Adjusting to Time Changes When Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad is amazing in so many ways. You get to see other cultures, eat new foods, make new friends and see a whole new country. However, the one drawback to traveling such a long distance is the jet lag and adjusting to the time change. Good news is, you should get used to the change within a few days so you can start enjoying yourself.

When flying across several time zones in a matter of hours, you are moving faster than your body’s internal clock can handle, says WebMD. Often times, it falls out of sync with the new time at your destination, so you have trouble falling asleep and may even feel wired for quite some time. Then when it’s time to function, all you can do is sleep!

Here are some tips to avoid jet lag and how to plan for communicating with friends and family while away, at least initially in those first few days.


  • Gradually adjust your sleeping habits to sync up with the time zone of your destination. Start this a few days before you leave, even up to a week.
  • Reset your watch for the new time zone right when you board the plane.
  • Try to refrain from sleeping while flying.
  • Drink lots of fluids, preferably water. That’s because dehydration makes it difficult for you to adjust to the updated rhythm.
  • After arriving at your hotel, resist the urge to get a full night’s sleep. If you have to, limit yourself to a two-hour nap.
  • Take melatonin, which is a hormone that can help you reset your internal clock to make falling asleep easier.
  • Likewise, get as much natural sunlight as possible by getting outside for exercise.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Stay busy with other people, trying to schedule lots of activities for the first few days you’re there.
  • Stay on a regular sleep schedule.
  • When in the new digs, use a pillow or blanket that you brought from home. This will give you something familiar to fall asleep with for comfort.
  • Check around the room for things that could stimulate you, such as a bright radio clock or light that shines through the drapes.
  • Use a sleep mask.
  • Use fans or white noise machines to cut out sounds.
  • Keep the thermostat at a cool temperature. Most people sleep better when it’s cool rather than too warm.
  • Leave contact numbers for your cell phone as well as the house or hotel you’ll be staying at with friends and family back home. Give the same to your business associates and contacts in the new place. This way, you can be reached even if you’re catching up on sleep or the wi-fi connection keeps you out of touch.

Before embarking on your new adventure in a new land, make sure you know the local language and customs first. You can achieve that with BRIC Language Learning.