Sitting down and strapping in for a long-haul flight is always a bit exciting, as it usually means you’re off to somewhere faraway and exotic. But if there’s one thing to put a dampener on your holiday, it’s losing precious time to jet lag. Check out our top tips for avoiding this traveller’s curse and making the most out of your next trip.
Make the Switch
One of the age-old rules for fighting jet lag is to switch over to the local time of your destination as soon as you’re seated on the plane. The sooner you can adapt your natural body clock to the local time by way of eating and sleeping, the sooner you’ll shake off any signs of jet lag. For example, if the local time in Tahiti is 11pm, which is normally around your bedtime, try watching a slow movie to lure yourself to sleep.
Jet lag isn’t purely based on your body’s confusion from crossing time zones – symptoms can also occur from dehydration caused by sitting on a plane for such a long amount of time. The best way to combat this is by drinking water regularly and limiting sugary drinks and alcohol consumption.
Prepare for Comfort
Since you may need to catch some sleep during your long-haul flight (and let’s face it, it makes the flight go much faster!), make sure to pack your carry-on bag with items that will help. For example, you might find a neck pillow more comfortable to sleep with, and ear plugs to distract from noisy nearby passengers are always good to have on hand.
Falling asleep on a plane doesn’t come easily to most, so whatever you can do to increase comfort levels will help. Avoiding big, heavy meals prior to or during the flight will aid in preventing indigestion or a funny tummy – something you’ll thank yourself for later!
Have a Stopover Strategy
If you’re flying far enough to include a stopover on your flight, make the most of it! Even if all you’ve got time for is a quick stop at the bathroom to freshen up with a wet wipe and brush your teeth, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel from doing so. Plan ahead by packing your carry-on bag with little refreshers like face wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste and deodorant.
Speaking of planning ahead, if you’re flying abroad to attend an event of some sort, do try to allow yourself at least a day or so ahead of time to get used to the new schedule, by booking your flights accordingly. You might not want to use up extra annual leave, but you’ll thank yourself later when you are refreshed and well-rested enough to properly enjoy whatever you travelled so far to attend.
Don’t Give In
Finally, once you’ve landed at your destination, collected your luggage and made your way to your hotel, it can seem all too tempting to nip back to your room for a few hours’ sleep. But if unless it’s actually bedtime in the local destination, you won’t be doing yourself any favours, and will actually just prolong the jet lag symptoms. Have something planned to keep you occupied until bedtime, and treat yourself to some caffeine-fueled drinks. You’re on holidays after all!