Dealing with jetlag as an adult is no fun, add two toddler twins to the mix and it sounds frightening! Here are some tips to managing, minimising and then coping with jetlag:
1. Book your flights wisely. This is basic information; travelling east to west is much harder on your body, so try to consider this in your planning. I find it is easier to fly at night, especially the longest part of the journey, and aim for an arrival time of around 5am – 6am. Fortunately, this seems relatively easy to accommodate when flying from New Zealand.
2. During the flight concentrate on keeping everyone hydrated and well fed. Putting too much pressure on sleep times makes it stressful for everyone and usually has the opposite effect. The twins will fall asleep when they become exhausted anyway, so as long as they are happy, go with the flow.
3. Sun! Upon arrival get as much sunshine as possible in the daylight hours. This will help get everyone onto the local time zone as quickly as possible. Outdoor activities like swimming in a pool or visiting a zoo are great for this. It’s enough to keep the children excited and awake. Feed them as often as you can, and keep them hydrated.
4. Plan ahead. Knowing where you are going, and where your hotel is and which terminals you need to transfer through will make the journey so much easier. The foot-tapping at desks while waiting for directions seems to test any toddlers travel patience! I try to book hotels at the airport or within a few minutes walk/taxi away.
5. Let kids be kids. When you get to your hotel, whether it’s a stopover or destination, let them be kids. I find putting them into a warm bath and letting them play and splash for a while is a great opportunity to destress. Grab your favourite drink and sit down while you watch them. These few minutes can be revitalising. It’s also a great opportunity to clean after the long sweaty plane ride, and we all know how filthy planes are said to be!
6. If you have booked a stopover, or are transiting, contact the airport. You will want to ensure there is a pram you can use or some services available to help you get across the terminal. Carrying two tired children and your hand luggage can be tricky if the pram has been checked in. Most airlines are very accommodating on this front.
7. Be prepared for earaches. This is a real spanner in the works when it comes to adjusting time-zones. If your little ones have suffered sore ears, then sleeping at night is going to be a challenge. I make sure I have pain medication and if in doubt, and you are comfortable doing so, give it to them before bed the first night of arrival. I prefer to use natural remedies, so I always pack tea tree oil and dab some in each ear with olive oil as a carrier. This seems to help with any pain relief that is needed.
8. Yu Yee oil – a hidden gem in terms of sleep! It is useful to slather this all over yourself and the children on the plane, and again when trying to fight jetlag. This Chinese oil is full of essential oils that promote sleep and relaxation. And it smells divine!
9. Relax! Do what is needed. Take it slow, change your plans to visit all the tourist hot spots if its too much, have two breakfasts, let your screen-free tot watch some 4am cartoons while you get some much needed sleep, have lunch at 10am if they’re screaming for it… you’re on holiday. I find the more I understand the twins needs, the quicker they adjust to the changes. And when they do nod off for a much needed nap, do something for you! Stop, take in the scenery, have a wine, read a book…!