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.
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 http://www.compressport.ch . I know, not what they were intended for, but they work.
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.