Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Tips Coping with Jet Lag
Jet lag is a pitfall of traveling across time zones. If you're flying north-south and
you feel sluggish when you touch down, your symptoms will be the result of
dehydration and the general stress of air travel. When you travel east-west or
vice-versa, your body becomes confused about what time it is, and everything
from your digestive system to your brain is knocked for a loop. Traveling east is
more difficult on your internal clock than traveling west because most peoples'
bodies are more inclined to stay up late than to fall asleep early.
Here are some tips for combating jet lag:
Reset your watch to your destination time before you board the plane.
Drink lots of water before, during, and after your flight. Avoid alcohol.
Exercise and sleep well for a few days before your trip.
• If you have trouble sleeping on planes, fly eastward on morning flights.
Daylight is the key to resetting your body clock. At the website for Outside In
(, you can get a customized plan of when to seek and avoid
call the airlines dir ectly and ask if any
promotional rates or special far es ar e
available. You'll almost nev er see a sale
during the peak summer v acation
months of J uly and A ugust, or during
the Thanksgiving or Christmas seasons;
in periods of lo w-volume trav el, ho w-
ever, y ou should pay no mor e than
$400 for a cr oss-country flight. I f your
schedule is flexible, ask if you can secure
a cheaper fare by staying an extra day or
by flying midweek. (Many airlines won't
volunteer this information.) I f y ou
already hold a ticket when a sale breaks,
it may even pay to exchange your ticket,
but keep in mind y ou'll usually incur
a change fee of as much as $100 to
do so.
Note: The lowest-priced fares often ar e
nonrefundable, r equire adv ance pur-
chase of 1 to 3 w eeks and a cer tain
length of stay , and carr y penalties for
changing dates of travel.
Consolidators, also kno wn as bucket
shops, ar e gr eat sour ces for interna-
tional tickets, although they usually
can't beat I nternet far es within N orth
America. S tart b y looking in S unday
newspaper travel sections; U.S. travelers
should focus on the New York T imes,
Los A ngeles Times, and Miami H erald.
U.K. trav elers should sear ch in the
Independent, the Guardian, or the
Observer. Beware: B ucket shop tickets
are usually nonr efundable or rigged
with stiff cancellation penalties, often as
high as 50% to 75% of the ticket price,
and some put y ou on char ter airlines,
which may leav e at inconv enient times
and experience delays. S everal r eliable
consolidators ar e worldwide and av ail-
able online. STA Travel has been the
world's lead consolidator for students
since pur chasing Council Travel, but
their fares are competitive for trav elers
of all ages. ( & 800/TRAV-
800 [872-8800]; www
has ex cellent far es worldwide, par ticu-
larly to E urope. They also hav e “local”
websites in 12 countries. FlyCheap
( & 800/FLY-CHEAP [359-2432]; has especially
good far es to sunny destinations. Air
Tickets D irect ( & 800/778-3447; is based in
Montreal and lev erages the curr ently
weak Canadian dollar for lo
w far es;
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