Hopping from one place to another, changing timezones, and different climates always beckon the inevitable “jet lag.” Jet lag is the achilles heel of travel and can be a game changer on a vacation or trip. If you’re like me, time is everything, and I never want to give up a precious day on my travels.
Though there is not a sure way to beat it, you definitely can minimize jet lag with a few choices before and while traveling. Here are a few of my go-to tips to beat jet lag successfully:
1. Consume as much water as possible.
The key is hydration. Every time I take a flight, the days before I am mindful to drink extra water then normal. While I fly, I pass on the soda/alcohol, and stick to water without ice. When you land in your destination, go stock up on water so that you always have it on hand — so easy to forget to drink water!
2. Exercise, exercise, exercise!!!
This goes the same as water: before, during, and after travel, exercise is everything. It wakes you up, helps get blood flowing, and can give you an extra boost of energy so that you can make it through the first day.
3. Proper nutrition = avoiding sugars, fats, and sodium.
Eating healthy while traveling can be a complete pain and often means taking the time to find good food. Before the flight, avoiding sodium means your body will not swell and avoiding alcohol can help fight the lethargic feeling of jet lag. Eating light before a flight can help you sleep on the plane, and not feel bogged down — you are what you eat and flying really heightens that experience.
4. Get as much sleep as possible while flying.
Yeah this is not always possible, and is often the number one complaint of flyers. If I know I need to get sleep, I wait for the first meal to come, take a nap, and then try to wake up an hour or so before landing. I avoid bright screens of my phone or computer so that I can rest my mind which allows me to fall asleep faster. Taking a window seat can also help as you have something to lean on while trying to rest.
5. Plan your flights appropriately.
Sometimes I feel like I am playing a game of chest when it comes to booking flights. Often giving up a pawn to take a knight, I will choose to spend the extra money for a better flight schedule. For instance when going to Europe, I love to take a flight that gets me there in the mid-morning, giving me a day to get tired and then I can sleep it off in the first night. Have a look at time zones before choosing flights, and try to do what makes most sense for a smooth transition.
6. Get on a sleeping schedule before, when you land, and after.
Switch your clocks, get use to the new timezone by changing your sleeping schedule by a few hours the few days before. This can help so that when you arrive, going to bed when you normally would be sleeping is not a big change for your body. It is worth it to be tired the first day, then to spend the next seven trying to adjust.
7. Walk and stretch on the plane
Yeah, I’m that person who paces the plane and is doing the weird stretches in the back of the plane. I swear it’s a game changer. While I sit in my seat, I’ll even massage my calves and arms just to get the blood moving so I am not tight and lethargic when I land.
Happy flying and as always, travel well and travel often! Xx
PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
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Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
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Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
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I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: