Without pain on a plane

I am back from my trip to Argentina mentioned earlier and am happy to say that the long flight didn’t mess things up too much. I suspect the lack of time-zone change from Chicago to Buenos Aires helped quite a bit, but I would like to think my master preparedness was useful, too.

I did end up taking an hour-long nap after I got to Buenos Aires, but then was well-equipped to spend a good chunk of Saturday exploring the city. And what a fabulous city it is! It was my first time in Argentina, but after this visit I am convinced it was not the last. (The first batch of photos is available on Flickr now. More coming soon.)

As a side note on how some people try to make a long-distance relationship work, consider the story of the person sitting next to me on the flight there. He works in DC, but has a wife and young child in Argentina. Twice a month he gets on a plane Friday evening for the ten-hour flight to Buenos Aires to spend less than 48 hours with his family returning Sunday night so he can be back at work on Monday morning. Ouch.

Here is a list of ways to minimize fatigue generated by long flights, many drawn from responses to this post. I ran out to buy noise-canceling headphones after so many people recommended them. Great idea, I am convinced they made a huge difference!

  • noise canceling headphones (and/or earplugs)
  • water
  • eye mask
  • nasal spray (to counter dry air)
  • a bit of reading/game
  • easily accessible pen (so you can fill out immigration/customs paperwork whenever you want)
  • some type of sleeping pill (either over-the-counter or prescription)
  • at most a small item underneath the seat in front of you
  • an extra sweater/coat and the blanket they give you
  • resisting the need to eat everything you are served
  • small snacks (both sweet and not) so you can eat when you want
  • occasional stretching
  • in case of annoyances, a bit of meditation to block out the environment
  • resisting to watch several movies
  • aisle seat if you want freedom to move (but only if you don’t mind the chance of being bumped by the flight attendants and passersby), window seat if you want to use the side of the plane as a headrest (but only if you don’t mind the cold and having less access to movement)
  • adjusting headrest to avoid leaning/falling on neighbor
  • getting legs up (perhaps on small piece of luggage) for improved circulation
  • a good night’s sleep the night before

On the way back I got upgraded to business class so other than a bit of fatigue, the adjustment took even less out of me.

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