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Monday, July 4, 2016

10 Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers

Heathrow Airport Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers

Jet lag.  Jet lag is the enemy of all travelers, especially those who, like us, work full-time and only have a week or two to get the most out of their vacation.  We’ve been traveling for almost 15 years together and fighting jet lag for the same amount of time.  I’ve always been a little better at preventing jet lag than Romeo, mostly because he really enjoys a good nap on vacation.  Over the years, we have learned the hard way how to prevent jet lag so we can hit the ground running.

Get a Good Night’s Rest before Boarding the Plane

Procrastination is not your friend if you want to prevent jet lag.  This is one of the hardest things for me.  No matter how much I plan to start getting ready for a trip in advance, I am invariably up until 2:00 in the morning packing the night before we leave.  This is a terrible habit if you want to avoid jet lag.  Don’t go into the trip already lacking sleep.  Try to go to bed early or at least at a decent time the night before a trip.

Drink Lots of Water, Then Drink More Water

Stay Hydrated Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers
Hydration is important for staving off jet lag.
Dehydration gives the feeling of a horrible hangover, which is why jet lag feels so bad.  The best thing to do to prevent jet lag is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.  Airlines usually don’t serve passengers nearly enough water to stay properly hydrated, so buy some bottled water or fill up a reusable water bottle at the airport before boarding the plane and accept water every time the flight attendants come by.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrators plus they tamper with your sleeping patterns, so it is best to avoid caffeine and alcohol both before and during your flight. 

Use Jet Lag Supplements

1Above Jet Lag Supplement Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers
1Above helps prevent jet lag and keeps you hydrated.
In addition to staying hydrated, you can use supplements to help prevent jet lag.  I recently started using 1Above, which contains six essential electrolytes along with B vitamins and Pycnogenol.  These ingredients hydrate, increase energy, and reduce the length and severity of jet lag.  1Above comes in a concentrated liquid or as effervescent tablets that can be added to water.  They also can both pass through security.  I much prefer the taste (and smell) of the tablets.  I have never used it, but I have also heard great things about using melatonin for jet lag prevention from fellow travelers.  I avoid sleeping pills as they usually just make me feel groggy and I never seem to get the full amount of sleep needed.

Sleep on the Plane

Eye Mask and Neck Pillow Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers
I love my memory foam neck pillow!
This has always been one of the downfalls to Romeo’s jet lag prevention.  Now that planes have personal in-flight entertainment options, he is always worried that there’s some great movie he’s going to miss, so he ends up watching movies for the entire flight rather than getting any sleep he possibly can.  Especially if you are arriving at your destination early in the day, try to get as much sleep as possible and turn off the entertainment.  An eye mask and ear plugs can help block out sound and light during the flight and a good memory foam neck pillow will ward off a neck cramp.

Arrive In the Late Afternoon or Evening

Arrival time isn’t always a factor you can control, but when you can, opt for arriving later in the day so you don’t have to stay awake for too long before it is bedtime.  No matter how much sleep you’re able to get on the plane, it’s never really enough to feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated for an entire day.

Stay Awake Until Bedtime

If you do have to arrive early in the day, don’t fall asleep!  The exception to this rule is if you arrive at the ungodly hour of 4:00 in the morning, as we did when we traveled to Georgia (the country).  Then you can get a few hours of sleep before you start your day, but start your day you must.  At any other time of arrival, avoid the nap and get out there and start your vacation.  It will feel brutal, but doing so is sure to cut your jet lag time down from multiple days to just one or two.

Adjust to Your New Time Zone as Quickly as Possible

Adjust Watch Time Tips for Jet Lag Prevention for International Travelers
Adjust your watch to your destination's local time. (Jord Swiss Luxury Wood Watch Frankie)
Sometimes jet lag prevention is about mind over matter.  As soon as you get on the plane, adjust your watch to the local time of your destination.  Once you’ve arrived, don’t think about what time it is back home, as that will make you feel exhausted immediately.  If your spouse starts telling you what time it is back home because he just can’t help himself, give him a dirty look.

Drink in the Sunlight

Being in the sunlight is one of the best things to help your body adjust to your new time zone.  On your first couple days, try to spend as much time walking around outside as possible so the natural light will reset your body’s time clock.  Plus walking around a new city is a great way to gain your bearings and get acquainted with your destination.

Eat Breakfast While Traveling

We don’t usually eat breakfast at home, especially during the workweek.  However, we have found that eating breakfast while traveling does us wonders.  For one thing, it gives us something we do every day for a little bit of schedule and structure.  It also provides us with lots of energy for the day, which is especially useful when fighting the effects of jet lag.

This article contains affiliate links.  If you purchase through them, it costs you nothing extra and we earn a small commission which goes towards bringing you more travel stories.  Thank you to 1Above for providing us with samples of their jet lag prevention product so we could test it out ourselves.  Also thank you to Jord for providing us with one of their unique wood watches. As always, all opinions are our own.

Travel the World: 10 tips for jet lag prevention when traveling internationally.
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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.