3 Tips For Avoiding Jet Lag From Business Travel

International business travel is not a regular part of my life, but when it happens the number one issue I have to deal with is jet lag. Unlike international travel for pleasure, professionals traveling overseas for work have to hit the ground running with their brains being mush during normal waking hours. And all while still being effective and getting the job done.

Some of the world's most economical printing and publishing options are inconveniently located on the opposite side of the ocean, so on one trip I crossed the date line to work in Seoul for a week doing a press check.

What worked for me was taking the following precautions:

1. Stay well-hydrated and active during the flight.
The inside of a flight cabin is very dry and set at a higher altitude than sea level. Before and during the flight I drank as much water as I could. I also got up and walked the cabin and did stretches outside the bathrooms at least once an hour.

2. Stay awake for as long as possible the first day.
As tempting as it was, I didn't go lie down and take a nap after I checked-in to the hotel. I immediately jumped into the shower then got outside in the daylight and went for a walk. My goal was to try and stay up until 9 pm. It was hard, but it was worth it as I then got a good shot at sleeping through the night.

3. Have an alcoholic drink with dinner.
I love the hectic pace of travel, but the unfamiliar surroundings and culture shock all worked to make my head spin. I was amped up for hours after I arrived so I unwound with a beer. The key was I didn't overdo it and made sure to top off with water before going to bed.

For the record, I was still exhausted and out of sorts for the first several days I was there and I'm not sure I buy into the idea of avoiding jet lag completely. Like altitude sickness, which I've experienced in varying degrees and at equally varying elevations, I've found that sometimes it doesn't matter what you do or how you prepare. If you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it. But I do think I would have suffered more if I hadn't followed those three steps. With massive time differences and the often intense nature of international business trips it's unrealistic to expect to be firing on all cylinders at all times, but it's important to be as functioning as possible, which is the best one can hope for.

Natalie Zensius is a marketing communications strategist with experience in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Learn more about Natalie at http:www.linkedin.com/in/nzensius.

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