My sister has just arrived in Perth from New York. This is the ultimate horror flight, approximately 30 hours all up with an in flight time of a whopping 28 hours! We are talking numerous time zones and an economy passage.
This is jet lag on steroids!
I remember doing this flight from Perth to New York and I swear I felt pinned to the bed for days and was a complete nocturnal creature for about a week. On day 8 I felt something like a human again and vowed I would avoid ever taking that flight path in the future.
So how can we minimize jet lag and arrive at our destination ready to enjoy our holiday?
I know I ‘ve said it before but it absolutely comes down to the planning of your trip. If it is a holiday, seriously look at your time frame and if you are doing long haul (for us Aussies, that’s over 18 hours), consider breaking up your journey with a stop over en route.
One thing I always do is plan my flight times. If you are heading to Europe, I always leave Perth (my home town), on an afternoon flight, so you usually arrive in LondonParis/Rome, in the morning.
Always, always opt for a short transit time. I know it usually costs more but if you only have a few weeks you don’t want to be dealing with jet lag for a week after you arrive.
If money is no issue, definitely fly Business Class, this is a no brainer. You wake feeling semi refreshed, having had the option of sleeping on a flat bed and the food can be rather impressive. If this is out of the budget, most definitely go premium economy for any long haul flight. (If this means saving for a few more months for your trip – do it!)
While on your flight keep really well hydrated and don’t consume alcohol. Move around but also make the decision to sleep. Do take a neck pillow and try and nab a window seat as you can use the window as a support for your pillow. If you are lucky enough and the flight is not fully booked identify where there are vacant seats and make a beeline for a row of three and lie down when you feel like sleeping.
Wear comfortable clothing. I usually always travel with a comfy tracksuit and pack this in my carry on. Cleanse your face and pack on the oils. Consider taking Melatonin to help you sleep, consult with your doctor first! Do take a neck scarf or pashmina, pack your headphones with noise cancelling option and a thick pair of socks. Consider taking a good quality Vitamin C powder prior to your flight and also once you land. This works wonders in avoiding cold/flu like symptoms. I always take with me a lavender oil face spritzer just for hydration.
Jet lag is always worse if you are negotiating two or three time zones. It can also depend on the direction you are flying and the duration of your flight.
Once you arrive at your destination organize to be met by someone and taken to your accommodation. After 20+ hours and getting through customs and collecting luggage you are probably not going to feel like finding your own transport. For the cost of this service I highly recommend this idea and consider it money well spent.
Go with the jet lag experience. Don’t fight it. It does pass. Once you have settled into your accommodation get into some sunlight. The trick here is to be sure to get the sunlight you need at the right time of the day. If you have travelled east seek out morning sunlight and if you have travelled west do the opposite. There is an app you can download for this called Entrain.
The bottom line for all seasoned travellers is that Jet lag is the small price we pay for the incredible experiences and bucket list moments travel offers us!
`Life is either a daring adventure or nothing!’ Helen Keller