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Family Travel Tips: How To Get Over That Dreaded Jet Lag

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Just flown in with kids in tow? Read on…

We’re so lucky to live in the Middle East where travel is often cheap and accessible. Beautiful destinations are just a hop, skip and a leap away. And with so many school holidays to take advantage of, I am perpetually planning our next adventure, while also trying to squeeze in long-haul trips to Ireland and the UK to keep the families happy! On top of all the fun stuff; work commitments mean that we’re expected to travel mid-week – sometimes at short notice – while still staying on our A-Game in the office.

While it may seem like a ‘First World Problem’; with the constant cycle of jet setting, comes the dreaded travel hangover that is jet lag. And with kiddos, that’s just an added doozy, mamas!

While it’s not realistic to completely avoid the pitfalls of jet lag, I have put together my top tips to minimise the strain on your mind and body, and make the whole experience of globetrotting much more bearable! (Editor’s note: These tips are great for when you’re traveling solo or with kiddos!)

jet lag remedies - body clock

1. Readjust Your Body Clock

If your trip is planned well in advance, it’s always an advantage to gradually introduce your body to the new time zone. Shifting your daily regimes by a few hours can really help you to sync with your destination. As soon as you board the flight, set your watch and electronics to the local destination time. Many of us let our tummies dictate our eating habits when we arrive at a far flung place (show of hands for anyone who has ever dug into a tub of ice cream in the middle of the night on vaycay?). However, jet lag interferes with bodily processes and sunlight, and sleeping and eating at the right time for your environment stimulates them to function orderly again. Squeezing in some gentle exercise during daylight hours should also help to tire you out and have you ready to hit the pillow at a regular time.

If you’re traveling with kiddos in tow, depending on their age, the older ones should be able to adhere to the advice above. If you’re with toddlers, it’s best to allow them to rest as much as they can. Being on a plane is exciting for little ones (especially if they’re getting more screen time than usual!). Parents have found it beneficial to have their younger ones follow their bed time routine they may have on the plane. That may mean changing them into their jammies, giving them a bottle and reading a story book. Our Sassy Mama Hong Kong editor, Kat also swears by the Fly-Tot which helped her toddler sleep through a long haul flight. In her opinion, it was definitely worth the investment!

Read more: You’ll Never Fly the Same Again: Introducing the Fly-Tot

jet lag - flight tips

2. During the Flight

Have a nutritious, filling meal pre-flight and eat lightly during air time – arriving hungry will encourage you to get into the rhythm of the local journeys-end and this will also aid digestion which can become sluggish mid-air. For the kiddos, make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks and even opt to bring on a home cooked meal for them as most airline meals are overly seasoned.

Try to resist overdoing it on the wine or champagne and remember the golden rule: one on the ground is worth two in the air! A glass or two is a lovely treat and should be enough to help you smile through when your tiny tot is not wanting to put Peppa Pig away to catch some zz’s! Drinking at least two litres of water in flight will keep you hydrated (and sane!) and help you to feel fresh on arrival.

flight essentials - prevent jet lag

3. In Flight Essentials

You don’t have to be in business class to spoil yourself mid-air. Even if you’re squeezed into a tiny seat on a budget airline, travelling with a collection of your favourite products sets you up to look and feel fantastic as soon as you step out onto the tarmac. I make sure to have a little bag of mini products ready at all times that I can chuck into my carry case and rest assured that I will be fresh throughout the journey and feel the benefit on arrival.

Hydration is key – I advise to go sans slap for any flight over five hours – and make sure to pack comfy clothes to maximise relaxation. Remember to carry a nourishing face wash to use on board, or when you reach your destination, to kick-start the day or prime your skin for a good night’s sleep.

For your kids, bring along their body lotion and lip salve to keep their skin hydrated throughout the flight. Make sure they’re getting plenty of liquids as well. Opt for apple juice if they’re not big into drinking tons of water.

If you are lucky enough to travel business class sans kiddos with Virgin Atlantic, we highly recommend sleeping in the sky with their bespoke aromatherapy package, full of gorgeous “de Mamiel” and “This Works” beauty products. Each passenger will be gifted with a variety of perfectly blended oils and a selection relaxation techniques to aid sleep and banish jetlag. The packages are tailored for day and evening flights and my personal winner is the divine Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from “This Works” – a couple of spritzes of this lavender and camomile blend had me sleeping soundly after drifting off to a range of on board mindfulness films designed by ‘Headspace”.

holistic remedies for jet lag

4. Try A Holistic Therapy

This one is just for you, mamas! I’m all for nipping into one of the many massage spots for a cheap and cheerful foot rub, but after indulging in the utter opulence of the Four Seasons Spa, I am completely converted to their signature treatments and incomparable client care. After reading about their Jet Lag Solution massage package, I was intrigued to see if it could ease the impact of frequent travel or relieve some of the stresses that come with living in a frenetic city like Dubai! Many hotel’s offer a ‘tired traveler’ or ‘jet-lag’ treatment so do some research and get booked into a tension-melting massage, beautiful facilities and the attention of expert staff.

My body and mind had a profoundly positive reaction immediately after each session; emerging energised and reinvigorated after the awakening treatment and strolling home blissfully tranquil after the evening massage. I would readily recommend this for frequent fliers, overloaded girl bosses or anyone on the market for a few hours of sublime self-care. It is certainly one way to get your sleep back on track with lavish luxury. It’s also the perfect gift to any mama who just finished a long haul flight with toddlers! Hint, hint, hubbies!

Hang in there, mamas! Those kiddos (and yourself!) will get back to their regular sleep patterns soon enough!

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