How to Get Over Jetlag (the healthy way)

Here are some tips on how to get over jetlag from my colleauge and guest blogger Liz Longacre.

Traveling definitely has its downsides… the lost bags, the dreaded middle seat, the jet lag… Jet lag can ruin a short vacation if you’re not careful making you groggy, irritable, sleepy, and generally not the ball of sunshine I’m sure you normally are! It definitely wipes me out. You may not be
able to control all of the problems you encounter during your journey but what if you could beat jet lag? Here are some tips to minimize that sleepy, fuzzy, hung-over like feeling so you can start enjoying your trip sooner!

Tip #1  – Hydrate! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying greatly dehydrates you.  The average indoor humidity level is usually about 45% but inside a plane cabin it’s 15%. The low humidity along with increased breathing due to high altitudes sucks any moisture right out of the air. You’re left with a very dry environment and an increased
possibility of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include lightheadedness, nausea, muscles cramps and sleepiness. These side effects combined with a thrown-off internal clock can make for a rough trip. In flight alcohol drinking heightens these symptoms so save your cocktails for after you land. Eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air is recommended. Also avoid all sugary beverages, and sugar in general, which will just spike your blood sugar level causing you to feel even groggier later.

 Tip #2 – Don’t hibernate.                  

Your body responds to natural sunlight.  The more time you spend outside basking in the sun the easier it will be for you to adjust to the new time zone.  Also make sure to eat all meals at the local time starting immediately upon arrival. Set your watch when you’re on the plane to the local
time as well. The faster you trick your mind and body to adjust, the happier you’ll be.

Tip #3 – Stay awake once you arrive in your destination.

One of the best ways to trump jet lag is to just stay awake. Sometimes that’s easier said than done so make sure you have interesting ways to stay productive once you arrive at your destination. Avoid strenuous activities but explore the local village, visit a museum, or take a walk on the beach to keep your mind engaged and your body moving. Try not to go to bed until it’s really the local bedtime. Avoid naps if possible as they’re terribly
difficult to wake up from and will further interfere with your body adjusting to your new time zone.

Tip #4 – Reduce caffeine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll be tempted to turn to caffeine to get you through your sluggish moments. While caffeine may provide you with a jolt of stimulation, it will make it harder for you to sleep deeply when it’s really time for bed. You’ll need quality sleep to fight the jet lag so don’t let caffeine get the best of you. Caffeine also dehydrates your body which will only add to your jet lag woes. You should keep caffeine to a minimum during the days leading up to and during your trip.

Tip #5 – Don’t take sleeping pills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching for sleeping pills to help with jet lag may cause more trouble than they’re worth.  If you aren’t already taking sleeping pills, do not turn to them for the first time during a flight as you don’t know how your body will react. Even if you are accustomed to taking them, they still may not be your best bet. After waking up from a pill induced sleep you often feel very groggy, which is not the right way to kick off a trip in a different time zone. If you’re worried about not being able to sleep on your flight, bring something to use as a pillow, an eye-mask, and ear plugs. If you follow the other tips in this article, you should be sleeping soundly in your destination country in no time.

Tip #6 – All Natural Jet Lag Remedies                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

No-Jet-Lag: No-Jet-Lag is a homeopathic remedy (vegan and not tested on animals) that has been known to be very helpful in preventing jet lag. It’s even used by major athletes to help them perform at their optimum physical levels upon arrival to their destinations. It has no reported side effects due to it’s low doses of these all natural ingredients: Leopard’s Bane, Daisy, Wild Chamomile, Ipecac and Clubmoss. It’s ecommended
that you chew one tablet each time your plane takes off and each time it lands, even if you are not disembarking, to counter the effects of pressure changes. Also take one every two hours while flying to counter the effects of long flights. It is best taken separately from meals. To find stores that carry this product or to order online, click here.

Melatonin: Melatonin is a common jet lag cure but it should only be used in very small doses (0.5 mg) and for a very short amount of time (just 2 or 3 nights). Melatonin is a chemical produced by your brain at night to make you sleepy. Your brain’s production of melatonin gets thrown out of wack when you travel. Taking sparing doses before bedtime after you arrive at your destination can help your body adjust. If you take larger doses or take it for an extended period of time you may suffer from side effects such as vivid dreams and nightmares. Melatonin can be found at most health stores.

Tip #7 – Going ninja on jet lag…

The final tip, for the hard core traveling pros, is to start combating jet lag several days before you leave for your trip by slowly adjusting your sleeping and eating times to match the schedule of your destination country. This may not be feasible due to your work or family schedule but if you can do it, even just to a minor extent, it will give your body’s internal clock a kick-start.

Beating jet lag is not easy but you can do it!  By following the above tips, you’ll be energized and ready to start exploring your new locale in no time. Happy traveling!

Author BIO:
Liz Longacre is the founder of Your Time Travels, a travel company for animal lovers. Your Time Travels offers voluntourism trips with animal welfare projects and African safaris. To learn more visit www.yourtimetravels.com.

 

Quick Tips for a Successful Volunteer Abroad Experience

Last week’s post explained why voluntourism is such an amazing way of traveling so this week I’d like to follow up with some tips on how to get the most out of your volunteer abroad experience.

Let me start by telling you exactly what to expect – expect absolutely NOTHING. The worst thing you can do is go into a volunteer abroad experience with a ton of preconceived ideas and expectations because chances are it’s going to be nothing like what you expected. While you may have an interest in “volunteering abroad” for a particular cause, what that really means is that you want to step into an organization in a different culture that has a unique set of subjects they are trying to help, a unique set of employees and volunteers, and a unique set of rules, values, priorities and issues. No matter how much research you do you won’t really know what you’re getting yourself into until you get there. So be extremely excited for the brand new out-of-your-world experience that you are about to embark upon but go in with an open mind and a clean palate because no volunteer experiences are the same.

Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your experience. This list could obviously go on and on but these are the things I would not have fully understood if I hadn’t experienced them first-hand throughout my journeys. If you have any other tips please leave them in the comments below!

1. Embrace the experience & ignore the inconveniences. Volunteering in a foreign country is a once in a lifetime experience (even if you do it more than once!). Ignore the inconveniences that you would never put up with at home. For example, if the shower only runs freezing cold water with no pressure from a faucet located only 2 feet above the ground, that’s okay, you’re not there for a spa. You’ll be back home to your jet streams in no time so don’t let these little discomforts affect what you’re there to accomplish.

2. Stay away from negative people. You’ll likely be surrounded by a positive group of volunteers who love every minute of what they’re doing. However, every now and then someone comes along who hates absolutely everything and has no problem contaminating your experience with their negativity. Whether you want it to or not, their negativity will creep into your mind and affect how you view everything going forward. While they may have good reasons for their opinions, you should have the chance to make your own assessments. So, to the extent you can, stay away from these people. Be the positive person you would want everyone else to be. Positivity is contagious, let it shine through you.

3. Talk to the organization’s directors/volunteer leaders as much as you can. You are there to learn and the people working there are a wealth of knowledge and stories. If it’s a big organization and there are a lot of other volunteers it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t let that happen, seek them out and spend time with them. They will appreciate your curiosity and you will have a richer experience for it.

4. Bond. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can bond with people through volunteer work. You’ll finally be rid of email, facebook, twitter and all of the other daily gizmos and gadgets that distract you from fully engaging in conversation. The unique experiences you’ll face when you’re volunteering can turn strangers into fast friends. I still keep in touch with people from almost every volunteer trip I’ve been on. These friendships make the experience all the more enriching.

5. Don’t be shocked if things aren’t run exactly as you’d like. I admit, I’ve struggled with this periodically. I’ve been to organizations that fall into all areas of the spectrum; from those that are extremely well run and organized, providing the ultimate volunteer experience, to those that are not so well run. I spent many years working in a corporate law firm, which was a well oiled machine built for optimal efficiency, so I may have been particularly susceptible to falling into an overly critical mindset. I would hate to be someone who marches in telling people how to run things better after being there for only a few days so I’ve found it’s best to wait for an organization to ask for feedback. If they ask for it it shows that they care about continually improving, as every company should. Just as with everything in life, no organization is perfect, and the smaller ones who need the most help are often the ones who could benefit from some changes. I believe in supporting these organizations (provided that they are legitimate) just as much as the larger ones who’ve got it all figured out. The more help they get, the more effective and efficient they can become.

6. Follow the volunteer organization’s rules. While some rules may seem arbitrary and unreasonable to you (i.e., no drinking on the premises), those rules are there for a reason, placed after years of trial and error that you were not a part of. You are only there for a short time, don’t try to rock the boat and be a rebel.

7. Remember that you are not there to save the world. You will likely learn and gain more from your volunteer experience than you give. You are there to help out, to learn and to then spread awareness – that is the beauty of volunteer work.

 

Day 2-Vancouver, BC

We were really excited that it wasn’t going to rain today and we could spend the day going up to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. We took the free shuttle (as long as you have purchased the Gondola ticket) from Canada Place to the base of Grouse Mountain where you board the Gondola. It takes you up over 3000 ft in just 8 minutes. Once you get up to the top, you can enjoy many activities such as a Lumbar Jack show which was entertaining. They also have a birds show, 2 movies, the grizzly bear habitat, the wind turbine, a zip line, paragliding, and a wolf exhibit.

We then took the shuttle down the hill to the Capillano Suspension bridge. It was very exciting and educational for the kids. They participated in a fun scavenger hunt going around identifying weather patterns, different types of trees and their characteristics, looking for forest animals and learning about their natural habitats, and comparing their own wing span to common birds that live in the forest. The Cliffwalk with it’s high, narraw, and partial glass bottom walkway was a thrilling experience although it could be a bit scary for those afraid of heights.

After our full day of exploring the tourist activities of Vancouver, we took the bus to the ferry terminal, the ferry (SEABus) across to the waterfront and then walked to a nearby restaurant called Nuba for some amazing Lebanese food. The restaurant was recommended by our concierge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Just outside our hotel,  we stopped for dessert and had some of the best Gelato in Vancouver at Bella Gelateria.