Packing For A Long Haul Trip – Japan Survival Kit

Photo by: derajfast on Flickr

Our trip is coming up really fast now. I’ve been slowly collecting our clothing and other items in area for packing. To start though, we decided on what to take on our carry on. What will make this trip more endurable as we will be about 36 hours in the air plus time in airports.


Well, the first resource I admit was actually Les Stroud’s book on survival. Basically, it made me realize that wherever you are, be as well prepared as you can be. So that started me thinking what would be some survival situations on planes. Here I’m talking about common situations like lost luggage, hunger, not actual the plane is going down survival stuff.

I did a search on the net. I found a couple of articles to be the most helpful.

I liked this post because it covered all the basics that I thought I would need too. Also the post in the comments by Pablo Vitaver was helpful.

Hardly anyone looks forward to being trapped on an airplane for hours on end, but long-haul flights are unavoidable if you like to travel the globe, as I do.

And I liked this one because it viewed it a bit more from a survival type aspect.

Something is terribly wrong. You had a full set of luggage when you checked in for your flight. Now all you have is the mystery novel and some odds and ends you thought you’d take to make the flight a more interesting.

My Kit

First off, I decided what to wear on the plane. Comfortable yoga pants and a top.

I’ll make sure I have extra socks, underwear and a top in my carry-on.

Also slippers. This is particularly important for my husband who has size 11 feet to get some before we leave. There is no way he will find slippers that fit and they are such an important part of the culture. Plus they will keep him comfy on the plane.

Snacks. On our previous long haul flights, I didn’t carry anything and sometimes the flights would land just in between meals but not with enough time to catch a meal in the airport. Other times there just were no places to buy anything, and then when there were some places, we didn’t have the currency to use in the snack machine. So this time, I am going to carry just a little bit to tide us over. Also this way, it will be a bit more healthy than chips or a chocolate bar.

Water. This is pretty much a no-brainer. It always seemed like the water came around when I wasn’t thirsty and never when I was. Also I think having the bottle will help me keep track of how much I am drinking and make sure I am staying hydrated.

Eye Mask. We got new eye masks and sleeping pillows and ear plugs. Sleeping is always the trickiest part of the long haul flight, I find. So we’ll see if having items supposed to be of a higher quality will help. These are the eye masks we’ll be trying:

Ear Plugs. We are going to try the Hearos Extreme Protections Ear Plugs. If you live in the U.S. you can get a free trial even.
Hearos Ear Plugs

Pillow. This one I am quite excited about. The common neck pillow never really worked for me. But this looks like it just might work and it deflates to a decent packing size. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Medication with note from doctor. This is not something I want to be left without. So I’ll carry it with me, along with the note identifying it by its brand and generic name along with it being prescribed to me.

Tissue. Always forget to pack it, and regret it every time.

Pen. I pretty much always pack a pen, but not always in the easiest place to get to. This time I plan to have one that stays just with my passport and tickets.

Hair Tie, Band aids, Safety Pin. Just in case items. I figure the hair tie can work as a rubber band as well, if needed.

Wet Wipes. I have never taken these before, but I think I will be happy I did this time. I imagine they will be handy in all sorts of situations.

Travel Sized Deodorant. Self-explanatory.

Pain Reliever. How often has a head ache come because of the lack of sleep. Another thing I want to keep in easy access.

Sleep Aid. Something to help fall asleep.

Addresses of places you will be staying. You may not need it when you arrive at customs, but it may speed up the processing if you have a ready list of where you are going to be staying. It will especially help if you’re planning on taking a taxi to your location.

Basic makeup & comb. You may as well make an effort to be presentable both on the plane and when you land. The Japanese scare easily :P

Chap stick and moisturizers. The first resource I listed mentioned this, and it recalled to my mind the horrors of the last long haul trip. I didn’t pack anything like that, and my lips were dry to the point of distraction. I almost couldn’t take it’I may have even put like butter or something greasy on from my meal to try and soothe. That’s how bad it was. So this is a must! And to think I almost forgot it on my list.

A hat. I have thin wispy hair, and even though I wash it daily, by the end of the day it looks very flat and lifeless and even greasy. There is no way I am going to have respectable hair on a long haul flight. While a bandana would be lighter and easier to pack, I like hats and I feel like it looks a bit more like I am trying rather than just hiding the hideousness I call my hair. And I can wear it later on the trip.

Small Flashlight. I’m not sure about this one. We’ll see. Maybe it won’t be as useful on the planes and in the airports. I remember one time arriving in a Japanese town at night with few street lights, trying to find the back street of our ryokan was pretty hard and a flashlight would have been a big save.

Activities. Of course. I think I might have a book on my computer instead of hauling around a bunch like I usually do. My journal. Letter writing equipment. Some crocheting to work on. Sudoku maybe. And some language learning items like flash cards or phrase books.

Well that is basically it. I’ll let you know how it all goes. Do you have any tips or tricks you have learned to make the long haul flight tolerable? I can use all the help I can get :)

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