A couple of months back, as you know, I travelled to Thailand. It was the first time in years that I had to care about avoiding jet lag. If you are like me and want to get as much as you can done, I’m sure you don’t want to spend a week being a sleep-zombie. So… Here you have some tips for avoiding jet lag and get the most of your trip from day one.
Selecting the best schedule to fly for avoiding jet lag
Let’s be honest. I’m aware that most people select the cheapest flight option with non-crazy stopovers. But some times, by paying 10€ more you can get a flight with a completely different schedule that can help a lot in avoiding jet lag. There are several things you must consider before choosing the best flight for you. The first one: how good you are at sleeping while seated. For instance, I just can’t.
This last time, I had about seventeen hours between flights and stops (2 of 7h and a 2h layover), so I decided to book a flight leaving Brussels at 10pm. With the change of the timezone and the flying time, I arrived to Bangkok at 7pm the following day. And for me it had been around 24h without sleeping, so, as soon as I arrived to the hotel, I felt asleep until next day. Twelve hours later, I woke up to a wonderful day without a hint of jet lag. It was the perfect timezone change. To be honest, I think that the change of season affected me way more than the hour change.
For those lucky everywhere-sleepers
On the other hand, if you are one of those people that can fall sleep everywhere… there are other strategies to follow. In this case, for avoiding jet lag, the best thing to do is to try and sleep only during strategic moments. Meaning: change your sleeping times to the schedule of your destination.
Let’s say that you are traveling to a timezone where you watch has to lose eight hours. The best thing you can do is change your mind as soon as you set foot on your first plane. If with this new schedule you are supposed to go to sleep at 4am, start reading. Or watch some movies. Or play a video games. Take a coffee. Do any thing that will help you stay awake until then. When the 4am milestone arrives, you will fall asleep. In case you are in the opposite situation there are a couple of things you can do:
The first one, get up several hour earlier than your usual the day you are starting this trip. If you follow this advice, it’s quite likely that your body will want to sleep earlier that day. Your second option is to cheat and go for the pharmaceutical options. The typical pills to avoid dizziness while traveling are fantastic. A few years back, when I spend a holidays on a sailboat, the waves were starting to be important and the boat was moving like crazy. The captain asked us to take one of these pills so no one would get sick… One hour later there was no soul awake on the boat. In any case, specially if you’ve never taken them before, talk to your pharmacy-guy or doctor!
Once you’ve reached your destination
If you are worried about how avoiding jet lag, it’s because you will most likely a long trip ahead. Independently of how well you sleep, after 15h of flights without any real rest, everybody is something close to a corpse. Even though there are no shortcuts for this, there are some little things that can help a lot.
The first and most important thing is to always have the first night of ho(s)tel booked. You can be like me and have it all pre-booked (peace of mind), or follow the wild ways and don’t plan a thing. In any case, leaving the airport with a destination in mind is a lifesaver. The second thing you can also do, and that I tried this last time, is to book the transportation to the accommodation from the airport to the hotel (or at least know the schedule of whatever means you want to use). This usually means to pay more, a normal trip to Bangkok from the airport is 400 Baht and I paid 600 Baht. For me, 5€ more were more than willingly paid only to not stressing about how to get there or not being scammed. It was worth it, and when you are traveling alone, these little things mean a world.
What about you? what is the best tip you have for avoiding jet lag? Let me know about it in the comment section!