In my humble opinion, this is the BEST way to beat the jet lag drag!! Both my husband and I struggle with jet lag on every trip both going and coming home. We travel so much, that we have made it our life’s mission to beat jet lag without missing 1 moment of our trip. What is the point of traveling if you can’t enjoy it because you are too tired? There are several opinions on how to beat this. Most people will tell you “You have to stay up all day on the day you arrive, go to sleep at 9 pm! You will adjust faster.” To me? That is absolute malarkey!!!
When you travel east, for example Europe, you are looking at a 5-6-hour time difference. 99% of the flights to Europe are red eyes (overnight). When you land in Paris at 8:00 am and you left from Boston, it is 2:00 am in your brain. You also just spent 7 ½ hours on an airplane. How much sleep do you think you will get during that flight? Even if you did manage to get some shut eye, it is still 2:00 am to your body!! After many years of tackling jet lag, we have developed the best strategy to beat it and thoroughly enjoy our Time Together.
First…..Upgrade your seat! First Class with reclining seats is the best way to go! Super cozy and comfortable, you are able to create your own space with no interruptions and very little noise. If this is not possible, upgrade to the next level, ensure you have extra leg room and amenities. This is imperative on these long hauls. It’s tough to travel when you are crammed in like sardines. Bring ear plugs, eye covers and cozy socks or slippers. Most airlines will provide you with these especially in First Class and Business Class, they will also supply you with a pillow and blanket, I usually bring extra too. Make sure to pack a small dity bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup and a hairbrush for before you arrive to your destination. This will definitely make you feel better. Some airlines will also provide you with a toothbrush and toothpaste if you are in a better class of seat. And dress comfortably, not like a slob, just be comfortable. Drink lots and lots of water before, during and after your flight. Airplane air is very dehydrating which will make you feel even more jet lagged.
When we are booking your first hotel, we need to secure an early check in. You will want to take a shower and a nap! Here is where I differ from everyone else. This is my best practice when traveling overseas! I do this EVERY time we travel. After checking in, we go right up to our room, take a hot shower and go to sleep!!!! I will take a 2-3-hour nap. Trust me, you will never sleep so well in your life. When you awake, you will feel like a new person! Ready to eat a fantastic lunch, and see the sites. You will be refreshed, excited and raring to go. We never plan a big excursion, long drive or somewhere we HAVE to be on this first day. If we are taking a European cruise, we arrive a day early to acclimate and enjoy the city. The one time we didn’t stick to this plan...we regretted it for days. Set a bedtime for 9:00 pm on the day of arrival, and stick to it. You will sleep well and wake up on your new time zone.
This plan has never failed us. If heading west, you are gaining time. We find it much easier to adjust. However, when we are headed back home, we use this plan to adjust back to our east coast time. I hope this helps with jet lag and helps you enjoy your trip.