Time Travel

photo: sundevilstormin via flickr
I had this idea, to give you some tips on enduring those long haul flights but as I write this, I'm realizing that I no longer remember how to type or punctuate a sentence. Up until about 5 minutes ago I was marveling at how well I managed to jump through time zones, usually I feel just awful. I find traveling from North America to Europe is much more difficult than going the other way. So, here are a few of my tips and tricks for overcoming jet lag.

• drink water!! I used to focus my hydration efforts mainly on the time I was actually on the plane, but this can lead to many bathroom trips, and if you're in the middle of two sleeping people a tricky situation at best. This time I started drinking lots of water as soon as I woke up on the morning of my flight. This way I wasn't starting my flight already slightly dehydrated and could maintain my hydration with a few glasses of water and sipping from my water bottle.

• try to sleep. I think this is important, especially on overnight flights. Some people are adamant about not sleeping at all, but for me, even though sleeping on an airplane can be painfully uncomfortable and often interrupted, it's much better than no sleep at all. I need an hour or two of shut eye to be able to make it off the plane the next morning and to my final destination. If you have trouble sleeping on planes I recommend listening to your iPod to drown out the crying babies, wearing a sleeping mask and making good use of the headrest, pillow and blanket. I once sat next to this guy who put the blanket over his head like he was a ghost and didn't move for the whole flight, my hero!

• airplane food, hummm. I flew with Austrian Airlines this time, and they always have "good" food. By "good" I mean that it's probably as good as you're going to get thousands of meters above the earth. That being said though, it's rare to get fresh veggies or fruit. Most of what we are fed is dairy, wheat and meat - all difficult things to digest. Is it just me or do gasses expand at higher altitudes?? I armed myself with two homemade sandwiches loaded with veggies and a big bag of grapes. That way I could pick at my meals and avoid the stuff I know doesn't sit well with me. Happy tummy = happy Bess.

• today's like any other day. The best advice I can give is to forget about the last time zone you were in. I used to love to play the game, "it's actually 3 am my time!". The novelty eventually wears off and you realize quickly that you're not doing yourself any favours. Treat the day you arrive at your new destination like any other. Align your mealtimes and activities to those of the people around you. Try to stay up as long as you can, saying no to napping will go a long way to helping you adjust to your new time zone.

So far so good, although the couch is definitely calling my name! Let's see... it's actually 6:44 am Toronto time...
Let me know if you have any more tips for long flights - I'd love to use them.

See you tomorrow,


  1. I've never travelled overseas. I have been on 2 flights in my adult life (well 4 if you include return trip). Once to Cuba and once to New York. I enjoyed both very much. I tell people I like flying...thats because I haven't done it much. When Paul came back from Italy, he held off sleeping until night. Yes thats right, my Canadian fiance has been to Italy...before his Italian fiance.

  2. Always count the return trips ;)
    I find that flying within the same time zone is not bad, it's crossing them that really messes me up.
    I must confess, I broke my own rule, I napped for like 1 1/2 hours!!! oops!

  3. Great advice, Bess! I'm going on a long-haul flight in a month time. It's been a few months since my last 20+ hour flight, I sort of forgot how to tackle these long haul flights (how i hate long haul flights, I did about six of them in 2008)

    I find it a bit hard to fall asleep during flights without some sort of help. I take Gravol, or just chug NyQuil.

    NyQuil works two ways, 1) puts me to sleep, 2) it sorta protects me from catching traveller's flu. Some nasty stuff air-borned.

    My best advice for those who will be doing long-haul flights and want to stay healthy, get your vitamin C count up. Ask for OJ/Apple Juice. Skip the booze, as it'll just dehydrate the body even more.

    The air quality inside airplanes is poor. Very… farty. No escaping that, sadly.

    Oh, and ask for bulkhead seats whenever possible ;P

  4. you are so funny!
    I will forever remember an image of your ghost blanket hero.
    thanks for the laughs


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