares Kyle McCarthy of Family Travel Forum. Make sure it looks fresh and healthy, and that meat, poultry, eggs, and fish are thoroughly cooked. If you want to try the street food, only visit places frequented by locals. And in developing countries, cautions you to avoid raw fruits and veggies and foods prepared by street vendors entirely. Want more advice from the top family travel bloggers? Check out this collection of the best tips and tricks for safe and healthy travel with children! Determine whether the water is safe to drink. Check the CDC’s “Health Information for Travelers” page for your destination country. Find the “Eat and Drink Safely” section below the “Stay Healthy and Safe” header. Click the “+” to expand the section and see recommendations for water consumption. If the tap water in your destination country is unsafe to drink, avoid ice and stick to bottled or filtered water only – even when brushing your teeth. “Train your children to practice this before they leave for the holiday,” shares YTravelBlog. Purchase a water bottle with a built-in filter and carry it with you. This will save money and ensure the safety of your water even if you don’t have access to bottled water. Also encourage your children to drink water continuously throughout the day. Children are at greater risk of dehydration, which can lead to stomach issues like diarrhea. Not sure whether the water in your destination is safe to drink? Review this “Traveller’s Guide to Tap Water” infographic from travel blogger Mapping Megan! During Activities Pack snacks that are high in fiber. Snacks can help your child avoid hunger-induced temper tantrums. And healthy snacks will help your child feel full longer – and avoid the hyperactivity and eventual crash that inevitably results from too much sugar. “When planning snacks, think fiber,” shares pediatrician Claire McCarthy, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital. Raisins, whole grain crackers, and fruits and vegetables can help your child combat constipation, which often occurs as the result of trying new foods. Learn how to prevent the top 5 health risks to children traveling abroad! Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Unfortunately, bites from parasite-infected mosquitos can cause malaria – the fourth biggest health risk to kids who travel abroad. Malaria typically results in fever, chills, and flu-like illness. It is especially dangerous for children, who are at increased risk of developing severe complications resulting in shock, seizures, coma, or even death. To learn whether your travel destination is a risk area for malaria, visit the CDC’s “Health Information for Travelers” page for your destination before your trip. Take the following precautions to prevent malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses: Take preventative, prescription medication before, during, and after your trip. Your doctor will help you decide which medicine is right for you. Sleep in air-conditioned rooms, screened rooms, or under bed nets. In risk areas, use mosquito netting over infant carriers. Ensure your children wear repellant that includes active ingredients like *DEET, picaridin, *oil of lemon eucalyptus, or PMD. In risk areas, ensure your children wear pants and long sleeves outdoors. *Important Note for Babies and Children Under 3 Years: Do not use repellents including oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under three years old. Only use repellents with a DEET concentration greater than 30% on children two years or older. Do not use DEET of any concentration on infants under two months old. Pay attention to your child’s sun exposure. According to, UV light is most intense: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At high altitudes Near the equator Where light reflects off water and snow Have your children wear hats and sunglasses to combat sun exposure. Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30+ to your child every two hours. Explore this “Food and Water Safety: What to Know Before You Go!” infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Carry a written copy of your child’s medical history in case of an emergency. Traveling overseas may mean exposing yourself and your kids to new environments, unfamiliar foods, and foreign bacteria. Since children's immune systems do not fully develop until they are around four or five years old, young children may also be more susceptible to diarrheal illnesses and diseases like malaria. That’s why you should keep a written copy of your child’s medical history in your pocket, wallet, or purse that includes the details found here. Don't know what to expect from healthcare abroad? Discover how healthcare works in 13 of the most popular international destinations for families. Carry your medical insurance ID card. Store a copy of your travel medical insurance ID card in your pocket or wallet (yes, you may need travel medical insurance, but don’t worry – it’s budget-friendly). This card will contain information like your name, the name and phone number of your insurance provider, your ID number, and your effective date of coverage. If you or your child needs emergency medical treatment, you will show this card to prove you have insurance coverage. DID YOU KNOW? Your domestic health plan may not cover you or your children outside your home country. To find out whether you have international coverage, review your plan details or contact your insurance company and ask. For emergency medical coverage, supplemental travel benefits, and travel assistance, consider purchasing travel medical insurance, as recommended by the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Explore More Family Travel Content from WorldTrips How to Choose a Family Travel Health Insurance Plan How to Safely Travel Abroad with Young Children (According to the Top 21 Family Travel Bloggers) Infographic: Stay Safe While Traveling with Young Kids How to Fly with Kids KHE2FFFYH6SP-971744701-700 WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd. WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states. In the State of California, operating as WorldTrips Insurance Services. California Non-Resident Producer License Number: 0G39705
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Safe Travel Destinations For Families
Traveling with young children means watching as your kids are exposed to new cultures, new foods, and new activities. These trips early on will no doubt have a positive effect on the rest of their lives. Safety becomes the main concern when considering where to take your traveling tot. What are the safest travel destinations in the world? If a country is considered safe enough that you and your family can take normal travel precautions, are there things to do there with young kids? According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (2017) and the Institute for Economics and Peace’s (IEP) Global Peace Index (2018), these are the world’s safest countries. These rankings are supplemented by data from the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories page and the “Crime and Criminal Justice” section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) website to illustrate their suitability for tourists. To top it off, we’ve added helpful resources to each country listing that will provide you with international travel safety tips and ideas for family-friendly activities to keep your youngsters entertained. 1. FINLAND This Nordic country tops the “Safety and Security” index in the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, and ranks 15th in the IEP Global Peace Index. With bustling cities and vast countryside, you’ll only have to worry about how many experiences you can fit into a single trip! Your kids will definitely want to meet Santa Claus in the winter, but there are plenty of child-friendly activities to do in the summer as well. Crime Rates in Finland Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 - 28.40 Kidnapping: 2015 - 0.02 Theft: 2015 - 1,770.96 Robbery: 2015 - 28.16 Burglary: 2015 - 510.97 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety & Security in Finland 2. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Although most people envision unstable governments when they think of the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates ranks #2 for “Safety and Security” on the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Heeding the U.S. Department of State’s cautions below, this destination promises a mix of architectural feats and rolling dunes guaranteed to amaze even the smallest of travelers. Resources For Families Traveling to the United Arab Emirates 15 Important Facts to Know Before Visiting the UAE…With Kids UAE With Kids: 2017 Guide Helen Maffini is the director of the blog Family Travel Scoop. She offers these words of wisdom about traveling in the United Arab Emirates: "UAE is a very safe country. Wear modest clothing – although the UAE is a modern country, it is a Muslim country, and you must wear modest clothing (meaning shoulders covered, knee-length skirts, etc.). Book tours and guides from reliable companies. Don’t go off with people on tours if you are not 100% sure they are regulated tour guides.” Crime Rates in the United Arab Emirates Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 - 3.49 Kidnapping: 2015 - 0.90 Theft: 2015 - 67.83 Robbery: 2015 - 9.02 Burglary: 2015 - 17.01 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in the United Arab Emirates In regard to terrorism, U.S. citizens in the United Arab Emirates should exercise a high level of security awareness, even though law enforcement units have effectively demonstrated the capacity to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism. This concern is caused by the global threat of terrorism, including the possibility of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. Historical and current information suggests that ISIS, al-Qaida, and affiliated organizations continue to plan attacks on Western targets. Maintain a low profile, varying routes and times of travel, and treating unfamiliar mail and packages with caution. Know that the Iranian Coast Guard has frequently detained small, expatriate, recreational boaters in past years, due to a long-standing dispute concerning the jurisdiction of Abu Musa between the United Arab Emirates and Iran. Fishing or sailing in these waters may result in the seizure of vessels and detention of passengers and crew in Iran. U.S. citizens, and especially women, should take precautions against the possibility of verbal and physical harassment or sexual assault when walking alone, consuming alcohol, and riding in a taxi cab. 3. ICELAND It’s no surprise that Iceland is at the top of this list. In this country “Icelanders feel safe letting their children roam free,” so you can rest assured that Iceland is one of the safest travel destinations, as well as a great destination for your kids. What’s more, this island (which also ranks 1st on the Global Peace Index) is a nature lover's dream, with natural sights and experiences to go around. Resources for Families Traveling to Iceland A Family Guide to Iceland Tips for Families in Iceland Why Iceland is the Best Starter Destination for Families Crime Rates in Iceland Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 25.8 Kidnapping: no data Theft: 2015 – 1,223.95 Robbery: 2015 – 16.09 Burglary: 2015 – 43 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Iceland Eric, the co-founder of Iceland With Kids, knows a thing or two about safety in Iceland: "You’re responsible for your own safety while you’re in the beautiful Icelandic outdoors. Tourists from the United States may be used to any unsafe areas being physically inaccessible—blocked by a fence or other barricade. In Iceland, you may only get a warning sign; take that warning sign seriously! For example, consider the black sand beach Reynisfjara. There is a sign warning you about the "sneaker waves"—occasionally, one wave is dramatically more powerful than any recent wave. Those waves can knock you off your feet, or push you into the rocks behind. Make sure you stay well away from the water—much further than you would think necessary! Bring Lots of Cell Phones. Your kids may or may not have cell phones to use at home. But because Iceland is so safe, you may want to let your kids walk around by themselves. During a walking tour of Reykjavik, our tour guide mentioned how her 8-year-old loves spending time by himself in the city! And our kids loved the freedom to walk to the local hot dog stand and buy food with Icelandic cash. But you’ll want them to have their own cell phones. Bring an unlocked phone and buy an Icelandic SIM card. Or see if your carrier offers reasonable international plans. See more details here. Make Sure You Understand F Roads. F roads are mountain paths, only open in the summer, and only accessible to 4 wheel drive vehicles. Many tourists don’t venture onto F roads—there’s more than enough to see on the regular roads! But, Google Maps and most other mapping programs don’t know about F roads. Ask for a route to, say, Þórsmörk, and Google Maps will happily show you the way. But the roads it takes you on are closed most of the year, and impassible for almost all vehicles. Be sure to check the route before you go!" 4. OMAN Just like UAE, Oman is located on the Arabian Peninsula, which travelers often think of as unsafe given its neighboring countries (Yemen and Saudi Arabia). But, keeping in mind the U.S. Department of State’s notes on safety and security below, Oman is a family-friendly oasis on the Peninsula, with warm waters and sandy deserts that make for an adventure-filled family vacation. Resources for Families Traveling to Oman Why Oman is a Family-Friendly Destination Oman: Perfect for a Unique Family Holiday Oman for Families – Everything You Need to Know Crime Rates in Oman Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2008 – 78.54 Kidnapping: 2008 – 0.34 Theft: 2008 – 207.93 Robbery: 2008 – 9.61 Burglary: no data U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Oman While there have been no terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens in Oman, regionally, terrorists continue to target U.S. and Western interests in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the United States Maritime Administration, U.S. flag vessels in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab-el-Mandeb regions face an elevated risk of attacks by violent extremists. 5. HONG KONG According to the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Hong Kong is the fifth safest country in the world. An international city generally popular with business travelers, Hong Kong has many kid-friendly attractions. With multiple amusement parks, including Hong Kong Disneyland, this Asian destination is sure to please both parents and kids. Resources for Families Traveling to Hong Kong 18 Best Things to Do in Hong Kong With Kids The 10 Best Family-Friendly Destinations in Asia The Good, Bad, and Ugly Sides to Hong Kong, for Visitors and Residents Alike Katie Dillon, the author of luxury travel blog La Jolla Mom, offers her advice for staying safe with kids in Hong Kong: "Hong Kong is a fantastic family vacation destination. The advice I have for staying safe in Hong Kong is similar to the advice I'd give families traveling to any big city. The sidewalks and crosswalks can be crowded, so it's especially important to keep kids from wandering too far ahead or behind. It also helps to forward-think transportation in Hong Kong. Car seats aren't required in taxis, so families may want to carry a small travel booster seat or opt for the MTR trains and walking to get around. I do also quite like temporary ID bracelets or tattoos that allow parents to mark contact information on the kids in case of separation. I also would put hotel information on there, too.” Crime Rates in Hong Kong Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2013 – 92.45 Kidnapping: 2013 – 0.01 Theft: 2013 – 441.07 Robbery: 2013 – 6.98 Burglary: 2013 – 49.87 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Hong Kong 6. SINGAPORE Widely recognized as a clean, safe country, Singapore is a great destination for a family vacation. Singapore offers a unique mix of “concrete jungle and real jungle” and plenty of kid-friendly activities, like educational tours, science centers, and zoos. Want an added bit of assurance? It’s ranked 8th on the Global Peace Index. Resources for Families Traveling to Singapore Singapore with Kids 8 Fun Things to Do in Singapore With Kids + Where to Eat and Sleep Visiting Singapore’s Tips on Travelling With Kids Crime Rates in Singapore Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 8.44 Kidnapping: no data Theft: 2015 – 265.98 Robbery: 2015 – 2.19 Burglary: 2015 – 4.46 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Singapore 7. NORWAY Another Nordic country at the top for “Safety and Security” in the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report and the Global Peace Index is Norway. Norwegian tourism is centered on the assumption that domestic tourists are traveling as families, making it that much more family-friendly for international visitors. With an abundance of beautiful Fjords and world-class museums, Norway is a perfect destination to expose your child to both nature and culture. Resources for Families Traveling to Norway Visit Norway: Safety First Visit Norway: Family Fun Crime Rates in Norway Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2014 – 46.17 Kidnapping: no data Theft: 2014 – 2,193.66 Robbery: 2014 – 20.65 Burglary: 2014 – 289.24 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Norway 8. SWITZERLAND Filled with gorgeous mountains and enchanting villages, Switzerland is one of the safest countries in Europe. It ranks in the top 10 for “Safety and Security,” according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, and 12th on the Global Peace Index. Cheap train travel for kids and close proximity to popular European destinations makes Switzerland a perfect stop for families of all ages. Resources for Families Traveling to Switzerland Switzerland With Kids 9 Safety Tips for Travelers to Switzerland Crime Rates in Switzerland Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 7.42 Kidnapping: 2015 – 0.05 Theft: 2015 – 1,759.63 Robbery: 2015 – 51 Burglary: 2015 – 633.46 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Switzerland 9. RWANDA Rwanda is often associated with genocide and instability. However, in the 20+ years since the Rwandan genocide, it has become a much safer destination, according to the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Travel and Leisure magazine highlights that, although Rwanda doesn’t have the lowest terrorism index or rate of homicide, police response is reliable, the business cost of terrorism is low, and so are the business costs of crime and violence. Paying attention to the U.S. Department of State’s notes below, this African destination is a place you shouldn’t feel the need to shy away from, and it provides kids with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like going on safari. Resources for Families Traveling to Rwanda Tips for Family Travel in Rwanda 5 Reasons We Are Visiting Rwanda With Kids Crime Rates in Rwanda Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2013 – 29.78 Kidnapping: 2013 – 0.19 Theft: no data Robbery: 2013 – 25.02 Burglary: 2012 – 21.86 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Rwanda Borders in Rwanda may close without notice. Travelers should beware of the following security conditions: Rwanda - Democratic Republic of Congo Border – Congolese armed forces and UN peacekeepers continue combat operations against rebel and militia groups in North and South Kivu provinces. Violence, rape, kidnapping, and pillaging targeting civilians sporadically occur. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda operates in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, near the border. Volcanoes National Park/Nyungwe Forest – Armed groups operate on the Democratic Republic of Congo side of the park (Virunga). Exercise extreme caution, as the border may not be clearly marked. Additionally, you should obtain a permit from the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks before entering. Avoid demonstrations and remain vigilant while traveling, especially outside of cities and along border areas. Most reported incidents of crime involve petty theft and residential and hotel room robberies. Avoid walking alone after dark, do not display cash and valuables, drive with the doors locked and windows closed, and always carry a copy of your passport and visa, with original documents in a secure location. 10. QATAR Rounding out the top 10 on the “Safety and Security” index in the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Qatar is a Gulf nation that illustrates true Arabian hospitality. Acknowledging the U.S. Department of State’s safety suggestions below, this family-oriented country boasts a variety of cuisines, beaches, and adventures, making it an exhilarating destination for families of all ages. Resources for Families Traveling to Qatar 14 Best Things to See and Do in Qatar Ultimate Guide of What To Do With Kids in Qatar During Winter Crime Rates in Qatar Per 100,000 Population Assault: no data Kidnapping: no data Theft: no data Robbery: no data Burglary: no data U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Qatar Terrorist groups are very active in the Middle East and North Africa, and there is concern about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests in the region. Government officials in the region are concerned about the potential return of foreign fighters following ISIS’s territorial losses in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. ISIS, al-Qaida, and affiliated organizations reportedly continue to plan attacks within the region against Westerners. Practice personal security measures at all times. Monitor local media broadcasts and consular messages, vary travel routes and times when possible, and be aware of your surroundings and local events. You should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, labor or work camps, and venues and events frequented by Westerners. 11. PORTUGAL Ranked 11th for “Safety and Security” by the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report and 4th on the Global Peace Index, Portugal is one of the safest destinations, which makes it perfect for your next trip with the kids. Portugal has a range of sights and activities that will keep your kids entertained for days. Visit the Algarve for a bounty of beaches, zoos, and water parks, or Lisbon, which is home to castles that will inspire the imaginations of your traveling toddlers. Resources for Families Traveling to Portugal Portugal: A Safe Country to Travel With Kids 11 Things to Do in Lisbon With Kids Crime Rates in Portugal Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 4.53 Kidnapping: 2015 – 3.57 Theft: 2015 – 834.96 Robbery: 2015 – 149.49 Burglary: 2015 – 283.93 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Portugal 12. LUXEMBOURG The tiny country of Luxembourg is considered extremely safe, as well as child friendly (Luxembourg has hundreds of specially conceived play areas just for kids). The Last Grand Duchy in the world, this tiny European country offers close proximity to other top European destinations, as well as a diverse cultural experience. Kids can enjoy castles, museums, and an impressive amount of playgrounds. Resources for Families Traveling to Luxembourg Activities for Children in Luxembourg Crime Rates in Luxembourg Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2014 – 572.61 Kidnapping: 2014 – 9.34 Theft: 2014 – 1,843.24 Robbery: 2014 – 110.50 Burglary: 2014 – 784.80 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Luxembourg 13. NEW ZEALAND Coming in as the 13th safest country, according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, New Zealand is a dream for families. With a second-place ranking on the Global Peace Index, a moderate climate, and far fewer critters that can bite and sting compared to its neighbor, Australia, New Zealand is perfect for young travelers. This country is ripe with wildlife parks and nature-focused activities that will certainly introduce your kids to the wonders of the natural world. Resources for Families Traveling to New Zealand 10 Reasons Why New Zealand Was The Best Holiday With Toddler in Tow Crime Rates in New Zealand Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2014 – 220.12 Kidnapping: 2014 –5.23 Theft: 2013 – 2,280.13 Robbery: 2014 – 44.85 Burglary: 2013 – 1,170.07 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in New Zealand 14. AUSTRIA This central European country is an ideal destination for safe international travel with kids. With its top-5 ranking on the Global Peace Index, pedestrian-friendly cities, and an abundance of kid-oriented activities, you’ll be singing Austria’s safety praises like the Von Trapp family in no time. Resources for Families Traveling to Austria Our Winter Vacation to Europe, Part 1 Vienna With Kids: 33 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Austria’s Capital Crime Rates in Austria Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 40.51 Kidnapping: 2015 – 0.04 Theft: 2015 – 1,630.94 Robbery: 2015 – 39.98 Burglary: 2015 – 748.58 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Austria 15. ESTONIA Far beyond its involvement as a Soviet Socialist Republic, Estonia is now a member of the European Union. The country also ranks 15th for “Safety and Security,” according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. While this country’s unique history is a draw for older travelers, there are plenty of ways to keep your younger kids entertained on vacation to this Baltic State. Estonia is home to interactive museums, plenty of castles, and toddler-friendly beaches. Resources for Families Traveling to Estonia An Active Holiday With Children in Tallinn Crime Rates in Estonia Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 7.47 Kidnapping: 2015 – 0 Theft: 2015 – 865.03 Robbery: 2015 – 25.68 Burglary: no data U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Estonia 16. SWEDEN This Scandinavian country is known for being safe and especially kid-friendly. Just like its neighbor Norway, Sweden’s domestic travel industry is curated around children’s interests. Most museums in Sweden are free for kids under 18, and activities are generally designed with kids in mind, making it particularly easy to explore with young kids. Resources for Families Traveling to Sweden Family Sweden: Traveller’s Guide Crime Rates in Sweden Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 47.36 Kidnapping: no data Theft: 2015 – 3,815.46 Robbery: 2015 – 86.52 Burglary: 2015 – 920.90 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Sweden 17. SLOVENIA This Central European country ranks 17th for “Safety and Security” on the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report and 11th on the Global Peace Index. But its friendly locals and breadth of kid-friendly attractions are what make Slovenia a great family destination. The country is home to plenty of outdoor activities, interactive museums, and both beaches and mountains dying to be explored. Resources for Families Traveling to Slovenia Slovenia For Kids: Things to Do With Kids in Slovenia Sarah-Jane Begonja of Chasing the Donkey calls attention to some things to look out for while traveling in Slovenia: "Slovenia is as safe as houses for all kinds of travelers - all year round. That being said, traveling to any new place requires you to be conscious of a few things. One stand out about Slovenia is that it can get hectic in the old town of Ljubljana. Be wary of keeping your bags close by and your children in sight, as it’s a small place with many tourists, and it's easy to be pickpocketed by scrupulous thieves taking advantage of day-trippers. Other than that, enjoy all that Slovenia has to offer.” Crime Rates in Slovenia Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 74.49 Kidnapping: 2015 – 0.15 Theft: 2015 – 1,102.67 Robbery: 2015 – 11.22 Burglary: 2015 – 495.81 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Slovenia 18. SPAIN Spain has a high “Safety and Security” ranking and a top 30 placement on the Global Peace Index. This European country has easily-accessible transportation and food that will satisfy all ages. Plus, it is filled with family-friendly activities, like beautiful beaches and museums that regularly offer free admission to children under 5. Be warned – though this destination is generally family-friendly, dinner in Spain often takes place late at night. Make sure to give your little ones a nap during the day, and some snacks to tide them over until it’s time to eat. Resources for Families Traveling to Spain The Best and Worst of Barcelona With Kids Crime Rates in Spain Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 63 Kidnapping: 2015 – 0.20 Theft: 2015 – 446.10 Robbery: 2015 – 140.02 Burglary: 2015 – 428.06 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Spain 19. NETHERLANDS With a laidback family feel, the Netherlands is perfect for a family vacation. Ranking 19th for “Safety and Security” in the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report and 23rd on the Global Peace Index, the Netherlands offers kids of all ages a safe way to experience enchanting windmills, renowned museums, and a theme park specifically based on children’s fairytales. Resources for Families Traveling to the Netherlands Amsterdam for Families and Children 14 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Toddler to The Netherlands Crime Rates in the Netherlands Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2015 – 281.80 Kidnapping: 2015 – 2.45 Theft: 2015 – 3,214.78 Robbery: 2015 – 56.81 Burglary: 2015 – 1,347.92 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in the Netherlands 20. MOROCCO Rounding out our list of safe countries (and how to visit them as a family) is Morocco. Respecting the U.S. Department of State’s notes below, this northern African country prides itself on tolerance and openness, and children are always a welcome sight. Due to its combination of climates, Morocco offers unique experiences for families unlike any other country on this list, like walks through lush gardens, exciting camel treks, and relaxing afternoons on the Mediterranean coast. Resources for Families Traveling to Morocco Bring ‘Em or Leave ‘Em: Traveling With Kids in Morocco What You Need to Know Before Traveling to Morocco With Kids Crime Rates in Morocco Per 100,000 Population Assault: 2013 – 202.56 Kidnapping: 2013 – 2.91 Theft: 2013 – 322.32 Robbery: 2013 – 44.41 Burglary: 2013 – 26.49 U.S. Department of State Notes on Safety and Security in Morocco There is potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens in Morocco. Moroccan authorities continue to disrupt groups seeking to attack U.S. or Western-affiliated and Moroccan government targets. It is important for U.S. citizens to be aware of their surroundings and adhere to security practices, such as avoiding predictable travel patterns and maintaining a low profile. Establishments identifiable with the United States are potential targets for attacks. All U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments. The issue of legal territory status and sovereignty in the Western Sahara remains unsolved. A cease-fire has been in effect between the Moroccan government and the POLISARIO Front since 1991 in the UN-administered area. However, there are thousands of unexploded mines in Western Sahara and in areas of Mauritania adjacent to the Western Saharan border. ADDITIONAL TIPS & RESOURCES To further enhance your feeling of security while traveling with your kids, consider enrolling in the U.S. Department of State’s S.T.E.P. program. This Safe Traveler Enrollment Program allows U.S. citizens to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to get important safety information regarding their destination. It also helps the Embassy or Consulate contact you in case of an emergency involving natural disaster, civil unrest, or your family members back home. For additional warnings on travel conditions for specific countries, you can also check out the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories. The U.S. Department of State categorizes countries based on levels of precaution that should be taken when traveling to a certain country. Level 1 means you should exercise normal travel precautions, whereas Level 4 indicates you should not travel to that country at this time. The U.S. Department of State also encourages you to check your health insurance to determine whether you’re covered abroad. Explore More Family Travel Content from WorldTrips Travel Destinations for 2022 How to Budget for a Family Trip What to Expect from Healthcare Abroad How to Choose a Family Travel Health Insurance Plan Family Travel Health Insurance KHE2FFFYH6SP-152-1204 WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd. WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states. In the State of California, operating as WorldTrips Insurance Services. California Non-Resident Producer License Number: 0G39705
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