Travel Tips: Beat Jet-lag in 5 Easy Steps

If there’s one thing I learned last year, it would have to be how to travel like a pro. The 34 flights, 14 airports, 5 boats and countless subways, metros, tubes, trams and trains I navigated taught me some valuable life (travel IS life) lessons.

I want to share my top travel tips with you over a series of blog posts, there’s far too much to cram into just one. Too lengthy = yawn.

From my general advice on things that will make your trip a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable to my favourite money saving tips and a cheat sheet of packing like a pro, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about travelling right in 2015.

You know what they say about the 7 ‘P’s, right? Proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance and let’s face it, you don’t want to be the one holding up the security queue while your badly packed carry-on explodes in a display of Tampax and tablets (digital, prescription or otherwise) so keep reading to avoid embarrassment.

First up …let’s beat jet lag in five easy steps.

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B.S. It doesn’t exist.  It’s a figment of your imagination.  What even IS a body clock?  Time isn’t even.  So unless you enjoy the sound of your own voice whining that you’re all “out of sync” or you’re one of those people who just LOVES to tell the world you’re up at 5am in NYC “because of jet lag” and already on your third ethically sourced espresso of the day just so everyone knows A) you’re hanging out in Williamsburg B) you enjoy strong fair trade coffee and C) being a dickhead is cool, then you might want to listen up. And by the way, it’s not the jet lag keeping those people awake, it’s most likely the bright light of their iPhone screens and endless Facebook scrolling.

Like the definition says, it’s just tiredness and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired pretty much all the time and I can’t let that be an excuse not to get shit done.  Here are my top five no-nonsense quit-complaining-and-get-on-with-it musts:

1. Change the time on your watch and every device you own to the local time at your destination (same works on the return trip) the minute you’ve buckled your seatbelt, don’t wait for them to auto-update when you land and NEVER work out what time it is back home.

“OH MY GOD do you know what time it is at home? DO you? It’s 3am!!…and we’re in The Cheesecake Factory/buying candles in Bath & Body Works/stocking up on generic Michael Kors rose gold WTF?!”

…..not conducive behaviour to getting in the right mindset and please, no one needs to eat anything the size of a baby hippo/you know many Irish shops stock equally heavy smelly wax back home/other brands make watches too.

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2. It pains me to say it, but steer clear of the booze on the plane.  Obviously a glass or two of red with dinner to send you into a nice snooze is an absolutely fantastic idea and I wholly endorse it, but you don’t want to get your first hangover before you even touch down, so try your best to limit it.  Drink lots of water and do the coffee-nap trick in the last couple of hours.  Ask one of the cabin crew (nicely, remember they’re tired too!) for a cup of coffee while they’re doing the rounds and down it immediately before having a 15-20 minute disco nap, set an alarm or ask someone to wake you up.  The caffeine will kick in just as you’re coming back to life making the immigration/baggage hall/taxi queue slightly more tolerable.

3. Stay up as late as possible on night number one.  I don’t mean 10pm, or even midnight, I mean LATE.  Check in, have a shower, brush your teeth and then GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM, you know the one with the enticing looking bed in it?  If you can’t find stuff to do to wile away the hours then I’m not sure I can help you.  Go for coffee and cake, I find caffeine and sugar only add to the “is this real life or is this just a fanta-sea?” like nature of being awake longer than 24 hours. Go shopping, wear comfy shoes and hit the streets.  If you’re hungover or your legs aren’t working great, go see a film (something loud with lots of flashing images). Go and become a number one sports fan of a game you know nothing about (LET’S GO LAKERS!). Eat lots of small light meals, 12 linners are usually sufficient on the first day of any holiday and then as soon as it gets dark hit the bar.  You’ll want to avoid red wine and stuff like Baileys, obviously, and order yourself an Espresso Martini/vodka, soda, lime/margarita stat! I know no one follows the advice to alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water, gimme a break! But do sip on something icy and virgin and definitely bring a massive bottle of over-priced hotel water to bed.

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4. After being up for approximately 3836879 hours and tiring yourself out even further with first night shenanigans, (notice there’s no limit to just how late you should stay up, I once set the tone in Vegas by stumbling out of Hooters casino in broad daylight on day one (technically two by that stage) firmly setting the jet-lag-free tone for the rest of my stay) you’ll inevitably sleep soundly and wake up at a normal, or even post-noon, time.  Congratulations, you just beat jet lag!

5. Remember point number one. Get. In. The. Zone. No checking World Clock on your phone for GMT. Stick to this rule throughout the duration of your vacay, (unless it’s a working trip then you should probably stick to the deadlines in your own time zone!).  Enjoy the sunset blissfully unaware it’s actually 3.45am.

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But, like I said, if 140 character updates of how your jet lag struggle is real is more your thing, then just ignore my advice and take a 12 hour nap as soon as you arrive.  Good luck with that.

For everyone else, you’re welcome.

You must have some travel tips of your own, what are they?

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4 Comments

  1. 16 January 2015 / 09:35

    Ha! Great, frank advice Nadia, I am so guilty of the ‘it’s 3am at home’ thing and will try to stop that on future travels. Love the site, look forward to reading more!

    • nadia
      16 January 2015 / 10:15

      Trust me Emma, it really works! Sometimes you feel fine ’til you realise what time it is at home…very much mind over matter. I hope you have somewhere long-haul planned 😉

  2. geoff
    20 January 2015 / 10:01

    Love this Nadia!

    “12 linners are usually sufficient on the first day of any holiday “- My kind of advice for any holiday 🙂

    • 22 January 2015 / 10:03

      Essential right? You know you deserve it if you’ve had less than 4 hours sleep.

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