NYAirportWhat time is it? That question can have a decidedly different answer than the clock if you’re traveling across multiple time zones. Here’s how to cope with traveling to a different time zone.

Plan Ahead for New Time Zones when Traveling
Whether your travels take you east or west, the time difference can be a challenge. Not only is your own internal clock out of whack, but if you’re traveling for a business meeting or other occasion you have to be functioning.

Instead of arriving and feeling off-kilter, prepare a few days in advance for the new time zone. Start going to bed an hour sooner or later, depending on the time difference to start acclimating to the destination. In addition, shift your meal times so that they coincide with the new schedule.

Prepare for Jet Lag
Jet lag can be one of the most difficult parts of traveling across multiple time zones. The achy, tired and sickly feelings associated with jet lag can be alleviated by resetting your internal clock. If you arrive during the daytime, try going outside – sun exposure can help to reset your internal clock. In addition, stay hydrated and try to eat regularly.

For Shorter Trips, Don’t Acclimate
For trips that require only passing through one or two time zones, acclimating might not be necessary. Instead, try to keep to your regular schedule – even if it means eating dinner at 4 p.m. and going to bed at 7. It’ll be worth it when you wake up rested and ready for the day in the morning (even if it is 5 a.m.).

Photo: Claudia Meyer

Teresa J. Shaw is editor of the Free in 50 States section and also writes about Southeast Michigan for Traveling Mom. Visit her blog and follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw.