I know what you're thinking: how can I sit through a long flight, risking sitting near obnoxious children or between talkative flight enthusiasts? With a little bit of preparation, you'll survive. You might, in fact, end up enjoying it (okay, maybe that's an overstatement).
- bring earbuds/headphones: these are a MUST. I promise you, there will be kiddos running around or crying throughout the flight. Also, I imagine you'd want to knock out a couple movies or listen to music while you're zipping through the clouds.
- bring a travel pillow: for any flight longer than 5 hours, trust me, you're going to want to nap.
- bring a sleep mask: long international flights will often have a set sleep time when the overhead cabin lights will be turned off, but it can't be guaranteed that the passengers next to will keep their personal lights off.
- bring reading/activity books: I'm not too big on reading, but I brought some crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep my mind busy.
- wear a zip-up hoodie: flights can get chilly, and it's easy enough to put on and take off without disturbing the passengers next to you.
- bring a Thermos/water bottle: having an insulated water bottle such as a Thermos will come in handy on a long flight. Make sure it's empty until you pass through customs, then find a water fountain before reaching your gate. I recommend this especially if you're picky about your water not tasting like plastic, since water provided on planes are from bottled water.
- pick a seat in the back. Not only is there usually a bathroom in the back (you'll get to meet all the people waiting in line!), the back seat often can't recline as far back as the rest of the seats can. Also, it's apparently possible that the flight runs out of meals by the time they get to you (it happened to me twice). If you've already bought your ticket and you chose one of the back seats, I'll be praying for you.
- expect the plane to have a media screen for each seat. Many planes do have this feature, but some planes require you to download an app BEFORE you board the plane to be able to use the plane's wifi or media platform for watching movies, playing games, and listening to music. Make sure you're listening to announcements about the flight when you're waiting at the gate.
- bring a huge carry-on. If you can, don't even bring a suitcase. Bring a large backpack or duffel bag that you can stuff under the seat in front of you. This means easy access to your belongings and not having to wait for your next-door passengers to get their bags from the overhead storage to reach yours. If you need to fit a lot of stuff in your carry-on for whatever reason, I recommend a swim teamster backpack. They're spacious and durable -- I can pack a week's worth of clothes and necessities and they're very convenient for travel. Less than $50 on Amazon.
If you follow these tips, you'll have a decently comfortable flight. Just make sure you download some playlists or movies beforehand and you'll be good to go!
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<p>Kamishibai is a Japanese style of storytelling that was popular in the first half of the 20th century. These narrators were street performers of a sort -- they read a variety of stories from a series of illustrated paper boards, entertaining the commonfolk before the emergence of television. I will blog about my experiences in Japan through a modernized version of kamishibai, telling my stories through a series of photographs and their corresponding narrations that will be similar to a novel.</p>