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How bad is jet lag from Midwest flight?

Arriving 5am after almost 24hrs of travel from Midwest. I Booked a 7hr bus tour to see Bru Na Boinne and Hill of Tara at 9:30am on day of arrival, because this day is my only opportunity on this trip to see this site. Do any of you seasoned travelers think this is overdoing ?? I really want to see this place but worry I may be so tired I won’t enjoy it. Thank you!

Posted by
3985 posts

Since you asked, yes, especially after 24 HOURS of travel.

Curious, why does it take 24 hours to travel from the Midwest to Ireland? I can travel from JFK all the way to Sydney Australia in 22 1/4 hours including the connection time.

Posted by
6984 posts

It's incredibly hard to predict if one person will suffer severe jet lag after a long flight from US to Europe. No one can say for sure that you will have a problem on your first day.

Most people have some level of jet lag, but not all do. And not all find it incapacitating. Myself, I have flown from the Midwest (Mpls), Denver, and Portland OR to Europe and have never suffered from jet lag to the point where I was too tired to hit the ground running (so to speak). I do sleep on the flights, although not deeply and not for the whole flight. Try to sleep as much as possible on the flight over, don't drink much (if any) alcohol or coffee - they both often give you a buzz followed by a sluggish, overly tired, feeling.

If this is an important sight for you, then it's worth giving it a shot. At least it's a guided bus tour rather than trying to drive yourself after a long flight. And maybe you can catch a few zzzz's on the bus too.

Posted by
7674 posts

I normally crash at around 20:00 the first day.
Just stay well hydrated throughout and it depends on the person. I know people that fall asleep on buses and trains no matter what.

Posted by
991 posts

Sitting on a bus after spending 24 hours sitting on a plane is what I would be concerned about. I like to walk after a long flight to get the circulation going and work out those cramped muscles. I think that's just too many hours to be in a seated position.

Posted by
7288 posts

Everyone responds differently, so no one can really say. Is the bus tour too much? Hard to say. I like to be active, and outside, the tour will have some of that, but resist the temptation to nap on the bus, that would be the danger.

For what it is worth, I find that the best prep for jetlag is plenty of rest the week before you fly. Many people (including myself at one time) spend the days leading up to a trip running around, trying to cover all the things needing to get done, maybe nerves about the trip, anxiety, excitement...and wind up exhausted as they leave for the airport, and even more exhausted when they land.

Posted by
8461 posts

Why is it taking 24 hours from the midwest to get to Eire?

Are you talking mid west Lincoln, Nebraska, or Chicago, Illinois or Detroit, Michigan or St Louis, Missouri….

Curious.

To answer your question I wouldn’t advise a 7 hour bus ride on your arrival day.

Posted by
249 posts

We did almost the same thing in 2019. Flew from Cleveland to NY (we had a long layover in NY too) to Dublin and had a private guide pick us up at the airport to explore the Boyne Valley for the day. We had no trouble staying awake and enjoyed the tour, but I usually don’t have too much trouble with jet lag. He dropped us off at our Dublin hotel about 5pm. We decided to order room service for dinner and made an early night of it. Like you, it was our only opportunity to see the Boyne Valley and I’m glad we did it.

Posted by
2755 posts

Though the tour may take 7 hours, it sounds like most of that will be outside visiting Tara and the Boyne Valley with your time sitting on the bus limited to just getting you from place to place.
Though you're likely to be comprehensively bushed after the long travel day and overnight flight you'll probably be running on adrenaline most of your first day anyway - particularly since you'll be visiting sites that you especially want to see. Nodding off on the bus may actually help recharge your battery between stops.
I'd say go for it ... and maybe grab a cup of coffee at every opportunity .

Posted by
2313 posts

I would imagine the poster is saying it is a 24 hour day total which would include home to airport ,three hours at airport before flight etc. Connection perhaps JFK etc. Anyway yes that is a very long day but only you know your endurance. Some.trips.we.have had no.problem with jet lag and other times we did. . If you fall.asleep.on the bus so.what at.least.you got to.Newgrange. We are.curious as.to.the 24 hours. Please let us know.

Posted by
4 posts

The long travel day includes getting to St Louis airport by 9am and a 3 hr layover in Charlotte NC . My normal wake up time is 5am so I’ll probably be up and moving close to that time despite efforts to sleep longer. Technically I didn’t account for the time differential. Big thanks for the great comments everyone. More food for thought.

Posted by
8324 posts

christinetrudell, jetlag is more than just being tired from a long day - only sleep will fix that. It's your body's clocks being off. When you land in Ireland at 0500, its what, 11 pm - midnight back at home? Well your body's internal clock still thinks it's midnight and wants to be doing what you always do at that time, at home. Which for most of us is settling in for a long overnight sleep, not gearing up for a day of touring. So you have to help your body adjust to the new timezone. There's been lots of discussion on how people adjust here. I'll just say that it throws me off for the first few days. I have no appetite (because body thinks it's nighttime), and I'll wake in the middle of the night (because body thinks it's morning). Gradually your body adjusts t the new hours of daylight. Some folks are not affected at all, so maybe you'll be lucky.

Posted by
13632 posts

Does your tour include Newgrange? If so, I've done that one with Mary. It was a big bus tour, maybe 50 people and felt like a lot of time on the bus. We did not do it on arrival day but did it the day after. I would not have been able to stay awake for it even though her brother was the guide that day and he is so very interesting (archeologist). There was quite a bit of outdoor time as we stopped at another passage tomb first, then outside at Newgrange, then outside at Hill of Tara.

As others have indicated, each person reacts differently. I completely understand how you are counting time as yes, I'm an early riser, live about an hour's drive to the airport (depends on traffic) then wait for flight, first flight, wait for 2nd flight, then flight to hopefully to destination without another change, lol.

For myself touring that day would be overdoing as I know I will crump between 1 and 2 PM. For you, it might work out.

Posted by
5319 posts

Jet lag is not about the number of hours you have traveled. It is about the fact that your body clock is off by six hours - 5:00 am will be like 11:00 pm to your body. So imagine that you slept from 9:00 pm and woke up at 11:00 pm - two hours of sleep. Then you were awake from 11:00 pm until 10:30 am - on a bus no less! Would you enjoy that? I know I wouldn't. I am a seasoned traveler and I think you are overdoing it.

Posted by
54 posts

I did exactly what you are proposing last April. Like your situation, it was the only time I could see Newgrange. My flight landed at 7:30 and I was at the pickup spot for the Mary Gibbons tour by 9:30. Mary knew my schedule and we were in email contact all along the way. The day I took the tour there were only about a dozen people in the big bus. While I was not as alert as I would have liked, I did enjoy the tour. When Mary was talking on the bus or we were outside, walking around I was good. The ride back to Dublin was quiet and I could have taken a nap but didn’t. However, I was asleep very soon after getting to my room! I am very glad I powered through to see this unique area. One thing that helped me is to have lots of food along the way. In addition to lunch at a small cafe I had protein bars and water to help with the fatigue.

Posted by
6324 posts

It wouldn't be my ideal way to spend arrival day, but I wouldn't tell you not to if that's your only opportunity to see Newgrange and learn about the area. I took that tour last year, around my third day in Dublin, and it was excellent. Mary talks most of the time on the northbound bus and it's well worth hearing, though it might be challenging to stay awake. Then you're on the ground in various places, getting fresh air in beautiful surroundings. The bus ride back to the city is quiet, you might find yourself napping, but that's OK.

Sleep deprivation and jet lag are indeed different things, but most of us experience both after long flights. And people handle the experience differently. You've had some good advice about being rested beforehand, avoiding alcohol aloft, etc. Only by doing the tour will you find out whether you "may be so tired I won't enjoy it." Either way, you'll learn from the experience and hopefully go on to a great multi-day visit to Ireland.

Posted by
20 posts

Hope you are not doing anything important the next day...

I would strongly recommend the Timeshifter app. We used it with the astronauts on the International Space Station. You put in your normal wake/sleep time, your flights...it calculates when you should/should not see sun or drink caffeine. Best shot at dealing with the jet lag - you need to start several days in advance.

Posted by
2267 posts

Hope you are not doing anything important the next day...

This! If I’m going to be a zombie, I’d rather it be the day I actually arrive.

Posted by
978 posts

I have a 2.5-hour drive to get to St. Louis Airport, so I know your pain. My brother lives 1 hour outside London and it is indeed about a 24-hour trip for us to go from door to door. These days, I usually drive up to St. Louis the afternoon before, stay the night in an airport hotel, and shuttle over. I think it makes a big difference in how I feel. (also I am less anxious about missing a flight) . Those early morning starts to get to the airport also make you even more tired even if you are not driving.

Posted by
2 posts

I've travelled to Europe and Ireland many times from Portland, OR. Generally I don't have any problems adjusting to the time once I arrive in Europe. It's returning home that gets me every time!

Have a great time - we're heading to the Emerald Isle in July.

Posted by
26411 posts

As already stated by many, it's a very individual thing. Even in the middle of a trip, I'm likely to nod off, sitting on a bus. Trains don't affect me the same way. If you have an airplane pillow you like, you might take it on that bus tour in case you can't keep your eyes open.