Overnight flights to Europe

Practical tips to avoid jet lag.

First of all, I live in NY so travel to much of Europe usually involves a 6 hour time difference. Starting a week or more before my departure date, I make myself get up and go to bed progressively earlier – usually a half an hour – each day or two. The goal is to be getting up at around 4 am on the day of departure. Now this means to really be awake at 4am, not just to remain in bed with your eyes open, but still semi-comatose! You need to be up and around “pretending” that it’s a normal thing to do. Some people get up very early to begin with so they won’t have too much of a problem with this one.

One Reply to “Overnight flights to Europe”

  1. On the day of arrival in Europe

    Arrange for an early checkin with your hotel or vacation rental. We have paid for a night of vacation rental that we did not use, just to be sure we could check in first thing the next morning. Do some unpacking, change out of your airplane clothes, maybe have a relaxing bath or shower.

    By now it is noon. Take a walk in the sunshine – get as much exposure to the sun as you can (this helps set the body clock to the new time zone). Have lunch. Then sleep for the whole afternoon! You deserve it! You have worked hard! You will wake up feeling tired, but go out for a nice, leisurely dinner. Then back to sleep for the night. Go to bed at a normal time that first night. You will be tired and ready to sleep. I usually wake up in the middle of the night the first few nights, but I make myself go back to sleep.

    Don’t plan any sightseeing that arrival day. You are usually in shock those first 24 hours, just getting used to how different things seem to be in Europe. The more often you travel to Europe, the less shocked you are, but you still need a good day to adjust.
    The next few days

    The next day, the day after your arrival, is your first day in Europe; that arrival day is technically a travel day. Be outside in the sun and walking around as much as you can. Get fresh air. Have an easy day. See some of the city where you arrived. Have an afternoon nap again, but shorter this time.

    By the third day you are adjusted and ready to go. You are even ready to pick up your rental car and approach those European roads.

    That’s my method!! You may think this is extreme, to not do anything for your first two days in Europe, but I think if you handle it right, you will benefit for the rest of the trip. Many people do not like to travel and I think it is because they travel too fast (remember, this web site is about Slow Travel). They hit the ground in Europe with their feet already running and they do not stop until they get back home. Then, of course, they think they have seen it all and do not need to go back for another trip (and do not want to go back).

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