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7 Ways to Beat Hawaii Jetlag & Enjoy Your Whole Vacation

The lethargy, grogginess, and exhaustion of jet lag can sometimes shave days off an otherwise amazing vacation. In this article, we’ll discuss ways that travelers to Hawaii can minimize the impact of the dramatic time change and outsmart jetlag to enjoy every day of their trip.

Jetlag occurs when a person’s internal clock remains on the time of their original location rather than their destination, where days begin and end several hours earlier or later. Researchers have established that jetlag severity tends to be relative to the number of time zones crossed. When jetlag hits soon after you reach your destination, you’ll begin to feel tired and lethargic. People experiencing jetlag in Hawaii often want to lay in a hotel room bed instead of exploring islands, adventuring in the water, or even soaking up the sun on the beach. Jetlag can make it hard to be kind and attentive to our family or travel partner, not to mention our vacation itinerary.

But Jetlag isn’t necessary! There are some common mistakes travelers make that can worsen their jetlag. These recommendations will help you arrive in Hawaii- or anywhere- fresh and energetic!

If you want to beat Hawaii jetlag before it starts, try these tips:

Adjust your Schedule Before Vacation Begins

A fail-proof way to make sure that there is no jet lag when you arrive in Hawaii is to begin living on Hawaii time a few days before you leave home. That means getting a full night’s sleep before the day you are supposed to travel- not staying up late to pack or getting up early to finish a few work-related tasks before heading to the airport. If you need to do so to maintain your Hawaii sleep schedule, sleep on the plane.

It can be difficult for some people to relax on a plane but there are various tips to sleep on a plane more restfully. If all else fails and you must arrive in Hawaii without jetlag, consider upgrading to a first class ticket on a plane with lay-flat seats. The upgrade, though expensive, may be cheaper than wasted vacation days. If you’ve had enough sleep and adjusted to a Hawaiian time before arrival, your body will have plenty of energy as you are checking into your hotel.

Beachgoers enjoy a sandy tropical beach on christmas day in 2021.

Tips for Sleeping on the Way to Hawaii

If you are worried about napping on the plane, plan ahead for success. Make a travel pillow and bring your own blanket with you so you can rest comfortably. You can also get noise-canceling earphones or earplugs so the other passengers do not disturb you. Consider adding a sleep mask to your in-flight sleep kit, you may be surprised at how effective a sleep mask can be. (Need more tips for a sleep-anywhere kit? Check my post on how to sleep anywhere)

When you Arrive, Rest

The time change doesn’t totally explain jet lag- lots of people who adjust their sleep schedules before arrival still experience jet lag. Some jet lag can simply be due to exhaustion after a long flight.

Getting ready to leave on vacation, packing, navigating the airport, handling other passengers, and getting from the airport to your hotel is an exhausting day. Add a different time zone into the mix and no wonder our bodies slow down so much. To give yourself time to recover, do not cram your itinerary for the first few days in Hawaii, this will your body time to adjust to the new atmosphere.

Stress in Advance 

One way to beat Hawaii jetlag is to minimize as much stress as possible. Beat stress by outsourcing it or handling as much as you can in advance. In other words, opt for an inclusive resort (where you won’t have to make many decisions about which beaches to visit, what activities to do, and where to eat) or plan those things in the weeks and months before your trip.

Avoiding stress on the front end of your trip will help your body recover from jet lag faster and help you enjoy your entire Hawaiian vacation.

Drink Extra Water

The climate-controlled environments of airports and airplanes is drying to skin and body. Staying hydrated can do wonders for your overall energy. Sometimes due to the excitement of traveling (or avoidance of airline bathrooms) travelers forget to consume enough water.

If you are dehydrated, your energy will deplete and the last thing you want is to feel sluggish as you begin your Hawaiian vacation. Drinking a lot of water may cost you bathroom trips but it will also get your body moving and prevent the lethargy of jetlag from setting in!

Wear Comfortable Clothing

In the first days of a vacation, as you recover from jetlag, your comfort is more important than anything else. Many people go to extra lengths to pick out their travel outfit and make it more chic and stylish but most of the time that style comes at the cost of comfort.

If you are uncomfortable, you will not be able to rest well or sleep deeply on the plane. Gone are the days of dressing to fly and frankly, no one will really care if you travel in your pajamas.

Take Supplements and eat healthy 

One of the reasons why jet lag affects some people more than others is because of overall health and nutrition. As we travel, our bodies are under extreme stress- they respond best if they have good nutrition. Try to incorporate a variety of foods in your diet so your body is well nourished and jetlag resistant. It’s fine to grab a slice of pizza as you race through the airport to your gate, but try grabbing a container of yogurt or a piece of fruit as well.

Avoiding Hawaiian Jet Lag

Time zones can be tricky. Our bodies are not really designed to fly long distances at high speed but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight back against jetlag to reclaim and enjoy every single day of our vacation. With the tips in this article, you will be able to land in Hawaii refreshed and ready to enjoy your beach vacation just like you dreamed.

For more tips on Hawaii Travel, see my articles on Hilo Hawaii Packing List and Things to Do on Coconut Island