How to manage jet lag as a business traveler
Want to get more out of your next business trip? Learn how to reduce your jet lag for more productive business travel.
Business travel can energize you with new places, new people and new ideas – but for long-haul journeys, you’ve got to deal with jet lag first.
If you’ve ever traveled across a few time zones, then you’ve probably experienced jet lag for yourself. When you’re traveling for leisure, you may just wait it out. But for business travelers, any amount of lost time and productivity counts.
So, how do you manage jet lag on business trips? Here are some strategies to cope with jet lag – or avoid it altogether.
Jet lag happens when your body is out of sync with the time zone you’re in. Our bodies run on a roughly 24-hour cycle that dictates when we feel awake, tired and hungry. When you travel to a time zone that’s three or more hours different than you’re used to, your body is thrown off its rhythm.
Symptoms vary depending on the person – and even the same person doesn’t always react the same way. Factors such as age can impact the severity of symptoms, and older people tend to experience more jet lag than younger travelers.
Some common symptoms of jet lag include:
The best way to handle jet lag on your business trips is to plan ahead and avoid the symptoms. Here are a few things to consider before your flight even leaves the ground.
If your company’s schedule, budget and travel policy allow, book your trips with an extra day or two at the beginning to adjust. The best way is to blend a personal holiday with your work trip. It’ll give you time to get acclimated before any important meetings or presentations.
The first day of a trip is usually the toughest, but with some clever planning you can avoid that struggle. Try to book flights that will arrive in the afternoon or evening so that you can head to bed sooner and be ready for any meetings or work the next morning.
Make sure that your carry-on includes all the essentials for a smooth trip and to get a good sleep. If you’d like to nap on your flight, bring a travel pillow, ear plugs and an eye mask.
Start adjusting to the new time zone before your trip. Try going to bed one to two hours earlier if you’re traveling east or one to two hours later if you’re traveling west. For smaller time changes, this could mitigate the jet lag effects completely.
It isn’t always an option to plan the optimal travel schedule, especially for small businesses or corporate travelers with strict budgets. Even if you have meticulously planned your business trip with extra buffer time at the beginning, with an afternoon arrival, and started adjusting your sleep rhythm beforehand, you’ll likely still have some jet lag to contend with.
The best thing you can do is follow the routines of your destination as soon as you arrive. Get natural light in the daytime to help your body adjust and try to limit daytime sleeping to short 15-20 minute naps.
There are a number of other factors that contribute to jet lag recovery, including:
To optimize your corporate trips, here are a few more tips to get you going.
There’s no sugarcoating it: business travel jet lag is a drag. When you’re investing the budget, time and energy into traveling for business then you want to get the most out of every moment. With the right preparation before and during traveling, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running on your next business trip.
Things to look for when choosing a hotel for business travel. What do business travelers look for wh...
Discover 14 business travel tips for a smooth trip – everything from a packing list to expense track...
Discover 10 items and advice for a successful business trip: packing list and tips!