how to deal with jet lag

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

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.

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.

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.
  • Use a lavera lip balm to work against the dry air in the airplane.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.

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.
pilot patrick travel style
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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what is in my bag

What's in my bag? - My packing tips

In my last blog post I shared my experience in Lufthansa’s Business Class to Cape Town with you. On this flight I was allowed to have four pieces of luggage. But who takes so much on a journey? You will be surprised about the number of pieces private jet customers take on a flight. One person with eight suitcases is no exception. In this blog post I will show you what is in my bag and additionally I will reveal my packing tips.

My home is where my suitcase is!

My Rimowa luggage 'Topas' in front of the Private Jet Citation XLS

Now I want to show you what I have in my bags and give you some advices when packing!

Through my profession as private jet pilot I became a professional traveler, who knows who to pack correctly. I am usually on duty for about seven days in the row and I sleep 15 days in a month in different hotels. Everyday I have to unpack and pack, unload and load and carry my luggage from one place to another. That is why the quality and the weight of my suitcase it vital.

Travel in style - aluminum case during a stay in Wildlife Reserve in South Africa

I am really convinced of the products of Rimowa. It is a German company founded in 1898. They put a lot of emphasis on the quality and practicability of their luggage. Especially their products with four wheel are handy. I currently use two products of the ‘Topas’ series, which are made of aluminum. They are little heavier than the once out of polycarbonate, but I prefer this design and they are almost indestructible.

In my hand luggage:

My travel essentials

My checked luggage:

  • Clothing (essential clothing which are easy to combine)
  • Wash bag (organic products of Lavera and Speick)
  • Two pair of shoes (one for sports)
  • TRX suspension trainer (perfect tool for a quick workout in the hotel room)
  • Cocktail shaker to prepare rice protein shakes
Home is where my suitcase is - What's in my bag?

My packing tips:

  • Use the space between the handle bar on the bottom of the suitcase, perfect to place socks or underwear.
  • Do not put valuables in your checked luggage to prevent them from theft. For example electronics, which can be easily detected by the x-ray.
  • Put important documents and essentials for the first day in your hand luggage in case your suitcase gets lost.
  • When taking shirts, I suggest to put them folded in a plastic or fabric bag. This way they stay flat and you do not need to iron them again
  • Put your wash bag in a plastic bag, so in case something leaks your clothing stays clean.
  • I take testers instead of heavy perfume flacons to safe weight.
  • I fill up small containers with the organic shampoo from home so I do not have to take the whole bottle.
  • When packing a suit I recommend to carry it in a clothes bag so the fabric does not get crumbled. An additional small personal items, like a purse or clothes bag, is usually free in economy on all major airlines.
  • Always put your items in the same spot. This saves time when packing and searching.
  • Use a suitcase with an international TSA lock when traveling by plane.
After landing in Rostov an Don with the Citation XLS

My bags

Besides my two silver cases I have a food bag for my journeys. In which you will find fruits, nuts, humus, carrots, couscous salad, coconut water, whole wheat bread and boiled eggs most of the time. Some colleagues think I am crazy, that I carry all this food with me. But this way I can have good food while on duty and I can omit the unhealthy catering on board and in hotels. Read in my blog post “I am a Foodie pilot” more about my healthy eating habits.

Me packing my small Rimowa - healthy food always on board

Happy landings and a well-packed suitcase for your next journey!

Which personal items do you always pack when you going on a journey? I always pack swim shorts. ;-)

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Your Pilot Patrick

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