It's time to stop wasting vacation days being jetlagged.
Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, making the most of your time away is essential. Below, 10 hacks for keeping your energy levels high—starting before takeoff.
Know what time you land.
Sounds obvious, but it's too important not to include. Calibrating your temporal reality as soon as you board the plane is the key to easing your body into your destination’s time zone. Will it be morning when you land? Then mentally tuck yourself in after dinner in an effort to sleep as much as possible. Will it be nighttime when you land? Then do just the opposite—keep yourself awake with upbeat music or movies so you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep when the plane touches tarmac.
Settle in for the ride.
Do whatever you can to make your seat as comfortable as possible. Wear shoes that easily slide off and on and bring cozy socks or slippers to wear instead. Always travel with a favorite fuzzy neck pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask. Wear layers so you can add and remove them according to the in-flight temperature. Want more comfy travel outfit ideas? Right this way.
Use sleep-aids wisely.
Melatonin, a hormone excreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is a natural supplement that helps some users ease into sleep—and wake up without grogginess. Others swear by a glass or two of wine with dinner. But mixing the two is not advised, as alcohol can decrease (or even reverse) the effects of the melatonin.
BYO healthy food.
Skip the carb- and sodium-laden airplane food and pack a salad or wrap for your in-flight meal. And if you’re traveling to a remote or unfamiliar region, research the food of the area beforehand, particularly if you have specific dietary restrictions, to make sure you’ll have enough to eat. Always keep a few energy bars in your backpack, especially if your trip includes hiking, biking and other activities that require higher energy levels.
Create your personal soundtrack.
Make a two playlists before you leave town, especially if you are traveling across several time zones. One should feature soothing, relaxing tracks to help you ease into sleep even when your body thinks it’s daytime. The other should be filled with get-up-and-go tracks to get your morning started or give you a lift in the afternoon.
Drink plenty of water.
It's very easy to feel dehydrated (and thus fatigued) during and immediately after traveling by plane, so drink more water the day of your flight and pack your own water bottle. Every time water is offered on the plane, take it.
Pack good shoes … and day-to-night clothing.
Leave the cute-but-painful platforms at home and opt instead of comfortable shoes that can easily handle hours of treading around town. (We've got tons of recommendations for walking shoes, winter boots, and travel sandals.) Likewise, pack outfits that can easily transition from day to night. Not only will you be able to do and see more that way, but you won’t need to factor in time to run back to your hotel and change each day.
Leave your work at home.
There’s no quicker way to fizzle out than by burning the candle at both ends.
Resistance bands and jump ropes easily slip into a suitcase and can be used anywhere. Websites like Physique 57 and Yogis Anonymous offer streaming fitness classes that can turn any location into your personal gym. Or try a new challenge, like kayaking, surfing, or stand-up paddleboarding. A good way to get a feel for the lay of the land is with a morning jog around town. Getting the blood pumping first thing in the morning is the way to go. It ensures a thorough wake-up and helps make sure you'll fall asleep the right away the next time your head hits the pillow.
Schedule in down time.
As exciting it is to be a new place, don’t burn yourself out with an overloaded itinerary. Be sure to schedule in time for relaxing (poolside, with yoga, or just by lounging at your hotel with a book). An hour of rest will give you more energy (and renewed excitement) to check everything off your to-do list.