Anyone who's ever been on a long-haul flight, especially accross time zones, will know much of a dampener jet lag can be on a holiday. It disturbs your sleep pattern, causes increased hunger, insomnia, and even disorientation. It's bad enough for adult travellers, but travelling with children can make it even more of a challenge. Luckily, though, there are several simple things you can do to help reduce the effects of jet lag so it doesn’t derail your well-laid plans.
In the days leading up to your departure, ensure that you and the kids get as much sleep as you can in order to be completely rested before you travel. If you’re flying over night, try and sleep on the plane. Easier said than done, we know! We really recommend getting the kids into their favourite PJs and packing a small blanket or cuddly toy that they normally sleep with into your carry on, in order to mimic their normal bedtime as much as possible. If you can manage it, it also really helps to change your sleep routine a few days prior to your departure. Either going to bed just a little bit earlier or later, depending on your destination’s timezone, really helps to adjust more quickly to the time zone when you arrive.
If your flight is during the day we recommend taking regular intervals to get up, walk around and stretch in order to keep yourselves in as close to a natural routine as possible. Stay hydrated at all times too, as dehydration can make you sleepy and lethargic and cause headaches. Also, avoid too much in-flight caffeine and alcohol. Not only do they lead to a less restful sleep, they’re known to worsen the symptoms of jet lag.
On arrival at your destination spend a lot of time out in the daylight to help your body reset to its natural clock. It also helps to eat three meals a day in line with the new time zone in order to adjust quicker. Try and get as much sleep in 24hours as you would normally, only taking short naps if necessary. Getting out and about in your new destination helps, you’ll feel a lot less tired if you’re out of the hotel and you have your mind focussed on something fun.
Simple but easy to forget: change your watch to the local time or you'll be late (or early) for excursions and restaurant bookings during your holiday.
Most of all, have fun! No matter how stressful travelling with children may seem, it's all worth it for the new discoveries and shared experiences together as a family.
To find out more about how we can make travelling with children easy peasy, call +44 (0)20 8246 5300 or click here.