I travel a lot and have done for the best part of 20 years now. Most of it is work related in one way or another, although I usually manage to squeeze a bit of fun into the schedule as well even if it is a work trip. The last couple of months have been particularly mad, with an itinerary that’s seen me touch down in New Mexico, LA, Mohave Desert, Paris, New York, Chicago, the Caribean, London, Singapore, Palo Alto, San Diego and Israel since the start of September.
A few people have asked me to share my top travel hacks for staying sane while travelling internationally, so here goes.
Don’t drink on planes (other than water obvs)
I know the alcohol is free, and eating and drinking help pass the time, but alcohol at altitude is a recipe for disaster. I have a glass of champagne on take off and that’s it. Occasionally I’ll break the rule and have a small glass of wine with dinner, but only if it’s also dinner in the time zone I’m headed for otherwise it plays havoc with sleep and acclimatisation.
Try and switch to the time zone you’re bound for as soon as you can.
As soon as I board I convert my mental clock to the time zone of my destination, and try to either stay awake or sleep at a time that matches. Just because the dinner service is about to start doesn’t mean you have to have the meal, I always have a spare eye mask tucked in my bag in case it’s missing from the amenity kit, and whip that and the earplugs in, cover up with a blanket and sleep happily through the crashing of the carts and plates around me.
Slather your skin in whatever your hydration poison of choice is.
I swear by Glamglow ThirstyMud and buy copious numbers of the travel size pots whenever I spy them in Sephora. I take off all my make up before boarding a long haul, slather myself in Glamglow and reapply it frequently during the flight. If I forget to pack it for any reason I get off the flight with skin like a lizard which takes days to recover from, but if I stick to my ritual my skin still looks fresh as a daisy after a quick shower and a bit of makeup.
Get out into the fresh air at your destination as quickly as you can.
Nothing helps set my body clock and ward off jetlag better than fresh air, so as soon as I’ve had a shower and freshened up I’m straight outside for a walk, even if I can only squeeze in 15 minutes or so. I’ve found it makes all the difference and really notice it if I can’t get out for some reason.
Watch the sun rise and set.
if you can combine this with being outside then even better, but watching the sun go down really switches my body into syncing with the time zone I’m in. Much easier when the sun sets at a ‘normal’ time, the 4.45pm sunsets in Tel Aviv recently played havoc with this part of my theory!! Equally seeing the sun come up helps flick the switch into knowing that it’s the start of the day. I’m an early riser, at home I’m usually up by 4.30 so even in Brisbane summers I don’t often miss seeing the sun rise and making sure I do the same when I’m away helps my body fall into routine.
Try and maintain your exercise routine.
At home I start the day with a 5am Pilates reformer class or a Peloton cycle workout and if I’m in the US or London I always try to get to an early morning Soul Cycle or Psycle class. Anywhere else I love that the mobile Peloton app allows me to keep that part of my routine consistent so long as I have access to a bike in the hotel gym – the quality of the bike is rarely comparable, but I can still get a good workout in that helps combat the evils of travel eating and again helps my body understand that it’s morning.
Take advantage of the lack of connectedness
Wifi is finding is way onto more and more planes these days, but the routes across oceans still generally aren’t wifi enabled meaning most of the flights out of Australia don’t have it as an option until you start the second leg of a long haul trip. While I love the opportunity of being able to connect then and deal with work before I hit the ground, the flights over water where it isn’t available are a great chance to just switch off and be completely uninterrupted for 10 hours or so. I generally read, watch a movie, or get stuck into some uninterrupted planning or writing. It’s not often you get the chance to focus on whatever you want for that length of time with no chance of distraction!
These are the things that help me cope with moving between one time zone and another so often – you’ll notice there’s no packing tips and there never will be in any travel post I write, as despite how often I travel I am a truly terrible packer. I have total envy of the people who can put together a capsule wardrobe that fits in a carry on and works for any occasion they may encounter in a month long trip – I am definitely not that person. I like options, and lots of them, and chronically overpack as a result. We all have to have our vices though!