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Is there a way to travel from Canada to Japan that's cheaper than the most direct flight routes?

I asked this earlier today and it just got closed. I'd like to know the rationale behind it's closure.

IMHO it's not a duplicate since I'm specifically asking to not limit to air transport, while the other answer pertains only to air travel.

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    Boats would never be cheaper than a plane for that distance, so they're out. And planes are fully covered in the linked question. Otherwise we'd be spammed with an endless string of "Country A to Country B" questions. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Aug 30 '16 at 9:12
  • Working a passage on a boat might be but I've never managed to do that yet so that whole area is quite an unknown for me. Then again I wouldn't regard it as spamming if people are asking about which city pairs are the cheapest between any city in country A and any city in country B. Asking for the cheapest specific flight from city A to city B would be too specific and varying to be of any use though. – hippietrail Aug 30 '16 at 12:23
  • But you do specifically tell us you don't want to go by sea. Were there some methods other than these two that you didn't specifically include? – hippietrail Aug 30 '16 at 12:32
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    @hippietrail your own comment about taking a flight to korea where it's cheaper and then taking a short ferry to Japan is exactly what I'm looking for. What I want to avoid at sea is a 1 month trip aboard a freighter. – JS Lavertu Aug 30 '16 at 14:53
  • By closing as a dupe we preclude an answer has has been pointed out in the comments before. I have already voted to re-open, however I do opine the question is fairly broad or not so useful as flight prices (and flights are involved as you admit) are fairly volatile, so I would not expect a high-quality answer that stands valid and useful for other users for very long, and is thus almost a shopping/WANTA question. – mts Aug 30 '16 at 16:10
  • @mts valid point, I didnt consider the volatility of prices. – JS Lavertu Aug 30 '16 at 16:22
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    @jonathanreez my point is that my question doesnt limit itself to only planes. With skyscanner, i could never find the idea of taking a ferry from korea. – JS Lavertu Aug 30 '16 at 19:36
  • I don't think you will save anything by taking a ferry as getting to the port to/from the ferry likely won't be cheap. Flying is the only way to go. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Aug 30 '16 at 20:33
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    Why not let people answer then? In your opinion, there's no other answer, that's ok. Perhaps someone has a different answer. – JS Lavertu Aug 30 '16 at 20:37
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    @JSLavertu Perhaps some clarification would help those who wish to close. Something along the lines of, "Is there a cheaper way to get from Canada to Japan than flying only?". Then perhaps mention you are open to hybrid travel types (Air, Land, Sea rather than just Air). That appears to be what you are requesting. – The Wandering Coder Aug 31 '16 at 5:23
  • @JSLavertu: OK in that case then I agree with you this is not a duplicate. Do your best to clarify in your question wording so others are on the same page and in the meantime I'll vote to reopen if it's still closed. – hippietrail Aug 31 '16 at 7:03
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    @mts: I agree any question wanting current absolute cheapest ticket is not OK for the site. But questions wanting generally cheapest way or route is OK for the site. Especially when OPs do a decent job of explaining their criteria. – hippietrail Aug 31 '16 at 7:06
  • @JonathanReez: You try to read the minds of all who would see such a question. We are not all alike and SE does not have to appeal only to the majority. Trains in South Korea are very cheap and this OP is open to hitchhiking which is easy and cheap in both countries. Especially if the goal is to explore/adventure rather than get to B in a hurry. – hippietrail Aug 31 '16 at 7:08
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It's clear from the asker's wording and comments that what they are getting at with the question is, they want to know if there any mixed-transport route from Canada to Japan that's cheaper than simply flying; and they don't mind if this is a bit of an adventure, slow, unusual, etc; they'd just prefer for it to be less "prohibitively long" than going by sea. See for example:

when not restricting oneself to flights

...or...

I don't want to restrict answers to air travel only, all forms of transport should be considered if they can reduce the overall cost. Travelling to a neighboring country and taking a bus/ferry/train/etc. is a perfect example.

I don't think it's right to ignore an asker's clear, stated intentions in order to shoehorn a question into being a duplicate of a similar question. I've edited the title to make the difference a little more obvious, but this shouldn't be necessary, the asker made it perfectly clear already in the body of the question.


If someone here knows for a fact that nothing will be cheaper than flying a common route, great. That's the (disappointing, but probably true) answer to the question. Write it up as an answer, and state how you know. Don't hide your useful knowledge behind a close vote. For example, this comment:

Boats would never be cheaper than a plane for that distance

...is knowledge that, if true (and it almost certainly is), mostly answers the question. Share it, as an answer to the question, and state how you know.


As for the concern from one comment:

Otherwise we'd be spammed with an endless string of "Country A to Country B" questions.

This isn't just any old "Country A to Country B", it's an unusual question asking about possible off-the-beaten-track routes, including hitchhiking and ferries from neighbouring countries.

If Travel.SE was to one day become so successful that every adventurous traveller looking for off-the-beaten-track options for ambitious trips chooses this site to ask about them, great; that's not spam or a problem, we're not going to max out SE's servers, it's a sign of a flourishing travel site.

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    Very well put. You, sir or madam, are making the internet better! – hippietrail Sep 1 '16 at 14:25
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Typically, we don't like questions regarding "cheapest" planning on the site - see a very old debate here called The WANTA™ debate (We are not travel agents). It's also documented in our on-topic details page:

asking to have your travel itinerary constructed, including flight scheduling, budgeting and finding accommodation. Such questions cannot be answered as there are too many variables and personal preferences to account for, and are unlikely to be of use to others. An actual travel agent may be of assistance.

So a question about cheapest / best on a specific date or time period is off-topic as that's a "shopping" question.

I do agree overall with this comment from hippietrail above, which is a grey area where some "cheapest" questions are okay:

I agree any question wanting current absolute cheapest ticket is not OK for the site. But questions wanting generally cheapest way or route is OK for the site. Especially when OPs do a decent job of explaining their criteria.

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