I absolutely hate being jet lagged and I do everything I can to avoid it. Jet lag is, in my opinion, one of the biggest drawbacks of travelling. Over the years of travelling, I have learnt a few things to minimise jet lag so as to make the most of my trip. After all, there is nothing worse than feeling lethargic or bloated when you land and wasting precious exploring time
FUN FACT: Jet lag is worse when you travel from West to East.
On our return from Europe (west to east), Scott took over a week to get over his jet lag whereas I actually didn’t experience any jet lag. We landed at 8 am, stayed up and cleaned the house and I went out for a birthday party that night.
So today I thought that I will share my tips and tricks, so that you can hopefully avoid being jet-lagged.
Book a flight that will get you there mid-afternoon.
We once booked a flight that landed at 7am at our final destination and boy was that a mistake. Not only could we not check into our hotel (most hotels have a check in of 2 pm), we also had a 14 hour wait until we could go to sleep so that we could acclimate to this new zone. Let me tell you, it was hell.
We did go out and explore, but it was a half-hearted effort at best. So do yourself a favour and book a flight that arrives mid afternoon.
Adjust your time before you depart
A few days before leaving for my new adventure, I start acclimatising to the timezone of my destination. I will start going to bed/waking up earlier or later depending on the time zone.
I will also adjust my meal times accordingly.
Do some light exercising the day before you depart.
I would not recommend any strenuous resistance work, but some light cardio and/or yoga would do the trick.
This is not necessarily jet lag related but feeling clean helps me relax on the plane. So I always have a shower, wash my face and brush my teeth before leaving home for the airport. I also make sure to prep my skin for flying.
Adjust after you depart
Once you board, change your clocks to the time at your destination. There is no better way to get rid of jetlag than by making sure that you are operating in the correct time zone.
It an absolute must to keep hydrated on the plane. Airplanes are the driest environment, so you must make sure to keep drinking water while you are travelling. To that effect, avoid salty foods and alcohol.
I personally do not rely on receiving water from the air hostess. The mini 100 ml bottles are simply not enough and they are too busy to constantly refill your small bottle. Instead, I either buy a couple of water bottles after security or I bring a collapsible water bottle which I fill up at water stations.
I am very paranoid about drinking tap water in foreign locations (differing amount of chlorine and harmful metals, not to mention germs), so I tend to buy water bottles.
Sleep on the Plane
This is easier said than done, but try to sleep on the plane (just make sure that you sleep during bed time at your destination). The trick to sleeping on the plane is to make yourself as comfortable as possible, bring whatever you think is necessary for you to feel comfortable.
The bare minimum I need to sleep on the planes are compression socks, a blanket/scarf, a neck pillow and an eye mask.
I am pretty good at sleeping in noisy environments so I don’t usually need noise cancelling headphones. Scott however cannot deal with the ambient noise on planes so he swears by the BOSE QC25 headphones.
It is a weird scientific fact, that your taste buds and sense of smell is negatively impacted at high altitude. This is partially why food on planes tastes so bland. This is one of reasons that I try to eat before take-off or during layovers. As far as possible, I try to avoid eating on planes (I make exceptions for snacks). I also find that eating a heavy meal of planes makes me feel bloated and hence unable to relax and make myself comfortable.
When you reach your hotel, don’t have a lie in. As tempting as it is to have a snooze or rest inside, the best thing you can do is to head out and get some fresh air. It is also a good way to get your bearings. Hopefully, by the time you head out of the hotel there is still some sunlight as that will truly help you acclimatise.
I hope that you found these tips useful. What do you do to minimise Jet-Lag?