It’s a bittersweet thing – we love to travel and see the world, but we hate the seemingly enduring bugbear that is jetlag – particularly after flights that cross multiple time zones. The lack of sleep and other downers like nausea, headaches, exhaustion and upset stomachs, are frustrating roadblocks that can taint a blissful break.
We’ve all heard about the ‘should-do’ anti-jetlag tips and tricks of the trade, but what are those that really work? Can we actually beat jetlag once and for all? We say ‘yes’ with these five tips.
1. Plane seat choice
Let’s face it, we always or for the most part fly economy. When we do, a common assumption is that aisle seats are best. Here’s our take: Request for an emergency exit seat. The extra legroom at the exit row will mean you can stretch out, and you can easily access the bathroom without disturbing other passengers. If the exit rows are taken, request for a window seat. You can lean up against the side of the aircraft, are in control of the window shutter to block out any light, and you don’t have to move if other passengers need to use the lavatory.
2. Flight arrival time is king
Picking a flight scheduled for an early afternoon arrival at your destination will set you up for jetlag-conquering success! You’ll arrive when your destination is still light, so you can settle in and completely tire yourself out, which will encourage a deeper, longer sleep during your first night abroad.
3. Water, water, water
There’s a reason why celebrities look dewy-skinned and glowing when they step off a plane. You can be in first class or business class for a long haul flight, but unless you continually sip water, you will still look dull and haggard when you step off the aircraft. A-listers all around the world swear by water for looking and feeling great after a long flight. Staying hydrated is crucial, considering the low humidity inside the cabin, so pack a large empty water bottle in your hand luggage before departing and get the cabin staff to fill it to the brim after take-off. You’ll then stop having to ask for multiple small cups of water they typically serve, and the large bottle can act as a target for you to have completed by landing. Celeb-glowing skin, here we come!
4. Change your mind-set
When you land in a location, the worst thing you can do is think what time it would be back at home. You need to be disciplined, change your mind-set, your watch and operate in the local time you are in, regardless of how far you have flown, what you have just eaten, or how tired you might be. It may be brutal, but it’s effective and will help you maximise your time away. After all, you didn’t fly across time zones to just stay cooped up in the hotel.
5. Creature comforts could save you
Sometimes the most unsettling part of travel is being in a different place, in a different bed, away from all familiarity, and that’s what causes restlessness.Remember that blanket you like to keep you warm when you sleep? Or that cosy t-shirt? Pack them to curb the uneasiness of being in a new environment. In-flight creature comforts also don’t go astray. Before jet-setting, pack in your hand luggage dense ear plugs for blocking out ambient noise including upset babies, a soft black-out eye mask for complete darkness, and a supporting neck pillow for utter comfort and no neck-aches upon arrival.
Still not convinced you can kick jetlag to the curb? Give free online tools like Jet Lag Rooster and British Airway’s Jet Lag Advisor a go. They hold the promise of a highly personalised and detailed anti-jet lag plan for frequent air travellers.
Regardless of what tactics you use, we wish you a safe, restful and anti-jetlag-filled adventure. Bon voyage!