Something that has me proud as I have some background and connections in the domain, and happy because I just love Japan:
It is now possible to use any iPhone 7 or higher for most of the public transport in Japan (this is called “Suica”, a FeliCa technology solution). If you are travelling in Tokyo, this is great!
Transfer to iPhone
If you already have a Suica card, you can transfer the balance (including deposit!) to your iPhone 7 or higher. Apple has a walkthrough that is easy to follow (only attention point is that you have to change the region to Japan under General -> Language & Region -> Region).
Simply put, set your region to Japan and add a Suica card to your wallet.
Use is easy
Use is easy: just hold your iPhone on the turnstile readers. With the excellent reader technology and powered iPhone, reading distance and speed is really good. Your phone will vibrate and you are done.
I travel quite a bit for work and pleasure, and have for a few decades. Here are some practical tips I have for you.
Preparation (weeks-days before travel)
- Invest in the best active noise cancelling earphones you can afford and that fit you best. I love my Bose 20i. I prefer in-ear earplugs, but the over-ear Bose 35i and Sony WH1000XM3 work really well too (they are a bit hot to wear, and the Sony one’s Bluetooth handling is less elegant as it will not easily switch between two users. The reduction of the onslaught on your ears and the resulting stress on your system is worth more than any class upgrade if you are in a bind. I can’t emphasis this enough: invest in a good noise cancelling headphone.
- Consider buying passive earplugs for sleeping: if you cover the microphones of the active noise cancellers they will typically give you a high screeching tone. Plus I don’t like having wires around my throat when I’m sleeping: I prefer not to garrotte myself. I like 3M’s 1100 Orange rounded earplugs or more recently my custom made earplugs from Alpine.nl.
- Go into the travel with enough sleep. Going in with a sleep-debt will make the effects of jetlag much worse, and it will take longer to recover from it. Plus with low sleep you’ll be more tempted to eat crap food.
Preparation (just before the trip)
I have a check-in/carry-on suitcase (currently Samsonite B-Light 3 with 2 wheels) ready for travel nearly all the time. The week before a trip I have it open in my bedroom and fill it with the specific items I need for an upcoming trip as I bump into them (Getting Things Done style inbox filing ;-)).
I also have my daily-carry/designated carry-on backpack (currently North Face Kaban (older model)) which is always ready for day to day meetings and for air travel (fluids only in an external pouch, no sharps, etc).
That carry-on backpack also contains a change of clothes, just in case my check-in goes missing for a few days (rare) or I get caught in rain/manage to dirty my clothes (less rare). I’ve packed, in waterproof ziplock bags, wrinkle-free business casual clothes:
- 1 Mizzen and Main shirt (doesn’t wrinkle, looks professional, does not sweat, does however love to absorb coloured liquids spectacularly).
- 1 Nike Golf pants (looks like formal pants, stretches and dries like sport clothes, hard to get dirty and easy to clean)
- 2 changes of underwear
- 2 pairs of socks (with my Vibram 5fingers I get wet feet easily)
- 1 waterproof trenchcoat from Patagonia (if I’m not wearing it)
- Take a biggish (1 or 3 liter) ziplock bag, and put the items you need available at your seat in there. This allows you to quickly and without fuss settle into your seat. If you practice putting your stuff back in after using, you also won’t lose items as you leave again. As an added bonus, that bag probably is also exactly the electronics that you have to pull out at the security screening anyway, making that process much less stressful (and more efficient for other travellers like me too ;-)).
- Consider packing:
- Apple travel Adapter Kit (or equivalent), with the plugs of all your stops on the way. Consider to add the UK one too: I’ve found that the power plugs often don’t hold power supplies with US prongs at all, and poorly with the European ones. This is the one place where I really like the massive UK power prongs: they keep the power supply nice and snug even in turbulence.
- Short USB charge cables for your phone, tablet and noise cancelling headset.
- A good eye mask.
- A small pen, and if you like that, a note pad.
- Pack any item that is a liquid/gel in a good ziplock back of max 1l. Not only will that allow you to efficiently pull it out if it is in your carry-on luggage, but it will also save you much grief should it accidentally open/leak in your check-in luggage.
During the trip
- Drink plenty of water: Simply accept every offer of water.
- Stay away from alcohol: Alcohol dehydrates you, and degrades the sleep quality significantly. You might feel a bit better dulling yourself from the travel stress with the alcohol, but you are paying a heavy price for this after the flight. I advise meditation and binaural beats as an alternative for handling the stress of the travel.
- Consider putting a 3M privacy shield on your laptop. It severely reduces how much your neighbours can see and how much they are disturbed by your laptop’s light. (Disadvantage: it is glossy, especially the gold side, so it makes the screen a bit less clear. A privacy shield also interferes with a blue-filtering screen. Do install F.lux.)
- Consider the environment and prefer seats with no people behind you. People do look on your screen. I know I can’t help but notice that presentation or business plan…
- As usual, always lock your computer when you are away from it. Don’t leave it unattended in waiting rooms and such of course.
- Put some TSA approved locks on the zippers of your backpack, and connect them together.
I’m writing this half-way between Europe and the US. Decadently in business class.
I used to consider this was an extravagant decadence, a waste of money. Money was scarce, not mine to spend, or both. A typical ticket from Europe to the US costs about €400-600 per leg. The upgrade costs to business class is typically €300-600 per leg extra. That is a lot of money to spend on more personal space for ±8-10 hours.
And now that money isn’t scarce, but my time is, I’ve come to the conclusion that business class is actually cheaper for me financially. This surprised me (pleasantly ;-)). Below is my reasoning.
Yes: Getting work done
Flying in business class gives me room to put my laptop in an ergonomically ok distance (display is still too low, but there is not much to do about that), without fights for my elbow space or visibility on my screen.
As a result, I typically get a solid 4-6 hours of work done (no distractions), which pays for the upgrade costs. So this is money-cost neutral from just the work I can do on the plane.
Yes: less travel stress, more availability
Meanwhile, I travel much more comfortably, resulting in much less stress on my body and mind. I also get a good 2-3 hours of nap/meditation. The result is that I arrive in a much better physical state, with much less recovery time and energy costs. This saves me a good 1-2 days of crappy recovery from jetlag at the destination.
The improvement in my quality of life is totally worth it as a person, and me being immediately fully functional for work alone pays for the business class ticket in the 1-1.5 days of productivity that comes from that. Let alone the much deeper impact I can make from being resourced.
Conclusion: Heck yes!
So, now I decadently enjoy both the time saving and money making travel in business class.
Jet-setting and working hard,
P.S. Regardless of the travel class, I have some tips that make travel much easier.