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Top Tips for Jet Lag & Airport Experience

Altogether Travel has used our customer feedback, combined with our expert knowledge and we have created our top tips for beating jet lag and improving your airport experiences.
We invite you to check them out and get in touch with any tips of your own!

Wherever you have in mind for a holiday, please let us know and we can look into some options for you. Your ideas don’t have to involve a flight! Many of our customers enjoy a UK holiday.

Jet Lag

When flying longer distances the feeling of jet lag can be disorientating. You can’t avoid the time zone change, but there are a few things you can do to minimise the draining impact of jet lag.

What exactly is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is how you feel when travelling across different time zones. Your body feels as though it is in the time zone you started your journey in. The medical term is desynchronization as your body has not yet synchronised to your destination time zone.

For example, leaving the UK at 9am, travelling for hours then arriving at your destination at 8am on the same date – it’s as though you have travelled back in time! Another example is a journey over 24 hours, with the destination time zone being 12 hours ahead of your starting point – it’s like you have lost a whole day! You may not have slept well and so feel tired and disorientated.

Most people have the reaction of going to bed to sleep off the jet lag, but actually this could worsen your symptoms. Especially if your body clock is still set to where you departed from, you may not help becoming synchronised by taking a nap.

Jet lag is commonly connected to lack of sleep and feeling disorientated, but recent evidence suggests that your digestive pattern could also contribute to jet lag. Your body clock is connected to both sleep and digestion, as these signal your brain to be active or rest.

Common Symptoms of Jet Lag?
These can include being tired, lethargic, fatigued, dizzy, confused, hungry outside mealtimes, and feeling wide awake at night. The greater difference in time zones travelled, the worse symptoms can become.
So it’s not all about the distance you travel, more the time zone difference. UK and Los Angeles in the USA have a difference of 8 hours, however Cape Town in South Africa is only 2 hours different.

How does Jet Lag link with Direction?
“West is best” and “East is a Beast” – flying East goes more against your body clock, producing worse jet lag experience than compared to flying West. Basically you are travelling forwards in time and essentially skipping hours of your body clock day.

8 Top Tips for beating Jet Lag

Unless you can teleport like a superhero, it’s difficult to completely beat jet lag with a long flight. But here are 8 top tips with a few things you can do to reduce the negative impact jet lag can have:

1.  Divide your journey
You could book flights with stages, allowing you to at least overnight in a hotel during your journey. Long distance flights usually involve a stopover, so you could consider a longer gap between flights and even stay at the airport’s hotel. This gives you a break from travel and help you to adjust to time zone changes.

2. Fly West, as it’s best
If possible! Although you have to return home at some point, you could fly from the UK to Australia for example, through the USA outbound, then through Asia/Europe on the way back. We admit this may not be a cheap solution.

3. Set your watch/devices to destination time
The key with this is doing so early. Before your flight departs, adjust all you can check the time with. This way your brain can begin adjusting to the destination time from when you sit back and relax in your seat. Avoid sleep during the day hours of the destination and catch some shut eye while your destination is sleeping – an eye mask may be a good investment if your surroundings reflect daylight with your current situation!

4. Also adjust your meal times to destination
Similar to 3, you’re trying to synchronise your digestion instead of your brain with this tip. You could be prepared with snacks and drinks that don’t make much noise if other flyers choose to sleep.

5. Sleep well before travel
Being well rested equips you with more energy to overcome the tiredness flying can bring. Clock up some shut eye and you’ll feel ready to take on jet lag symptoms.

6. Resist feeling sleepy
You can rest and take it easy of course, and as always it is important to stay hydrated. If you sleep during the day at your destination, you may be wide awake at night. Then you may not get the most out of your holiday, if going out the next morning feels like it should be bedtime. You can do it!

7. Be active
You can distract yourself to synchronise with the day time by keeping busy, as you would without feeling tired. Easy for us to say! But you can go for a walk, engage in conversation, and do things to keep you awake. If you must, nap for 1 or 2 hours in the afternoon. But any more than that and you may struggle to sleep at night.

8. Keep away from coffee or sleeping pills
These may help at first, but when they wear off you’ll feel much worse than before. You may think it could help your body clock but really it causes stress on your body. You can’t force your body, but you can support it nicely until your body clock synchronises with your destination.