This was supposed to be the first post that I wrote in China. I figured since I hadn’t had the time to go around Beijing and do some crazy, interesting, an possibly illegal stuff to pique your interests, I was going to record what I was doing every hour on the hour during my 14 hour flight and create a mini-survival documentary (take notes Bear Grylls). Long story short, I just bought a new camera and forgot to charge it before I left, so no video. However, I thought I would at least relay some tips on how to survive in a 2 x 3 x 4 transparent jail cell known as a plane seat while literally traveling to the other side of the world.
1. Get a neck pillow
My head is small (7 1/8 for all you fitted hat wearers) and my neck was still tired of supporting it after about 4 hours. The alternative to an inexpensive yet comfortable neck pillow is attempting to sleep on the rounded plane wall if you have a window seat or resting your head on your own shoulder and waking up with a neck pain the size of China.
2. Bring a watch
Between my plane’s lack of electrical outlets and my phone being from the stone age, I had to keep track of time via the length of the movies playing for the in-flight entertainment. Even if you can charge your computer or have use of a phone, looking at your wrist is so much easier than digging through your bags for your laptop or worrying whether or not your phone will change the time automatically when you enter new timezones.
3. Make friends with the guy sitting next to you
There’s no politically correct analogy for my situation, so I’ll just tell it like it is: I was one of only a few Americans in a sea of Chinese people on my flight. It took 3 or 4 attempts before I finally found someone who didn’t shut me down because of my broken Chinese language skills (the guy across the aisle). Even if we could only understand 1/4 of what each other was saying, it was better than being silent for 14 hours, not to mention he gave me all of his food that he didn’t like.
4. Bring over the ear headphones as opposed to the in-ear buds
Imagine having those things in your ears for 14 hours. I don’t care how comfortable they make them these days, you could wrap them in a cloud and I still think they would get annoying. If you have a pair of over-the-ear headphones, problem solved.
5. Bring as many packs of tissues as you can
I don’t know if everyone else has been in this same predicament, but for some reason every time I have zero access to tissues, my nose runs like a river. It’s even worse when I’m at 35,000 feet, stuck in the middle of 3 seats, and there’s a line for the bathroom like you’ve never seen – trying to cut people in line so you can get a tissue is like trying to steal food from a pack of hungry wolves. Plus, tissues are also great toilet paper.
6. Wear loose pants
This one’s not much of a mystery. You’ll probably be feeling the side effects of airplane food (I’m talking about bloating here), and while wearing loose pants won’t prevent you from having to use the bathroom, it’ll make waiting in that obnoxiously long line that much easier. While we’re on the topic, you may want to consider bringing some Beano. You know what they say, take Beano before…