Nothing is quite worse than landing in a new place tired, achy, and short-fused. We’ve all been there. Whether you are on a romantic getaway or a work trip, no one wants to start a trip off with the jet lag. Since I love taking short trips to faraway places, beating jet lag quick is essential to an enjoyable trip. Here are some tips on how I beat the jet lag blues.
1. Leave home rested
Starting a trip out exhausted just leads to more exhaustion. I do my best to exercise, eat healthy, and sleep well in the days leading up to a trip. If you’re anything like me and don’t sleep well on planes, at least you will have a couple days of rest under your belt before your trip starts.
2. Know when to sleep
Not to keep repeating myself, but sleeping right is key. Timing sleep is one of easiest ways to reduce jet lag, so I make sure to only try to sleep during a “normal” sleep time at my destination. This can be on the plane (if you can fall asleep) or once you arrive (which means you’ll need to make it through the day). Evening flights to Europe are usually great times to try sleep because you will wake up in the morning at your destination. Flights to Asia are a little tricker. I like to set alarms -- this helps me get enough rest while preventing sleeping at odd times that can ruin my sleep schedule.
When I arrive at my destination, I’m always tempted to take a nap. Whatever you do, avoid napping. You’ll never be able to sleep a full night if you’ve taken a long nap and you definitely do not want to spend your precious vacation exhausted.
One word -- coffee. The first thing I do after dropping off my bags is head to a cafe (picked in advance and within walking distance). Nothing kicks off a trip like a frothy flat white in a quaint cafe. If there is no cafe near by, pretty much anything caffeinated will do.
Like with sleep, I also try to time when to grab my second (and sometimes third) coffee. Doing so during “normal” times (like when landing, around 2pm, and no later than 5pm if staying out late) helps me stay awake without making it hard to sleep.
4. Eat at Normal Times
One of the worst parts of jet lag is being hungry at bizarre times. I’ve learned this the hard way too many times. I will never forget that by the time my boyfriend and I were hungry in Vienna, it was an off time for restaurants in the afternoon. We wandered around for an hour looking for something to eat...but finding nothing. After a couple of hunger-induced arguments, we finally had to settle on some fruit at our hotel and dinner at the first restaurant that opened.
Since then, I’ve learned to eat something at normal meal times at my destination, even if I’m not hungry. Not only does this get me on a normal schedule, but everything is open. I also like to schedule a reservation or know where I’m eating on my first night. This takes away the stress of finding a restaurant and making decisions after a long day of travel.
5. Stay Hydrated
It’s easy to get dehydrated when you are busy exploring, especially after breathing in dry plane air. I make an extra effort to stay hydrated and always have a pack of emergen-c on the first day of a trip. Dehydration will only amplify jet lag, so try hard to avoid it.
I hope that wherever your travels take you, these tips will help you overcome jet lag and start exploring as soon as you land.