Friday, February 10, 2012

Inexperienced World Traveler

I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to handle our 14 hour flight to Japan next month when I can't even sit still long enough for a movie.  (Short attention span plus it aggravates my joint and nerve pain).   The longest flight I've been on was 8 or 9 hours long.  And then there's the time difference.  Tips? Suggestions besides Ambien? 
What good paperback suggestions do you have?  All my books seem to be hardback at the moment and I want to pack light. 
Are there any podcasts or books on tape I should download?
How do you stay comfortable/sane/not annoy those around you?


Susan said...

My biggest suggestion is to use the flight time to combat jet lag. I seriously think I've become a pro at this and never experience jet lag!! Basically, as soon as you set foot on the airplane, change your watch to the time zone of where you are headed and make yourself do whatever you'd be doing in that time zone (sleep or stay awake).

Typically, going over, you'll be leaving the US in the morning, which is night in Japan (this might not be the case for you). If that IS the case, go to sleep!! I would even suggest staying awake much of the night before if that's going to help you be tired and able to sleep for the plane ride (use that time for last minute packing/planning). Then, take sleeping pills. Knock yourself out. I know you didn't want Ambien as a suggestion, but I'd say it's my #1 piece of advice when traveling overseas. However, Benadryl or Tylenol PM would suffice for me. Don't even worry about missing the meals. Airplane food isn't all that great anyway. You just don't waste precious Japan time sleeping...get it done on the plane!!

Coming back, you're most likely leaving there when it's morning here. In that case, stay awake!! It's not easy. Allow yourself a short cat-nap mid-day. But otherwise, stay awake!! I try to have a variety of things to do and set 1 magazine, 100 pages of X book, watch this movie, etc... I also like books of games to make my mind work a Sudoku or crossword. Or, use the time for journaling about your trip! This will ensure that you are tired and ready to sleep at a normal time when you get back home.

Anyway, it's possible that your flights are opposite of this. In that case, just do the opposite of what I said. I promise, it is worth it to go ahead and get on the right schedule before you're even there.

jessica said...

Thank you, Susan! I appreciate all of your suggestions and I'm going to follow them. I take Ambien on a regular basis and I plan on taking it on the plane too. But now I will take it at a time that makes sense with the schedule we are trying to get on. It's so important because like you said, we have limited time in Tokyo and I want to make the most of it.

Kate said...

I agree with Susan! My strategy (say, like when we flew from London to Johannesburg) was to force myself to stay awake as long as I could possibly stand it, and then when I could no longer even keep my eyelids open and was falling asleep anyway, I'd take the ambien. So the ambien really served to keep me asleep, not to put me to sleep.

I haven't read a lot lately but the first thing that popped to mind was Eat, Pray, Love. An excellent read for travel. (And I have not seen the movie but heard it was bad, so if you have, then don't judge the book by the movie.) I will try to think of more and send you suggestions.

I don't know how to not annoy those around you. I'm sure you won't be annoying, and just think, this is when being small means that people around you will love you!

My only other advice is to make sure every so often to force yourself to get up and "walk a lap", do lunges or squats in the aisle, or go to the bathroom, do some calf raises in your seat, rotate your ankles, that sort of thing. My good friend got a blood clot on the way to Israel last year - those things are real, and serious! And he is only 43 and a triathlete - it has absolutely nothing to do with your physical condition.

Kate said...

Oh, and drink lots of water. : ) That's what the magazines always say is good for your skin, immune system, getting over jetlag, etc.

jessica said...

Thanks, Kate! I've read Eat, Pray, Love and yes, glad I did before I saw the movie-horrible.