I hate jet lag! It seems like I lose a day of my vacation because of it. Why do we get jet lag, and how can we avoid it?
We get jet lag when we travel to Europe because we go through several time zones in the process of our flight. Although it can put a major dent into your first day in Europe, it can cause even more issues when we come back to the United States. However, there are several things that we can do to help we overcome jet lag, or avoid it entirely. Like everything about travel in Europe, it’s all about knowledge and preparation.
One way that you can avoid jet lag entirely is by sleeping on the plane. If you have trouble sleeping on planes, you may want to try an over the counter sleep aid. If you have never used sleeping aids in the past, you should try them out before your trip to see how you will react to them. Once you find one that works well for you, you can pack it into your carry-on luggage for use on the plane.
Melatonin is often recommended by veteran travelers as the best way to handle jet lag. However, different people react in different ways to over the counter or prescription melatonin. It is best to try melatonin before your flight to make sure that you will not have any problems with the drug. In some people it can cause sickness, tiredness without sleeping, or even cause nightmares. If you prefer not to take medications, you can get melatonin by drinking red wine on the plane or before your flight. One or two glasses should be the limit; there’s nothing worse than jet lag with a hangover!
Another way that you can avoid jet lag is by changing your sleeping schedule before you leave. About a week before your planned trip to Europe, start getting up earlier and earlier in the morning, and going to be earlier and earlier in the evening. By the time you leave, you will be on a sleeping schedule compatible with your destination’s time zone. When you return to the United States, simply reverse the process by staying up later and getting up later a little bit at a time until you are back to your original sleeping schedule.
Remember to always drink lots of water on the flight over to Europe as well as on the return flight. That seems to help combat jet lag.
Drink lots of water, try to sleep on the plane, and adjust your schedule before your trip, and you will be able to minimize your jet lag.
James Tutten is a professional photographer and graphic artist. He and his wife Terri are passionate about travel, and share their adventures at Traveling Tuttens . For budget travel tips, and to see some award winning photography of their world adventures be sure to visit Traveling Tuttens .