Living in Australia has it’s advantages. Our environment is truly unique in the world, our history is one of ancient cultures blended with a modern history of just over 200 years. Australia’s uniqueness comes from it’s remote distance from many places in the world and for a woman that’s had the wanderlust bug this means most overseas travel requires a long haul flight.
Over the past few years, I have taken many long distance flights (in 1 year I travelled 5 times to the United States and Canada). I distinctly remember my first long haul flight to Los Angeles a number of years ago. Of course I had heard of Jet Lag, but having only ever flown for business in Australia, I was in for a big shock. Being my first big adventure, I was so excited to be hopping on the big plane and lucky enough to have two spare seats beside me so that I could stretch out. Great I thought, I will be able to sleep on the 12 hour journey from Brisbane to LAX. I’ll avoid that thing they call Jet Lag! I was so wrong. Not only could I not sleep on the flight, when I finally landed in LA and made my way to my hotel, I was exhausted in a way that I had never experienced in my life. So much so that I immediately flopped on the bed and went to sleep – Big Mistake! It was around 9am in Los Angeles and I not only missed my first day in the US, but the dreaded Jet Lag set in and I found myself in a daze for the next few days.
Being one who learns from my mistakes (well usually anyway), I have learnt a few tricks to avoid Jet Lag over the years. Luckily I have never experienced it again. Here are my top 10 tips to avoid Jet Lag:
Tip 1 – Adjust your body clock a week before you go
Be aware of the time zone you are travelling to and make sure you have early nights a week before you go. This allows you not only to be rested for your journey, but to easily adjust to the time in the place you are travelling to.
Tip 2 – Try to get some sleep on the plane
I know this can sometimes be hard to do, particularly if you are in a crowded plane. Make sure you have a sleep mask, ear plugs and an inflatable pillow for your flight, especially in economy where a lot of airlines don’t provide these. If sleep eludes you try not to stress about not being able to sleep and to relax as much as possible.
Tip 3 – Drink plenty of water
Keeping your body hydrated also keeps your brain hydrated. You’ll arrive at your destination much more alert if you maintain your water intake. If the airline skimps on giving out water, just ask them for more or make sure you take some on board with you (You’ll need to buy a bottle after you’ve cleared customs in departure). Some planes have drinking water on tap for you to refill your bottle.
Tip 4 – Pamper yourself
Haven’t had time for that facial you wanted? Give yourself a treat on the plane. Take off that makeup (especially your eye makeup) and take the time to cleanse your face after take off. Apply your favourite night cream or face mask and sit back and relax. Use a face spritz during the flight. Who cares what other people think, they wish they had followed your lead when they land. Take the time to use a nice handcream on your hands and massage some into your feet before putting on those attractive flight socks. Afford yourself one glass of bubbles while you do this and you’ll feel a million dollars. Tip: If you’ve got a long layover see if you can get a massage between flights.
Tip 5 – Maintain your circulation
Make sure you book an aisle seat for long haul flights and get up and about during the flight. Maintaining your circulation is key to your health and keeps your body in good shape to fight off the dreaded Jet Lag.
Tip 6 – Avoid sleeping tablets
Some people like to take sleeeping tablets when they fly. If you find you have to take them, make sure they are ones that don’t make you drowsy for days. Avoid them if possible.
Tip 7 – Get to the bathroom early to get ready for landing
There is nothing worse than missing out on that freshening up before you land time. Just because you might not be in first class, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little top and tail before getting off the plane. Take a wash cloth with you, wash your face and freshen up you other bits and you’ll feel brand new. Getting up early and getting to the bathroom before the rush means you’ll have time to change your clothes and underwear without making other people wait for the bathroom. Pop on a fresh application of make-up and you’ll be your fabulous self again.
Tip 8 – Stay awake for the day
When you arrive at your destination, don’t be tempted by that bed! You need to adjust to your new time zone and the quickest way to do this is to keep yourself busy for the day and save that sleep for the night time. I now drop my bags at my hotel and sometimes take a quick shower to freshen up, then I head out into the world to get lost for the day. I also make a point of getting some groceries on my first day, that way I have a specific task I have to complete.
Tip 9 – Find a nice cafe
If I am feeling a little tired, I find myself a nice cafe to sit and watch the world go by in. It’s a great way to rest and survey your surroundings while you find your feet for your adventure.
Tip 10 – Set the alarm
Before you go to sleep on your first night, set the alarm for the time you would normally wake up morning only in local time. Resist the temptation to go back to sleep, if that sneaky Jet Lag is going to creep up on you, it will do it on the second day for sure.
By taking some easy precautions and making sure you look after yourself on your long haul flight, you’ll avoid Jet Lag and quickly get used to local time zones. By doing so, you’ll get to experience your travels without the light head and drowsiness that is Jet Lag.