My clients often ask, “How do you fight jet lag?”. My trials (and errors) come from squeezing into coach airplane seats for over two decades, from Cape Town to Istanbul and Buenos Aires to Dubrovnik. Sometimes I’m discovering a new destination as a travel consultant with Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters. Other times, I’m vacationing for pleasure. The days of glitz and glamour while flying may largely be over, but that doesn’t mean the experience has to be intolerable.
Before getting on the plane, I first consider the most direct flight schedule between my city pairs. I’m also a towering giant and my husband has several more inches on me so a wee more legroom in premium economy class is essential. Flying in business class is a rare treat! My personal item is stuffed with comfort items– more on this later, and I dress in softer wrinkle-resistant clothing, a layered tee and light sweater or jacket.
If you’re like me, sleep may be in short supply on the days leading up to a vacation. You might be scrambling with work, family, packing and everything else in between, but don’t think of this as a negative. A bit of sleep deprivation could mean lulling quickly into rest mode once you’ve slipped on those noise cancelling headphones.
- I take No Jet Leg and/or melatonin which helps me relax and adjust my sleep rhythm. For a variety of reasons, I do not take prescription sleep aids. If you do, consult with your physician beforehand as it’s never wise to ‘test run’ at 30,000 feet.
- On the flight, I drink lots of water, no alcohol or carbonated drinks. I also try to eat before I get on the plane, well, because the food is generally awful and more importantly, I simply don’t want to be bothered while trying to unwind. I always carry nuts and dried fruits just in case I have a hunger pang, and I’ll snack on breakfast if it’s served before landing.
- Once in the air, I snuggle into my seat as much as possible with a neck pillow, and a wrap or scarf pulled from my bag. I’ll pull on compression socks, if I’m not already wearing them (added bonus: they make me feel surprisingly refreshed after sitting on a long flight) and have my Bucky 40 Blinks Eye Mask nearby.
- Depending upon my mood, I’ll read a book or catch up on archived travel articles that I’ve likely been saving for weeks. My headphones are set-up for a movie or I’ll plug into my favorite playlist or podcast. Once I’m ready to get some shut-eye, the Calm app has terrific meditation options including music, short stories and walk-through mindfulness techniques. A dab of essential oil behind my ears, and for a moment, I can pretend I’m at a spa!
- Earlier morning arrivals after flying all night can be tough, but I push through by trying to get as much fresh air as possible, take a walk and have a light bite. Most hotels will hold luggage until the official mid-day check-in time- and it’s always worth requesting an early check-in ahead of arrival. Or, to guarantee a room on a morning arrival, book the night before. This can be especially useful when flying to Australia or New Zealand.
- I’ll check into my room, shower, put on some fresh clothes, power nap for no more than 30 minutes (set an alarm!) then walk more. Dinner and sleep is earlier, but not too early. I’ll sleep with the curtains open, if it’s secure/safe so I naturally wake up the next morning with daylight. If I know it’ll be cloudy or rainy, I set an alarm. The goal is to adjust my body clock to the local time in as little time as possible.
- I find that an afternoon or evening arrival at the destination makes adjusting to the new time zone a bit easier since there isn’t any downtime- simply have a meal and hit the sack.
- The first full day, I like to have an activity planned in the morning: visit a food market, take a bike ride or hike, take an outdoor walking tour.
What’s in the bag
I rarely vacation with a traditional purse as I feel it lacks the multiple functions that I demand of a bag while shifting between plane, train and automobile. I prefer something a bit larger with lots of interior pockets. good for a full-day of sightseeing. It must also have added security features. Depending upon the destination, the type of personal item will vary. For Peru, Morocco and Scotland, it was a small backpack. For exploring Croatian cities and upcoming Budapest and Vienna, a sleek medium-sized cross-body Hedgren is my perfect go-to. What’s tucked inside?
- Hand lotion, lip balm and hand sanitizer. Burt’s Bees facial wipes and face moisturizer. A freshened-up face just before landing can make me feel especially renewed. A little disposable toothbrush (never use the water in the loo!).
- Emergen-C packets for an immunity boost or two. The orange flavor replaces any juice with breakfast. Rescue Remedy lozenges drops and one day’s worth of vitamins.
- Journal and pen. Always.
- Document holder with everything from my passport to hard copy trip confirmation, credit cards and driver’s license. Organization is key!
- A small ditty bag with earbuds, phone charger and adapter, and back-up charger (I have a Mophie). I’ve learned that if I’m connecting through a foreign airport, the plug may be different than the one required at the final destination. USB charging stations at airports aren’t always available.
- Eyeglasses and back-up disposable daily contacts.
- Sometimes a small laptop or point-and-shoot camera.
- This goes without saying, but never pack anything important or valuable in a checked bag. It should always be on your person or in a bag in which you can keep a very close eye.
If you want to outfit yourself for your next long flight or learn to pack like a pro, the retail staff at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters can make it happen! ~Rochelle, Sept 2018