How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials
26/02/2017 pilotpatrick

I am back in cold and rainy Germany after six wonderful days of vacation in the Caribbean. The time difference between my hometown and the Dominican Republic was five hours. My return flight was during the night and landed early in the morning in Berlin Tegel. The the next night I was already working again. Many of you wondered how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences over the years and give you a list of travel essentials to fly more comfortable.

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Thumbs up – next trip you will deal better with a jetlag

How to deal with jet lag

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. Most operators offer seats which fully convert into a flat bed to have a good rest arriving refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge.

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Lie flat bed in Lufthansa Business Class, Seat 3A A340-600

Besides a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of a jet lag. When booking your ticket reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed up in the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats. Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally can recommend booking a seat at the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind.

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml still water or juice. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine during the meal helps to fall asleep easier.

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which eliminate the risk of thrombosis as well. The inflight entertainment of most airlines show exercises you can do during the flight.

travel essential amenity kit long range flight

My travel essentials for a long range flight

My travel essentials:

  • Take hand disinfection gel. Airplanes are dirty, after using the lavatory I clean my hands with hand disinfection. You can buy them at convenience stores or online here.
  • Wear thick socks. So you can take off your shoes and your feet stay warm
  • Take your own small pillow. I think the innovative pillow of POCKINDO® could be an awesome travel gadget.
  • Use noise canceling headphones. This is a must for every frequent traveler. They make traveling a lot more comfortable. You feel like in your own little word without hearing the outside noise. I use the in ear Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
  • Use ear plugs by OHROPAX are the best. Due to the waxy material, they adjust perfectly to your ear shape.
  • Take a sleeping mask which is comfortable to wear
  • Wear sweatpants during the flight. I have them in my hand luggage and I change after take off.
  • Take your toothbrush. It can feel so refreshing to brush the teeth prior approach.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.
topas rimowa suitcase

What’s in my suitcase?

What to do when the jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep a single bit and now the whole day lays in front of you. If your schedule permits I would go to bed now and sleep for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake up.

pilot patrick running in a gym

Exercising helps to wake up mentally and physically

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found about that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes find a comfortable place, turn on non-disturb on your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterward.

Jet lag – behavioral recommendations

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination, so you can mentally adjust to the new time
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain in the time of departure so you do not have a double jetlag.
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Outfit as passenger

Visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric to find out details of my style and the brands I am wearing. 

The body adjust approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website “Zentrum der Gesundheit” (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found out that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What was your longest non-stop flight you have been on so far?

Your Pilot Patrick

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11 Comments

  1. Nicolien 9 months ago

    What’s the reason for the cabin air being so dry? I always get troubles with breathing trough my nose because of that .

  2. Renate 9 months ago

    Nice….window seats are my fave.

  3. Author
    pilotpatrick 9 months ago

    Hello Nicolien,
    the air that is pumped in the cabin is very dry because, over 30,000 feet, it is difficult for anything to hold moisture. To add moisture (water) in the air afterward would cause an increase in weight and fuel consumption. Never the less always happy landings!
    Patrick

  4. Arthur Estrada 9 months ago

    I traveled to Madrid from LAX. Fourteen hours to London, with another two more to Spain. We flew business class on British airways. It wasn’t great. I was fine the first few days after arriving, but when I got to Torromollino in the South I crashed hard. I ended up sleeping for thirteen hours straight. I wish I would of know you then pilot.

  5. sindylc 9 months ago

    thanks for sharing 🙂
    my jet lay remedy is floating, stay in a salty bath for an hour & it’s like 5 hrs nap! http://www.floatcenter.nl/ this works for me.
    My longest non-stop flight was AMS to HKG, 12 hrs and it was OK!

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 9 months ago

      Thank you! you are very welcome. I have taken a salty bath before. It is quite relaxing and I felt weightless. Happy landings. Patrick

  6. Rania 9 months ago

    hey captain ♥ how are you? It’s been a long time 🙂 I stopped everything because I was busy. I was looking for god ! I can’t find him ! he is idea ! created by miserable person that’s all. I changed my life style and I’m living my own life ♥ captain I love your blog ♥ thanks for sharing your beautiful adventure with us. I love you ♥ my friend

  7. Putu Ayu oka 9 months ago

    Window seats is my favorite….because sitting near the window, I can look out and I love it

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 8 months ago

      Hello Putu,
      thanks for your comment and sorry for my late reply. Mine is at the window as well 🙂
      Happy landings
      Patrick

Pingbacks

  1. […] My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag! […]

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