Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Travel: Girl on the Go

Well, it's official - we're 37 days away from heading east (way, way east) to China for 10 days! We've got so much to do (getting our Visas, making sure we're squared away with work, paying any bills before we leave etc.), but we're so excited to pack our bags and be on our way. While we've still got a lot to do, we have been pretty productive when it comes to making sure we have all the necessities for our 17+ hour long flight.

The longest flight I've ever taken has been to Europe (around 8-9 hours total), which, in all honesty, seemed like the longest 8-9 hours of my life. The thought of doubling that flight seriously makes me nervous. What's a girl to do in a crammed window seat (at least it's a window seat, right?) for 17+ hours?

Luckily, a handful of my favorite bloggers (including Hitha of Hitha on the Go) have embarked on similar daunting trips before, so I'm in good company when it comes to figuring out how to survive this bad boy.

To be honest, so many of the items I'm planning on bringing with me are the items I have judged fellow travelers for in the past. "Is a neck pillow really a necessity?" "Do you seriously need ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones?" "Healthy foods on a plane? For real?" Having purchased ALL of these things for our China flight, I feel like a fraud. I hereby take back every negative thought I've ever had regarding in-flight comfort. Seriously. I promise to take at least one photo to document, but I swear, I'll likely be the most absurd traveler you've ever seen. When you're dealing with a 17+ hour long flight, comfort is the name of the game. And I'm abiding by all of the comfort rules.

For our flight to China, I'm going old-school and taking a backpack with me as my carry-on item. I've had my trusty North Face backpack since my freshman year of college, and I have no doubt that it will be my best friend throughout our trip. It's easy to carry (I had shoulder surgery a few years ago and prefer bags that equally distribute weight on both shoulders), and it also fits a ton of stuff (chronic over-packer, over here). Not to mention, it's brightly colored and should be easy to keep an eye on.

Inside my bag? About 1,000 things. Let's start with the electronics. I'm currently taking an online social media mini-MBA course, so I'll need to bring my iPad with me in order to keep up with my coursework. Not to mention, it's super light and easy to transport, so this thing is a must-bring. In addition, I'll be taking my iPhone (for photos, Wi-Fi access etc.) and possibly my Kindle. After my week-long trip to Reno/Denver last winter (I brought one book and bought two others while on location), I swear by my kindle.

To keep our electronics charged on our flight, Jack and I purchased an external battery a few weeks ago from Amazon. I'm pretty sure the only thing worse than a 17+ hour long flight is having your iPad/iPhone/Kindle battery die early-on in your flight. So naturally, there's no way we're letting that happen.

Remember what I said about judging other travelers for their comfort carry-on items? After feeling our new neck pillows (we each have one), I take it all back. We purchased two of these neck pillows after reading great reviews. While I'm lucky enough to have the window seat, Jack's in the middle seat, and I know these neck cushions will come in handy for the both of us.

While I considered an eye mask for the flight, I opted to not purchase one. While I had heard great reviews about a few different kinds, I wasn't certain this was something I needed. With a neck pillow, headphones and a blanket, I'm hoping I feel snug as a bug in a rug on this flight. But I'll definitely be kicking myself afterward if that's not the case.

While these items technically belong in electronics, Jack and I each purchased a pair of noise reducing headphones for our flight. They were really affordable, had great reviews and will help us get through the long flight.

Before we head out, I'm also planning on updating my iPhone with my latest music (including Haim, Coldplay and Ray LaMontagne), and my iPad with a few TV seasons to watch. I've heard great things about Girls on HBO, so I'm thinking of splurging on the first three seasons. That should be enough to keep me occupied for both flights, right? Goodness I hope so.

We also can't forget our China travel book. We bought a hard copy once we finalized our trip details in order to determine exactly what we wanted to see. With 17+ hours, we'll finally have time to read it!

I've read so many different things regarding the appropriate food to eat on your flight. While we'll definitely be indulging in the in-flight meal options, we want to pack a few healthy snacks to keep us tied over in-between. We're planning on taking nutrition bars (Luna, Cliff Bars etc.), kale chips, fresh fruits and veggies and hummus cups. Not to mention, we'll each be bringing a water bottle on the plane, and drinking as much as possible to keep us hydrated. No alcohol for us!

While I love traveling, airplanes aren't the cleanliest of places. Dirty chairs, recycled air, overused bathrooms - you get the picture. To keep healthy and feeling fresh, I'm bringing Clinique facial spray, hand sanitizer, disposable toothbrushes, chapstick and jetlag medication.

Last but not least, I'm throwing my travel yoga mat, jewelry case, sunglasses, baseball cap, cross body purse and an extra pair of Toms inside my bag. Just in case my luggage would get lost, I'd want to make sure I had the basics (specifically shoes, because I hear it isn't easy to find good shoes in China if you're a woman with feet over a size 7).

Will all of this fit into my backpack? I hope so! If you have any other travel recommendations, I'd love to hear them!



  1. I may drink alcohol on this flight

  2. Did you know pretty much all international airplanes have power sources on them? It's between all of the seats - check's seat map, it will tell you the details!

    1. I did know that! The last international flight we went on didn't have power outlets, so now I"m just over-prepared :) But thank you for the tip! I'm checking now to make sure we have them!


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