Red Eyes, Jet Lag, and Maximizing Your Travel Time

One of the problems with short-term travel is the time required to fly to many places. I live in Southern California and if I want to fly to Europe I’m looking at a 10-hour flight at least.  If I only have 7 days of vacation, this will quickly eat up a good chunk of my free time away from the ol’ 9-5.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say they just don’t have the time to travel such far distances.

Red eyes

People always groan at the thought of a red eye but I can’t figure out why.  A red eye is always my preferred flight.  It’s dark, every one is tired and quiet, and hopefully you can spend a good chunk of the flight asleep.  What an easy way to pass the time!

Another bonus to taking a red eye is you can leave after you finish work for the day.  Figure you get off work at 5pm on Friday afternoon.  If your flight is at midnight, you should have plenty of time to go home, eat, shower, and finish packing.  If you are off the following Monday-Friday, you essentially can have nine days of vacation time if you schedule your flights well.  Assuming you don’t mind skipping out on any time at home to relax and get back into the swing of things.  What’s more important to you?  For me, it’s maximizing my vacation time.

Don’t forget the time change

Remember to factor in for the time change.  If you leave at midnight from LAX and spend 11 hours flying to Paris, you’ll arrive around 8pm. It’ll take a bit of time to go through customs, fetch a taxi or navigate the metro system, and before you know it, it’s midnight already.  Not the most convenient time to arrive somewhere you aren’t familiar with.

In this case, maybe it’s better leaving in the morning.  Pop a sleeping pill if that’s your thing, sleep most of the flight, and wake up in Europe ready to go.  I’ve pulled an all-nighter before several early morning flights using this type of schedule and I never suffer jet lag!  You’ll also save on needing a hotel room for one night.

Have any other tips for scheduling flights for a short vacation?  Share them in the comments section below!

Image courtesy of Slightly North

4 Replies to “Red Eyes, Jet Lag, and Maximizing Your Travel Time”

  1. A big one – If you’re crossing the International Date line east to west, you are losing a day!

    I went from Hawaii to Japan and didn’t even think about it until I looked at my ticket. I was getting to Narita the next day. I was annoyed with myself for not seeing that, but I made up for it by staying an extra week in Tokyo!

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