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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Long haul flying strategies

My backpack, sleep mask and earplugs are basics for every trip. These neoprene shoes, a bottle water that folds flat when empty also help make a long flight more comfortable. See what else helps me sleep and arrive refreshed even on long haul overnight flights.

Long haul flying strategies detailed in my  Nov. 9 column in the Travel section depend on being properly equipped. 

My most recent long trip was 30-some hours en route to Oahu with an outbornd layover in San Francisco and a return layover in Houston. The five hour time difference gives,   in effect, give an extra half day. But sleep between here and there is essential if you're going to be able to take advantage of it since it's five hours earlier.

My next long trip will also be five hours' time difference, but I'm headed for Lisbon so it will be that much later than at home. When I arrive it will be morning but my internal time will be the middle of the night. 
That's part of what jet all is all about, but I can't say which is more difficult - eastbound or westbound.
But sleep is essential and I always try to get on local time as soon as I arrive. Getting outdoors and going for a brisk walk in the sunlight helps.

Here are some of the specifics Ive discovered through the years or being on the road for The News-Herald's Travel section.

My North Face backpack is critical because it becomes a footrest  once I recline my seat for sleep. Neoprene Nufoot slippers go over my socks to keep me warm, provide traction  and help me make the trek to the washroom. I brush my teeth using  one-time use disposable brush picks with toothpaste embedded. A collapsible plastic water bottle the folds flat when empty  is attached to the pack by a carbiner along with Purell handcleaner. Both are easy to clip off the pack and onto my belt when I explore my destination. 

The water bottle, purchased at the AAA office in Mentor, was the envy of everyone in during my visit last spring to Cuba where hydration is important but bottled water is not widely found. 

My sleep mask and foam earplugs are travel essentials since I need darkness and silence to sleep on flights and at my destinations. They're rolled and packed in a ziplock bag along with meds I need to take on the flight. I usually travel with a sleep aide, although I don't always use it. Prescription Ambien is my choice. 
Inside my pack are my electronics and chargers padded by a light rain jacket that packs into its own pocket. That pocket has become a pillow when one isn't provided  on the flight. I also have an inflatable neck pillow
and I always take a cozy pashmina, which can serve as a blanket or be rolled for low back support during  long flight.


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