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11 hour time change

Please provide any tips you have on handling an 11-hour time change (total in-flight time is about 16 hours with a 6-hour layover). We will be losing hours traveling to our destination and gaining them on our way back. No crossing the international date line. And we have 2 young kids, age 10 months and 2 yrs. Just thinking about it makes me nervous!

Posted by
2526 posts

There is no universally applicable magic formula for managing the misery of long flights save for playing a great maddening miles game or paying vast sums..both to move to the front of planes.

Posted by
2545 posts

Gird your loins, it will be a test. Any suggestions that involve Ambien, alcohol, etc. don't apply with the kids. The 10 month old will be fine, but I suspect the 2 yr old could be a handful. Hopefully you have thought ahead and purchased his/her own seat. If not, that is a long time for a lap child. For your layover time do look into lounge access. Costly but more than worth it. You'll be able to feed yourselves and the kids, have relatively clean restrooms. Check out Lounge Buddy to see if they service your airport. If not check with the airline or airline alliance. Best of luck!

Posted by
65 posts

Based on my experience (mostly with 5 or 6 hours difference, but once with an 11 hours change):

If you are arriving in the morning or afternoon, stay awake until your normal bedtime, or perhaps a little earlier. Sleep in a bit, but not too much. This should get you "in sync" fairly quickly.

If you arrive in the evening, it will be easier to adjust, but avoid sleeping in too long the first morning.

Posted by
12804 posts


Are you leaving from the west coast? I flew in 2005 from SFO to Paris with our grandson who was four at the time. It was 11 hours, direct, and also his very first time on a plane. He was absolutely fine with this first time flight experience but I realise your children are younger and much younger.

Posted by
12963 posts

With an 11-hour time change you are basically flipping day and night around in both directions. The difficulty of adjusting may depend in part on the timing of your flight. For example, if you are coming from Hawaii, and have a 6-hour layover on the mainland, you are probably taking an overnight flight? You kids may be ready for sleep as soon as you board second plane. Maybe you can work in nap time for both during the layover if the time is appropriate. A long walk around the airport in a stroller should put them both to sleep.

In my experience with grandchildren traveling toEurope from the West coast, the 10-month old will have an easier time adjusting to all the changes than the 2-year-old. But yours could well be different.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for all the input! Our total actual flying time is about 16 hours, so yes our night and day will be completely flipped with the 11-hr time diff. Agree that the baby will handle it better than the 2-yr-old! Our first flight is a red-eye overnight to the west coast so they'll probably (hopefully) sleep then. Then 6 hours in a lounge or in-law's nearby house (might be cutting it close to be exiting the airport?), then an afternoon flight to AMS arriving in the morning. I'm thinking once we get to AMS, drop our luggage at the hotel and if our room isn't ready for a short (<2 hours) nap, tuck the kids in our hiking packs, walk around, and let them crash in the packs. Given the circumstances we decided against bringing a gigantic double stroller. I'm wary about trying to keep the kids up all day once we arrive in Amsterdam because overtired toddler = epic meltdowns!!!!

Posted by
1589 posts

" Then 6 hours in a lounge or in-law's nearby house (might be cutting it close to be exiting the airport?),"

If you land on time, it's really under 4 hours- not enough time unless they live very near to the airport.

Posted by
1294 posts

Given that you will be up basically 24 hours or more with potentially little to no sleep, I would seriously consider booking my hotel room for an extra day so that I could get into it by early morning. Hopefully your budget allows for this. After back to back red eye flights it's nice to be able to get into the room, take a shower and change clothes. Add a hot beverage and I start to feel human and energized again.

In terms of jet lag, there are different strategies and you need to find what works for you. I'm in the stay up until 9 or 10 PM local time, no naps just slog through. Others find that an afternoon nap helps them.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
31437 posts

An 11 hour time change - where are you flying from? Where on the "west coast" are you flying to?

As the others have mentioned, there's no magic formula for dealing with the time change and jet lag. If you're able to sleep on flights, one of you could nap while the other watches the kids. I've never been too successful sleeping on flights, so just tolerate the situation as best I can. Some people advocate the "fresh air & excercise* method after arrival in Europe, and then go to bed early in the new time zone. I find that a short power nap works better for me, and then an early bed time in the new time zone.

Your flight sounds fairly easy at 16 hours. My last trip from Europe involved three flights and a total travel time of about 26 hours.

Posted by
1509 posts

Oh how I remember and I doI feel sorry for you.! My kids slept on long flights while I didn't. Of course they were up and active after landing and I had to stay awake. I did it once and never again. I am one who needs a lot of sleep!
I hope it works out better for you than it did for me. Have a great trip.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the well wishes. The time change is gonna be miserable, but at least we'll be in Amsterdam!

Little to no sleep for 24 hours? We have a toddler and teething baby--sleep deprivation is the rule, not the exception hahaha! 😂 Hopefully we are conditioned for this...