I don’t think I mentioned this on the blog previously, but I’m currently in Australia. My first work trip is a doozy, right? A 4 hour flight to Los Angeles, followed by a 14 hour flight to Sydney – lots of time to catch up on movies and sleep.
I consider myself a good traveler, but I’m a terrible packer. I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, but packing really stresses me out. I am always sure I will forget something, even though I have multiple packing lists.
What I AM good at is acclimating to a new time zone quickly. Partly because I grew up travelling frequently and partly because of planning. In case this isn’t something you are great at yet, I thought I’d share a few of my tips with you.
1. Do your research early. How far off is the time at your destination? Do you need to go to bed early or stay up late to adjust?
2. For international flights, have a sleep plan before you get on the flight. Try to match your hours as close to your destination as possible on the plane.
3. Plan for those around you to be on a different schedule during the trip – bring eye masks and/or ear plugs to block out light and sound. I’ve also listened to a “sound machine” app with nature or white noise to block out the noise.
So what does this look like in practice?
For my trip to Sydney, I found that it would be 9am at my destination when I boarded my first flight at 7pm. That means absolutely no sleeping on the first leg of the flight. When I boarded my second flight at 11pm LAX time, it was 4pm in Sydney. My goal was to stay awake for as long as possible (thank you “5 hour energy”), so that I could sleep a solid 7-8 hours toward the end of the flight. I only made it 3 hours, but not too bad!
When I arrived in Sydney, it was 7am on Sunday. Planning my sleep on the plane makes it easier to stay awake the full day and go sightseeing. The crazy sleep patterns make me feel a little off the first day, but by day 2 I typically feel alert and pretty good!
Just another example of Type-A planning in action – it’s a very useful “skill” sometimes.
Questions for you:
- Are you a good packer and/or a good traveler?
- What travel tips do you have to share?