The Zen of Travel 4

Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag from a Travel Expert

Top 6 Strategies to overcome jetlag now!

We’ve all heard the many do’s and don’ts for dealing with jet lag. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 6 never fail essentials:

You jet across the “pond” full of excitement about all the things you plan to do in Paris, Sydney, or Barcelona, or maybe you went south of the border to  Buenos Aires (ay, mi alma latina). Wherever your destination, there isn’t enough espresso in Italy or tango dancing in BA to stifle a yawn and prop open your eyes.  Alas, you arrive and, kerplunk, you are horizontal on your much too comfy bed at a fine boutique hotel darkened room, fluffy down pillows cradling you to bliss, nirvana,  SLEEP??!!  What? Get out of that bed tout de suite. Unless you can manage a 20 to 30 minute cat nap, there’ll be plenty of time for that later. Let’s face it, no one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep!  You’ve ARRIVED and you want to make the most of it and take it all in.

I’m often asked how I manage to find the energy and stamina to “get up and go” after a long flight. Here are my tips on how to add a little more zen to your travel experience:

•  Act like you’ve always been in that time zone! Once you board the plane, adjust your watch to the local time of your destination. It’s all about your mindset so even if you don’t wear a watch, it’s adjusting the clock in your head! You’ve now crossed over to the other side and operating like you are in Santorini or Delhi.  It’s amazing how you can trick your mind into thinking and doing things. Ahh, it feels relaxing already and airport stress is now behind you.
•  Go easy on the alcohol. A drink or two is fine. Aside from not wanting to make a complete fool of yourself in Business Class or Upper Class or even if you’re wedged in the far back of the plane next to “The Giant” on one side and “Baby Babette” on the other, you must know that excess alcohol will get in the way of you “hitting the ground running.” Plus, at 33,000 feet in a pressurized cabin, does a Port or Pinot really taste as good?  I’ll ask my favorite sommelier and we’ll leave that for a future article.
• Stretch and do a “walkabout” in the aisles. You’ll be a lot more steady on your feet when you land. You will feel limber and a lot less stiff. Plus, you’ll minimize the risk of injuring yourself with a sudden movement or lifting a heavy bag. Even if you stay in your seat, do stretch your calves, and point and flex your toes to get your circulation going.  Shoulder shrugs and neck stretches can also be done in the comfort of your seat or cocoon (if you’re lucky enough to be in the front part of the airplane).
• Catching a few zzzz’s is always good. I’m one of the fortunate few that can sleep on a plane without meds and all the paraphernalia. Ear plugs and an eye mask are de rigueur for some people, so gear up if you fall in that category. Your iPod and favorite playlist will minimize interruptions and on-board announcements or your snoring neighbor.
• Hit the pool or spa. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit/swimming trunks/swimmers/ bathing suit/string bikini/ maillot. whatever you want to call it – even if your trip does not call for water sports. Enjoy the hotel amenities! Frolic in the spa pool or swim a few laps.  Exercising your lungs will get the oxygen flowing and the fresh air will be invigorating!  At the Turkish hammam, sweat out the martinis you indulged in mid-air.  Seriously, don’t skip the spa. You WILL feel better, darling. Bonus tip: If you arrive early and your room is not ready, instead of pouting, this is the perfect time to refresh at the pool/spa and catch your second wind.
• Book a massage. Oh, just the thought of a deep tissue massage and working out all the kinks will rejuvenate you and put a spring back in your step.  A massage can be soooo relaxing and energizing. I often find a massage is better than a nap. You get “two for one.” No more excuses, you’re ready to GO!

    Finally, when planning your next trip, consider spending the last few days at a destination spa, especially if your itinerary involves multiple cities.  Take the time to luxuriate and unwind before traveling back home to ensure you feel rested and not like “you need a vacation from that vacation!”

    Don’t let jetlag hold you back! Where are you off to next?

    Bon voyage,



    Be sure to check with me regarding complimentary amenities at some favorite places

    – The spa at the Hotel de Russie in Rome

    – The rooftop pool at The Berkeley Hotel in London

    – Ananda in the Himalayas – Destination Spa

    – La Posta Vecchia – seaside restaurant