Ask an Expert: Jennifer Flowers, Associate Editor
Q: What are your tips for overcoming jet lag? —Sam Suleman, San Francisco, Calif.
A: If you’re headed east, rise early on your first morning and soak up as many rays as possible to reset your body’s internal clock. Going west? Light exposure in the evening—even if it’s artificial—will help you sync to local time. If you’ll mostly be indoors or in a rainy locale, consider investing in a small, portable LED light, which mimics solar rays (from $100). Dehydration can worsen symptoms, so drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Your doctor may also recommend sleep aids such as Ambien or the hormone melatonin. Finally, look to your smart phone or tablet: a few new apps, such as the Virgin Atlantic Jet Lag Fighter ($1.99; iPhone, iPad), provide adjustment strategies tailored to your trip.
Q: Every time I go to New York, I stay in Manhattan. I’d love to check out the affordable hotels in other boroughs. Any ideas? —Rachel Morr, Laramie, Wyo.
A: In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the 64-room Hotel Williamsburg (888/867-6767; doubles from $295) is half a block from buzzing Bedford Avenue and has an artisanal cocktail lounge that overlooks the skyline. Near the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Aloft New York Brooklyn (877/462-5638; doubles from $159) has mod, loftlike rooms and DJ’s spinning in the bar. Guests at the Z NYC Hotel (877/256-5556; doubles from $179), in Long Island City, Queens, a few blocks from Silvercup Studios, all get floor-to-ceiling views of Manhattan from their rooms and star treatment in the form of free limo rides.
Q: Can you recommend the best place to see the northern lights this winter? —Keith Pension, Newton Square, Pa.
A: On Kensington Tours’ (from $1,652 per person) five-day Aurora Adventure, you’ll spend two nights in the tiny fishing village of Höfn, on Iceland’s southeastern coast. With Cox & Kings’ (from $3,286 per person for six days) Swedish Arctic Winter Adventure, an overnight stay in Kiruna’s famous Ice Hotel is followed by a snowmobile ride through Lapland forest clearings with pristine views of the celestial marvel. Closer to home, Northern Tales Travel Services (867/667-6054; tours through April 2012; two nights from $488 per person) offers guided treks in Canada’s Yukon Territory—including marshmallow-roasting over a crackling campfire while the colorful light show goes on overhead.
Q: I’ve heard you can buy VIP service at airports. How does it work? —Patrick Holcomb, Portland, Ore.
A: The glory years of flying may be over, but many airlines are still rolling out the red carpet—for a price. “Five Star Service” from American Airlines (from $125) provides a range of perks, from expedited security entry to Admirals Club access. By purchasing “Even More Space” from JetBlue (online or in the terminal; from $10), you’re guaranteed a quick trip through security and early boarding, in addition to extra legroom. It’s worth inquiring about transportation exclusives at your hotel as well: the Athenaeum (from $640 per person per trip, including limo transfer and refreshments), in London, recently partnered with “Heathrow by Invitation” to provide VIP treatment for its guests. Normally reserved for heads of state, it lets you bypass main terminals and relax in a private lounge while the check-in process is taken care of for you.