I initially titled this post ‘How to Avoid Jet Lag.’ But truth be told, there is no real cure for jet lag. If you’re flying around different time zones then you’re going to feel a little off. That said, there are ways to minimize jet lag and trick your mind and body into feeling like your fabulous self!
Optimum Flight Time – Price is usually the driving factor when choosing my flights, but if it is a long flight that crosses time zones, I definitely pay attention to the departure and arrival times. I usually prefer to book flights that leave in the afternoon or evening so it is easier to sleep on the plane. Even just a few hours of sleep is better than missing an entire night of sleep!
Bed Time – A few days before the trip I’ll try to go to bed a little earlier or a little later depending on whether I’m going east or west coast. This helps with my sleep schedule as it creates less of a time change.
Mental Clock – If I’m wearing a watch I’ll change it to the destination time when I’m boarding. Even if I’m not, I change my mental clock to the new time. When you’re traveling it’s so tempting to talk about what time it is at home, or how many hours you’ve been up, but don’t do it! As soon as you can get on the new time the better.
Sleeping Aids – I’ve mentioned before that I have the hardest time sleeping when I’m not at home and sleeping on a plane is no different! So if the flight is over 6 hours I’ll take a sleeping pill (I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking a sleeping pill on a flight if it’s your first time). When I wake up I’m extremely groggy, but coffee or a shot of espresso knocks the drowsiness right out of me. Others swear by melatonin or similar aids, but you should definitely consult your doctor if you’re going that route. You may also want to pack an eye mask, neck pillow, earplugs, or noise cancelling headphones to help you sleep better.
I love the Trtl neck pillow! It provides great neck support, folds flat in your bag, and best of all is machine washable!
Drink Lots of Water – Since I’m usually trying to sleep during long flights I don’t get a lot of water in me. To make up for it, I try to drink a lot before I board and when we’re landing. If you’re awake I’ve heard that you should have 8 oz every hour on a flight, but if you’re trying for that I’d make sure to get an aisle seat!:)
Skin Care – Sitting on an airplane will dry out your skin. Period. I’ve found that wearing no makeup, limiting alcoholic drinks to one (or none), and applying moisturizer to my face mid-flight keeps my skin feeling its best.
This jet lag mask, while a little pricey, is the perfect solution to hydrate your skin while onboard (no rinse required)!
When I first started working as a flight attendant I was flying to Asia one week and Europe the next and my internal clock was way off! Eventually I came up with my perfect arrival routine to combat the tiredness. I prefer to go straight to the hotel to check-in, take a shower, and change into fresh clothes. I don’t even let myself sit down on the bed as it can be so tempting to curl up and go to sleep. Instead I head out to grab a coffee and walk around the city.
If I’m extremely tired after walking around for a few hours, I’ll let myself have an hour or two nap before dinner (but that can be risky because sometimes you feel a little worse after). For dinner I seek out a lively place (quiet locations make me want to fall asleep at the table!) and try to stay up as late as I can to help get on the local time as quickly as possible.
Looking for more travel tips? Check out How to Travel on a Budget and How to Sleep on an Overnight Flight
This Post Has 11 Comments
Heather Lindstrom21 Jul 2015
Excellent suggestions here, Jenny! I’m very much like you-hard time sleeping on the plane (so excited about the trip!) and have also fallen asleep at dinner upon arriving in Europe. zzzzzz Your tips help combat some of those early mistakes I made. I find that if I use my eye shades (both at home and on the plane) it really helps me sleep. I agree, just make that mental adjustment to the new time zone asap and go with it. I always give myself a ‘pj’ day upon returning home from a big time change kind of trip. I do laundry, nap, go through mail, nap, to help readjust to my home time zone.
PS-just back from 2 weeks in Riviera Maya and having fun catching up! 🙂
Traveling Chic23 Jul 2015
Hi Heather! Thanks so much! I love your idea of a pj day! I didn’t even think about including helpful tips for when you return, but that would be a great post! Can’t wait to see your blog pictures on Riviera Maya! I’m sure it was gorgeous! Happy belated b-day! xo
Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren21 Jul 2015
Staying hydrated really is so important and my skin definitely thanks me for it later. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
Happy travels 🙂
Traveling Chic23 Jul 2015
Thanks, Lauren! I couldn’t agree more! I’m terrible about drinking enough water, but it is so important!
Anne22 Jul 2015
I always change my watch and have no idea why it works but clearly the ‘fake it till you make it approach’ does. Love that by the way!
I also find a scented eye mask (note not available on board but you can get them at Amazon) and ear plugs helpful for sleep. You have to work the glamorous look!
Practise also seems to help which is what I tell myself when I need an excuse to book a flight.
Traveling Chic22 Jul 2015
I couldn’t agree more, Anne! I’m going to have to look up the scented eye mask–that sounds amazing! xo
Taylor Hearts Travel24 Jul 2015
Great tips! I definitely always try to drink loads of water and I usually take a big pashmina as a pillow or to cover my face.
Traveling Chic25 Jul 2015
Thanks, Char! Great idea to use a pashmina for a pillow – much less of a hassle than bringing a neck pillow!
WENDY | LIVING VAZZY25 Jul 2015
Such great tips Jenny! I’m lucky to be able to sleep well on the plane, although sometimes I do wake up dizzy and groggy!
Whenever I get severely jet-lagged from travelling (flying from Malaysia to Canada is crazy), I try to get cherries or tart cherry juice as it is a natural source of melatonin, it really helps in regulating sleep-wake cycle!
Traveling Chic26 Jul 2015
Thanks, Wendy! You ARE lucky to be able to sleep on a plane! I didn’t know cherries were a natural source of melatonin! Such a great tip – thanks!
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