t’s a fair distance from Australia to Japan but it’s definitely worth it. Isn’t it funny, the travel part of “traveling” is often the most painful part of the trip. There are quite a few things to consider. Some might save you time while others might save you money. We recommend SkyScanner.com.au when searching.
1- How long does it take to get there? While the obvious answer would be between 10-14hrs, there are a number of ways to keep your travel time to a minimum. Making sure your transit time is minimal can really help. There are plenty of cheap flights that will get you to Japan but are you willing to lay on an airport floor for 8hrs+?
2- What city do I fly into? If you plan on also spending some time in Tokyo or Osaka you could consider flying return to one of these cities instead of Sapporo. Japan domestic flights are cheap and run frequently so it would be easy to link them up with your itinerary. Another option is to do a multi city search. Here you can look at flying into one city and out of another. This normally doesn’t effect the price if you are using the same airline both ways.
3- Fly direct vs transit in another country? By far the fastest most comfortable way would be to fly direct to Japan. There are a few major Australian cities offering these flights now. Some do go direct to Sapporo but most are direct to Tokyo. The only downside with flying direct to Tokyo is that you will have to collect your bags and recheck them for your domestic flight to Sapporo. If you decide to transit through another country such as Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong (to name a few) you might want to consider staying a few days on the way there or home. This wont cost you anything extra and you get to see another country. Just do a multi city search when booking.
4- How much should you expect to spend? It’s a difficult question and really depends on where you go from/to and the level of comfort you want. The cheapest way to get there would have to be a budget airline but the payoff is often long transits and a few pretty uncomfortable flights. My recommendation would be to stick to one of the better known carriers making sure transit time is minimal (1-3hrs). This is generally the best bang for your buck.
5- Booking yourself Vs travel agent? Booking yourself online can save some money but you often run into trouble when changes need to be made. My recommendation here would be to read the fine print regarding changes/cancellations, consider booking direct through the airline as they are easier to deal with compared to many online travel agents, and also consider getting the travel agent arranging accommodation to price match the flights and that way they can line up your itinerary.
These tips should steer you in the right direction in getting the most bang for your buck when booking your flights to the Rusutsu Emergency Care Conference :)