Throughout the year, and with all my travels I am literally living on planes where I am in perpetual motion for weeks. Sometimes waking up not 100% certain of where I am coming from or going to. This year, I would have been to 6/7 continents and in the month of October alone, I travelled over 30’000 miles (that’s 6’000 miles more than the earth’s circumference of 24,860 miles). With that said, I love every moment and every mile of it!

In my travels, the second most frequently asked question is ‘how do I manage the jet lag’ (the first question being ‘what is my favourite destination’ – which like children, they all have their positives and negatives).

In the spirit of sharing insider travel tips, as the Trafalgar teams loves to do, here are my tried and true personal Anti Jet Lag Travel Tips.

I do however need to begin with the disclaimer that these are not based on anything scientific, simply verified in the way that matters – my health and enduring passion to always arrived invigorated so I can keep on travelling.

Checking in Narita for Singapore Airlines with the delightful Chisato Toda

Checking in Narita for Singapore Airlines with the delightful Chisato Toda

Pre departure

Stick to your regular activities. Be your normal self. No adjustments are my simple rule.

On the plane

Change your watch immediately to your destination’s time zone when you get on the plane. It’s important that you reset your mind along with your wristwatch to where you are going, not thinking of where you are coming from.

If you are flying on a daylight flight set to arrive during the day, do what you can to avoid falling asleep -watch movies, read, relax or work. Use the flight to reset.

If it’s nighttime do the opposite – try to sleep. Use earplugs, eye shades, no movies, no food, just water… switch off as soon as you can. I take overnight flights whenever possible as I find it easier to sleep than stay awake, which helps to reset my body clock.

If you aren’t sleeping, move around regularly and do movements that keep the blood circulating. I try and walk and stretch which always ensures that I feel energised upon arrival.

Another key part of avoiding the jetlag curse, in one word: Water. Drink, drink, drink! Stay hydrated – keep drinking water whilst you’re in the air – even if you aren’t thirsty. If carrying a water bottle remember security regulations and ensure you empty it.

Despite the temptation, avoid alcohol and coffee! I’ve read that one drink in the air is the equivalent of three on the ground. I am not sure if it’s true, but I know the difference is immense for me from even one glass of wine.

What about the food? I try and eat something light, healthy and satisfying before getting on the plane. Few airlines provide tasty and healthy food.

Also, remember to dress for travel as it can change the total travel experience. Two basic principles I follow religiously: (i) be comfortable – bring sweat pants and a t-shirt (ii) stay warm – always carry a sweater and a scarf.

Another small personal secret for me when dressing to travel – I swear by a pair of compression running socks with acupuncture points, which I bought a few years ago, when I had a calf injury . I know, not what they were intended for, but they work.

On Arrival

You are in the new time zone – be in it – adjust immediately. Don’t tell yourself and everyone around you what time it is back home…

After arrival, if it’s daylight, try to go for a walk. I believe light and oxygen is essential for resetting the body’s time clock.  Get outside after settling in, unpacking and a good shower and feed your mind and body fresh air, fresh sights and fresh sensations! It helps to reconnect to the here and now. I’ve also often found unexpected local personalities and hidden treasures by getting out and walking around.  Yes, your body might feel like it is carrying your luggage, but do all you can not to succumb to the fatigue.

Bottom line: unless you arrive at your destination at night, don’t go to sleep when you arrive at your hotel or during the day. One gets tired during the day. It’s normal, rather push yourself and try and stay up until an ‘approximately usual’ bedtime. I see it all the time – associates look to a quick 30-minute nap, which becomes a 3-hour deep sleep, and this unsettles their sleep pattern exponentially even more.

Last but not least – on day one – nibble. Eat light meals. Not only is your sleep cycle adjusting, so too is your digestive routine. I always find that large, heavy meals make it harder for the body to adapt to a new time zone. And they are also unnatural to our everyday routine.

All of these little travel tips and tricks work for me, and I hope they do for you too.

Let me know your experiences or any other good tips we can share – I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wishing you safe, restful and happy travels.



Image for blog 9 Oct2014

In travel, it’s often discovering the icons that make a destination memorable. For me however they are only part of the story.  The other vital ingredients of the places we visit are the people, I believe it is the residents in a destination who actually are the most powerful creators of memories and everlasting impressions. The Trafalgar team’s mission is to bring the world of travel to life for our guests, to ensure that they enjoy an experience that will move them emotionally, one that they will remember throughout their lives. Additionally, we strive to support the local communities that we encourage our guests to explore. As the two merge, it is these moments that are so powerful, mind broadening and even at times become life-changing.

Looking back, the innovation behind our “Be My Guest” experience is the Trafalgar brand creation that I am most proud of. I absolutely love this concept; thanks to this our guests have the chance to intimately get to know and appreciate the places that we visit. Through their hosts, guests are able to gain a more meaningful understanding of the lives of the locals, by being given the opportunity to pause, to learn and share, not merely observing on a superficial basis and then moving on. The result: a genuine appreciation and relationship is formed between both travellers and local communities. This generates a tourism industry that is able to grow and develop in a way that is a win-win, as it showcases the local culture, protects traditions and heritage, and inspires pride and values – the reasons why so many travellers seek to visit in the first place

This is a vital full circle.  Trafalgar guests feel like true insiders, understanding more of the customs and lives of the locals and similarly the hosts form a greater understanding of their visitors too. Breaking down barriers and supporting local communities, proves to be a powerful combination.

Today, this is undoubtedly part of Trafalgar’s DNA. It’s an aspect I fully appreciate and enjoy immensely and find it rewarding to see there is a significant amount of commentary from leaders of our industry that serves to reaffirm the importance of what we are doing.

This spirit of community cooperation was recently reinforced by Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary-General, when he spoke at that this year’s UN World Tourism Day focusing on the theme of ‘Tourism & Community Development’:

there can be no real tourism development if it damages the values and culture of host communities, or if the socio-economic benefits generated by tourism do not trickle down to the community level.”

And David Scowsill, the President and CEO of the WTTC, in Lima at the WTTC Americas Regional Summit said:

It is the reason so many of us travel the world. We search out authentic experiences that bring new understanding and meaning to our lives. Sensitive partnership between culture and commerce ensures that we all value and enjoy the extraordinary world that we inhabit.”

I thought I would share just two examples, of the hundreds from the world of Trafalgar, where guests are discovering more of the destination and we are making a difference to the local communities:

Our ‘Highlights of Vietnam’ trip includes a special luncheon at the KOTO restaurant, in Ho Chi Minh City. Behind the great menu of local delicacies is a very special project. This restaurant actually provides training in the hospitality industry and essential life skills to street children and disadvantaged young people. Koto Restaurant, VietnamKOTO is an acronym for ‘Know One Teach One’, and it has completely changed the lives of hundreds of Vietnamese adolescents as well as their families, and has achieved a 100% success rate in placing its graduates in employment. By including KOTO in our programme we make a valuable contribution to improving the lives of these young people.

In the Loire Valley in France, near the extraordinary Chateau de Villandry, our guests meet Beatrice de Montferrier and her daughter, Alexandra. Beatrice at Chateau de VillandryThey live in a 17th century Manor Farm (that until 1790 was only inhabited by nuns), which she and her late husband dreamt that they would inhabit in their later years with their children.

Trafalgar’s trips to Beatrice’s working farm with our guests, allow her to keep this wonderful fragment of French patrimony alive – for not only does it serve to maintain the charming 17th Manor Farm, an architectural gem, (and which up till 1790 was only inhabited by nuns), – but also to maintain the Loire valley tradition, of raising goats in order to produce the delectable Ste Maure cheese, for which this area has always been known. Indeed, our guests taste the fruits of Beatrice and her neighbor`s hard work, as they savour her delightful “chevre” during dinner. See more about Beatrice and our Be My Guest experience here

These two remarkable experiences are indicative of many we offer, that capture the hearts of travellers, creating memories that go far beyond any photographs that can be taken of the iconic sights. It is their stories, the meaning, which matters most; not only providing great holidays, but also enhancing local tourism communities across the world.