If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years, it would have to be how to travel like a pro. I’ve navigated countless flights, airports, boats and train trips learning some valuable lessons along the way. I’m ready to share my top travel tips with you over a series of blog posts, so I can focus on the nitty gritty of each. This is an update of an older post, with added hacks and tricks I’ve picked up on my journey, quick literally. Starting with ‘Travel Tips: How to Beat Jet Lag’.
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 2018. 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 …how to beat jet lag….
It doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s all in your head.
Stick with me here. Unless you’re one of *those* people who 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 can absolutely beat jet lag. Here’s how…
Like the definition says, it’s tiredness. In my opinion, you could suffer from the same affects from pulling an all nighter at home, without ever setting foot on a plane. Here are my no-nonsense quit-complaining-and-get-on-with-it musts:
- 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. Manually make the change as soon as you’re in your seat to give yourself more time to adjust to the new zone. Try to limit working out what time it is back home, unless you really need to like for a work call.
“OH MY GOD do you know what time it is at home? DO you? It’s half four in the morning!!…and we’re in Dunkin Donuts/buying candles in Bath & Body Works/stockpiling Sephora sheet masks. WTF?!”
…..not conducive behaviour to getting in the right mindset and please, we basically have that crap here now/you can also buy that shit at home too/Penneys have you covered for everything else.
- It pains me to say it, kills me, 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. Drink a cup just before having a 15-20 minute disco nap, not after. The caffeine will kick in just as you’re coming back to life, making the immigration/baggage hall/taxi queue slightly more tolerable
- Stay up as late as possible on night number one. I don’t mean 10pm, or even midnight, I mean late 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 shopping, wear comfy shoes and hit the streets. Go for a swim, go to a gallery, go and find a cute coffee shop. If you’re really in a bad way, 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. 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 a bar. Order yourself an Espresso Martini! I know no one follows the advice to alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water, but on this occasion hydration is key! Don’t forget to bring a massive bottle of over-priced hotel water to bed too
- After being up for approximately 38,879 hours and tiring yourself out even further with first night shenanigans, (notice there’s no limit to just how late you should stay up) you’ll inevitably sleep soundly and wake up at a *normal* time, or at least after the sun has come up. Congratulations, you just beat jet lag!
- Keep. In. The. Zone. Stick to rule number one throughout the duration of your stay. A lot of the so-called symptoms of jet lag are mind over matter. I’m a firm believer that you can talk yourself in or out of a vicious cycle of having to rewire your body clock
- The same applies for the return journey/when you get home. Switch back to your home time zone as soon as you’re on board. Resist the urge to sleep during the day when you’ve travelled through the night and arrived early. If the temptation is too much, set an alarm for an hour long nap, but only if you know you have the willpower not to keep snoozing after. Don’t even consider pulling the blinds down!
- Get back into your usual routine as soon as possible to limit the effects of jet lag. That’s your normal bed time and meal times, trying to get out for some fresh air and light during the day
- Use an eye mask/ear plugs/noise cancelling headphones if you have difficulty sleeping when you arrive/back at home/during the flight. Have the essentials at hand to help sleep at the right times. Read a paper book, avoid electronics close to bed time and resist the temptation to check your phone/clock if you wake during the night
- If all else fails, book your next flight on a 787 Dreamliner
I could give you the normal spiel about daylight, workouts, melatonin, lavender spray on your pillow etc etc. These all work, sure, but I know very well that if I recommended going to the gym at 4am or intermittent fasting to help keep your personal circadian rhythm to half of my friends in an effort to beat jet lag, I wouldn’t have any pals left to go on holiday with in the first place! Instead, I’m cutting to the chase, with tried and tested advice that actually works. Clearly, my recommendations aren’t from a lab-based study, just someone who travels long haul a lot and understands the pros and cons to different behaviours when it comes to feeling good. This is easy advice to follow, absolutely anyone can do it and beat jet lag.
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. 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, constant time checking and endless Instagram scrolling.
For everyone else, you’re welcome.