Karla leaves tonight to fly back to Shanghai. She’s flown the Shanghai-HK-Vancouver (and back) route so often that she’s mastered the art of traveling long distances comfortably. Her job also takes her on trips all over Asia and now North America, and every holiday she gets (and there are a lot of them), she traverses the globe to visit friends and family. Frustrations with airline service and passengers with crying babies are just some of her daily life struggles.
When Karla was little, she had so much energy. She could never sit still, always running around until she exhausted herself silly. She would stop for a breath or two and then continue to run around again. She was born with a curiosity that did not take to sitting kindly. I remember how difficult it was to get her to sit and finish a meal when we were little. So much so that she was the only kid in my school when I was still in the Philippines that had a nanny come every day at lunch to personally feed her.
Now her playground is the world. And her curiosity has Karla hopping on a plane to leave Shanghai every chance she gets. In our age, there are weddings to attend, new babies to visit, engagement parties and hen nights. And then there are family holidays and just your everyday travel itch. She manages to make time for it all.
“Doesn’t she have to work? Your sister is always traveling!” I get asked all the time.
Oh yes, she does. And, fortunately, working for a school means she gets all the school holidays in a country with a lot of statutory holidays (China ranks no. 3 in the Asia Pacific Region for the most public holidays). Karla can easily sit through a 12-hour flight now, no problem. But her curiosity to explore the world still shines brightly.
Here are her tips for traveling comfortably:
1. Don’t wear a bra with underwire, she says she learned from A Cup of Jo. Or if you’re flat chested, just don’t wear a bra at all.
2. Take a vitamin c powder packet and drink it before you get on your flight to minimize the chances of you getting contaminated from a sick passenger on the plane (beware, a person sneezing in the middle of the plane can contaminate the whole cabin!)
3. Wear loose fitting clothes and layer. Always have a shawl (because that can be a blanket) and bring a pair of disposable hotel slippers that you can leave behind.
4. Avoid alcohol and drink lots of water throughout the flight.
6. Wear the airplane headphones even if you’re not watching a movie or listening to music. It will help to muffle the airplane sounds and allow you to sleep better.
7. Try to time your sleep with the place that you are visiting to help minimize jet lag.
Make time to travel this year because it will bring you happiness and broaden your creative horizon. It’s definitely on the top of my new year’s resolution list for 2016. Don’t know where to go? Here are 52 places to get you started.
Happy New Year!