The hardest aspect of planning and executing a relatively short trip (5-7 days) abroad is making sure you have enough time to see everything. While that’s a whole other topic, jet lag can certainly put a damper on your plans during the first 2-3 days and even longer depending on the time difference.  So how do you avoid the 3-4 pm drag that sets in while you’re shuffling your way from the Louvre to Notre Dame? There are a few things you can do to lessen the impact that jet lag can have on your body. You’d be surprised by how much these things can help!

Here is what I have found that actually works:

  1. WATER. I can’t stress this enough. Before, during and after your flight, you need to hydrate. The longer your flight is, the more dehydrated you can become due to the low-humidity environment. This will cause fatigue and an increased risk of infection.
  2. Eat healthily and avoid in-flight meals unless you are in first class. Greasy, salty foods can make you feel groggy and the meals they serve in coach are absolutely loaded with sodium to keep people from getting sick.  The last thing you want to be on a plane is bloated and dehydrated.
  3. Exercise before, during and after your trip to maintain energy levels. Usually this isn’t much of an issue during your trip if you are sightseeing, however the before and after parts can be tough. Trust me, it’s worth it!
  4. If you are traveling to Europe from the states, try getting up a little earlier the week before you trip and begin adjusting a little at a time.
  5. DO NOT drink any alcohol before or during your flight. I do love a nice gin and tonic, but it certainly won’t help you in your quest to remain hydrated.
  6. Try to get some some sleep on the flight. This can be pretty difficult, but if you come prepared, you’ll be much more rested when you reach your destination. 

Getting sun in the morning can also be helpful. This is what really guides your internal clock to move with you as you explore the world. I tried all of these actively on my visit to Portugal last month, and it was, to my surprise, the easiest adjustment I’ve ever had. 


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