How To Beat Jet Lag When Traveling with Toddlers

When you have paid a little fortune to take your dear family on that long awaited family vacation, the last thing you need is to feel tired or run down for a few days. We all want to simplify family travel and the good news is jet lag doesn't really kick in unless you’re traveling across at least two time zones. But with awesome travel hacks parents need to know and these seven quick simple tips, you’re be sure to stay alert and ready for your entire trip.


Table of Contents

Beating Jet Lag


Jet Lag Symptoms

Some individuals may already experience jet lag or problems with their circadian rhythms while traveling in a new time zone. Here are some of the symptoms that you may experience when you are having jet lag:

  • Being too emotional, agitated, or experiencing other mood swings
  • Having trouble falling asleep
  • Feeling exhausted and having a hard time waking up
  • Cannot get enough sleep at night
  • Distorted circadian rhythm
  • Upset stomach or having diarrhea

little boy jet lagged and sleeping on seats at airport

Preparing for the Flight

Packing Essentials:

It's helpful to have a checklist and prepare everything when taking your kids on your next family vacation. Organize your diaper bag with all the essentials.


Prepare a favorite blanket and neck pillow in case your toddler gets tired while traveling. It can help get them comfortable. You can also consider getting your kids an inflatable airplane bed or footrest to help them get comfortable and have deep sleep while on the plane.


Having a white noise machine can also help your child fall asleep while on a long-haul flight.


Booking the Flight: 

To prevent your toddler from being irritated or restless during takeoff and landing, schedule your flights around periods when your child is likely to fall asleep. Most people book their flights at night to help their children fall asleep faster and be awake during the morning.


To provide more comfort, purchasing a seat for your baby or toddler can help in giving them adequate space to relax and sleep. And if the baby is below 1 year old, booking a bassinet seat with the airline is recommended. This will provide your baby with a separate space to rest and you will have your own seat to relax during your flight.

Choosing the right flight is a way to beat jet lag

During the Flights:

You can bring an inflatable airplane bed to help your kids be more comfortable throughout the duration of your flight. This is a common travel hack when flying with toddlers.


When your kids have enough sleep during your travel time, there is a lower chance of getting jet lag. That is why keeping them relaxed, occupied, and well-fed can save you the stress of dealing with jet lag.


There are various means to beat jet lag, how to get quality sleep while on a flight and adjust their internal clock in new time zones faster.


Here are some tips on how to keep your kid entertained, address issues about jet lag, and stay relaxed during long-hour flights.


Keeping your Child Occupied:

Bring along a range of activities, such as coloring books or tiny battery-free toys, to keep your child occupied during the journey. Carry with you some snacks such as crackers or fruit snacks for them to eat and drink.


Additionally, this is the time when using technology can be helpful. Allowing them to watch some educational shows while flying will help them stay awake. You can pre-download educational series, cartoons, and child-friendly movies that are suitable for their age on your mobile phone or iPad.

little girl preoccupied with an ipad on the plane

Bringing an earphone can also help your kids cancel loud noises around the plane and focus on the show that they are watching. This can help them relax and continue watching until they fall asleep.


Keeping them busy during the flight will help them adjust easily once you arrived at your destination. Keeping them awake whenever it is not yet their sleeping time can also prevent issues with their internal clock.


Dealing with Jet Lag Symptoms:

Most people get jet lag after traveling from several time zones and long-haul flights. This causes difficulties sleeping, feeling exhausted, and messed up circadian rhythms.


To address this problem, get plenty of rest before your flight to prepare your body. This will help you recover easier from any jet lag symptoms once you arrive at your destination.


Choosing a Day Flight:

During the flight, it is helpful to bring materials that will keep your toddler occupied and comfortable. These few tips can go a long way when traveling east such as going to Europe because this type of travel time is prone to jet lag and cause sleep problems along the way.


It is important when you book a day flight to keep your kids awake and occupied in order for them to have quality sleep once they arrive at your destination. This will also prevent jet lag and exhaustion especially after spending the day awake and doing activities on the plane.

Jet lag little boy looking out airplane window during day flight

Choosing a Night Flight:

Once cruising in air, you can ask the flight attendant for water and eat your meals before preparing everyone for some rest time. It can be helpful for adults during a night flight to take sleep aids such as melatonin supplements to be able to relax and sleep on the plane.


It is also important to layer up and wear comfortable clothes as often the temperature inside the plane is colder. Whenever it is bed time, bring out your child's favorite soft toy and blanket as it is comforting and can help them fall asleep.


After Landing:

Getting some natural light once you arrive at your destination can help the symptoms of jet lag. It is also recommended to stay awake until bedtime in the new time zone even if you are exhausted from your flight.


To prevent dehydration, avoid drinking too much coffee or alcohol because it can significantly disrupt sleeping patterns and rest hours. Take only short naps during daylight hours because you will have problems sleeping when your schedule is not correct.


Promote regular eating and sleeping patterns based on the local time. To ensure your body remains in a balanced state, drink water regularly and try to relax once you arrive at your destination.


It is helpful for you and your family to adjust quickly and effectively after landing and during your arrival. This can promote faster recovery and start exploring your new destination.


To further aid in recovering from jet lag, walk around and get plenty of exercise, fresh air, and minimizing alcohol intake can ease your symptoms. Listen to your internal clock and avoid sleeping at the wrong times.


7 Ways on How to Get Over Jet Lag Quickly

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Aim for deep sleep
  • Take some sleep aids (sleeping pills for adults)
  • Eat meals at right time
  • Get some morning light
  • Stay active
  • Stay awake and adjust your body clock to normal bedtime


FAQs in Relation to Best Ways to Get Over Jet Lag

Is it helpful to nap when jet lagged?

Yes, having a quick nap to ease your jet lag and whenever you feel tired after your flight is helpful. However, you must also monitor your sleep schedule and do not sleep for more than 30 minutes because it can significantly mess up your biological clock. Prepare yourself to adjust your internal clock and new sleeping hour in the new time zone.


The main goal here is to address the need of your body to sleep and have some rest. Always listen to your body to have a healthy mind. It is also helpful to take a short nap while on the plane.

How to beat jet lag? Tired little boy sleeping on a sofa


Is there an easy remedy or cure for jet lag?

No, there is no quick or instant medication for people who are suffering from jet lag. It is a condition wherein the internal clock of a person who recently traveled from one time zone to another is messed up.


On the other hand, there are some tips to recover from this quickly once the body learns how to adjust to the new time zone and prepare days prior to the trip.


To prevent or reduce the chance of jet lag, it is recommended to stay hydrated before, during, and after the flight. You should drink water instead of alcoholic beverages to ease your symptoms.


How Long Does it Take to Get Over Jet Lag?

Jet lag may last for several days to weeks based on your new time zone. It may vary from one person to another depending on how they often take flights and go to various time zones. Their physical, mental, and overall well-being can also affect their recovery period.


Most adults may experience several weeks of difficulties in their sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. They can also have issues with the local time zone which may cause a traveler to feel tired most of the time.


Toddlers and young children have a faster adjustment process considering their active lifestyle and being awake during the morning. However, they may also experience various symptoms of jet lag such as being irritated in the destination country, having problems sleeping and having no appetite.


Hence, it is advisable for them to wake up in the morning based on their new schedule, drink plenty of water, and get fresh air and sunlight.


Why is jet lag worse when I got back from my Europe Trip?

Long flight times such as returning from a Europe trip can increase the possibility of experiencing jet lag compared to those who are traveling west. The difference in time zones is around 8 to 10 hours compared to those flights that only have a few hours of travel time.


Return trips after traveling east can cause fatigue due to long flights and it can also affect the body's circadian rhythm. Once home, it is important to let the body adjust and rest from the day of your arrival.


Staying hydrated, taking a short nap when necessary, and listening to your body clock can help you recover faster from your Europe trip. Also, you have to wake up during the day and keep yourself busy.


Getting natural light or strolling around in the morning can also help adjust your biological clock. Know when is the right time to go to bed, wake up, and eat your meals. Having a new schedule based on your destination can also help you cure your jet lag and stay alert when traveling or driving.


Beating Jet Lag

To sum up, the best way to avoid jet lag is by preparing and applying all the tips you learn from frequent travelers and your loved ones. Take some time to plan and prepare to ensure you have all the essential items needed for your upcoming trip. This will ensure a smooth flight and prevent jet lag.


Prior to your flight, relax your mind and have plenty of sleep. Pack some of your kids' favorite snacks with you to ease any discomfort due to long-haul flights and changes in the time zone. And don't forget to get some sunlight once you have arrived at your destination which help contribute to beating jet lag.


There are amazing benefits of family travel. Taking note of all these tips for your next trip, you can have worry-free travel and easy remedies once you or your kid experience jet lag.


Happy Journeys!





Blog Category

Flying With Kids

Going Places

Traveling With Kids