Travel and Time Zones

I start to think about the change in time zones when I board my flight. That’s when I adjust my watch to the time of the place I’m going.  At first I don’t really pay attention to it and do things like eat the dinner provided by the airline several hours into the flight.  After that I end up watching as many movies as possible with breaks to stand up, walk, and drink water.  For me the time change doesn’t become real until the plane lands.


At that point I’m feeling energetic and simply accept that it’s morning.  I always plan to stay up all day and adjust to the new time zone.   It doesn’t matter that I’ve been up for around twenty-four hours already – I’m not tired anymore!  When I get to the hotel my room usually isn’t ready but after leaving my suitcase in their storage area it’s time to explore.  I ask for a map marked with directions to places I want to go.  Sometimes I’ll start by walking around the neighborhood, especially when the hotel is in a more residential area.


When I’m walking I like to window shop or if a museum is nearby I’ll try to go there.  It’s nice to spend the first day doing things that are simple and relaxing.


By evening I’m definitely feeling tired and by then I’m in my room and beginning to unpack.  I’ll turn on the television to see what’s been happening, and right in the middle of an interesting story I start to doze off.   It’s time to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s adventures.


59 thoughts on “Travel and Time Zones

  1. I think yours is the best way to do it, to fit straight in with the new time zone. Mind you, having said that, I tried to do it when I went to New Zealand after travelling for more than 24 hours, but I just couldn’t stay awake all day and it took me 2 weeks to adjust. I think if you can sleep on the plane that helps a lot, but I find that really difficult. Your photos are beautiful, I especially like the second one.

  2. That is the best part about flying to the Middle East or Asia from the US…you land at night. You can watch movies on the plane, land, taxi/train it to the hotel and hit the sheets. I always adjust better to time zones in these regions versus Europe….the EU kills me, landing at 7-9AM.

  3. I can’t really adjust to time zones. Whenever I fly to the US I go to bed right upon arrival (usually 7 pm, but German time 1 am). During the first week I always get up at 4 am due to jet lag. When I am in the US (2 months in winter, 3 months in summer), I never set my watch back as I need to know what time it is in Germany. Working as a journalist I have to keep in mind the office hours of editorial offices – so when I get up at 7 am my usual thought is “OMG, 1 in Germany already”. Crucial, when I have to mail an article or want to reach someone by phone later in the afternoon.

  4. I never get jet lag and I can’t understand why people go on so much about it. Like you, I adopt the time of the place I arrive in and get on with it without thinking about what time it is at home.

  5. I do the same Meg – I’ve found it’s the best way to adapt to the time change. Love the Paris photos – Paris is my first trip of the year in early Feb so they were a nice little teaser!

  6. I don’t usually do well without sleep, but goodness! When you’re on a marvelous vacation don’t you just want to fit it all in and not miss a moment! I think adrenaline kicks in and helps at least upfront. Now the getting home is another thing…I can collapse! You have some good strategies and it’s obvious you’ve really given it a lot of thought. You do have some wonderful travel experience! :-)

  7. till date I have never been to a foreign country so no chance to encounter such time zone issue……
    but m sure if i’ll go sometime in future i’ll try to use few of ur above ideas (like window shopping…the best timepass for me always…)….

  8. On transoceanic flights I try to sleep so much as possible. so I try, but do I have success is another question. Also reading “shortens” the flight time. Reading is my favorite pastime.

    Very lovely Paris photos.

  9. You and I are kindred spirits. That’s exactly how I travel, too. I think part of adjusting to a new time zone is just a mental game you play with yourself. Put yourself in the new time and just go with it. I actually have a harder time coming back.

  10. I do the same thing and have never experienced jet lag (thankfully), when booking flights I try to pick a time that leaves us with a few hours of daylight rather than arriving at night time and trying to go to sleep upon arrival. When we went to Europe in 2011 it was my husband’s first overseas trip so I encouraged him to do the same, we explored our part of Paris for a few hours, grabbed a bite to eat and although we were a little tired the next day we settled in to the time zone easily.

  11. I’m also trying to adapt directly. I always switch my body straight to the local time. No sleeping just after ckeck-in however tired I am. It often leads to a very long and pretty exhausting day but there is no problem to fall asleep in a ho(s)tel bed later ;)
    If possible, I sleep on the plane. However, it rarely happens. Inconvenient position, people talking, children crying, people next to me visiting the toilet and so on.

  12. Jet lag hits us harder on the return home somehow. The excitement keeps it at bay at the beginning of the trip :-) Fab shots Meg…I so want to return to Paris.

  13. I have done the same as you. Only once did I have jet lag really bad and learned my lesson. Lately I have been finding it harder even with the stay up and go to bed local time. You think after numerous trips between Canada and China it would get easier. I just got off the plane a few hours ago and maybe slept 2 hours, so I should be dead tired. Wide awake though! Doesn’t help that it is still Chinese New Year and fireworks have been going off steady since 6PM.

  14. Living in Australia, we always have to spend forever on the plane to go practically anywhere overseas. I find flying east to west not too bad, can adjust easily and it helps that I am excited about getting to my destination. Flying home is always a problem. Ie Flying from west to east. A stopover helps to break the journey. Ten – twelve hours flights are acceptable. Long haul will wreck you. If you do long haul flights over 12 hours, adjust the watch as you said, to get into that time zone and when you arrive, get some sunlight in the morning, especially for some reason, on the backs of your legs! And stay out of the sun if it is the afternoon, this helps to reset your bodyclock.

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