7 tips on how to avoid jet lag on your travels
Dealing with jet lag can be challenging if you don't know how to prepare yourself. This is a list of 7 tips on how to avoid jet lag on your travels.
Avoid Jet Lag
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7 Tips To Avoid Jet lag

16 Jan 7 Tips To Avoid Jet lag

Dealing with jet lag can be challenging if you don’t know how to prepare yourself. This is a list of 7 tips on how to avoid jet lag on your travels.

Nothing is worse than falling asleep when you have a night out on the first day in  New York or not being able to fall asleep when you are in Paris. After travelling all directions of the world I have experienced jet lag travelling east and travelling west.In 2010 I was travelling to Asia and had only one evening in Bangkok on arrival. Travelling from Europe made me so tired so I fell asleep not being able to do anything in Bangkok. I have also experience taking a flight from Quito to Oslo and not being able to fall asleep before 4 am for days!

I know exactly how it is dealing with jet lag and therefore I have put up this list after learning how to deal with it the hard way.

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1. Adjust to the new timezone

You might be tempted to stay up all night because you are so excited to travel the next day. Whether this is good or not depends on when it is night in your new destination. I have also heard people say it is good to stay up all night so you can sleep on the plane. I don’t recommend taking the risk of changing the timezone the night before, but rather some days before. It is important to have enough rest while you travel far. You don’t want to miss your flight either.

Travelling west

If you are travelling from Europe to the United States you might get tired in the afternoon, which is not necessary a bad thing. If you can manage to stay up until around 9 pm after arrival you should be all set. And it is not bad to be able to get tired early and wake up early, right?


Travelling east

It might be harder when you are travelling from the United States to Europe, which can lead to being awake until early in the morning. I struggle with this one and it takes me many days to adjust. Therefore it is better to adjust to the specific European timezone some days before.


2. Stay hydrated

This is mainly while you are already on the plane. You might avoid drinking too much to avoid the lines to the toilet. Or you might not even be served any drinks that often. It is important to stay hydrated. Staying on the plane for many hours will make you dehydrated which is a symptom of jet lag that will do more harm than good. I recommend having at least one bottle with you on the plane. Remember to get this after going through the security.


3. Avoid coffee and alcohol

I know it is tempting to take advantage of the free service you get and a small bottle of wine could also help you fall asleep right? Caffeine and alcohol will also make you a lot more dehydrated. You should rather drink plenty of water or nutrition rich juices.


4. When do I eat?

The best time to eat is when it is time to eat at your destination. One of the most annoying symptoms of jet lag is being hungry when you are not supposed to be hungry, like the middle of the night. I recommend not eating the aeroplane food unless it is time to eat at your destination. The aeroplane usually doesn’t take that into consideration. It is smart to light snacks that you can eat when you are hungry.


5. Eat light

Along with changing your sleep cycle, your digestive cycle will change. Heavy meals will make it harder for your body adapt to the new routine. I recommend starting eating light meals before you go, but most importantly after you arrive. If you eat very heavy meals such as burgers and spices this can result in digestive problems like diarrhoea or constipation.

Related: How to avoid parasites while travelling 

6. Sleep on the plane?

They will most likely dim the light inside the cabin not long after serving the first meal, whether it is nighttime on your destination or not. If you have already adjusted to the new timezone it shouldn’t be a problem staying up until it is time to sleep at the destination. For this, it is good to have the time of the destination so you know what you should do at certain times on the plane. To stay awake you can enjoy the movie and entertainment on the plane or you can use Netflix offline as well.


7. Sleeping pills?

Take sleeping pills into consideration. Certain sleeping pills can make you fall asleep less than 30 minutes and might last some hours. If you take the pill around 1 am and you need to change flight at 5 am you might be half asleep at that time. I recommend natural ones like Valerian, Mellissa dream or melatonin. You should start this some days before so you get used to it and see if it is something for you.

Related: How to avoid parasites while travelling 

On arrival

Depending what time of the day you arrive you should adjust right away. If you arrive in the morning stay awake and get some sunlight and be active until it is nighttime at the destination. If you arrive late in the evening you should try to go to sleep when it is time to sleep and also avoid caffeine before you arrive. 

Jet-lag is some of the worst things about travelling. It really sucks to not be able to do what you want at the time you want because you are too tired. Luckily you can prevent it by adjusting to the new time zone a few days before, avoiding getting dehydrated and eating light. I do this every time and it helps a lot. 

Have you experienced jet lag? How was it? Do you have any other tips that I missed?


Carry-On Essentials

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 12:32h, 16 January Reply

    Long ago when traveling from Seattle to Rome I took some herbal supplement that I got at Whole Foods – worked a charm!

    Another time I flew from Portland to Budapest and when we got there went out for dinner with friends. It was a medieval restaurant with flame throwers and everything, I fell asleep in my food. So yeah, jet lag can sometimes catch you when you least expect it!

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 12:56h, 16 January Reply

      that is great I haven’t tried herbal supplement for jet lag. It most be horrible to fall asleep in the food :O, hope you were ok afterwards 🙂

  • Kim Studdard
    Posted at 13:27h, 16 January Reply

    I always tend to fall asleep on plane rides, even if I don’t want too! Lol, I swear they put something in their snacks. Thanks for sharing!

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 14:53h, 16 January Reply

      Haha. At least the time passes faster when you sleep- I am the opposite. I can never fall asleep on any transport :/

  • Rachel
    Posted at 15:44h, 16 January Reply

    All great tips! I always struggle with sleeping on overnight flights. It’s tough to get comfy + the excitement, haha. Plus, the selection of movies always keep me up forever!

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 16:45h, 16 January Reply

      I am exactly the same. It is so hard to sleep and the movies are sometimes too good xD

  • Frédéric Paulussen
    Posted at 16:03h, 16 January Reply

    Awesome tips! I always make the mistake to drink a lot of coffee (and try local beers), and then not hydrate enough. Which is fatal. So those tips are confirmed.
    I’m going to try the others asap! Although I can’t sleep on an airplane.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 16:24h, 16 January Reply

      Thank you! Yea it is hard to resist coffee ! I can’t sleep on the plane either :/

  • Robin Ross-Fleming
    Posted at 18:25h, 16 January Reply

    great tips…. my hard one be giving up coffee, UGH,. I guess I’ll be jet lagged, LOL!!! xoxo Robin

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 21:07h, 16 January Reply

      Thank you! 🙂 I know it is the worst one, I am addicted to coffee.

  • kylie cre8tone
    Posted at 19:18h, 16 January Reply

    Great tips to conquer jet lag.. Thanks for the suggestion and info..

  • Gillian Kent
    Posted at 19:23h, 16 January Reply

    I have found the best way it to immediately start living in the new time zone. I can’t sleep on planes so sometimes this is a stretch. Hydration also makes a big difference.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 21:05h, 16 January Reply

      It sure do 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  • Christina
    Posted at 19:23h, 16 January Reply

    Great tips! Staying hydrated is probably one of the most important and of course the one I always tend to overlook. I would love to sleep on the plane if I could but with a toddler and an infant, I think those days are over for me (at least for now)! Thanks for sharing!

  • Selena, The Rambler
    Posted at 21:01h, 16 January Reply

    We just flew from Louisiana to Hawaii to see my family for the holidays. It wasn’t bad going, but coming back and with an overnight flight and a 3 hour drive back home once we landed…we literally knocked out the rest of the day once we got home in the early afternoon. Good tips to remember for next time.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 21:03h, 16 January Reply

      Oh really, at least you weren’t knocked out during your travels 🙂

  • Kimberly Hsieh
    Posted at 21:32h, 16 January Reply

    These are some great tips! Jetlag is probably the worst part about traveling and knowing how to get rid of jet lag is super important!

  • Rae
    Posted at 22:13h, 16 January Reply

    This is very informative, I’m about to travel to Europe in a week, this info will come in handy. Thanks ☺

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:12h, 17 January Reply

      That is awesome! Hope it will help 😀 Thank you 🙂

  • Carola
    Posted at 23:42h, 16 January Reply

    When I went to Florida (from Europe) I didn’t really have a jetlag. Going back was worse! I ‘ve never been so tired haha. I had to sleep like a few hours in the afternoon. I never did that before. Thanks for your tips! I was totally unprepared back then.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:12h, 17 January Reply

      Oh really :O, hopefully these tips will help 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  • Tisha
    Posted at 01:32h, 17 January Reply

    Oohh this post is very timely! I have been travelling my whole life and due to travel again next month. Great advise you have here. Everything is doable for me but sleeping in the plane is kinda impossible when I am travelling with a toddler most of the time 😬

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:11h, 17 January Reply

      Thank you! That is right, that must be quite hard.

  • Sharon
    Posted at 06:01h, 17 January Reply

    These are great tips! Everyone I talk to swears by sleeping on the plane. They say it’s the best way to combat jet lag. I can never sleep well on a plane, but I’ll try pills next time, I think.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:03h, 17 January Reply

      Yeah, I am sure it helps for the people that sleep. I will recommend only sleeping when it is night at your destination though 🙂

  • Umberta
    Posted at 06:31h, 17 January Reply

    I guess I’m lucky I sleep all the time while flying (I just wake-up to eat ;p ) so I don’t really suffer from jet-lag !! 😉

  • Jade
    Posted at 19:16h, 17 January Reply

    These are some great tips. I feel ya on the sleeping on the plane. Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep but I try my best to take a nap. I have to learn to avoid caffeine though.

    Jade | https://budgetsandweights.com/index.php/2017/01/16/fitness-mondays-cardio-circuit-workout/

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 19:28h, 17 January Reply

      Thank you! Yeah, avoiding coffee is one of the hardest one for me xD

  • Mauricio Malo
    Posted at 15:40h, 25 January Reply

    I hope I knew about these before. Thanks for sharing!

  • Melanie Trethowan
    Posted at 16:03h, 07 February Reply

    I always struggle with jetlag as to fly anywhere from Australia is a commitment!! It is a First World problem though and I keep focused on all the fabulous things waiting for me at my destination. I find that going for a walk, as soon as I get myself unpacked/organised, really helps. It seems to unkink some of the knots from the plane and gets me breathing in the new sights and sounds.

    A small price to pay to be able to experience the world. Thanks for sharing. Mel

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 16:34h, 07 February Reply

      True it is definitely a first world problem haha. I haven’t been good walking afterwards. I should try that. Thank you 😀

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