Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jet Lag Week: Tips from the Travel Pros

Yesterday I gave you my strategies for beating jet lag, but my traveling friends have a lot of wit and wisdom to share on the subject.  In fact, Andrew Hayes tweeted, “I have a lot to say on this topic - I have it perfected :).”   Perfected?  We all want to hear that! 

So I posed the question:  How do you prevent and deal with jet lag?

And here are their responses...

Planning Your Trip:
Gary Arndt (@EverywhereTrip) should know what he's talking about.  He's been on the road since 2007.  He tweeted, "My advice is to travel around the world to the west."

Debbie, the blogger behind (@DeliciousBaby) has a longer-term strategy: "Umm, get used to night waking by having 3 kids in 5 years. You won't even notice the time change. "

But for those of you on a shorter timeline... artist, traveler, and painter Kimberly Kradel (@ArtistatLarge) advises: If your flight arrives in the morning, or afternoon, plan on staying up for the day and going to bed at your normal bedtime in new time zone.

Fellow Rome-devotee, Gillian McGuire (@gcmcguireinrome) tweets: "Rome in summer. head straight to beach from airport. spend day in the sun with short lettino nap + plate of spaghetti vongole."  I agree!

Darren Cronian aka @TravelRants knows all about the frustrations of jet lag.  But he says:  "I try and eat & sleep in the same time zone as the destination, that way when I arrive I feel much fresher." Darren has also blogged on the topic: How to Reduce or Prevent Jet Lag.

"Take a red eye, set watch to *new time* on plane, don't nap when you get to hotel & stay up till regular bedtime in new location." So says Robin Locker Lacey or @MyMelange.

Remember the guy who has jet lag "perfected?"  Well, meet @AndrewGHayes:
"I spent years doing transatlantic flights on a regular basis in my corporate job, so I am well versed in anti-jet lag ninja tactics, to the point where I pretty much avoid it altogether. The method I use is what I call the'leaning into' method.  The day of travel I get up really early (or late, depending on the travel times) and immediately put myself on their time.  This usually means a very long first day of staying awake, but you have to lean into it - I even switch up my caffeine intake, opting out until I land and then having a couple of cups to give me a boost.  Sunlight also makes a huge difference, so you will have less jetlag if you land and it is sunny out.  Even if it is raining, spend some time outside on your first two days to help. We could also sit here for days talking about tips, but everyone is different. Do whatever makes you feel a little more sane, so you can enjoy your trip :-)"

In Flight:
Stacy Small aka @EliteTravelGal: "My best tip is 2 avoid alcohol during flights, drink lots of water & very light meals. Will always feel better post-flight if so!"

Texan Julie Gilley (@TravelwithJulie) and I have a lot in common. She says, "My prescription: set watch to destination time when I board the plane, earplugs & Tylenol PM to sleep, keep moving til bedtime."

Travel photographer Peter Carey (@PWCarey) is fairly low key about the whole thing, tweeting: " plan consists of watching as many movies as I can, napping when I feel like it then going to bed when it's dark."
On Arrival:
Lonely Planet's Andy Murdock (@LPUSAStaff) advocates a no-holds-barred approach: "My tip: Do whatever you can to stay awake until bedtime in your destination. Appoint people to pinch/slap/force-caffeinate you if necessary."

The Traveling Mamas, however, take a softer tack.  Shannon Hurst Lane (@Cajun_Mama) says: "I'm loving cherries (the melatonin) helps get back on track! Helps w/ shift work too." Shannon is so into cherries, she's been blogging about them lately, too: Cherries -- A Healthy Road Trip Snack for the Entire Family.

"Whenever I land somewhere more than five hours time diff, I work out within first 3 hrs of landing. Works wonders." That's according to entrepreneur and itinerant traveler Peter Shankman who tweets as @SkyDiver.

Wine guy Doug Levy (@SFDoug) has great advice for short trips, "I try very hard to sleep & wake on my home time zone on trips shorter than 3 days, or 2-3 days before returning if longer trip."

True to form, Miss Expatria has some choice words, too. "From the US to the EU, it's the second day that kills you. Avoid naps the first three days, and set an alarm to get up (even if it's a late-ish time like 10AM). I also recommend drinking heavily the second night to get to sleep, but that's just me."

Jessica Spiegel, Boots 'n All's Italy expert (@Italylogue) passed this along: "One friend swears by "stay up late enough to see the sunset" in your new location, but I think that's an old wives' tale."

Foodie and Renaissance woman Jacqueline Roe (@Bebejax) recommends, "BBC research - each the local meal before you board, don't eat on the plane, eat the local meal when you land. Simple + WORKS!"

And Jason Hussong (@JasonsTravels) just returned from Rwanda.  That has to be fierce jet lag!  He emailed these words of wisdom:
When I return home from my travels, in order to combat jet lag, I always force myself to find busy things to do to stay awake. I know I'll head to bed earlier than my normal schedule anyway, but I try to push it to as late as I can, thus putting myself back on my schedule as quickly as possible. Obviously there's the return trip laundry to do, but I tend to leave other household chores, like cleaning the bathrooms, to do when I return so I don't instantly crawl into bed, and then wake up at 3 a.m. ready for what's sure to be a full day ahead of me.

Lisa Bergren has a Jet Lag Battle Plan on her blog, too.  She recommends taking "No Jet Lag pills religiously" amongst other strategies. 

Sometimes just the idea of jet lag might be enough to make you think twice about booking that next trip.  If you're feeling that way, buck up! Read the Nerd's Eye View's post,  Wanderlust: Sin and Sickness.  And then book that trip.  With all of these fabulous tips, you'll beat that jet lag no problem!

So, did they miss anything? How do you deal with jet lag when you travel?


dogjaunt said...

I totally agree with all the advice about putting yourself on soon-to-be-local time as soon as you get through security. It gets us some odd looks (except from FAs), as we tuck up with eyeshades and pillows while everyone else is getting dinner and movie, but it works. I'll take an Ambien on the plane to force me to sleep "local" time, but strongly advise against continuing to take Ambien after you arrive. The backlash is cruel.

Katie Hammel said...

I'm gifted with the ability to sleep at nearly any hour of day, anywhere. So I just adjust my sleeping patterns to fit the new place.

While heading east or south, I take an evening flight, sleep on the plane for 7-8 hours, and then wake up in my new destination ready to go.

When coming back, I stay up a little later the night before so that I am more tired for the day flight back. Again I sleep about 6-7 hours on the plane, land by 4/5pm, go about my day, go to bed by 9/10pm and sleep through the night, waking up the next day at my regular time.

I also refuse to think about the time difference. None of this "well it's really 2am 'my time'" business. The new time is now "my time" so I put all thoughts of time changes and jetlag out of my mind. That seems to help too.

sfdoug said...

Dogjaunt is right - I didn't mention the funny looks from people that come with my advice about staying on your home time zone for short trips. On the other hand, I've had great fun meandering the streets of places like Paris, London, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur at very odd hours.

And nothing will ever beat the reaction I got from colleagues when I did a 2am local time in Tokyo conference call, flew back to San Francisco and walked into a 10am meeting with the same group -- wide awake, because I never shifted off Pacific time on that short trip.

jessiev said...

fantastic tips!! and i am laughing at debbie dubrow's comment. once you have kids, and are traveling with them, sleep isn't even an option. it's taking care of them and then taking care of yourself.

we eat cherries, too! YUM! thanks!

Miss Expatria said...

I forgot to add that when I flew from the EU to the US this last time, I went over my aunt's house and had her make me dinner - just to stay awake! Ha!

Angela K. Nickerson said...

Thanks, you guys! Great tips and info!

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