About to travel for more than 3 hours? Gonna have to endure 3 connecting flights with grueling layovers and a 19+hrs travel day? Headed to a country that is 6-12 hours ahead of time, or 4 hours behind the time in your home country? I’ve been there. In my earlier (and less prepared) years of traveling, I have also experienced jet lag like you wouldn’t believe. There’s nothing like walking around aimlessly with glazed over eyes & not being able to appreciate day 1 of your trip because you are jet-lagged. Or even worse, wasting five hours of your first day in a new country in bed because you’re so exhausted and can’t get out of the hotel room.
The more I intend to travel the globe, the more I’m mentally preparing myself for the draining jet lag to come. With each unique trip, I get better at reducing the effects of jet lag by switching up my strategy to align myself with that country’s time zone. Sometimes I adjust my sleeping patterns at home a few days before my trip. Also, I’ve been known to pull an ‘all-nighter’ before a trip that is super early (before dawn and switches timezones while I’m in the air), then get really good sleep on the plane. If not, I’m wide awake on the plane at the start of the flight, worn out near the end of the long flight and sleepy by the time I arrive to my destination. On the flip side of that, I had a late afternoon 6 hr-flight that I forced myself to stay awake on in its entirety because I knew I’d arrive to my destination around 10:30 pm and would appreciate a good night’s sleep before my first day of exploring.
When it comes to all aspects of travel, you must become flexible if you want to maximize your time in a new place & enjoy yourself. Jet lag, while not completely unavoidable, does not have to be a major part of traveling internationally. I’m always scouring the internet for more tips on beating jet lag and came across a great infogram by Yumi Sakugawa on her blog, The Secret Yumiverse.
Check out her list of “9 Tips for Overcoming Jet Lag” in the pic below:
Whatever you do, just avoid doing nothing. As the saying goes, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” Your best bet is to sit down with your itinerary info and map out a plan on how to effectively conquer jet lag. Your prize? You won’t look/act like a zombie and scare the locals on your trip.