When readers shared their own travel tips and several really stood out as worth highlighting.
One of my travel rules is “always go into town the first night.” If you’ve been traveling all day, it is very tempting to just hang out at the hotel and go to bed early, but I made that rule after I found out the next morning that I had missed the annual summer fest at a little town on the coast of France. I have scored standing room at La Scala, the Munich Opera (Aida!) and a box seat at the Folk Opera in Madrid, by pushing on and checking out what was going on in town that first night.
I see this as a jetlag tip more than anything else.
My first international travel as a kid was to Sydney, because I had family move there was when I was five so early on it became a frequent place to visit.
The very first and best jetlag advice I ever got was to make yourself stay up and go to bed as close to when the locals to as possible.
With flights from the US to Australia, though, that means a very early morning arrival — generally a little past 6am. That means staying up a Very. Long. Time.
It may be good advice, but it’s also hard.
So over time I’ve modified it a bit. I still think it’s important to go to bed on local time, and to do so when you’re quite tired to increase the chances of sleeping through the night.
But especially as I’ve gotten a bit older I’m not always able to push through from a 6am arrival in Sydney or anywhere else in the world all the way until late night. So I allow myself a short nap.
I don’t have a problem if I let myself sleep for 2-4 hours, and then get up. The key is to leave the hotel and walk somewhere to dinner. The outside air, the activity, not only begins to get me acclimated to a city but also keeps me up. By the time I finish my meal and get back to the hotel it’ll be close to bed time locally (or close enough, no one will ever confuse me with a Spaniard for instance).
If I have the time I’ll let myself sleep in the next day, for me that means 8am if I have the time, otherwise I’ll get up at 6am per usual and will be more or less adjusted to the time right away.
I find adjusting to Europe this way is easy. Coming back from Europe is only a bit tough in that I get quite tired by 7pm or so for a few days back at home. Coming back from Asia proves no challenge for me, it’s adjusting to the time and sleeping through the night on arrival that’s hard. But this maximizes my chances of doing so smoothly.
And a side benefit, as Kerry says, is that you get to do more and you miss out on fewer experiences that way. My strategy maybe a bit less so if all I’m doing is getting out to dinner, but I’ve scouted some great local places near wherever I’ve stayed and that works for me.