Tips on travel

I’m sitting on the plane returning to San Francisco – a 10 hour trip. A flight attendant sat facing opposite me in the bulkhead during take-off, so I asked him for some travel tips. Seems there’s no real cure for jet lag. ‘If you’re on a short trip of just a few days, try to stay on your own timezone as best you can. Specifically with your eating patterns. Don’t eat at night in your home timezone.’ Hmm, easier said than done.

I’ve tried the herbal ‘No Jetlag’ tablets which you take before and during the flight, but found they just made it worse. From my experience, the best approach is not to drink alcohol during the flight, but plenty of water, and to get some exercise before and soon after arrival. This helps to reset your circadian rhythm, I’m told.

Flying East is definitely worse – ‘West is best’, said my flight attendant friend. The trip from SF to London is an overnight redeye. I find taking sleeping tablets can go someway to offset any discomfort, noise and distraction. Regardless of how you look, it’s also best to wear the sleeping mask and the ear plugs. A fellow traveler once recommended hunting ear plugs to me. They’re designed to block out shotguns, so have no trouble handling that screaming child two rows up.

Traveling back to the US, I recommend the online check-in since the queues at London Heathrow are normally dreadful. You can also then chose a seat as near to the main exit door as possible. This is helpful since it gets you to the front of the lines at immigration, which can save about half an hour on occasion.

If you have any winning travel tips, let me know. I’m off to Asia in November and have several other trips to London lined up before the year is out, so I’m open to any tips you can share.

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