Have to Travel to Europe Twice ... In 2 Weeks Time

Hello everyone; Need your help. Got a new job a few days ago (yay!) but it turns out I have to go to Germany for a big meeting. That's fine, but I'll be coming home 6 days before I'm turning around and heading back to Europe for a long planned personal vacation. I know, boo hoo. But I'm not sure what kind of physical toll it will take. My question - how in the heck does one handle this? Sleep aides? Naps? I'm stumped. Not a possibility to stay there so do have to come back and then turn around and go back. I'm just hoping I'm not in for some weird health issues. Better stay away from any snifflers. Thanks for any tips you can throw my way!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

New Job? That's great! And international travel with the job? That's even better. You can start going to bed earlier to get ready for your trip, and you can zone out with Ambien to put you to sleep after the meal (like Rick Steve does.)
And drink plenty of water while on the plane. But ultimately, you've just got to suck it up and be tired the first day like all travelers going east 8-10 hours.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Lucky girl! What a problem to have :) I'm a shift worker, so I'm in a permanent state of jet lag. One perk is that foreign travel does absolutely nothing to mess my sleep up! These tips work for me: 1. Drink LOTS of water. I mean almost uncomfortable amounts. It works much better than caffeine, for real. 2. Try an overnight flight. Even 2-3 hours of sleep will help you function the next day.
3. As far as sleep aides go, I swear by melatonin. I started with a low dose (1 mg) and increased to 3-just please, please, please, try it well before your trip if you are so inclined. Enjoy your new job.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

If the first trip is just a few days you may be sleepy in Germany at odd times. When you return to the West Coast you shouldn't have much trouble re-adjusting. My experience is that with short stays in Europe (less than 3 weeks) I have very little jetlag when I get home. I use a prescription sleep medication and melatonin for sleeping. On the plane over and in Europe I usually sleep well from the first night. I drink coffee in the mornings at home and when traveling. I think that helps me stay awake during the day.

Posted by Lee
Dallas
898 posts

I experienced similar travel in one job I had while living in LA. I agree with the comment that if you aren't gone too long your adjustment when you get back home won't be difficult. So the first trip's affects will have faded away when you set off for Europe again. Personally I don't use sleep aids. I gut out the first day in Europe and hit the sack early. Usually the second day is almost normal. Other travelers advocate a nap after arrival, but that just messes up my body clock more. I wouldn't use anything for the first time prior to a big meeting abroad.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3308 posts

Some of my colleagues who come to the US from the UK deliberately stay on the UK time zone as best they can. That means that they don't party at night, needless to say! I am not sure how well it would work in reverse. You could, of course, use the first trip to change your body clock and then work to keep it during your brief return to the US. Pam

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1969 posts

When we were living in France and I had to make a one-week trip to LA, I stayed half on the French time zone by going to bed at 8 pm in LA and getting up at 4 LA time. I slept the first day getting back to Europe but was then good to go. Good luck and bon voyages.

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

Not sure about your budget, but if you are traveling coach, it might be worth investigating upgrades to economy plus. Most people can rest much better even with this minor upgrade. It helps reduce exhaustion on arrival if you haven't been crammed into a tiny space for 10 hrs. at a stretch. With such an intense schedule, it might be worth the investment.
Even if you don't upgrade in advance, be sure to ask politely at the airport at check in. We've had good luck getting econ plus for free or for a minimal cost ($100)when flying out of SeaTac.

Posted by Jennifer
Seattle, WA
3 posts

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the tips. For those of you who are thinking "rough problem to have", if I was going for fun both times I'd agree. But the first trip is for 5 days and I'll only see the inside of my hotel and a convention center, and that's it. I may as well be in Tacoma. :)

Posted by D.D.
England
375 posts

I once had to make two trips close together like that (except that I started in Europe and went to the US). I don't know if this is possible for you, but in between the two trips when you are back in the US, could you try to stay closer to the time in Europe instead of trying to adjust back to your own time for those 6 days? When you are back in Seattle after the first trip, go to bed very early in the evening and get up in the wee hours of the morning. You wouldn't have quite as much shifting to do when you make the second trip. It's the sudden radical change in the timing of my routine that always gets me, so if I minimize that I feel better.