Traveling is hard work. Even those of us who have seemingly unlimited energy at home (ask yourself: how often to you dance around to Sia at 1am when you should be asleep?) traveling can make you want to catch significantly more zzz’s than usual. And of course, jet lag makes it worse. Read below for my 6 tips on how to beat jet lag on any trip:
1. Sleep mask
If I could only take one thing on a trip- in addition to a passport, obviously- it would be a sleep mask. My first solo backpacking trip back in 2014 got me addicted to sleep masks and now I can’t sleep without one even when I’m home in NYC. Any light can throw off your sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling rested during the day. Having a silk sleep mask like this one will ensure a good night’s rest and an easy transition into a new time zone.
Yup. I’m the person on your flight who has removed her makeup, put in earplugs, and donned a sleep mask before we’ve even been towed onto the runway. Earplugs don’t necessarily help me sleep better, in fact, I usually wake up with one or both of them lost in my sheets. But they do help me fall asleep quickly. I’m not listening to the plane’s engine or people partying outside my hostel window, instead I’m falling into a dark, peaceful slumber. Earplug tip: buy cheap ones because you WILL lose them.
3. Drink lots of water
I mean liters on liters of water. I get really anxious if I don’t have 5 liters of water in my hostel/hotel room at all times. And I really don’t understand how Sami gets away with drinking half as much as I do, but this is my list of travel tips and I’m telling you- DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Carrying around a reusable water bottle (I suggest getting an 18 oz. bottle) will make sure you stay hydrated.
4. Eat/sleep like a local once you land
My grandma told me this when I was young- well before I realized that I inherited her obsession with travel- and it’s absolutely true. Regardless of how long the flight is, I’m always tired and hungry when I land. Resisting the urge to give in until locals eat and sleep is the most important step in acclimating to any new place. If you can make it through the first day, the rest of your trip will be a breeze.
Essential oils will save your life. I’m only half kidding here. I’m loving the small bottles you can stash in any pocket of your bag and they last FOREVER. One whiff of this lavender essential oil and you’ll be instantly calm and ready for bed. You can put it in a small spray bottle with water (I’d go with 10 drops per 3oz bottle) or dab a drop on your wrist/neck. This is so much better for you than sleeping meds and trust me, if lavender can knock me out on a 12 hour train ride to Bangkok, it’ll help you, too.
6. No meds
I’m going to say it again. DO. NOT. TAKE. MEDS. Over the counter or prescription. Just stop it. You’re throwing off your natural sleep cycles and can become dependent on synthetic chemicals. Sleeping is literally one of the most natural things in the world and you don’t need unnatural substances to do it.