Welcome! I'm Cerie, an athlete with an adventurous spirit who has spent the last 10+ years living abroad and traveling throughout Europe and beyond. I'm passionate about European travel, the great outdoors, and pursuing a lifestyle that allows for the freedom to explore. Originally from Boston, I'm currently based in Northern England. Hop in my duffel bag, and come along for the ride!

i'm Cerie

How to Fight Jet Lag: 5 Best Tips for Travelers

Over the past 10 years, I’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean over 40 times en route to and from Europe, which means I have had to become an expert on how to fight jet lag.

When planning a trip to Europe, or anywhere else that requires switching time zones it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and anticipation of the trip and forget about the impact jet lag can have upon arrival. This is particularly true for new travelers who have never experienced jet lag, and don’t know what to expect. Even for seasoned travelers, jet lag can hit hard and derail your plans if you aren’t careful. Your body and mind can sometimes react in unexpected ways and play mind games, so you need to know what signs to look out for, and put a solid approach in place in order to combat the exhaustion in the moment.

Being prepared and knowing how to fight jet jag before you travel can make your transition much smoother and help you spend less time adjusting and more time exploring.

Here are my top 5 tips for how to fight jet lag.

1. Hydrate Well

Adequate hydration is one of the building blocks of good health, and unsurprisingly this also applies to fighting jet lag. Hydrating before, during and after travel will keep you at optimal health, and allow your body to recover quicker, making it more prepared to fight jet leg and adjust to the new time zone more quickly. Drink at least 8-12 cups or 2-3 liters of water per day for optimal hydration. Make sure to up your intake even more if you are consuming any coffee or alcohol to offset their de-hydrating effects.

2. Be Strategic With Your Flight Times

Flights from the US to Europe are often red-eyes, which can add another challenge for travelers. When possible, choose a flight time later in the evening which will align more with your natural bedtime and therefore make it easier to get some sleep during your trip. The other advantage of flying later is arriving later at your destination. Most hotels and accommodations don’t allow check-in until the afternoon, so an early morning arrival might not be advantageous for the exhausted traveler who wants to get straight to sleep.

3. Take a Nap Upon Arrival

Even if you are able to get some shut-eye on your flight, it’s usually low quality sleep filled with discomfort, noise and interruptions. Arriving at your destination often provides a rush of adrenaline as you are forced to navigate customs and border control, but once you are through the chaos, unrelenting exhaustion often sets in. While I used to force myself to stay awake for as long as possible, I’ve since changed my approach in recent years. I’ve found that allowing myself to take a short nap the first day takes the edge off of my exhaustion and makes the beginning of my trip much more enjoyable while also allowing me to adjust to the time zone really quickly. When possible, I try not to plan a busy itinerary on my first day to allow myself to settle in. Take a nap in the morning or afternoon, but make sure you limit the duration so you are able to get to sleep at a normal hour later in the evening. While it’s challenging to fight your body’s desire to sleep the day away, being disciplined with this will pay off for the rest of your trip!

4. Stay Active

Staying active and getting fresh air will aid in your recovery and help you fight fatigue and the negative effects of travel. This is especially important if you are unable to take a nap on arrival or have a busy itinerary on day one. The more active you are, the less you’ll be aware of your fatigue which will make it easier to get through that first day. The other good part about staying active throughout the day is that you’ll tire yourself out and be ready to sleep when bedtime comes around, which will only help regulate your internal clock and speed up the adjustment process. Take a walk or a bike ride to get acquainted with your new location while allowing your mind and body some beneficial activity and fresh air.

5. Adjust to Your New Time Zone as Quickly as Possible

Above all, the most important tip for how to fight jet lag is to adjust to your new time zone as quickly as possible. While this requires discipline and preparedness, you will thank yourself for your efforts when you are out enjoying your new destination rather than falling asleep in your soup. It’s tempting to listen to your body which will want to sleep in late and go to bed late, however this will actually provide more disruption than good. Stick to your game plan and get your body adjusted right away!

Knowing what to expect and having a game plan for dealing with jet lag is an important part of European travel. Be sure to use some of these tips on your next travels to help you fight jet lag so you can make the most of your adventures in Europe!

Are you interested in travel wellness beyond how to fight jet lag? Check out my tips for How to Stay Healthy While Traveling.


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