How to Avoid Jet Lag: Advice from a Frequent Traveler

Heather traveling on a plane- Traveling Lessons

Have you ever traveled a long distance and felt off when you got there? As a frequent traveler, I have had this happen once or twice. However, I have learned ways to prevent this from happening or at least minimize the effects. There is a lot of information on how to avoid jet lag. Figuring out what works for you is trial and error, as each person is unique, which I have done on multiple International trips to Europe, Asia, and back home. Here is what you need to know for your next trip: how to avoid jet lag.

Heather traveling on a plane- Traveling Lessons
This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post that fund my travels at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Airplanes flying around the world through global time zones

Jet lag refers to the misalignment of your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) with the local time of your destination. It mostly affects people flying across three or more time zones. Depending on your traveling direction, it could affect you more than the other. 75% of people tend to get jet lag when traveling east, while 25% are affected when traveling west. Some symptoms of jet lag are fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and stomach/digestive problems. Each person can have one or more of these symptoms in differing degrees.

the Symptoms of Jet Lag

Simply put, it is based on how well your internal clock can adapt to the time change. Most of the population has a circadian clock slightly longer than 24 hours, making it easier to delay the clock to a later time rather than advance it. This tends to apply to people who are evening types, which is me. The rest, those lovely morning people, have a slightly quicker clock, making it easier to travel eastward and adapt to the earlier time.

Many other factors can influence your likelihood of jet lag and its severity.

  • Your trip details, including the distance, # of layovers, how many time zones crossed, direction of travel, and length of time at the destination
  • Your arrival time – if you arrive in the morning, it may adversely affect you with all the light
  • Your age can make it harder for you to recover
  • Poor or lack of sleep the days before your trip can increase your chances of jet lag
  • Stress can also affect how your body reacts to jet lag
  • Caffeine and alcohol can also affect your body adversely
Restless young Asian woman trying to sleep in economy class showcases the common discomfort and sleep issues during long international flights

Okay, now that you know what can negatively affect your chances of jet lag, how can you avoid it? These are some ways to help you get ready for those long trips east. Before your flight, you can adjust your sleep schedule to adapt to the new time zone. Try getting up earlier or staying up later depending on the direction of travel; a few days before travel can help mitigate the effects of jet lag. I have also taken Airborne leading up to the trips to ensure my immunity is at its best, which I find to help my sleeping habits on long flights.

Manage your sleep time during the flight to adapt quickly to the new time zone. If you fly to Europe from the United States, you’ll arrive in the morning. I found that taking Melatonin and bringing noise cancelation earplugs and an eye mask will help you sleep on the overnight flight to Europe.

If I arrive in the morning, I try to stay active and drink plenty of water throughout the day. I do my best to stay up, avoid naps, and go to sleep at a normal local time. Usually, walking around in the daylight and exploring the city helps me quickly adjust to the new time zone. When I go to sleep, I make sure that my phone is on silent so there is nothing to disrupt my sleep the first night. There is some rule of thought that you should avoid being in your hotel room during the day not to give you any ideas of sleeping.

Heather at Dublin Castle

Remember that the Rule of Thumb is that adjusting will take a full day for each time zone you cross. So, plan to avoid jet lag and to know how long it will take you to acclimate to the new time zone. I hope these tips and tricks will help you avoid jet lag on your next international trip. Have you tried any of these ideas in your previous trips to minimize the effects of jet lag? What has worked for you?

If You Enjoyed This How to Avoid Jet Lag Post, Sign Up To Receive Posts By Email or…

Join us on Facebook for regular updates and related articles
Check us out on Instagram to see what we are up to in photos.
Follow us on Twitter for links to great travel articles curated just for you.
You can view and purchase your favorite of my travel photos on SmugMug. If you don’t see the one you want on the site, comment below, and I’ll add it.
Or share this “How to Avoid Jet Lag: Advice from a Frequent Traveler” with others by pinning it on your EuropeTravel Pinterest board!

How to Avoid Jet Lag Pinterest Pin

Further Reading

If you are exploring Europe, check out these posts for extra travel inspiration:


  • fetive 25March2024 at 5:14 AM Reply

    During your flight, try to get some rest, whether it’s taking a nap or at least closing your eyes and relaxing. Also, try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can worsen jet lag symptoms. Some people also find that avoiding caffeine and alcohol during the flight can help lessen the effects of jet lag.

    • Heather 25March2024 at 5:35 PM Reply

      I totally agree with you!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.