Leave the Lag

 

If other travelers are in the midst of the first traveler, they will often respond with either a shared understanding of this experience or an increasingly worse experience.  This will continue until one traveler has proven their supremely miserable jet lag thus providing them with the ultimate trump card to play in similar future conversations. 

This pattern can be stopped.  Well maybe not the pattern of gaining the upper hand in a good travel story comparison, but rather the pattern of being miserable for the first week after arriving in a new location.  Yes, it does take a healthy dose of intentionality.  But the result is worth any extra effort exerted on the front end. 

Hydrate.

This is a good tip for any time, at home or abroad.  However hydration is especially critical during travel.  Drink lots of water beginning at least a day before the scheduled flight.  Continue this during the flight and during any layovers.  While you cannot take liquids onto most flights, water is always offered as a drink option during snack and meal times.  Choose water.  Avoid sugary, caffeinated, or alcoholic drinks.  Give your body what it needs and it will reward you.

Sleep.

The tendency is to stay up late or get up early before the day of travel.  Your mind is running through the packing checklist.  You are probably getting excited to see old friends or new places.  Resist this as much as possible.  Don’t procrastinate packing.  Pack in advance so that you can have a full night of rest before flying.  Don’t start your travels with a sleep deficit; that just won’t help anything.

Routine Shift.

Several days before travel try to start thinking in the time zone of your destination.  Depending on whether you are traveling east or west, shift your sleeping times forward or back by 30 minutes to an hour each night.  This will take some of the sting off of an extreme time change.  Also, examine the arrival time of your flight.  If you arrive in the morning at your destination, it is ok to sleep on your flight.  This will help you make it through a long day before sleeping again.  If you arrive in the evening or night, it is better to refrain from sleeping on the flight.  This will ensure that you are tired enough to sleep.  Make sure to stay awake until it is an appropriate bed time in the new time zone.  This is often very difficult, but it makes a world of difference.

So, here’s to your next jet-lag-free adventure!

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