INTRO: Being Stationed Overseas

Never thought I would be back to my ancestral homeland, but the military definitely has it surprises. One of the greatest Benefits of being stationed in Okinawa is the ability to stay for over the 90 days in Japan. This includes all of Japan’s 43 prefectures. While many foreign visitors have to go through a lot of paperwork and lawyers to even get a visa to exceed their 90 day tourist visa, those who fall under SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) can stay 2 to 3 years on Active Duty orders. For many this is a once in a life time opportunity to have time to live in the land of the rising sun uninterrupted!

Here are the major routes and hubs for ANA in Japan (useful for the Experience Japan Fare)

Haneda Osaka Nagoya Okinawa
Osaka Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo
Sapporo Sapporo Sapporo Osaka
Fukuoka Fukuoka Fukuoka Sapporo
Okinawa Okinawa Okinawa Nagoya
Wakkanai Wakkanai Wakkanai Fukuoka
Okhotsk Monbetsu Asahikawa Memanbetsu Sendai
Nemuro Nakashibetsu Hakodate Asahikawa Shizuoka
Kushiro Akita Hakodate Hiroshima
Hakodate Sendai Akita Takamatsu
Odate Noshiro Fukushima Sendai Matsuyama
Akita Niigata Niigata Kumamoto
Shonai Matsuyama Matsuyama Nagasaki
Toyama Kochi Oita Miyazaki
Komatsu Oita Kumamoto Kagoshima
Noto Kumamoto Nagasaki Miyako
Oshima Nagasaki Miyazaki Ishigaki
Hachijojima Miyazaki Kagoshima
Okayama Kagoshima Ishigaki Sapporo
Hiroshima Ishigaki Tokyo
Yamaguchi Ube Fukuoka Osaka
Tottori Narita Tokyo Nagoya
Yonago Osaka Osaka Fukuoka
Hagi-Iwami Nagoya Nagoya Okinawa
Tokushima Sapporo Okinawa Rishiri
Takamatsu Fukuoka Sendai Wakkanai
Matsuyama Okinawa Niigata Memanbetsu
Kochi Sendai Komatsu Nemuro Nakashibetsu
Saga Niigata Tsushima Kushiro
Oita Komatsu Goto Fukue Hakodate
Kumamoto Hiroshima Miyazaki Sendai
Nagasaki Niigata
Miyazaki Shizuoka
Kagoshima
Ishigaki

The other benefit is the SCRA (Service Members Civil Relief act) Which covers a lot of different benefits to active duty, but the greatest benefit is the reimbursement of credit card annual membership fees for some companies such as American Express and Barclays. This gives you many opportunities for earning membership points for free travel.

uuVan

Not a very large are when you overlay it with the ease coast of the United States. (thanks mapfrappe.com)

It is also key to know that the Japanese being a country of many small islands, rely on air transport more than other nations. So there are many top notch airports that make air travel very easy! This blog is some of my many trips I have taken to travel in Japan on these benefits!

 

4 Responses to INTRO: Being Stationed Overseas

  1. Hello!

    I’ve been quietly following your blog for some time now. I’m still learning this whole travel hacking thing. I’m also in the military and will be stationed in Okinawa in a few months. It’s been almost 15 years since I was there but I’m happy to return. My question is, what airline or cards should I be applying for in order to maximize travel while in Okinawa? Unfortunately I learned to late about the 5/24 rule so Chase cards are not an option for me.

    On a different note, my wife recently received a targeted offer for the navy federal flagship credit card which offers 2X points on all purchases. The kicker is she got offered 40k points for 3k spend in the first three months. Do you think that’s a good deal? Never seen a Navy federal card with bonus points in the offer. Thank you for all of your help, I always look forward to your posts!

    • Sorry to hear about chase, that means no Marriott Card for you, boo! But this merger is happening with SPG and Marriott Points. This means you get the Marriott Gold with SPG gold with your AmEx Platinum. THat means free breakfast at most Marriott and Renaissance hotels. Next use your AmEx Plat to get Hilton GOld for free breakfast. Then time to get the SPG Biz card (I sent you a link) these points will cover your Marriott points by merger, also you will get Sheraton lounge access.

      Now we got the amex bread and butter: 6% Groceries on base with Blue Cash Preferred, 3% on gas on base with the same card.

      Then we got HHonors Surpass from amex, although it might be last chance for the citi product. Points are usable at hotels, but you will need alot. Okinawa hilton for TAD or PCS would be a big points maker here. Lastly I am not sure about navy federal, going to have to read up on it, not sure what the points are worth or how to redeem them. Will post on it, once i find out.

      thanks for the support! best of luck on Okitraz!
      -Derp

  2. Hi Derp,

    Love your blog. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for good credit cards to have while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Majority of my expenses will be on travel and dining.

    Thanks Derp!

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