I often feel like my job is equal parts rewarding and challenging. The reward: Competing in destinations around the world, some of which people dream of vacationing in, and others, destinations that people have never even heard of. This year a significant portion of my season will be spent in Europe and Asia, including France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and South Korea.
But trips like these don’t come without their challenges. During my Europe and Asia adventure, I’ll be spending seven consecutive weeks traveling. And one of the foremost challenges is jet lag. We often spend little more than a week in one place competing before we’re off to the next place. That is just enough time to almost get adjusted to one time zone before you’re on a plane and starting all over again in a new time zone. If you don’t learn to overcome jet lag in my business, the constant travel and fatigue can inevitably mean illness. So having traveled around the world as a competitive skier, I’ve picked up a few tricks and lessons to combat jet lag. You’ll find my jet lag travel tips below.
Meanwhile, see a few photos from the past month on the road to the Winter Olympics.
Jet Lag Travel Tips
Stay up late the night before the trip. I’ve found that staying up late the night before a long-haul flight makes it easier for me to sleep the next day on the plane. As a relatively tall person, I know the struggle of sleeping on an airplane, but I also know how important that sleeping on the plane is. I’ve found that the more I sleep on the plane, the quicker I adjust to the time change, and can hit the ground running. I also suggest a nice neck pillow, earplugs, and noise-cancelling headphones.
Don’t nap or go to bed early on arrival day. No matter how badly you want to give into napping on day one, don’t do it. I’ll even drink a couple extra cups of coffee to make sure I stay up throughout the day upon arriving to a new destination. Then, by the time it’s bedtime, I’m often so exhausted that I usually sleep through the first night. And that same rule applies to the following couple of days. By the end of day three you should be well on your way to adjusting to the time change. Early evenings, between 6 and 8 p.m., are often when you will feel most sleepy, so planning an activity or spending time being social during those hours is a good idea.
Eat and drink healthy. I know how easy it is to eat unhealthy while traveling. The easiest, quickest food options, however, can often be the worst for you, especially when you’re dealing with jet lag. Thus, make an extra effort to eat healthy and stay well hydrated, drinking plenty of water.
Exercise. This one sounds simple, since everyone needs to exercise, right? However, jet lag often ruins any urge or motivation to exercise because of the fatigue you’re often feeling by the time you reach your destination. Nonetheless, exercising will help you stave off the urge to nap, while often making it much easier to fall asleep at bedtime (and stay asleep).
Don’t overindulge. Trust me, I know the draw of a good German or Austrian beer. However, nothing makes jet lag more severe like a hangover. Enjoy good food and drinks, but do so within limits. Your body will thank you.
Now you know how to travel like a pro, so get out there. Tune in next month when I’ll have more travel tips from the road to the Olympics.
Header photo by Emily Tidwell.