Travel Tips to Beat Jet Lag

As a speaker, I get to travel quite a bit. I love the freedom of hopping on a plane and landing in a new city. I enjoy immersing in the culture of a place. But it’s not as sexy as it sounds. Air travel can be tough on a body. It’s not always easy to adjust to a new time zone or to get adequate sleep in an unfamiliar hotel. 

Fun Fact: There are 24 standard time zones and many irregular ones.

Experts say it takes about one day per hour of time difference for your body to adjust to a new time zone. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of arriving a couple of days in advance to accommodate for this, so I’ve collected a few tips and tricks from experts and frequent travelers to help minimize the effects of jet lag and make air travel more pleasant.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Flying can dehydrate a body so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during an after your flight. Carry a refillable water bottle. It must be empty to get through security but most airports have hydration stations so you can fill ‘er up before boarding your plane. Then sip away!

Sleep is Key

As tempting as it is to binge watch movies, it is more important to get shut-eye on the plane. Sleep is the antidote for jet lag, so set the stage for slumber at 40,000 feet. 

Pillow Talk

A simple Google search will reveal dozens of travel pillows. From C-shaped pillows to memory foam, a travel pillow is a smart investment for a frequent traveler. 

Pull the Shades

Blocking out light helps induce sleep on flights. Wear sunglasses or a sleep mask to help your brain sense darkness, which causes it to produce melatonin and induce sleep. 

Silence is Golden

You never know when you’ll be seated next to a screaming toddler or a noisy conversation. Pack foam ear plugs or use noise-cancelling headphones to cut the commotion.

Drugs to Doze?

Many frequent travelers recommend taking melatonin tablets to help you doze (in the air or at bedtime in your new time zone). Unlike a prescription sleep drug, this natural product won’t sedate you for hours. Of course, discuss this—or any sleep aid—with your doctor prior to take off. 

Fun Fact: There are 24 standard time zones and many irregular ones.

Soak up the Sun

Getting out into sunlight will help jumpstart your body clock once you arrive at your destination. Even though you are tired, get some fresh air and sunshine once you land. A quick walk around the block will serve you better than a nap.

Coffee Helps You Cope

If your plane lands in the morning (or even early afternoon), grab a cup of joe. The jolt of caffeine can help you acclimate. So can eating a meal at the standard time in your destination. 

An App for That!

Several apps offer options for weary travelers. Timeshifter is a jet lag preventer. It generates a personalized pre-travel schedule to help you minimize jet lag by adjusting your light exposure, bedtime, and caffeine intake prior to your trip. Meditative apps like Calm and White Noise help induce sleep with guided meditation, bedtime stories, white noise, and gentle alarm clocks.

 

What do you do to make air travel more pleasant? How do you prevent or manage jet lag?

I’d love to know your tricks! Please leave a comment with your suggestions below.

 

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