Fast-Forwarding to London Time

July 23rd, 2009

As I sit here typing, it is currently 9:41 pm in my part of Kansas. It is 3:41 am in London. It is today in Kansas, but it is tomorrow in England. When we get on our flight headed towards Heathrow airport, it will be noon in Kansas City. After thirteen hours of travel time making various connections, in assorted airports, we will arrive in London in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday morning according to Kansas time, but it will actually be mid-morning according to the English. Somewhere during our flight, we fast forward six hours. I am not really interested in fast-forwarding time! I would much prefer to rewind time! In particular, I would like to go back to my seventeen-year-old self with the flat stomach, the skinny thighs and the constant compulsion to fix my hair. But I would like to keep my forty year old brain… even if it has four holes where the babies came out.

The Country Doctor has been busy devising various schemes for our family to avoid a wretched case of jet lag. Here are a few of the scenarios he has suggested…

Scenario 1 – We stay up all night, the night before our flight, so that we will sleep on the plane. We then wake up well rested having just landed in London and immediately tackle The British Museum, the Museum of Natural History, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace all before anyone gets to have any lunch.

Scenario 2 – We get up at 3:00 in the morning and just goof around until it is time to drive to the airport to catch our flight. We sleep on the plane. We wake up well rested having just landed in London and tackle, museum, museum, abbey, palace, lunch.

Scenario3 – The minute we set foot in London we cease to sleep for the duration of the vacation and instead museum, museum, museum, palace, museum, skip lunch because clearly, abbey, museum, museum, cathedral, museum, etc, etc, etc…

Scenario 4 – Somewhere around museum, museum, museum, skip lunch, abbey, museum, I cease speaking to the Country Doctor.

Scenario 5 – I wander away from my family and ‘accidentally’ get lost.

Scenario 6 – I find a little bakery with a nice view of a pretty garden.

Scenario 7 – I stay there for the rest of the vacation.

Scenario 8 – I meet up with my family on the return flight.

Scenario 9 – I get back the six hours I lost on the return flight, but I never lose the twenty pounds I gain at the bakery.

Scenario 10 – Hmmmmm… maybe museum, museum, abbey, museum, skip lunch, museum, museum, is not so bad?

11. Scratch that… I’m finding that bakery.


  • To survive jet lag, do your normal thing here, sleep on the plane and keep going all day long when you get to London and go to be early that night.

    It worked for me 14 years ago.

    Coming back was easier.

  • I’ve been to Europe twice, going again in September, have a European house guest right now…

    Like Amy in Edmond said, do your regular thing here, get there in the morning and change your watches! Don’t keep reminding yourself what time it is in Kansas. Just think in UK time. Take a little nap if you have to the first day but keep going otherwise. It may hit you like a freight train the second or third day but keep going! Then you’ll adjust.

    I really found that taking melatonin helped adjust my body clock to going to bed at the right time also. Also valerian.

    It’s a NINE hour adjustment from where I live. Ugh.

    You’re gonna have a blast!

  • Stephanie:

    CD sounds very much like my DH, our vacations often have very little relax time…he tries to stuff in as much as he can…
    We always enjoy ourselves but collapse when we get home…

    I am so envious…I dream of visiting Ireland someday (and England too) …Have a great trip and take lots of pictures…

  • My travel agent friend had me get a 4 hr sleeping pill called Sonata. When I got there, I changed my watch to their time, took a shower and a short nap, then got up and went out sightseeing..

    I was about gone early on, I did eat dinner,but I bought a sandwich just in case… Good thing as I woke up about 2 AM and was ravenous! I took my pill then, ate, brushed the teeth again, went back to sleep and woke refreshed.

    Then I was in tune with their time – no more pills until I got home. One pill and I was back on my time. Worked like a charm, no jet lag.

    I’m not one that can sleep on a plane, so this worked just fine for me.

  • Hope your boys have more fun this year, ya’ll hated San Franciso. How about some parks or some places the boys can have fun in?

  • I fly to the same time zone from EST all the time. Here’s the plan.

    Do your usual thing in the US. Drink tons of water. Pee extensively at the airport :) You’re hydrated.
    Take Melatonin when it’s time to board. Bring eye covers and some earplugs. Take a nap. Ignore the food.
    Wake up in Britain (If you have to, take a little nap if you are absolutely wrecked) and keep going until it’s as close to bedtime as possible. Make sure to drink lots through the day.
    Next morning wake up(it will be a bit early but not too far off regular time) Enjoy yourself.

    Works everytime for the whole family.
    Melatonin can be bought in the grocery store vitamin aisle.

  • Amy in West TX:

    I’ve been overseas several times. Each time, I tried to sleep on the plane as much as possible. Even if I didn’t get any sleep, I hit the ground running. No naps, start seeing things immediately. Get on their schedule for meals. Eat light the first day. Call it an early night and get to bed at what would be about an hour before your usual bedtime at home.

    Kids do NOT sleep on planes. At least, none of mine ever have, and we’ve taken them on trips to Italy and to England. I tried dosing them with Bendryl, but then they’d have a Coke with dinner.

    Good luck!

  • Hi there! Do have tons of fun on your trip.

    Here’s a link to get the skinny on the best approaches to dealing with jet lag, from intreped traveler Rick Steves.

    While you’re there, check out all of his other helpful tips, too!

  • I’ve been overseas once, and I found that I was amped on adrenaline for the first 3-4 days. However, I petered out towards the end of the trip.

    My advice: Don’t eat heavy meals and for goodness sake, don’t wash them down with alcohol. In Prague, I still regret eating a hearty lunch of goulash and washing it down with a liter of beer. I napped for about 3 hours that afternoon. I still regret this.

    Piece of Advice #2: Get lost! My favorite part of the trip involved taking the tram outside of Vienna and visiting wine taverns.

    Have a great trip. I plan on living vicariously through you and your family.

  • Very funny!

    Going back to my home country – but I’m not really a London kinda gal… Drink lots of water and go out and get some sunshine (hahahahaha! if there is any! hahahaha!) as soon as you can to re-set your circadian rhythm.

    If you ain’t got that rhythm, then find a cafe and eat pastries!

  • I hear ya! I can only do about 2 hours of museum before I am museum-ed out! I missed MAJOR sites in Paris, b/c I chose instead to sit outside at a cafe, & do nothing more than split a bottle of wine with a friend instead of trek all over the city – I loved Paris!

  • I don’t have any advice cause I’ve never been jetlaged, but never been out of the country except Cozumel by ship which isn’t the same. I’m like one of the others above, I plan to live vicariously through you…have a great time for both of us. OK!! Wish I was hiding in your suitcase……

  • OH man!! You are far too excited to sleep on the plane!! When you get to london settle in to your diggs and go for a walk! Then go to bed very early!! Never mind CD’s plans you can not do any of the museums in less than one solid day!! The museums are far too big to see in just one trip. I spent many days at the British and ther V7A museums! And forget The Palace all you will see there is other tourists!! I spent another whole day at the tower and also at Westminster Abbey!! A grest place to eat is a little sandwich chain that is called…EAT! Loved their sandwiches!! Oh and the only place to COLD drinks is in vending machines so be on the look out in the tube stations!!

  • Shannon:

    harrrdeeeharr harrr – sleeping on the plane – now that’s a funny one! Especially with all those boys – forget that idea. Just hit the ground running and try to stay awake until a normal bedtime. Ambien is awesome, too. You are going to have the best vacation – I’m super jealous!

  • So I go to Spain 2 to 3 times a year. I live in Oregon. Yes, it’s a stinking long flight.

    I don’t ever have a strategy for avoiding jet lag. I just never have it on the way over. On the way back it kicks my butt big time. They say it takes 1 day for every hour of time change on the way back.

    So – being the procrastinator that I am, here’s how my preparations for my journey typically go.

    Up until about 11:30 pm or midnight the night before I fly out – typically I’m booked on a flight requiring me to be at the airport at 4:00 am the day of departure – I do absolutely nothing toward getting ready. Okay, sure, I might have picked up a refill lipstick or something, but typically – not much of anything.

    Then, I spend the time from midnight to 3:00 am – cause it takes a while to get to the airport – packing, while my family – who have nagged me incessantly about getting ready to go – sleep and leave me alone.

    Then, by the time my husband is awakening to take me to the airport I’ve got everything prepared, I’m ready to go – much to his consternation. It drives him NUTS.

    Important insider tips:

    If you wear contacts, opt for glasses for the flight. The air is so dry in those planes, and plus – you’re gonna be tired!

    DO take a long hot shower, wash and style your hair.

    Don’t wear make-up – your skin is going to be trashed by the time you arrive – I’ve done the PDX to Heathrow trip many a time on my trips to Spain.

    Anyway – I usually arrive Madrid at 9am-ish the next morning – and get my rental car and drive the five hours to the part of Spain I go to.

    NO – I do not sleep on the plane.

    I mean, hello – they have awesome movies on the plane – FREE!

    I just hit the ground running, do what needs to be done, and then by the time it’s bedtime – it’s REALLY bedtime.

    You’re gonna have such a great time! I’m so excited for you!

  • Missy:

    We took the kids to London a couple of years ago. We LOVED it! Enjoy and don’t worry about the sleep. You’ll be so happy to be there that you won’t want to sleep (although try to sleep on the plane if possible). P.S. I wouldn’t count on any of the bakery options.

  • You’ll be fine. Sleep is over rated! Sleep is for the weak!

  • martina:

    Eat light the day before and day of your flights. Don’t have more than one alcoholic drink during the flight. Once you land and get your rooms, dawdle around a couple of hours and then take a nap. You’ll wake up a bit rested and be able to stay awake until bedtime. Give the boys Benadryl so they sleep during the flight-a doctor boss of mine actually did give his kids Benadryl when they flew. Not so sure CD will go along with this idea.