Off to do some traveling! Whether you’re going to Japan or to some other destination, these tips should serve you well.
First, the hard part–packing. Bring seasonally appropriate clothing and pack light if you plan to bring back souvenirs. Lost luggage can put a damper on the trip, so bring a carry-on if possible. Besides the obvious items, there are a few choice items to consider bringing.
The trip from the US to Japan is approximately 14 hours. It’s quite the chunk of time to be stuck on a plane, so be prepared to fight boredom and fatigue. Bring your preferred distraction and enjoy the ride! There is usually in-flight entertainment, but it varies according to the airline. I found it helpful to set myself to follow Japan time once I got on the flight, so that I would experience less jetlag.
Pack according to the weather. Most homes in Japan are not insulated, so you may be uncomfortable during seasonal extremes. For summer trips, you may find hand towels/handkerchiefs handy. Some Japanese carry small towels to keep fresh and wipe away sweat. During the winter, Japanese usually wear their jacket and other outerwear inside their homes to keep warm. The particular location I was staying at was cold indoors, as there was only a kerosene heater to heat one room at a time. Bring thermal layers if you are staying in a Japanese home or if you plan on spending your time outdoors.
Carry some pocket tissues at all times, to be on the safe side. I was surprised to find that some restrooms didn’t have toilet paper and paper towels. Be ready to encounter a variety of restrooms. There are regular toilets, bidets, and squatters. Some places had all three types, but sometimes there was no avoiding the squatters.
Bring comfortable shoes, but be prepared to take them off. Some temples and even some restaurants have you remove your shoes. Depending on the location, you may or may not be given slippers to wear. If you plan on wearing sandals, bring socks to wear if you don’t like walking around barefoot.
Of course, don’t let the worry about forgotten items ruin your trip. It can be a nice excuse to buy a useful souvenir!
–Marilyn, Lifestyle reporter
**Tell us: Do you have a must-have item for trips? What is your favorite vacation spot? What’s the longest time/distance you’ve had to travel?