Quick and Dirty Tips for International Travel — Tip #1

ON SLEEPING IN PLANES

If you’re a picky sleeper, don’t pull an all nighter with the false impression that you’ll be comfortable enough to sleep on the plane. Unless you’re in business class or first class, your seat will be uncomfortable and cramped and you’ll be sitting next to strangers who may or may not smell funny or snore. Assuming you can sleep in these conditions when you can’t even sleep in the comfort of your own home or bed is as laughable as convincing yourself you won’t feel any jet lag when you arrive overseas.

My husband attempted to pull an all nighter. I met up with him in the Chicago airport so we could take our flight to Stockholm together. When I found him, he was sleeping on a bench in the airport, eyes swollen from lack of sleep. I bent down and quickly pecked him on the lips.

He nearly clocked me in the nose.

My husband thought some random woman came up to him to surprise kiss him while he slept, like he was in some weird role reversal of Snow White, or like Chicago women enjoy sexually assaulting strangers. But who knows what he was thinking — he had not slept in 30 hours and he is a trained killer in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so that makes him all the more terrifying.

If you’re generally a step away from narcolepsy (like me), you’ll be fine sleeping on planes. Consider bringing a sleep mask, earplugs, and a neck pillow. Personally, I enjoyed listening to a few choice music selections when I needed to drown out excess noise. If you’re in coach or economy class, the plane will likely provide a light blanket, a small pillow, and maybe headphones. Whatever you do, no matter how intelligent or unique or comfortable it looks, don’t give into SkyMall’s schemes and purchase a giant inflatable pillow and take it on the airplane expecting to have the space to actually use this. When the person in front of you reclines and your tray-back table is basically nonexistent, you will find this contraption especially useless.

If you’re in business class, you’ll be treated like royalty. They will probably lavish you with a bag of travel sized toiletries and let you brush your teeth with champagne. Your blanket will be better than everyone else’s and your seat will extend down flat like a bed, and everyone sitting in the lower classes will hate you. Enjoy it while you can, and hope no one makes a shiv out of their credit card.


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