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Jetlag is one of the unfortunate parts of travel. Fortunately, these Six Steps to Surviving Jetlag will help you get through it the next time you cross multiple time zones.
As much as I love to travel there are always going to be some inevitable downsides to every adventure. You know what I’m talking about! Things like crowds, hotels not meeting your expectations, or lost luggage have a tendency to create frustration. That’s why I always do my best to prepare for the expected and unexpected.
If you’re next travel destination is international then one expected frustration is the dreaded Jetlag. Unfortunately there is no cure for jetlag and it is completely unavoidable. However, there are ways to make the best of the situation and here are Six Steps to Surviving Jetlag.
Get Your ZZZs in the Air
I know, it’s often easier said than done to get sleep on an airplane. Comfort is a big issue to start with so you may want to consider an upgrade. I know first and business class tickets are far out of reach for many people. However more and more airlines are starting to offer premium economy class tickets which offer perks like more legroom and better reclining seats which may help you sleep better.
Some experts recommend going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier a couple days before your scheduled day of departure. I know in the real world that’s not always possible, especially if you’re trying to get a certain amount of work completed before your vacation. Do try to leave well rested. It will also help if you stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
If you feel the need for a sleeping aid, talk to your doctor. I know many people recommend over-the-counter melatonin, but be aware that it is illegal in some European countries. Try some dried cherries which are known to be a natural source of melatonin.
Be Savvy When You Pack Your Carry On
Not everyone can afford the likes of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class fares. Those lucky travelers have access to their Revivals lounge at London Heathrow airport. Where upon arrival they can have their clothes pressed while they take a nice hot shower and follow it up with a fully cooked breakfast.
Whether you plan on checking your luggage or not, do make sure your carry on has some basic necessities within easy reach. I recommend a change of clothes, skin care, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, and perhaps some dry shampoo. You’ll feel a bit more refreshed and ready to start your first day of exploring!
Make Sure Your First Stop is Your Hotel
Do not go to sleep, I repeat do not go to sleep! I recommend going to your hotel to see if you can check in early. Ask your travel agent to put an early check-in request in at time of booking. It can’t be guaranteed, but it helps the hotel staff to know ahead of time in case there is availability.
If they can’t accommodate you they will usually at the very least hold your luggage for you. At least then you’re not dragging your luggage around with you all day when you’re already tired. If you are able to get into your room and can’t resist the idea of a shower, make sure it’s not too hot. In fact, make it a little on the cooler side to help you wake up more! A hot shower is going to make you sleepier and make it a lot harder to ignore that comfy looking bed!
Some experts say it’s okay to take a nap as long as you don’t sleep more than three to four hours. I tend to disagree, but that’s also because I’m often grouchier after only a few hours of sleep. I know there are some people who can do that, I’m just not one of them, when I’m out, I’m out for the long haul! I also think it is best to start your first day out on local time. It will help you adjust to the new time zone quicker.
Alternate Your Coffee With Water
This is actually a tip I picked up back in high school when I was pulling all-nighters. You get more benefit from your coffee when you alternate it with water instead of drinking cup after cup of coffee. This will help keep you hydrated since coffee does the opposite and can dehydrate you. I definitely notice a big difference when I’m alternating the two than drinking just straight coffee. I tend to have a lot more energy and remain more focused. Don’t forget to call it quits on the caffeine by mid-afternoon and keep drinking water the rest of the day to stay hydrated!
Make Sure Your First Day of Exploration is Light, Flexible, and Exciting
Having some sort of plan will keep you engaged and less likely to wander back to your hotel to sleep. However your plans need to be flexible because you never know what type of travel delays you may come across.
Also remember to keep it light. You’re already tired so anything too intensive is just going to wipe you out. Make sure the day’s activities capture your interest, but not something you need to focus too much on.
It helps to spend time in a place with lots of sunlight and fresh air. Say your destination is London, check out the changing of the guard, spend some time in St James’s Park, or take a sightseeing cruise on the Thames.
Plan an Early Evening
Let’s continue with London as an example, one of the first things I’d want to do is see the latest West End Production. It is best to wait and save it for the second night. Go ahead and schedule an early dinner and follow it up with some light shopping or hot bath. If your hotel has a spa, an evening treatment might be the best way to end your first day. Go ahead and start physically winding your body down so you’ll be prepared to fall asleep at a decent time, in my opinion any time after 8pm is good.
Crossing time zones will often lead you to experience important, once in a lifetime destinations. Don’t let jetlag ruin your adventures! It’s so important to get a good start on that first day to help the rest of your trip go well! Just remember these Six Steps to Surviving Jetlag for a fun and enjoyable travel adventure!
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