Alright ya crazy cats. I get questions about travel almost every single day, so today I decided I’d start a new blog series: The Tiny Traveler. (LOL dying over that name myself. But honestly, at 5’2” and 110 pounds, I’m pretty noticeable when lugging around a 25lb backpack and a 49.9 lb suitcase. (Yeah, I push my limits. ;) )
ANYWAY. The title is irrelevant. The facts are what’s important here.
I’m about to unload a whole slew of strategies, tips, tricks, hacks, and advice for anyone and everyone wanting to travel like a pro...on the cheap too ;)
Ya ready? Let’s go.
Starting off, I wanted to address the number one question I get when it comes to travel: Jet Lag.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m always on an airplane. I mean… ALWAYS. I’m constantly crossing time zones, and often I only have a day to recover + adjust to the new time zone before I have to be at full energy, back to work, or even hitting the road again. So how the heck do I still enjoy traveling, flying, and hopping across oceans to completely different sides of the world? I’ve slowly learned a handful of travel hacks that save my BUTT when I’m on the road for weeks (or sometimes months!) straight. I’ve learned most of these the hard way, so please enjoy the fruit of my experiences. ;)
Tip #1: STAY HYDRATED
I know this sounds so basic and you’re probably rolling your eyes or even ready to close out of this tab by now… but please hear me out. This is the NUMBER ONE tip I have for ANYONE traveling. When you’re traveling, your body is exerting a lot of energy, even when you don’t recognize it. If you’re flying, the pressurized air in the cabins will suck the hydration out of your body faster than you can say “water.”
Your immune system is working overtime to fight off the germs and viruses you’re coming into contact with and your body is handling an overload of stress and strain between the energy you’re exerting and the sleep you’re probably NOT getting. It’s also so easy to not drink water on the road because of a busy schedule or just not recognizing how much extra water your body needs. Also, more water means more time for pit stops- who has time for that?!?
But let me tell you this: your body needs more water when traveling than you’d ever guess. It’ll feel like you’re chugging GALLONS of water, but that will change the GAME for you when you’re on the road, trust me!!!! Take a 16oz water bottle with you, fill it up past security, and drink at least 2-3 of those per day when you’re on the road!!
Also, try to hydrate your body in advance of the trip as well! This’ll also help your bladder get used to the increase in fluids so you don’t have to pee every 5 minutes on the plane. ;)
Tip #2: ADJUST YOUR THINKING TO THE DESTINATION TIME ZONE; NOT YOUR CURRENT TIME ZONE
When my travel includes a considerable time zone change, I NEVER think backwards. I never try to count the time. “Oh what time is it back there?” That’ll just mess with your head and body. Before I ever even take off, I’m already mentally in the time zone I’m heading towards. You’re training your brain into the new time zone, so hopefully when you land, you already feel adjusted, even if you’re tired. The goal is to avoid the severe body and mind confusion that happens with large location changes.
You’re training your brain (trying to trick it, really) to already begin adjusting long before you ever arrive. And once you do arrive, stay with that mind zone!!! If you arrive in the morning, stay awake all day. Don’t let yourself sleep, no matter how tired. Do something. Be active. And stay awake. (If you’re absolutely exhausted, take an hour nap. Otherwise, power through!!) Go to bed early, get a solid night’s sleep, and you’ll wake up pretty well adjusted! Don’t try to “slowly” ease yourself back into the time by screwing with your sleep schedule. If you land somewhere at night, go to bed. If you land in the morning, stay awake. Period. Live the reality of what your destination time zone is. Period. If you need coffee to stay awake or melatonin to sleep, do it!
Tip #3: SLEEP DURING YOUR TRAVEL TIME
I know a lot of people have trouble sleeping on planes. I personally don’t struggle with it; I’m out like a babyyyy!! I have to force myself to stay awake when I need/want to HAHA! But, I know during certain times it’s HARD to help your body adjust to the new time zone by sleeping, so here are a few hacks that I’ve picked up:
1. Bring eye masks. I got a pretty decent one from Amazon that is SO comfy, ventilated, and works so well.
2. Bring noise cancelling headphones.
3. Water. Seriously, refresh your body on the flight.
4. Switch sides of the plane when you book long travel days with layovers! Especially if you’re a window-sitter like I am. I like to lean and look out when I fly, and I definitely sleep better when I can curl up against the window. But I also get knots and sore, stiff muscles from curling up or leaning to one side for hours at a time. So when I book seats, I always alternate my side of the plane so I can evenly rest my body. It sounds silly, but it makes a big difference for me.
5. Try melatonin. For really long, international flights in particular, if you just can’t fall asleep. I’ve never personally tried it, but I know a lot of people swear by it as a healthy, natural sleep-aid!
Tip #4: BOOK TRAVEL INTENTIONALLY
Pay attention to what times you book your flight. For international flights (those BIG 18-20 hour travel days), If you’d rather have a redeye and land in the evening and be able to go straight to bed, do it. If you’d rather hit the ground running and have a full day, do it. But pay attention. Don’t just willy-nilly book a flight because it’s cheap. Pay attention to the layovers, length of travel, and departure + arrival times. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference. And then once that flight is booked, immediately mentally prepare yourself for it.
Tip #5: MOVE
Instead of sprawling on the couch or sitting in front of Netflix the minute you arrive at your destination, try doing something active. Go for a short jog, or try a short circuit workout. Cook a meal. Maybe grab some groceries… just do something other than sit. By pushing yourself to actually exert yourself (especially after sitting and traveling for hours) you’re getting your blood flowing, stretching sore limbs, telling your mind to perk up for a little bit, and in the end, preparing yourself for a deep, solid sleep that night! :)
I hope this all helps. Those are my BIGGEST tips for jet lag. I honestly never struggle with it at all anymore! I cross 6 to 12 hour time zones all the time and rarely struggle with feeling refreshed and energized.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this! And any other jet lag tips y’all may have, leave ‘em in the comments! I’d love to hear them. :)
You guys rock. Go kick some butt!