Jet Lag is for Amateurs

Plane landing by sunrise

How to avoid jet lag when traveling overseas… These days it seems like more and more people are traveling further and further. Different corners of the globe are now open to exploration. The wonders to be seen are countless and the high you get from seeing, eating, and experiencing new things is second to none. However, there is one aspect of traveling that may put a damper on the excitement and adventure : jet lag. It is real and it can lay the smack down.

There are a few things you can do to deter or at least minimize the effects of jet lag. Different things work for different people and what works for some, may not work for others. It make take some trial and error to see what methods or advice work for you.

First and most importantly : water, water, and more water! Get one over-priced, larger bottle of water at the airport and keep it on you when you board the plane. You can always ask the attendant for more water and instead of those cups for hobbits that they usually give you, ask them to put some fresh water right into your bottle. That way you don’t have to buzz them over every 5 minutes. It’s also convenient because you can keep it on you and you don’t have to worry about a collection of water cups. Drinking water before, during, and after your flight can help with jet lag.  Also, you can bring in your own water bottle and bring it through security empty and re-fill it at the water fountain. Nowadays,  at many airports they have water filling stations making it convenient to fill as well as saving you from buying the overpriced water at the airport.

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On the consumption tip : food! You’re about to go on a long trip and you don’t want to waste all that perfectly good food in your refrigerator. Bring it with you! Ok, so leave the pot roast at home, but as for that handful of baby carrots left? Throw ’em in a zip bag and take them with you in your carry on. Have an apple that you don’t want to leave rotting away in your crisper drawer? Slice it up and have it as a snack during your flight! This will give you an excuse to finish off that food sitting in your fridge and to eat healthy. You may even find yourself eating it out of boredom during your flight. You’re going to be eating healthily without even being conscious of it! Score! These healthy snacks beat the go to airport diet of Dr. Pepper and Combos any day!


In the words of Janelle Monae : Let your booty do that yoga! Forget looking fly upon your arrival. Go for comfort. Ladies, time to bust out your yoga pants. Guys, go for it, or just some comfortable sweatpants. When you’re on a 10+ hour flight, the last thing you want to wear is those super skinny jeans that cut off your circulation. Loose fitting, stretchy pants are a must when you’re on a long haul to another country. You can always change your clothes in the airport bathroom once you’ve collected your luggage at your final destination!


Bring those mini toiletries! They’re usually around a buck a piece at a Target or Wal-Mart and will come in handy during your travels. A toothbrush and tube of toothpaste will save you from stanky breath during and after the flight. Hand lotion is a necessity. Your hands and skin in general will get very dry in an airplane, so any kind of body cream will quench your skin’s thirst. This is where the 1st tip (water) is also important. Also on the subject of dehydration, eye drops are sometimes good. I know my eyes get really dry, red, and irritated, especially if I’m awake during the flight. Face wash is also nice to have because you might start to feel pretty grimy. It’s really useful when you’ve got a layover and you want to freshen up. You won’t step out of the plane looking like America’s Next Top Model, but at least you won’t feel like a total dirtball.


Captain Underpants to the Rescue! Bringing a fresh pair of underwear and socks is also nice, especially when you have some time to kill during your layover. I know some airports in Asia have places to shower, so a fresh change of undergarments might help you feel cleaner. Regarding clothing, a light jacket or sweater is a good idea because you’ll be up pretty high in the sky, so naturally, it’ll be colder.

You never know when this might happen!



Stand, stretch, repeat! Sitting for hours on end is uncomfortable and bad for circulation. Every hour or two, get up, take a walk, and do some stretches at the exit row near the bathroom where there is some extra space. This will add some variety to a long, monotonous flight and make you feel more limber and less stiff when you get off the plane. Asking to be seated in an exit row if possible, will also give you some more leg room and stretching space.

stretching on plane

Follow your dreams…take a nap! Some people struggle with sleeping on flights while others are almost asleep before the plane takes off. If you fall into the latter category, then you won’t have a jet lag problem. For those who have a hard time sleeping during flights, prescribed sleeping pills can help you get some shut eye. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning abuse of sleep aids, but I’m one of those people who cannot sleep on planes and since I tried it, I’m a much better rested traveler. You definitely won’t need any kind of medication for a short flight, but let me tell you, a flight from Detroit to Tokyo can be hell if you can’t get a wink of sleep. For example, if you have a 15 hour flight, a sleeping pill could generally knock you out for a solid 8 hours and then you can just enjoy the in-flight entertainment for the rest of the time. Try to coordinate your medication with your arrival time, so that you’re not up all night once you get to your destination. Also, once you get to your destination, you might be tired, but resist the urge to sleep until it is a normal time to go to bed at your destination. You might wake up in the middle of the night, but if you’re crazy tired, chances are, you’ll get a decent amount of sleep to function like a somewhat normal human being the next day. Also, red-eye flights are sometimes easier to sleep on because the lights will be turned down and windows will be shut, making it easier to sleep.


You can do it!  Psychologically, once you get over the distance, it really is not that bad. Also, on flights to Asia, plane seats typically recline a little bit further, so you’ve got a little added comfort. If flying is really torturous for you, just focus on all the super awesome things you’re going to experience once you’re actually there!

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