Traveling is difficult. Let us help. Ask me about all things food and travel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: A friend and I are headed to Iceland and our flight lands around 5 a.m. We can’t check into our Airbnb then, and most things are closed. Thoughts?
A: I would head into the city and toward Laugardalslaug, a pool/sauna complex in Reykjavík that opens at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays. (If you’re arriving on the weekend, grab coffee first and get to the pool at 8; this place opens at 7 a.m.) Once you arrive, you can stow your stuff in a locker and soak in an outdoor hot pool, banishing vague memories of crowded budget flights until you’re prune-y and ready for the day.
Q: I’m flying from L.A. to Hong Kong soon, a 15-hour flight, and I’ve been warned the jet lag will be brutal. Is there any way to survive the worst of it?
A: I get variations on this question a lot, and as someone who flew back from Yangon to NYC recently, it’s something I’ve been thinking about very seriously of late. The first field of battle is the plane. Try to get some sleep, but don’t stress about it too much. Sleeping pills won’t actually help with jet lag; drinking to excess will, on the other hand, make it so much worse (although I wouldn’t begrudge anyone a couple of glasses of wine—you’re sitting down for 15 hours). Some people give the rather insufferable advice not to eat anything, but honestly, I cannot imagine doing that. I hoover down whatever sodium-laced chicken-like substance is placed in front of me and I enjoy it, dammit, because my god, the boredom.
Once you land, if it’s daytime, spend as much time outside as you can, as that’s what’s really going to move the needle. This is what early-morning markets and old-person saunas of all types were made for (see above). If it’s evening, well, that’s a hard row to hoe. I personally rely on melatonin, which helps to reset the body’s clock and helps with sleeplessness. (Do I need to say here that I’m not a doctor? I am emphatically not qualified to give actual medical advice.) And drink a ton of water. That’s pretty much the best you can do, other than stocking up on bad tv for the first few days.
Q: I’m still mourning the shutdown of Flight Track Pro. [Ed Note: R.I.P.] Any new app you use for similar purposes?
A: Why hello, fellow travel nerd! I’m not going to lie, I haven’t found a replacement I’m totally satisfied with as of yet. But App in the Air is serviceable, as these guys over at the Sweet Setup convinced me. There are expensive subscriptions, but the free version works well if you don’t need the push notifications. And it allows you to get information quickly without dealing with a bunch of shitty airline apps.