In 2015 a record number of Americans traveled abroad, and before the summer of 2016 winds down, many more Americans will take a trip overseas. Hotwire president Henrik Kjellberg knows a thing or two about traveling abroad for both work and vacation, and has become an unofficial expert in one side-effect that plagues many who prefer slightly adventurous travel: jetlag. Here are a few of his tried and true methods for beating jetlag at its own game.
- Be tired.
- Get up extra early on the day you are traveling, and I mean early, like 4 a.m. It seems brutal but it really does help make you more tired later.
- Sleep on the plane, but never for too long. I’ve found that four hours works for me. If you stay semi-tired while en route, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep at the right time the next day.
- Same thing on the return- sleep, but not too much. Don’t go to bed too early for the first few days you are home, especially if you are back at work. Often times the second and third days are the worst for fatigue, so consider keeping late afternoons meeting-free.
- Be energetic (no, these rules are not in conflict with each other).
- Get outside as much as possible. If traveling for work, take breaks for short walks or stand up during meetings. Being stuck sitting in all-day meetings can make exhaustion feel worse.
- Work out. Even short exercise sessions will do the trick to give you a little extra get-up-and-go.
- Stick to the routine of the time zone you’re in, and don’t over-eat. Eating too food and being off on your internal clock will only lead to more sluggishness.
- During the flight, mimic darkness with an eye mask and earplugs. It’s also worth investing in noise cancelling headphones.
- Chemicals – some people use sleeping aids, but I stick to a glass of red wine to help me sleep, and coffee to keep me alert. Find what works for you, and use it in moderation.
- Schedule appointments to make sure you don’t go to sleep too early, or find yourself sleeping in too late. The best way to get over jetlag is to do it quickly!
(Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg has been working in the travel industry for nearly 17 years. A self-proclaimed “travel geek,” he has lived and worked on four continents, visited more than 60 countries, speaks five languages fluently and has flown more than 88,000 miles already this year.)