Exploring new lands abroad awakens the senses, but after a long flight and multiple time zone changes, can you stay awake to enjoy your trip? Here are some tips on conquering jet lag after a long airplane flight.
Pack as far ahead of time as possible so you don’t feel rushed while preparing for your trip abroad. This will allow you to rest a few days prior to departure so you are well-rested to start. Make your airport parking arrangements a few days beforehand, identifying the best offsite airport parking option in your area which will shuttle you from your car at their airport parking lot directly to the airport terminal.
Sleep on the Airplane
You may feel the urge to catch up on a book or finish a work presentation during your international flight, but your best use of the time is to sleep or rest as much as possible. If you have trouble sleeping on the plane, consider noise cancelling headphones, a sleep mask for your eyes to dim the light, and a neck pillow to make yourself comfortable.
Water, not alcohol or caffeine, is your best friend when trying to minimize jet lag. Caffeine gives your body a rush and doesn’t allow you to calm yourself and rest. Alcohol disrupts a good sleep and is also dehydrating, which exasperates dehydration problems that travelers already experience on board airplanes.
Keep up with the Locals
Or at least, keep up with local time. Fight your desire to keep on your homeland’s time clock and adjust your sleep schedule to the current time zone and you will maximize the time you have for sightseeing and help you combat jet lag.
It may pain you to do so, but staying in bright light, especially natural light, will help stimulate you and keep you awake to adjust to the new time zone. Getting fresh air and exercise will also help your body push through fatigue and jet lag.
Quick naps may also help you adjust to the new time zone; some countries even embrace lunchtime naps as part of their culture, so you’ll fit right in. Jet lag will most likely affect you, but if you take control of your sleep you will still enjoy your trip and look forward to the next!