by Lillian Csernica on April 4, 2016
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 pillow — Here 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.