Monday, November 5

Day 310: Special Airport Night-Night Time

I slept the sleep of the dead as I lay curled up on my private row of airport bench seats, at Frankfurt International. When I first lay down I thought I'd never fall asleep. My mind was racing with all of the happy images from our trip, the great fun we'd had, mixed with a tinge of sadness at the realization that it would be a while before I would get to travel back west again. It didn't help either that one of our nearby neighbors was watching music videos on his laptop with the volume turned up to party level. For a moment I debated reading my book instead of sleeping but in the end I continued my airport layover sleep ritual and actually fell softly to sleep much more quickly than I'd anticipated.

When traveling, and especially with long flights abroad or long layovers, I have found that there are a few essentials that make my trip more bearable and even enjoyable. A sleep mask is a must, then there are those favorite items that I never leave home without, such as lip balm and hand cream, of course there's hand sanitizer for my closet germ-a-phobic tendencies, earplugs, an extra toothbrush and toothpaste, a couple of bags of my favorite herbal tea, a good book or two and noise canceling headphones. The later item and the sleep mask I've sort of "borrowed" long term from my husband are probably the most important items for the flight. The rest can be enjoyed throughout the day, at the airport, on the plane and even while traveling.

Lucky for us we have been fortunate enough to use air miles for most of our trips back and forth to the US. The down side of that is not always getting to select the best flight route, leaving us with eight hour layovers. It was my husband who developed the airport nap ritual to help with jetlag and he shared it with me when I started traveling abroad with him. At one point when he was traveling quite a bit for work we had the pleasure of utilizing the airline lounges at the airports we flew through. They usually tend to be a little more quite and there are some nice amenities offered. After he stopped traveling so much he lost those privileges and we started seeking out the best spots we could find for our airport naps.

If you are really desperate like we were you can also "borrow" an airplane blanket to use for nap time, or as my husband likes to call it, "special airport night-night time," during your eight hour layover. But back to nap time, as I like to call it, I slept in solid hour-long chunks and each time I awoke, I changed positions and fell right back to sleep. It felt amazing to sleep stretched out with my blanket, eye mask and earplugs as opposed to scrunched into a small airplane seat with my head dangling and my chin to my chest. I never sleep well on planes but if I can stretch out, chances are good that I will have a good "special airport night-night time." I wouldn't go as far as say that I awoke feeling completely refreshed but I wasn't walking through the airport afterward like a drunk sailor either so that was good.

Sunset from the plane on the last leg of our flight.

Me enjoying a yummy salad while my husband finds a wifi hotspot. 

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