It’s going to be an amazing holiday season, you just know it. Though you’ve got a long trip ahead of you, you know the destination is worth the effort. Whether you’re heading to visit your family, you’re gathering on the slopes with friends, or you’re simply preparing to take the trip of a lifetime, there’s a pair of constant threats you’ll encounter: jet lag and exhaustion. Not to worry, though, with a few of these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to enjoy your destination once you’ve conquered the actual travel part of the trip.
1. Don’t Leave Work Until the Last Minute
A week to ten days before you actually step on the plane, start getting your things in order. Take care of your work commitments so things will be relatively handled while you’re out of the office. After all, wouldn’t you much rather make sure you plow through a pile of work before you head out as opposed to having to get through it when you get back?
2. Start Packing About Three Days Before You Go
It can be tempting to leave your packing until the night before, but that’s a terrible idea. Make sure your suitcase is partially packed with time to spare, so you can comfortably run to the store for any last minute supplies. Making sure you’re ready to go with time to spare will allow you to spend your final evening at home relaxing and saving your energy for the travel ahead.
3. Drink Lots of Water
Throughout your trip, make sure that you’ve always either got some water on you, or you’re taking advantage of any chance to drink some water. Irritated by the liquid limitations at security? You can always bring an empty bottle through the checkpoint and fill it up at a water fountain on the other side. A lot of fast food restaurants in the terminal will also fill up your bottle with ice and water for free.
4. Switching Time Zones? Start the Transition Before You Leave
If you’re going to be heading towards another continent with a drastically different day-night schedule, then you should consider subtly shifting your own schedule a little at a time in the days leading up to the trip. Start shifting your sleep and meal schedule an hour at a time before you fly. It’ll make the transition that much easier.
5. Morning on the Plane
Try to get a few hours of sleep while you’re on the flight. Then, when you wake up, try to stay awake until bedtime at your destination. It might also help to eat some breakfast food, as well. It may not be very fun, but stick to the coffee and stay awake. Then, the following morning, wake up at your regular time. Don’t sleep in; get on your new schedule as soon as possible.
6. Don’t Drink Before Your Flight
Huge revelation incoming: Alcohol not only makes you drowsy, it makes it harder to wake up the next day. If you drink heavily before a flight, or the first night of your trip, you’ll have a harder time adjusting to a new time zone.
7. Be Cool, and Remember You’re On Vacation
Preparing to travel and traveling itself can be pretty stressful, no matter how prepared you are. Try to take it easy on yourself as much as possible, because stress and anxiety will exhaust you as fast as anything else. Remember, people forget things, bags get lost, schedules fall apart. It’s no big deal.
8. Breathe and Stretch
When you’re traveling by plane, you’ll find that a lot of your time is actually spent sitting. You’d be surprised how physically tiring that can be. Whenever you have the opportunity, try to do some basic stretches or breathing exercises. Not only will these exercises keep you physically comfortable, they’ll help calm you down.
9. Don’t Eat Any Experimental Meals Before You Get on the Plane
This is just a good idea no matter when or where you’re traveling. Before you’re about to hit the road, don’t take any risks with your gastrointestinal tract. Eat something basic, but sturdy in order to ensure that your body is in good working order.
10. Bring Snacks For the Trip
Nothing helps stave off a little bit of exhaustion like a quick, small snack. Don’t take anything overly sweet or sugary. Stick to trail mix, granola bars, nuts, that kind of thing. That way your body will be fighting off jet lag or exhaustion with actual nutrients, not a sugar rush that’ll only last about twenty minutes.
11. If Possible, Focus on Your Flight’s Arrival Time
If you have a lot of time to plan your holiday travel, then try to find a flight that will put you on the ground in the early evening. That way you won’t have too much trouble staying awake until bed. Then you can simply hop off the plane, grab some dinner, and then crash out for eight hours so you can greet your destination with fresh eyes the next morning.
12. Avoid Heavy Exercise Close to Bed
Even if you’re still wide awake as bedtime approaches, don’t work out excessively right before bed. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor, but you will only compound the natural fatigue your body is experiencing which will make it even harder to shrug off your travel.
13. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before You Travel
Don’t think that staying awake later the night before you leave will help you adapt to your destination’s time zone that much easier. In fact, it’s best to make sure you head out your front door with a full night’s rest behind you. That way you’ll be alert for your travel and ready to hit the sack when all is said and done.
14. Don’t Use Sleeping Pills to Regulate Your Sleep
Even if you use sleep aids at home, it’s probably best to avoid them to help you adjust to a new time zone. That means laying off them the night before and leaving them be while you’re on the plane, even if you’re going to be traveling for some time. Your body will be much more inclined to adjust if it can do so under its own steam.