If you’ve spent any time exploring foreign destinations, you know that traveling is the only thing that you can buy that makes you richer. But as exciting and adventurous travel can be, it can be unpredictable at times. The interesting thing about traveling, no matter how frequently you do it, there are always elements you can’t control; flight delays and overbooked flights, shitty weather, exchange rate spikes, lost (expensive) luggage, foreign viruses, hotels misplacing your reservation – the list can just go on and on. But for those who have wanderlust in their veins, the potential risks are all worth it. There are a few things we can control though! I am prepping for my next adventure to Paris and thought I would share some of my most useful travel hacks with helpful tips from some of my favourite savvy travellers.
How to Avoid Jet Lag At Any Cost 101
- Adjust your sleep before your departure. It’s natural to find it difficult to get on a different time zone when we travel, but shifting our bedtime a couple days in advance so it’s in line with your destination’s time zone works wonders – trust me. If falling asleep is a occasionally challenge even without throwing travel and time changes into the mix, then ZzzQuil may be your answer. Although ZzzQuil is created by the makers of Vicks NyQuil, it’s not for colds. It’s not for pain. It simply just for sleep. It contains diphenhydramine, a small compound used to relive occasional sleeplessness. When you can donate a full night to sleep and use as directed, it reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep. It helps me get the rest I need while traveling so I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day in a new city. Savvy Traveler Tip: Pack ZzzQuil in your carry-on with your other emergency travel kit items as a precautionary measure, in the event your luggage gets lost or misplaced.
- Avoid or limit alcohol in flight. As tempting as cocktails at take off may seem, especially when settling in for a long trip, altitude changes and dry cabin air dehydrates passengers and can increase the effects of alcohol. So friends, rule of thumb is; one drink in the air is equivalent to two or three on the ground. So as relaxing as a few glasses of vino may seem at 35,000 ft, the chance of worsening jet lag symptoms when you arrive is not worth it.
- Opt for overnight flights. Red eye flights usually get a bad rap but, they can actually be a savvy travellers best kept secret to avoiding jet lag when crossing multiple time zones. You’ll have dinner at a normal time and be much more likely to get some sleep than on an afternoon flight, allowing you to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible.
Book Like Like A Boss
- Fly on a Boeing 767. Just because you may not be able to travel in first class, doesn’t mean you can’t still be comfortable in economy. If you happen to be choosing between similar priced flights and one happens to be on a Boeing 767, do yourself a favour and choose that one. Why? This particular aircraft has less of what I refer to as “Miserable Middle” seats than other planes. If a Boeing 767 isn’t an option, you can always check out SeatGuru.com, a site created by TripAdvisor. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. You can get a layout of the plane and determine which seat will be best for you. It’s so damn detailed, it even has information on seats susceptible to heat/cold, seats with lots of bathroom traffic – the worst, and info on equipment boxes under seats.
- Choose the window and aisle seats when traveling in a pair. Whenever I’m traveling with someone else, I always select the window and aisle seats for us. Sounds a bit weird I know, but when people go online to choose their seat, they are less likely to choose an empty middle seat if there are empty aisle and window options. Meaning, theres a good chance you’ll get the entire row to you and your friend – amazing! Worst case scenario, it it’s a full flight and someone ends up nabbing the seat between you two, you can just ask to swap with them.
- Go stealth with your browsing mode. When you first start your flight search, try using “private/incognito” browsing mode so airlines cannot track your website visits, a common and well calculated play often used by TV Host and Lifestyle Blogger, Melissa Offner of Melsays.com, who has spent the better part of her life exploring and surfing the world and over the last year has traveled coast to coast across the United States and Canada in a van with her hubby:
“I like to open a private window when booking flights so airlines can’t raise the fares on me if I visit their site multiple times. I also use a variety of aggregator websites to shop prices and always look out for special deals before making my final purchase.”
- Booking round-trip flights is so 2016. Booking round-trip travel seems more cost effective and is definitely easier but sometimes flying with two different carriers and booking two one-way tickets can be a lot cheaper than booking that desirable round-trip. And if significant cost savings isn’t enough for you to put in the extra work, it may also get you better departure and arrival times because you mixed and matched flights.
- Fake where you are when you book. Your P.O.S. or “Point-of-Sale” is where your ticket is purchased and can 100% affect pricing due to what is known as regional prices. So this means, the price of a plane ticket can be much lower in a country with a lower standard of living or also when travel companies are attempting to break into a new market destination. For example, you will find different fares on Expedia.ca than you will on Expedia.co.jp, the Japanese version, or on an international carrier’s website by changing to the airline’s home country. But please, proceed with caution and remember you will be seeing prices in local currency – not yours, so make sure you convert before booking.
- Avoid US airlines, if possible. For those of you who have traveled extensively internationally, you have learned that foreign carriers almost always have better amenities than U.S. ones, and yes, even if you’re traveling in “Cattle Class” – providing hotel towels, blankets, pillows and even food without having to pull out your credit card.
Travel Hacks While in Transit
- Get into the airport lounge, even if you’re flying economy. Killing hours of time before your flight boards or during long lay-overs or cancelled flights is the worst. Actually, scratch that, passing this time by and spending an exorbitant amount of money on airport food is the worst. Having premium airport lounge access is a definite game changer, will redefine the way you travel moving forward and guess what? You don’t need to have a certain frequent flier status to obtain access. Airport lounges often sell day passes, allowing you to pay access to them. They can be a bit pricey though but you can sometimes find steep discounts if you purchase them online in advance. Also, check your credit card to see whether or not being a cardholder can obtain you lounge access.
- Stay warm and cozy AF. The chilly cabin air during a flight can be such a nuisance, especially if you’re underdressed. Gone are the days where every single airline provide you with blankets, unless you’re in business class of course, so it’s always best to travel with layers you can pile on or your own blanket to keep you warm like Canada’s most well traveled and infamous stylish twins Cailli and Sam Beckerman of BeckermanBlog.com
…Both of us always travel with a fleece blanket, eye mask and neck pillow. We sleep with our neck pillows on backwards so that the snap is in the back. That way, when you drift off to sleep, the neck pillow catches your head when it falls. Like a donut! LOL”
- Special meal requests. I know it’s rare to get served a meal on a plane these days but it still happens from time to time depending on the carrier and your destination (but is usually reserved for long haul flights only). This one requires some advance planning and maybe forgoing the meal everyone else is getting but you request a special meal, such as vegetarian or kosher, you will actually get served before the rest of the passengers. Meaning, you can go to sleep sooner without having to wait for the entire dinner service. More importantly, those special meals usually taste way better!
- Not a lover of food fare in the air? That’s ok, neither am I. If you have a picky palette, eat super clean or have dietary restrictions then it’ s always best to not depend on food choices picked for you by someone else – aka an airline. I almost always pre-plan and pack a tasty and healthy meal before my flights, especially if they are a long haul jaunt. I go to my local grocery store or stop somewhere on route to the airport and pick up a wholesome salad with protein and a few snacks to keep my hunger at bay, which turns out to also be far more affordable than making purchases at the airport.
But the best advice of all comes from food writer, savvy traveler and new Mommy to Luka, Solmaz Khosrowshahian, who pens the travel content heavy website TheCuriousCreature.com – who believes having an open mind leads to the best travel experiences:
In my opinion, the best travel hack is learning how to adjust your mindset. By letting go of all expectations and judgements you can experience cultures and destinations as they truly are., not as you want them to be. Also, I strongly believe that locals know best. When visiting somewhere I haven’t been before, I reach out to random strangers (at stores, online or on the street) to get their recommendations. Most people are more than happy to share their faves and, in my experience, they places they’ve sent me have ended up being some of my fondest memories.”
And on that note, I am currently packing and prepping for my next adventure tomorrow to Paris. First time doing a long-haul flight pregnant, so I have no doubt I will develop a few more travel hacks throughout this journey. Stay tuned!
I created this blog post as a paid collaborator for ZzzQuil. All opinions and advise are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted. To ensure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.
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