Tag: Travel Tips

Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Travel Gift Ideas Under $25

There’s a reason $25 is such a popular dollar amount for gift exchanges and gift cards. It’s just the right amount to afford a present that’s worthwhile to the recipient without putting a strain on your wallet.

At this price point, there are some crowd-pleasers you can purchase for a friend or coworker. If you know they are into travel, check out this list of things I love to treat myself to and bring along when I’m on the road.

Related: Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Travel Gifts Under $10

Packing Cube Set

The one thing every traveler desires is more space when they are packing, and that is where packing cubes come in handy. Plus they make packing and unpacking a breeze once your traveler arrives to their destination. This cube set from Amazon is a budget-friendly option.

Dry Bags

Dry Bags come in extremely handy when traveling. I use them a lot like packing cubes, but I also keep one in my backpack at all times in case an unexpected rainstorm comes. I throw my electronics and camera into it to ensure they stay dry.

Face Mask

Traveling takes a toll on your skin when you travel thanks to the change in environment, lack of sleep, and usually dehydration. Treat your traveler with an assortment of face masks. I always take a face mask with me on my trips to help give my face a little TLC.

Kissable Color

In addition to treating your travelers face, also treat their lips. Burt’s Bees lip care is one of my favorites! Plus now that they come in colors, it replaces my lipsticks when I’m doing very compact traveling.

Carry-on Cocktail Kits


These pocket-sized kits are the ultimate treat to toast to the next adventure. This kit includes everything you need to create a Moscow Mule, one of my favorites, mid-flight, but it also comes in Bloody Mary, Gin & Tonic, and Old Fashioned.

Postcards & Calendars

If your traveler is a fan of snail mail during their travels, then these postcards from Anderson Design Group are just the thing they need. I, personally, love the Southern Design kit and the build your own. This city map set from Rifle Paper Co. is another favorite of mine. I also can’t get over the Rifle Paper Co.’s calendars, and I look forward to getting one every year.

On the Go Game Pad

This notebook is full of classic games like hangman and dots and boxes will help pass the time on flights or long road trips (in the passenger’s seat, of course).

Emergency Kit

You never know what the road will bring so having a first aid kit on hand is very helpful. I really like this one because it is a good size and comes pre-stocked with plenty of supplies.Travel Humidifier

Travel Humidifier

Another one of my travel essentials is a travel humidifier. This one converts a water bottle into a humidifier, which is super helpful in the winter months when the air is much dryer.

Tile Mate

Tile Mate is a handy racker if your traveler tends to lose things!

Bottle Cap Tripod

No need to travel a bulky tripod around, when you can add this bottle-top pod to the top of your water bottle.

GorillaPod

Another alternative to a bulky tripod is a GorillaPod. I do not travel anywhere without mine, and I absolutely love it!

Solar Charger

Depending on where your traveler is going a solar charger could be the perfect gift! This charger is compact enough to function anywhere you want, and it is suitable for a wide range of occasions like flights, parties, BBQ and other outdoor activities. Plus it comes in multiple colors.

Bluetooth Speaker

One of the best ways to make friends while on the road is music. It’s a language everyone understands. So treat your traveler with a portable Bluetooth speaker that they can take anywhere with them and share their tunes with their new friends.

Travel Adventure Map

This scratch-off map is the perfect way for your traveler to keep track of all their adventures.

Travel Wall Art

Another fun way to document all of your traveler’s destinations is with wall art. I particularly like these luggage tag posters.

Language Guides

Language guides are a handy thing to have for when visiting a new country. I really enjoy the Lonely Planet phrasebooks as they make it easy to use when on the road.

Travel Pillow

Travel pillows are a great companion for those super long flights. There is nothing quite like landing and having a crick in your neck.

Travel Necklace

Anyone who loves to travel has a small obsession with world maps. This world necklace makes for the perfect gift for the traveler who wants to keep the world close by.

Compression Socks

I have found the older I get, the more my feet swell when I travel on long flights. Compression socks have become a life-saver. I love these colorful socks because if you are going to wear them, they might as well be fun!

Travel Steamer

If you have a traveler who hates wrinkles, then you need to treat them to a travel steamer. This one is perfect for compact travel needs and heats up quickly! It’s the perfect companion when you aren’t sure if there will be an iron available.

Travel Hairdryer

Not every destination has a hairdryer, which is a complete shame. I use this one when hotels do not have one available. It’s very compact and includes ceramic technology to fight frizz.

Daypack

Daypacks come in very handy when touring a new place. This one is super lightweight and has plenty of space for your guidebooks and cameras.

Hydration Pack

Depending on the types of activities your traveler enjoys, a hydration pack is a very useful thing gift. I use mine for day hikes and those very long, hot days. This pack is compact and holds a 2L bottle.

Gift Card

An Amazon gift card or one to their favorite store is always an easy go-to. I love getting gift cards because I can purchase exactly what I want when I need it.

Why Travel Matters

It is no secret that I believe the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of travel. The act of getting outside your home or local sphere to experience new places, new foods, new people, and even new languages is part of human nature. We were designed to explore.

Related: Travel is My Love Language

The most important reason, to me, of why I travel is the connections we make. Thanks to traveling I have friends in multiple states and contries all across the world. People that I have met either over a pint of beer in a local pub or have spent a week alongside them wondering their country. We have shared our likes and dislikes, the similarities and differences between our homes. And what did a learn over these discussions? We are not all that different after all.

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.” // Hans Christian Andersen

Traveling also provides a sense of freedom. Travel comes with its time of stress and anxiety, but it also provides the option to unplug and experience leisure time that we normally don’t experience at home. Time on a flight, for me, is when I catch up on my latest novel instead of my emails. Travel provides you the ability to do the things that you want to do, when you want to do them, at your own pace with no pressure from anyone but yourself. How often do we get that option at home?

Related: How to Manage Travel Anxiety

Travel is also an extreme challenge. You are purposefully putting yourself outside your comfort zone. No matter where you go, there will be no sights, smells, and all around assault to the senses. But once you concur your new environment, you will feel a sense of pride like you have never felt before.

Finally, travel teaches us humility. There is nothing like walking into a third-world country and seeing poverty to the magnitude face-to-face. When visiting countries of the second- and third-world, try stepping outside the lush environment of the resort life to experience the authenticity of the country. It’ll help put your problems into perspective, and realize just how thankful you truly are for the opportunity.

 

Why does travel matter to you?

How to Manage Travel Anxiety

Most people in the world dream of travel, but travel anxiety is also very common. If you suffer from travel anxiety, I have a secret for you…I do too.

There are trips where I’ll be perfectly okay as I prepare and then other trips where I have a full-on panic attack as I pack my bags. However, it is something I acknowledge and work to combat every time I prepare to leave home for an extended period of time.

Since I know I’m not the only one who suffers from anxiety; I want to share some of my tips to help you overcome, so panic attacks and anxiety don’t put a damper on your travel plans.

Dealing with Travel Anxiety before You Leave

Remind Yourself WHY You Want to Travel
Whenever you start to feel the anxiety rise, stop and take a deep breath and picture yourself in your destination. Imagine yourself having the time of your life without any anxiety. Picture yourself dreaming the life you want to live. These positive affirmations will calm you down. Can’t do it yourself? Have a friend or family member talk these positive affirmations over with you.
Meticulously Plan
Anxiety often stems from feeling like you’re not in control, so try to stem it by taking your trip planning to the extreme. Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows I like to have everything planned to the hour. That can cause stress for some people, but for me, the focus provides that sense of control that often doesn’t accompany travel.
Find a Community
You need a support system to help you travel and to help you manage your anxiety. Find a group or two you like and connect well with the other members, and integrate yourself into the groups by lending advice as much as you ask for it. These groups will be there when you need them most.

Dealing with Travel Anxiety on Your Trip

Form a Routine
Travel can be stressful, and it’s often the lack of routine that increases the chance of anxiety. To create the sense of control, form a routine while you are away that is similar to your routine at home. Set your alarm every day or go to the same cafe for breakfast. Small things that you can control will help.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Repeated exposure to your fears is better than avoidance. Don’t let your fears prevent you from living your life. I get that it’s scary, but once you step outside your comfort zone you’ll be so proud of yourself, and you’ll want to do it again because you know you can. Travel provides an excellent outlet for tackling several fears at once, and when it feels overwhelming just try some calming techniques and try again.
Avoid Your Triggers
We all have triggers that heighten our anxiety. Before you leave, make a list of those things and try to minimize your exposure to these while you are away.
Don't Compare Your Experiences
It’s super easy to get beat down when we look at our friends travel experiences. Social media gives everyone a sense of inadequacy, but don’t let those feelings lead to anxiety. Everyone is putting their best selves out there, including you. And also remember, as much as you desire someone else’s life and adventures, there is someone out there who desires to have your life and your adventures. Because you are awesome!

Related: 31 Incredibly Useful Tips Every Anxious Traveler Needs To Know

To be honest with you, travel has brought me a sense of freedom. Do I still suffer from anxiety? Absolutely. But, I think travel has been the one thing that helped me conquer my fears more than anything else. Travel is terrifying, but it also challenges you out of your comfort zone more than anything else and once outside your comfort zone you realize you can do whatever you want whenever you want.

 

Happy Travels! What’s something that has helped you manage your travel anxiety?

Travel Photography: Ultimate Gear Guide

All good travel bloggers are secretly photographers. I mean we need images for our posts, and with it comes the right equipment. I am frequently asked about what I use to take my images and my various photography gear, so today I am going to show you the inside of my camera bag as well as share some of my tips.

DSLR

I have had two different Canon DSLR cameras, and I highly recommend them. I love my Canon EOS 70D, it’s a high quality, crop-body camera, ideal for intermediate level photographers. I really love the video and wifi features, which were new compared to my first camera. If you’re just getting started, I suggest the Canon EOS Rebel models. My very first DSLR was a Canon Rebel XSi.

When it comes to lens, I have four of varying lengths. My go-to lens when I’m traveling is the Canon EF-S 18-55mm, but I also have a wide-angle lens, a mid-range lens and a telephoto lens. Anytime I go to a photography workshop I always bring my whole kit, but anytime I am traveling I try to limit my lenses and accessories depending on the situation. Plus carrying a limited kit will help with back and shoulder pain later.

Note: Make sure you always have an extra battery (unless you charge at night) and spare memory cards.

Point-and-Shoot

In addition to my big DSLR, there are occasions that call for a smaller pocket size camera. I love the Canon PowerShot models. I always have this guy in my purse for when the occasion calls, and it is perfect when a situation doesn’t allow you to shoot with a larger camera.

I have an older model, but this Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS is comparable to the one I have. I really like that in addition to great megapixels for a point-and-shoot it also has video and wifi.

Underwater & Action Sports

It wasn’t until my recent trip to the Caribbean that I started to use a camera solely for underwater and action sports shots. I use a GoPro HERO Session. The GoPro cameras take some practice, but you can get some great shots once you get the hang of it. Like my other cameras, this camera has wifi capability that allows you to download those images you have already taken or to shoot remotely.

iPhone Apps

We all use our mobile phones to get those quick photos, but sometimes those quick photos require a few edits. My favorite on-the-go photo editor is A Color Story. I use this not only for the photos I take on my phone but also for those I download from my other cameras. My other favorite app is the Later app, which I use this for scheduling my photos for Instagram. I also use the Canon Connect app and the GoPro Capture app for remote shooting and to download my images via wifi.

Accessories

Now, all cameras require a few accessories. For my DSLR, I have two separate flashes (here and here) depending on the need, a remote, and a tripod. I also use two different bags depending on where I’m traveling. I use this one (similar) for my full kit and this one for basic travel needs. Both have pros and cons, but I love the over-the-shoulder one as it is easier on my back. I also use Ape Cases for my lenses when I want to grab an extra lens but don’t want to bring a big bag. These cases are great for tossing your lens in a backpack or purse without damage. Last but not least, your DSLR needs to have a fun strap. I absolutely love mine by mod.

I also bring another tripod for my phone. I LOVE the Joby Gorilla tripod. This works for almost any smartphone. I also love the HISY Bluetooth remote for when I’m alone and need some help taking those selfies with my phone. Lastly, my phone is always in a LifeProof case. Let’s be real, I’m clumsy at best sometimes and this case has saved my phone more times than I care to count.

 

What are your favorite photography accessories?

How to Travel More with a Full-Time Job

It is no secret that I love to travel. In fact, my boss asks me almost every Friday where am I off to for that particular weekend or he just assumes that I am taking the day off.

So, how do I do it? How to I balance traveling with a full-time job? Well I’m going to share a few of my tips.

Make Travel a Priority

Trust me. I know it can be hard to find the time and money to travel, but if you really are passionate about traveling then you need to make it a priority. When travel becomes a priority, it makes it easier to focus on what you need to do to reach your travel goals. This can mean working overtime to earn extra vacation days or cutting unnecessary expenses to build your travel fund. If travel is your priority then all the work is worth it!

Take Your Vacation Days

According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans left 658 million vacation days unused in 2015. That’s crazy to me! You work hard at your job and you deserve some paid time off. Plus, plain and simple, you can’t travel if you don’t take the time off. Plan out ahead of time when you want to use your vacation days so you can maximize your time off.

Plan Trips around 3-Day Weekends and Holidays

Planning is a big part of travel. So, look at the calendar at the beginning of the year and plan your travel around the 3-day weekends and holidays your employer provides. If you know you want to go somewhere where 3 days won’t cut it, then try adding your vacation days to the paid time off so you can maximize your vacation days. For instance, when I traveled to the Carribean at Christmas, I was off work for 7 days but I only used 3 vacation days due to the Christmas and New Year schedule. This allowed me to use my other 7 vacation days for other trips throughout the year (like my trip to Austin).

Take Advantage of Business Trips

I don’t get to travel frequently with work, but when I do I always try to tack on a day or two to take advantage of exploring a new place. This tactic will take some negotiation with your employer and some research on prices, but it usually works out. For me, my employer will pay for my flight and I’ll usually pay for the hotel stay on the extra nights of my visit. This has allowed me to spend a 3-day weekend in New York City prior to a work trip or 24-hours in Chicago.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Alone

This is something I am working on myself, but I am learning the advantage of traveling alone. Bottom line, it allows you to go when you want and where you want, and once you arrive you don’t have to worry about what your travel companion wants to do. My first solo trip was to New Mexico with National Geographic. Even though I was with a group, I didn’t know anyone prior to arriving but made some great friends in the process. I’m hoping to plan a couple of solo trips this year as well.

Take a Staycation (Explore Local)

If traveling is new to you, start local. Travel four to six hours away from home, book a hotel room for a long weekend and explore some place closer to home. If you can take the trip on a regular weekend, you just saved yourself a vacation day and saw a new place. If you don’t have the money or time to travel outside your city, treat yourself to a staycation and play tourist in your own city. Exploring home can be fun and give you a new perspective on your city, state and/or region. If you live in the south, check out some of these destinations.

Sign Up to Travel Newsletters & Sale Alerts

I’m a huge fan of travel and sale alerts as they can save you a lot of money on your travels. Sometimes these deals require you to be flexible with your travel dates, so I, personally, find those easier to book with long weekends. Some of my favorite sites are Groupon, Jetsetter, Roadtrippers and Hotels.com. For more spontaneous trips, check out the Hotel Tonight app (use promo code CNORTON70 to receive $25 off your first booking).

Just Go

I have now given you plenty of ways to travel with your full-time job, so it’s time to stop making excuses and take action! If you want to travel, you’ll find a way. Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions! I love helping people explore the world.

What unique ways have you found to combine travel with a busy schedule?

Cruise 101: What to Pack & What to Leave at Home

When it comes to traveling, I am a big fan of trying to get everything into a carry-on suitcase. I have not always been that way, but the more I travel the less I want to deal with baggage. This is especially true when it comes to cruising. If you have never cruised before, or even if you have, it is very easy to over pack. Especially, since you never know what you are going to face.

In addition to packing your main suitcase, I highly recommend packing a “day pack” for your embarkation day. This bag should include all the essentials you will need until you can gain access to your stateroom later that day. The day pack should include items like passport and curise documents, money (cash and/or credit card), medications, swimwear, change of clothes, and minor toiltries.

Below are a few cruise packing tips to keep in mind on what to pack and what you should leave at home.

What to Pack

  • Power Strip – Most of the rooms only have one or two outlets, so I highly recommend adding a small power strip to your bags so you have a place to charge all your devices.
  • Towel Clips – Boat decks can be very windy making towels unwieldy. Purchase a set of towel clips to help keep your towel locked down as you soak up the sun while at sea. These clips will do the trick, but I particularly love these fun clips by Boca Clips.
  • Travel Clothing Steamer – Irons and Ironing Boards are not allowed on the ships, in fact, they are not even provided. If you are packing some items that will need to be refreshed, packing a travel clothing steamer (like this one) will come in handy.
  • A Watch – A watch will help you keep track of the time and make sure you don’t miss your ship from port. You will be operating while at sea on “ship time”, or the time zone of your ship finally left, and sometimes cell phones don’t know your timezone.
  • Lanyards – Ladies, this will be a life-saver when it comes to keeping up with your room key. Trust me. I recommend getting one with a hook. You can buy in advance or on board.
  • Spare Luggage – If you are planning to take advantage of the shopping while on your cruise, you may want to pack an extra piece of luggage in your check bag to bring back your purchases.
  • Deck of Cards/Travel Board Game – Not all days are going to be sunny, so make sure you have something to entertain you and your party when you can’t find something on the day’s itenerary you want to see/do.

What to Leave at Home

  • Towels – Your room will include towels that you can take with you to shore or to the pool, and you can also check them out while on deck.
  • Extra Books – Unless you plan to spend all port time on the ship, then you really won’t need the extra book. Consider swapping books with others in your party or checking out the on-board library. Another alternative is packing an e-reader to help cut down on the weight.
  • Hair Dryer – Like hotels, your stateroom will provide one so there is no need to pack one. Or consider doing a heat-free week.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a FREE cruise packing list, and check out these first-time cruiser tips. Also, don’t forget to check the packing lists provided by your cruise line to get a sense of dress code.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Ideas for for Couples Who Love to Travel

Christmas time is here again, and that means its time to start checking those lists twice. While shopping for one person is hard enough, shopping for two can be even trickier. So, to make your life a little more comfortable this holiday season here is a list of some of my favorite travel-themed gifts for couples that they both will love and appreciate.

Personalized Pushpin World Map


Every traveler loves to keep document of the places they have traveled, and this pushpin map is a fun way for them to keep track of all their destinations.

Adventuring Together Art

A creative way to celebrate the couple who loves to travel is by giving them art that symbolizes their adventures. These are a few of my favorites:

ENO DoubleNest Hammock


This two-person hammock is perfect for those couples who prefer to spend more time outside than inside. Plus this hammock is super packable and portable and weighs 19 ounces.

Audio Stereo Y Splitter Cable

This headphone jack splitter comes in handy for those times when you want to binge Netflix, but you only have one device.

Flytographer

I would absolutely love if someone got The Tall Man and I this gift! Flytographer pairs you with professional photographers from around the globe and provides a full-service photo shoot, making sure you get the shot you wanted. No more fear of getting a terrible shot from a stranger.

Gift Cards

Gift Cards are always a safe option! Here are a few of my favorite gift cards:

  • Favorite Airline
  • Airbnb
  • Fandango

 

What are your favorite travel-themed gifts for couples?

Getting Around Atlanta: MARTA Stops & Attractions

Atlanta is a big city to navigate, and with the added traffic factor, getting around to see the memorable landmarks can be even more difficult. MARTA is the quickest, most efficient way to navigate around Atlanta, and some of the best attractions minutes from a MARTA rail station.

MARTA Stops and Attractions

Here are some not-to-miss MARTA stops and attractions:

Peachtree Center MARTA Station

Apex Museum
The Apex Museum, just minutes from the Peachtree Center MARTA station, celebrates the historical significance of African-Americans, the Civil Rights Movement, and the profound culture and history of the city’s African-American community.

Skyview
Get off at the Peachtree Center MARTA station for Skyview, another big Atlanta attraction, located near Piedmont Park. It offers one of the best ways to see the city lit up at night as well as panoramic city views during the day. Visitors can also visit the Ferris wheel during other big events, such as Music Midtown.

Atlanta Streetcar
The Atlanta Streetcar, a new addition to the Atlanta public transportation system, is the 21-century symbol representation linking Atlanta to its past with train and rail transportation. Functioning as a piece of the MARTA system, the Atlanta Streetcar, now in Phase One, shuttles passengers on the East-West route to several other area attractions and landmarks.

Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA Station

Atlanta BeltLine
The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the biggest developments to hit the city in recent years. With planned hiking trails, parks, and neighborhood strengthening programs in place around the city, the BeltLine is a must visit. Take advantage of the free year-round tours of the 22-mile railroad corridor encompassing Atlanta. The tour leaves from the Inman Park Station on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Little Five Points Shopping District
Little Five Points is one of Atlanta’s alternative neighborhoods. Lining Moreland and Euclid Avenues, storefronts and consignment shops sprinkled throughout the small district, it is easy to see why the small district attracts Atlanta locals.

Shops like Junkman’s Daughter and Criminal Records or restaurants like Vortex and Savage Pizza lend an eclectic vibe similar to the Haight-Ashbury counter-culture in the 60s and 70s, but without the psychedelic tie-die and drugs.

Arts Center

MODA
Unifying design and functionality, MODA or Museum of Design Atlanta, incorporates the best parts of design fused with functionality. It enriches the local community through exhibits and educational events for all. Exhibits range from the art of 3-D printing to sustainable architecture.

Discover exhibits highlighting the best in functional design and art, or if creation is your fancy, consider immersing yourself in a creative design class offered at the museum.

Center For Puppetry Arts
Children love the Center for Puppetry Arts. A community favorite in Atlanta, the center is known for their lively shows and hosted events throughout the year. The center really comes to life during the holidays with puppet shows such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty, The Snowman.

Additionally, the center is also a focus the performance industry with knowledgeable staff leading on-site workshops and museum tours.

Atlanta, a hub for multi-cultural dining, events, and history, is brimming with activities and excitement for locals and visitors. Don’t miss the most iconic places in Atlanta: World of Coke, Georgia Aquarium, or CNN Center. Visiting Atlanta? Explore Atlanta like the locals do.

 

About Holiday Inn Express® Hotel & Suites Atlanta North-Perimeter/Dunwoody

Neel Shah is the principal of The Holiday Inn Express® Hotel & Suites Atlanta North-Perimeter/Dunwoody located directly off Georgia 400 and I-285. This means they’re just minutes from several corporate offices and training centers. Additionally, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, the Dunwoody Medical Centers, Northside Hospital, Children’s Health Care, St. Joseph’s, and the Dunwoody MARTA station are nearby. Enjoy a memorable stay at our modern Perimeter hotel, part of Atlanta’s upscale corporate Perimeter Center. With our courteous staff, reasonable rates, and terrific amenities, this Atlanta Perimeter hotel is the place to “Stay Smart” in the Perimeter Center area.

For more information visit: http://www.PERIMETERHOTEL.com

 

Southern Exhilaration was not compensated for this post. 

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Stocking Stuffers for Travelers

In my opinion, one of the best parts of Christmas is the stockings! I mean multiple presents in one – can it get much better? And it’s a bonus for travelers because stockings equal small gifts! So, instead of purchasing a new toothbrush and toothpaste for the traveler in your life, try adding one of these gifts to their stocking.

Prynt Pocket Smartphone Instant Photo Printer

Sometimes you want to print pictures off while you are on the go. With this printer, you can snap and print in 30 seconds.

Swiss Army MiniChamp Pocket Knife

This pocketknife from Swiss Army has 16 different functions — including an orange peeler — is super compact and fairly priced for its quality. Just don’t pack it in your carry on!

Pinch Provisions Travel Kit

This travel kit is packed with everything to make sure your flight and trip are stress-free.

Memory Card Carrying Case

If your traveler doesn’t have a camera bag, then this memory card carrying case comes in handy for keeping track of all those memory cards.

3 in1 Camera Lens Kit for Smartphones

If your traveler isn’t a big photographer but always have their phone on them, then this lens kit is perfect! It’ll hopefully encourage them to take more pictures while on their adventures.

What are your favorite travel-themed stocking stuffers?

How to Beat Jet Lag

Frequent travelers it is time to beat our sworn enemy: jet lag.

Anyone who travels frequently has dealt with the extreme tiredness that accompanies traveling across multiple time zones. UCLA’s Alon Avidan says that jet lag doesn’t kick in unless you’re traveling across at least two time zones. At two time zones and more, whether to sleep on board or not depends on which direction you’re headed and the duration of the flight. Remember the expression west is best; east is a beast when planning your trip.

While there is no way to beat jet lag completely, there are a couple of things to do to help lessen its effects upon arrival.

Hydrate

The pressurized cabins of airplanes are known dry air, which leads to dehydration and in turn to sleepiness. Stick to water on your long-haul flights to stay hydrated. This won’t stop jet lag from occurring, but it’ll keep dehydration from adding to the effects of jet lag.

Sleep

If you can sleep on the plane – even for a few hours – it will make the difference. Earplugs and eye mask will help you get a little shut-eye. I recommend once on board the plane get yourself in the mindset of your destinations time zone and try to sleep nap on the plane accordingly. This will start the process of getting your internal clock on destination time.

Avoid Alcohol

Trust me, I get the pull of a glass of wine to fall asleep, but alcohol leads to dehydration (see above). Stick to something non-alcoholic for your flight over and at least for your first day upon arriving at your destination. Your trip will thank me.

Set Your Watch

You have made it to your destination. Set your watch to local time and do your best to function as you would base on their time. Also try eating three meals a day in the new time zone, even if this means a midnight snack.

Avoid Naps

We get it; you are very sleepy. But try to stay awake as long as possible on your first day arriving to your destination and try going to bed as close to your usual bed-time as you can. It is also best to plan a slower day for your first day at your destination so as not to compound the exhaustion further.

For Short Trips: Don’t Shift Time

If you are jetting off to Europe for a 24-hour or 48-hour trip, it is recommended to stick with your local time. This will prevent crazy shifts in sleep patterns when you return home.

In my experience, if you follow these steps, you’ll be adjusted and ready to explore by day two or three!

What are your tips for combating jet lag?