My first trip to Japan (many years ago), was also my first trip overseas, so I really didn’t know what to expect on the 14 hour flight. The longest flight I had been on before was a couple of hours, and I had no idea what would–or wouldn’t–be available for me on such a long flight. Fortunately, it all worked out for me in the end, and I’ve traveled to and from Japan many times since that first flight.
Still, I know that for many people their first flight to Japan may be coming-up soon, so I would like to give you my list of 5 things to bring on your flight to make things a bit easier for you. Some of these tips apply to most flights overseas, so even if you are not headed to Japan, they might still be useful.
1. Bring Snacks
Depending on which airline you book, the level of food you get on the plane may go from good to not very edible. And when you are stuck for 14 hours, you are going to need to eat at some point. So don’t risk going hungry and bring your own snacks, and plenty of them. I’m partial to bringing a peanut butter sandwich, chips, peanuts/almonds, and banana nut muffins, and all of these can easily be brought on a plane. Of course, you can bring whatever you like best, just bring something.
2. Bring Phone/PC Chargers
Most people are used to bringing their phones, laptops, and tablets on flights already, but on most domestic flights you rarely have to worry about re-charging your electronics. Again, a 14-hour flight is a little bit different, as most electronics will be drained after half that time. Luckily, all the airlines traveling to Japan have thought about this, and provide outlets and USB ports to allow you to charge your items. So be sure to have your chargers and cables with you, so that you can keep all of your entertainment full of juice.
3. Bring Blanket/Sweater
If you have ever taken a flight that was more than a few hours, then you soon realized that the inside of the cabin can get very cool, and in some instances cold. Well, multiply that by another 10 hours, and you will realize why a blanket/sweater is a must-have. I tend to get cold fairly easily, so having a nice warm blanket or sweater has helped me more than once. Not only will it keep you warm, having a blanket can give you a little sense of home while you are traveling to the other-side of the world. Just make sure it is a lighter blanket, since you still have to fit it inside your luggage when you arrive in Japan.
4. Light Slippers
Slippers will come in handy for multiple reasons. First, you do not want to wear shoes/boots for a 14-hour flight, as it will become uncomfortable and tiring. So slippers will help you stay relaxed during the flight. Also, you will eventually need to get-up and head to the restroom, or simply to walk around a bit to stretch your legs. Having slippers will avoid the need to put your shoes back on, and you won’t have to walk around in your socks. And yes, I do recommend that you try and stand-up (when it is safe) at least one time during the flight, just to keep your circulation going.
A pen? Yes, bring a pen. About 30 minutes before I landed in Japan for the first time, the flight attendants started handing out custom/declaration forms that are needed before entering Japan. And in order to properly fill them out, you needed a pen. However, I didn’t have one, and the flight attendants didn’t have any to lend to me either. Luckily, the strangers sitting next to me were kind enough to lend me their pen, after they finished using it. Ever since then, I always bring a pen with me, and I have been able to properly fill-out my custom forms before landing. This also helps make things go a bit smoother when you arrive, as you can go straight to the customs/entry line, rather than being forced to hangout at one of the custom forms areas, filling out your forms while everyone else is starting their journey.
Of course, there are other things that are useful to bring with you on the plane, but for now I hope these tips help!