It took a while for me to travel for fangirl purposes and that means going to see a concert of my favorite K-Pop group, I couldn’t even afford to buy a concert ticket here in the Philippines back when I was in college so don’t feel frustrated if it’s really hard for you to go see your favorite group, everyone has gone through this phase and not everyone is as lucky as those who can whip up Php 15,000 a ticket in just one go.
Working on the “behind the scenes” side made me also realize that your local promoters will really do anything to make the tickets reachable for fans, even if it means moving heaven and earth. I’m not saying this for only one promoter but I believe every promoter wants to help every fan in the K-Pop community to make this work for you.
So a friend asked me how I managed to travel for fangirl purposes, like I said I didn’t manage to get to until Super Show 4 in Singapore which was in 2012, I told her that it took a lot of planning, debating and frustration but more importantly…planning!
And I loved doing that myself. I’ve been wanting to lay down an editorial about this and hopefully help someone if they’re having doubts whether to book that flight or not.
Can You Really Afford It?
Before anything else, ask yourself twenty times—no, a hundred times—if you can really afford it and not trying to imagine the source of income out of nowhere. You must really think long and hard if this trip would fit your budget, your time and the effort you’ll be making. If you’re a student, flying out might be extremely difficult for you and trust me, it was painful for me to miss out a few Super Junior shows abroad but always think that you are still young and you have a lot of time in your hands to make that fangirl trip in the future when you have a stable source of income. Your favorite group may also be coming here in Manila so you might consider that for the time being.
If yes, you think you can and you believe you have the resources to do so then congratulations! You must be 1000% before you could commit yourself to this but wait, don’t just go into booking here and there. I’ve made the mistake of getting into a rush with things because it’s understandable, you are not just fighting for tickets with the locals of that country you plan to visit to but also other international fans who might be eyeing the same spot as well, but I ended up being over my original budget to the point I barely had enough money to pay the cab fare from the airport to my house when I got back.
What Can I Really Afford?
“No, you cannot afford to be in the seat next to oppa. No you cannot afford to be in the next room beside oppa’s room in the hotel.” This is my mantra when I start planning for the trip. So you know you can afford the trip but what can you really afford? I usually set my eyes on a certain stop of the tour because I know I can’t afford (at the moment) any stops in Korea or Japan (oh god I wish) so I opt for the stops in nearby countries like Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore (I’ve never tried KL and Jakarta or Hanoi sadly…hopefully soon) unless you can really afford to go to Seoul for the tour.
Anyway, I will likely base where I will go based on the tour dates. If the stop I wanted is one to two months away, I’ll likely choose that especially if I have been to the place (well this doesn’t really matter that much) or I know the workaround in that country (meaning how to get tickets). So for this post, let me cite Hong Kong for this post as an example. If you have two months, with a stable and decent income, Hong Kong may be a good choice to see your favorite group live.
So normally, once I’ve chosen the stop and date the first thing I’d do is to lay down the expenses I will be having during the trip and I will usually list down four namely: airfare, hotel, ticket, and cash on hand.
Cash on hand is your pocket money. This may or may not include money to buy merch, food (if you’re planning to starve anyway), emergency money (just in case), shopping (this depends on you).
Once you have determined your expenses, the first thing I usually go research and figure out first is the ticket. Why? Because why go if the sole purpose of your trip is to see your favorite group? Purchasing tickets in foreign countries can be very tricky.
First, you have to determine which ticket retailer is carrying your show, which in the case of Hong Kong is usually HKTicketing. The site is also available to view in English so you won’t have a hard time navigating through the site.
As far as I know, HKTicketing accepts Mastercard and Visa and other credit cards so this should work just fine. However, let’s say in the scenario that you will be needing help and “borrow” a credit card to use, make sure to prepare an authorization letter together with a scanned copy of the credit card you used and also the ID of the credit card owner. We’ve personally experienced this during EXO’s concert in Hong Kong, and this method worked fine so we were able to claim our tickets.
Sidenote: I’m not sure if those prepaid credit cards work, best to contact HKTicketing before purchasing those tickets. Thaiticketmajor & AllTicketThai are also okay with non-Thai cards, same goes for SISTIC in Singapore.
Go With A Friend
This basically cuts down your travel costs especially with accommodation (especially in HK where hotels are quite pricey). If you can bring two or more then all the better. From my personal experience, the more the merrier then you can actually afford staying in a decent hotel…although you have to share it with a lot of people but then again, it’s safer, right?
Hotel suggestions? It depends on where you are headed. For Bangkok and Singapore, it’s cost efficient to stay in hostels/dorms because it is much cheaper (downside is you may have to stay with another backpacker so make sure to research about the area where your hostel is in for safety)
Hostel suggestions for Bangkok and Singapore:
Bangkok: Lub’d, ETzz Hostel
Singapore: G4Station, V Hotel Lavender (if you’re rooming with a couple of people, you can get a 3-bed room and split cost, plus it’s directly connected to the train station!
Airbnb, being the new in-thing for travelling right now is also a good option for you.
Research and planning is key for a safe and fun fangirl trip!
Go Beyond Fangirling!
And this goes without saying, if you’ve got a little more time to spare during your fangirl trip, make sure to spend some time exploring and getting to know the place. I fell in love with Hong Kong after a few fangirl trips instantly and going to Beijing for a movie premiere for one of my favorite idols made me discover how nice the China capital is especially in the cold weather. So yeah, take this opportunity to get to know a new country/place and learn something new so you don’t only bring back that memory of a happy fangirl trip, but a great trip as well.
It was my first time to try Haidilao during my last fangirl trip to Beijing and it was such an experience! Now I can’t stop raving about it!
Anyway, we hope this tidbit has helped you plan your next fangirl trip and not go beyond the budget and if you’ve got any personal tips, for those who have travelled before, make sure to post them down on the comment box below!
Written by visualvodka.