C is for Crossing the Pacific

by Lillian Csernica on April 4, 2016


Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, CA

I have now crossed the Pacific Ocean a total of four times.  The first time, I was on my way to Nippon 2007 in Yokohama, Japan.  The second time, I was making a literary pilgrimage to Kiyomizudera in Kyoto, Japan.  In the course of these four flights, I learned a lot about preparation, comfort, and protection.


Chewing Gum — If you’re like me, you want your ears to pop during take off.  Chewing gum helps balance out the pressure in the Eustachian tubes and keeps you from having a sharp pain in the side of the head until the plane begins to descend.  Be sure to chew a fresh piece or two on descent as well.

Ear Plugs — If you plan to sleep, ear plugs are a good idea.  Try a few different brands out ahead of time so you know which one suits your ears the best.  (Click here to see my favorites.)  The materials ear plugs are made of do vary, so the amount of noise they filter out also varies.

Neck pillowHere are some important points to consider when choosing the right neck pillow for you.

Ear buds — Bring your own.  Airline ear buds tend to be lower quality and won’t fit your ears as well as those you’ve bought for yourself.

Snacks — Nippon Airways does a good job of keeping passengers supplied with food and drink at regular intervals during the flight.  Your mileage may vary, so be sure to keep some TSA-approved goodies in your carry-on bag.


Book your flight well ahead of time so you have the luxury of choosing your seat assignment.  I recommend the aisle seat because that gives you the most breathing room.  Also, in the event that your seatmates are unpleasant, you can make a quick getaway when you’ve hit your limit.  We’re talking ten to twelve hours in the air.  That is a very long time to be stuck in what amounts to a small, narrow room.


Hand sanitizer — A lot of people pass through planes in the course of a working day.  I recommend using this even after washing your hands in the restroom.  You just can’t be too careful these days.

Face mask — There’s no thrill like being stuck in an airplane next to or even nearby somebody who keeps coughing and/or sneezing.  In Asia it’s considered courteous to wear a face mask when you’re sick.  When you’re on a plane breathing recirculated air, Heaven only knows what bugs might be lurking in the air system.  Have no fear, fashionistas!  These face masks allow you to accessorize with style!

Zinc supplements — People have told me taking these ahead of time bolsters the immune system.  I haven’t take them myself, but now that I’ve done the research for this blog post, it sounds like a good idea.

Benadryl or whatever works for you — Please consult your doctor before taking any medications, especially those that may have side effects.  Some people are afraid to fly and rely on Benadryl’s sedative effect.  Again, I don’t use it, but many people I know have done so with good effects.  Ask your doctor.

Bon voyage!



Filed under Blog challenges, Conventions, doctors, Food, history, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, research, travel, worry, Writing

13 responses to “C is for Crossing the Pacific

  1. I’ve never crossed the Pacific…fear of flying only brings me on short trips. I should grow up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no shame in fear of flying. As I progress in years, I find myself more nervous about flying. Travel by ship is great, but planes will always be faster.


  2. I have never crossed the Pacific, but I did fly over the Atlantic many times. All of your tips apply! Big time! As for me I also need to refrain from wearing contact lenses. The one time I did they dried out so terribly. When I wanted to remove them, one simply “broke”. Also I use lots of hand lotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only done a long flight when I went to Boston to visit a friend, otherwise I’ve only been around Europe which is like going anywhere in my country, now. This has become a very small continent 😉

    When I went to Boston I took the flight in Verona, it was two hours late. I flew to London. When I arrived in London and too the second flight, I had waited/travelled for six hours already. As I borded the aircraft knowing I still had seven hours to travel I thought: I can’t possibly do this!!!
    But I could, of course 😉
    I don’t know whether it was because I travel at day coming back (I travelled at night going over) but the travel was a lot less taxing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. Flying to Japan didn’t seem nearly as long and exhausting as the trip back to the U.S. By the time we got home from Kyoto, Pat and I had been traveling for a total of 24 hours with the time change.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great tips, Lilian. I’ve crossed the Atlantic several times, and found chewing gum and ear plugs useful. Also, boosting the immune system ahead of time with plenty of Vitamin C. Never crossed the Pacific, though. Sounds like a very long flight. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds to me like it’s time to start planning for another crossing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t enjoy flying, but my Accomplice and I want to explore, so this is a very reassuring post. Makes it seem almost easy. =D

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Every time we fly, my husband is on his chewing gums and me with my neck pillow 😛


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