We just survived a 22-hour long flight journey (with one stop at London) from Boston back to Singapore. Both the Boston to London and London to Singapore flight legs were full – thus no 4-seaters or 3-seaters where we could lie down to sleep for the journey. Nonetheless, the journey (on economy class) was bearable due to a few pre-flight preparations. I will be sharing some of these pre-flight preparation tips here – do let me know if you have other tips to survive long haul flights.

Tip No. 1: Choose Your Airplane Seat Wisely – Make an Informed Decision with Websites like SeatGuru.com

Use seat preview websites like SeatGuru.com or SeatExpert.com to see reviews of seats before you choose your seat online at the airline website. What’s cool about these sites is that they will tell you what’s a good seat and most importantly what’s a bad seat and why. Reasons for bad seats could include back row seats which are unable to recline a lot and are near the lavatory (where there will be a lot of traffic and as a result noise).

Personally I prefer an aisle seat in the centre row so you will have ease of access to the lavatory (toilet) whenever you want (instead of having to wait for someone to get up to let you through to the aisle). You will also need to make way for at most one person as opposed to two persons for an aisle seat in the left or right side rows.

Seatguru-Screen-Shot

Tip No. 2: Get Comfortable with Neck Pillow and Eye Shades

While most airlines provide a small pillow for long haul flights, these pillows are not designed to support our neck perfectly. One of the must-have items for us is a neck pillow, which is ergonomically designed to provide neck support. Finding a perfect neck pillow involves lots of trial and error as there is no one size fits all. We prefer the neck cushions with micro-beads (as opposed to those inflated ones) as they are really very comfortable. These neck cushions are much more bulkier than self-inflatable neck pillows but it is worth the effort for a good rest on a long haul flight.

travel-pillow

We never forget our eye shades (or some call it eye mask) and ear plugs for long haul flights. Eye shades are designed to keep all incoming light from the surrounding to induce a state of darkness, which will simulate our brain to produce melatonin (a chemical that when produced reminds the body to sleep) enabling us to fall into sleep faster. Earplugs are also necessary to cancel the surrounding noises produced by passengers around you.

eye-shade-ear-plug-flight

Tip No. 3: Bring along your own Entertainment to Supplement the In-Flight Entertainment System

If you still can’t sleep after Tip No. 1 and 2, you can always fall back on the in-flight entertainment system. Going back to Tip No. 1, when choosing your flight, do check that the aircraft you are flying in has personal in-flight entertainment systems (not those that is played on a big screen in front of you). SeatGuru.com publishes such info – you will need to know 2 things – One: Flight number and Two: Aircraft model (e.g. 777 or A380) to find the exact match on the website.

Thus, if your flight does not have personal in-flight entertainment, all the more you need to prepare to “entertain yourself” with your own devices. Laptops are too bulky and the seat table is not exactly very spacious. Books and magazines are a hassle to carry around.

We found the perfect device for our personal in-flight entertainment system – the Samsung GALAXY Tab S which can be used for watching movies, reading e-books and e-magazines or playing games. While there are many tablets in the market, the Samsung GALAXY Tab S (8.4”) LTE is one of the thinnest (6.6mm) and lightest (298 grams). This allows for greater portability on-the-go for frequent flyers like us.

samsung-tab-s-lightweight-298g

With 16GB memory and a MicroSD slot which allows for up to 128GB expanded memory space, we can put in a lot of movies and TV series (especially the Hong Kong drama series which not all airlines have on their in-flight entertainment systems) and still have some space left for ebooks.

With Samsung GALAXY Tab S’s Super AMOLED Display, watching a show on it feels really shiok as the whole viewing experience is enhanced with richer colours and deeper contrast. Moreover, Samsung GALAXY Tab S’s Adaptive Display caters to suit the usage and environment, and adjusts its contrast accordingly! Despite these multiple usage which may seem draining, the battery life of the GALAXY Tab S can last up to 10 hours!

samsung-tab-s-super-amoled-display

The Samsung GALAXY Tab S also comes with exclusive premium content and services i.e. the GALAXY Gifts which allows me to enjoy 3 free issues of SPH magazines – I can download the latest digital issues of CLEO or Young Parents magazine for free and not having to lug the physical copies around during the trip.

samsung-tab-s-galaxy-gift-magazine

Tired of reading or watching movies, the Samsung GALAXY Gifts also include games with credits e.g. Cut the Rope 2 with free $15 customised value set or Asphalt 8 with free in-game prime car pack – no need to bother with in-app purchases: just download the app and you are already at an advantage with a better car!

Promotion:
FREE Samsung Book Cover worth $78# / $98^ with every purchase of GALAXY Tab S. Valid while stocks last.
# For purchase of GALAXY Tab S (8.4”)
^ For purchase of GALAXY Tab S (10.5”)

Retail Price:
GALAXY Tab S (8.4”) LTE: SGD 698
GALAXY Tab S (8.4”) Wi-Fi®: SGD 598
GALAXY Tab S (10.5”) LTE: SGD 948
GALAXY Tab S (10.5”) Wi-Fi®: SGD 848

Available in Dazzling White & Titanium Bronze

If you’re interested to find out more about the Samsung GALAXY Tab S and their great deals, visit www.samsung.com/sg/galaxytabs/

Tip No. 4: Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drink Plenty of Water – simple as that. Instead of always having to ask the flight attendants for cups of water, bring an empty water bottle onboard and ask one of the flight attendants to fill it up for you. If you are departing from Singapore Changi Airport, even better – there are water refilling points at the waiting area just before you board the plane.

Just an additional tip – pack a sealed full bottle of water in your checked-in luggage. Sometimes, upon clearing immigration, you might be in a rush to get to your next destination and you might feel thirsty during the long drive to your hotel and there are no opportunities to buy a bottle of water or the bottled water in the hotel minibar is way too expensive (in places where the tap water is not drinkable) – so bring along your own to prevent such a situation from happening.

water-bottle-flight-convenience

Moisturize Your Skin and Lips – Use lip balm or a small hand moisturizer to keep your skin smooth and moisturized so you don’t feel discomfort during the flight.

Tip No. 5: Health and Hygiene are just as Important

Move Around. To prevent your body from aching due to poor blood circulation. You can do some stretching by strolling up and down the aisle a few times to help in blood circulation and at the same time reduce fatigue. Simple leg exercise could also be done at the back of the cabin where it is more spacious.

Bring along travel toothpaste (must be below 100ml) and toothbrush or mouthwash to freshen up just before your flight is due to arrive at your destination. I find that those provided by the airlines are too small or sometimes they don’t even provide such amenities.

Hope these tips are useful for your next flight journey :-)

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The 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix will be held on 19, 20 and 21 September 2014. It is one of the biggest motorsport events in the Asian continent.  Here’s three reasons why you should check out this Formula 1 race here in Singapore.

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Image credits: http://www.singaporegp.sg/on-track/gallery/2013/photos

Formula 1 Street Circuit Race Experience

Singapore plays host to the first street circuit in Asia.  A city street race gets you much closer to a lot of the action around the city e.g. shopping, restaurants before and after the race.  After a long night of fun by the tracks, the last thing you need is an hour long commute back to your city hotel.  Also the city skyline overlooking the street circuit track makes for great photos too – be it the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel building, the Singapore Flyer or the historic Fullerton Hotel.

singapore-gp-formula-1-street-circuit
Image credits: http://www.singaporegp.sg/on-track/gallery/2013/photos

Entertainment Experiences around the Street Circuit Track

A unique feature of the Formula 1 Grand Prix race in Singapore is its track-side performances and concerts.  This year is no different – your ticket to see the Grand Prix F1 race doubles up as tickets to see concerts by big name artists – for example for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, you can expect headline performances from Jennifer Lopez, Robbie Williams, Mayday, John Legend, Pet Shop Boys and Ziggy Marley.  Not only do you get to check out the performances from these big names, you also get to see over 49 different acts from 20 countries.

singapore-formula-1-performances-concerts
Image credits: http://www.singaporegp.sg/on-track/gallery/2013/photos

This year, you can expect non-stop action from when the Circuit Park gates open at 3pm until midnight with specially curated off-track entertainment comprising world-class international music acts, theatrical performances, illusionists and roving artistes throughout the 799,000sqm Circuit Park.

Formula 1 Night Race Experience

The 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix is the only night race on the F1 GP calendar. That means you can wake up late, enjoy a lazy breakfast/brunch and check out various attractions around Singapore like Universal Studios Singapore or River Safari and enjoy an early dinner at great restaurants around Quayside Isle before checking out the race in the city.  Instead of sweating it out under the hot sun in the afternoon (which is typically when most races are conducted), you can enjoy the race during the cooler evenings and after you are done with the race, you can check out the nearby clubs and bars for the post-race parties – after all you are in the heart of the city where all the bar and club action is!

f1-night-race-singapore-grand-prix
Image credits: http://www.singaporegp.sg/on-track/gallery/2013/photos

Get your F1 tickets at SISTIC Singapore.  However if your preferred ticket is sold out, you can try secondary ticket markets like Ticketbis where people sell tickets they cannot attend.  You might just be able to get tickets for the Grand Prix at affordable prices but as with any online transactions, be wary of ticket cheats and do your due diligence before buying.

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Cartagena: Colombia’s Caribbean Gem for Exotic Tropical Vacation

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 23, 2014
Columbia Cartagena

For those looking for an exotic tropical vacation, the choices have never been more plentiful. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway at one of the many Jamaica all inclusive resorts and luxury hotels, or exotic Couples Resorts lingering in the warm coastal waters of the Caribbean, vacationers may find it overwhelming to choose. Hopefully [...]

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Experiencing Life Well Lit With Transitions® Signature™ Lenses – Convenient, Affordable and Adaptable to All Weather Conditions

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 21, 2014
transitions signature

My dad has been a loyal fan of Transitions Lens for many years and has been sharing with us how Transitions lenses were very useful to him especially when his work involved going to construction sites under the hot sun, be it in Singapore, Indonesia or Vietnam. It was only during our recent family self-drive [...]

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Quayside Isle Dining – Weekdays Feel Like Weekends

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 18, 2014
Quayside Isle Sentosa Cove Dining Restaurants

Experience ‘Around the World’ Cuisines with Quayside Isle Restaurants Sentosa has always been a convenient weekend mini-holiday getaway destination for us (e.g. Resorts World Sentosa, Siloso Beach) but recently we had started to check out another happening and interesting side of Sentosa island – Quayside Isle at Sentosa Cove. When I heard that Quayside Isle [...]

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Guide to Getting VAT Tax Refunds on Your Shopping in Seoul, South Korea

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 18, 2014
Global Blue Tax Refund South Korea

Shopping in Seoul, South Korea is not exactly cheap (except for skincare products from local Korean brands) but there is a way that you can get more bang for your bucks – claiming VAT tax refunds from your shopping in Korea. You can enjoy 10% tax refund when you spend more than 30,000 Korean won [...]

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A Respite at Grand Mirage Resort and Thalasso Bali

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 17, 2014
bali mirage resort

Built in 1993, Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali has renowned as a beachfront resort in Nusa Dua. The hotel is managed by Samabe Leisure Management. For 21 years, this resort has delivered a world-class service through the warmth of the staff and the high-standard facilities. This Bali resort is suitable for family, couple and leisure [...]

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Review of Cavalia Singapore – Amazing Acrobatic (Horses & Humans) Performance under the White Theatre Tent at Marina Bay Sands

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 14, 2014
Cavalia Singapore Marina Bay Sands

Showing in Singapore from August 12 2014 to September 14 2014, Cavalia innovatively integrates acrobatics, dance, aerial stunts and horse equestrian tricks to present an exciting and spectacular show.  Considering that the show is conceived by one of the co-founders of famed Cirque du Soleil – Normand Latourelle, you can expect quite a fair bit [...]

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4 Baltimore Hotspots You Might Not Have Heard Of

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 14, 2014
Baltimore

Baltimore is an exciting city for intrepid tourists. Whether wandering along the Inner Harbor and visiting the National Aquarium, strolling through historic Fort McHenry, or taking in an O’s game at iconic Camden Yards, sightseers can easily entertain themselves in the city. But to really experience the allure of Baltimore, you should go where the [...]

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Seoul 5 Days 4 Nights (5D4N) Itinerary – What to See, Do, Eat and Seoul Trip Planning Tips

by Zhiqiang & TingyiAugust 12, 2014
myeongdong cat cafe

If you are planning a trip to Seoul, this blog post might help – you will find a downloadable Seoul 5 Day 4 Night (5D4N) Itinerary and a visual guide of the various attractions we visited here (scroll down for the pictures we took at these places – for the complete collection, check out PassportChop.com [...]

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