There is no easy way to say this, but traveling is a b*tch. We love traveling to places, but the whole process of going through airports and being stuck on a plane make us want to pull our hair out. Factor in the time change, that really takes a toll on your physical AND mental health.
Among the four of us, we have quite our fair share of travel experiences. Caffeine always helps, but there is only so much it can do. Here are some tips on how to combat time change and minimize that grueling jet lag. Hope you find them helpful!
Time change can really throw one off. One of the first things I do when the plane takes off is adjusting my phone to the destination’s time, so I am already mentally in sync with where I am physically going to be. For example, if it is 11am in LA when boarded and 2am in Hong Kong, I tend to eat something light, watch a boring movie, and try to knock myself out as soon as the plane is in the air. The quicker you can adjust to the destination time, the easier it is to hit the ground running when you land. Seeing that it says 6:30am instead of 3:30am on your watch and/or phone when you land really helps your brain freak out a little less. It’s like playing mind games with yourself… But hey, it works.
Truth is, not everyone can afford flying first or business class with those comfy lay flat beds. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep even for an hour during a red eye or long haul flight. I used to be one of those. And I found myself always getting sick while on vacation due to the lack of sleep and physical exhaustion. Now when I travel I always bring with me eye mask, ear plugs, neck pillow, and sleeping aid of some sort. Especially if it’s a long haul flight, I make sure to knock myself out with some sleeping aid. I also bring a giant scarf and comfy socks to keep myself as warm and cozy as possible. Even after you landed you may still find those eye mask and ear plugs handy, as you never know how thin the hotel walls and curtains could be!
Most of the time you may find yourself wanting to take a “quick” nap the second you get to your accommodation. You’re thinking, it’s still early in the morning, I have all day to explore, that bed is calling my name, a little nap isn’t going to hurt. Next thing you know you slept through your alarm and it is 4pm, you had such a restful “nap” that you could barely sleep at night, and the cycle repeats itself. Sounds familiar, right? This is why it is so important to just hit the road and keep going the second you land. Make sure you plan out a full schedule of things to do that first day – meet up with friends, go explore, hit up a museum, keep yourself busy so that you can’t think of how tired you are. By the time bedtime hits, you are going to be so exhausted you will sleep like a baby, and wake up so refreshed and ready to conquer another day!
This goes a bit hand in hand with the last trick. I find it much easier to adjust when I land in the morning, go go go, and knock out at night. When my flight lands at night, I tend to toss and turn during bedtime even if I take a sleeping pill, as I pretty much such sat in the same spot and did nothing for the last 12 hours. Plus seeing the sunlight when I land tend to give me some extra energy, knowing I have a full day to explore instead of just hitting the bed in a few hours.
When traveling, it’s easy to get off regular eating schedule. You may sleep in and skip breakfast. You may just snack all day and not have a proper meal. You may just fuel yourself with caffeine all day to keep yourself going. But it is even more important to eat your three main meals a day, as that is the best way to adjust your body clock. Don’t forget to keep small snacks in your bag when you need a little extra fuel as your body may still get hungry at random hours while it is still adjusting. I always have granola bars or nuts in my purse just in case. And it goes without saying – stay hydrated!