Long flights, jet lag, and other lessons learned

I finally arrived in Thailand after a 2 hour flight to Seattle, a 12 hour layover, 11 hour flight to Seoul, a 5 hour layover, and a 5 1/2 hour flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand. By the time I arrived in Chiang Mai I was exhausted and had been awake for nearly 24 hours. Since I was arriving in Chiang Mai at night time, I tried not to sleep on my plane rides so that I could fall asleep as soon as I got to the hostel. I actually should have slept on my flight to Seoul and stay awake for the rest of my trip to get my body adjusted, but I somehow did the timing wrong in my head, and by the time I realized that, it was too late to sleep.

Jet lag is a bitch. It was nice that I arrived at my destination after a long flight at night time so I could just go straight to bed. Most times that I have traveled abroad though I’ve arrived in the morning or afternoon and it is a struggle to stay awake the whole day. Even if you’re dead-tired. DO NOT go to bed at 4:00 p.m. It will bite you in the ass.

If you’re taking a long flight, it is inevitable that you’ll be jet lagged, but here are my tips to reduce the severity of your jetlag:

  1. Stay hydrated… With water. Water does wonders for our bodies. International flights usually offer alcohol free of charge. I normally will drink a glass or two of wine but don’t get all boozy. Also. Stay away from caffeine. Both alcohol and caffeine will dehydrate you and they will also mess with your sleep during a flight.
  2. Sleep on your flight. This time around I didn’t do this, but that was just me being an idiot. Sleeping on flights can be rough, but if you’re able to fall asleep, I suggest you do. Traveling is tiring and if you’re arriving at your destination in the morning or afternoon, getting sufficient sleep on your flight is important to get your internal clock reset.
  3. If you arrive in your destination city during the day, spend time outside. There’s nothing like the sun to let your body know to adjust to your current surroundings.
  4. Go to bed at a normal bedtime hour. When you’ve been traveling for 20 hours, a 20 minute nap will turn into 4 hour nap and then you will find yourself wide awake at 4 am and your body will only take longer to adjust to your new timezone.

So I’ve been in Thailand for about two weeks now and here are my lessons learned in Thailand so far:

  1. Thailand has amazing, cheap healthcare. Remember in my last post where I mentioned the cost of immunizations? I think I spent about $600 in immunizations this time around (and this was because I didn’t need to get any rabies shots).  Well in Thailand, you can get these shots for $30 each instead of $300/each. You can also pick up any medicine you need in Thailand. If I were to do this trip over, I would have waited and gotten my shots in Thailand. My insurance back home is amazing, so I was able to get every prescription med I needed for super cheap in the U.S. but if that’s not the case for you, you can easily go to pharmacy and pick up anything you need in Thailand. And you don’t need a prescription!
  2. Street food here rocks. Forget restaurants. The food stands have better food.
  3. You can buy pretty much anything you need in Thailand. I brought very little with me to begin with (only 28 lbs worth of stuff!) and I didn’t really need anything, but if you’re worried about forgetting something, don’t. Thailand’s got you covered. You really could come here with the clothes on your back and buy everything else here. Not that I suggest doing that, but you could, theoretically.

Next stop! Vietnam.

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