Jet lag can put a real crimp in the first few days of your trip. To avoid it, there are some basic steps you can take so your first couple days are not miserable.
Jet lag occurs because the body is adjusting to a new cycle. Whether you realize it or not, your body is tuned into the daily cycle in your home town. This is why you always wake up in the morning no matter how late you went to sleep. The body is like a car and it is tuned. When you travel across more than a couple time zones, the old engine needs to be retuned. There are a couple basic steps you can take.
The first step in retuning your body to avoid jet lag is to recognize the time difference. If you are going to be traveling to a place that is three time zones ahead of you, you would be smart to modify your behavior a couple days ahead. Start trying to go to sleep more towards the time you will experience at your destination. The same thing goes for waking up. By taking these steps, you start motivating your body to change gradually. This beats forcing a change when you arrive and helps prevent jet lag.
Sitting on a plane can be insanely boring. The same goes for layovers. There is a temptation to fill the time by imbibing in adult beverages. This is generally a bad move. Unless you watch yourself, you will become dehydrated in the pressurized cabin of a plane. Adding alcohol to situation just dehydrates you more and creates the instant hangover. A hangover worsens the jet lag and nothing is worse than being in a new, foreign location feeling miserable.
Finally, most travelers start hustling the minute the get off the plane. There is so much to see and do that you can’t waste even a minute. Well, you might want to take it easy the first day. Instead of rushing around like mad, try taking in one or two sites and then just lounging around in a café. A low stress day will help you relax and get your body adjusted to the local time. Stressing out will not.
Jet lag is a natural part of flying long distances. If you plan for it appropriately, you can minimize the impact on your trip.
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals that make great travel accessories .