Tips for dealing with jet lag flying east … with kids

Tips for dealing with jet lag flying east … with kids

It is a common belief that jet leg seems undeniably worse when you travel east. The body just doesn’t seem to readjust as quickly. When I travelled east pre-chilren I would have a sleep strategy for on the plane to prepare my body for the time change. But travelling with a toddler is very much a case of let sleeping dogs lie on the plane!  I’d much rather deal with a grumpy jet lagged child at the destination rather than on a plane. So here are my tips for dealing with jet lag going east with kids.

Dealing with Jet Lag Flying East

Make the journey as comfortable as possible

Nothing is worse than a tired small child in a small space. On the plane, we let our little one sleep as she wants. Make sure you make the journey as comfortable as you can for them. Ring ahead and see if you can get a bassinet for a little one and get any sleeping aids for older children that you think might help them.

The dream would be business class flights so everyone can have a bed. But that is not realistic for everyone.

Adjust to Local time

Whenever I travel, I always set my watch to the local time when I get on the plane. It is important once you are off your flight to make sure you force yourself to the new zone. This includes:

Eating the Correct Meals at the Correct Times

Nothing gets the body use to local times like eating breakfast in the morning. Whether it is mental or physical – I don’t know but having the correct meal schedule helps your body readjust  to the new timezone.

But remember …

You will need lots of snacks

Although it is important that you have the right meals at your right time, children may wake up hungry . Keep lots of snacks in your room so you don’t have a middle of the night meltdown.

Bedtime routine

If you have a bedtime routine, do it. Children know their routines and it may help to prepare them  to go bed when they might not be feeling tired.

Dark room

Nothing helps sleep more than a dark room. Make sure you get the room as dark as you can to get the kids into a relaxed, sleepy state.

Daylight helps jet lag

Wandermust Family at the Golden Pavillion

Wandermust Family at the Golden Pavillion

And if dark helps sleep, then the same is true for the daytime. Get out and into the sunshine as much as possible. Exercise and daylight will help the body readjust to its new time setting

Still worried about jet lag going East? Why not split your journey

Why not think about splitting your journey. If you are travelling a long distance, you could stop somewhere in the middle so it isn’t such an extreme time jump.

For more parental guidance on jet lag check out this fab guide by mini travelers and our friends at learning escapes 

What are your tips for dealing with jet lag going East with kids?
Further reading on surviving jet lag


  1. October 23, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Good post this as even as an adult I struggle to come with jetlag when I came home (although going there is ALWAYS fine!)

  2. October 23, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Fantastic tips – I agree with always need lots of snacks when children are involved!

  3. October 23, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Oh my goodness, I absolutely hate jet-lag. The last time we did a long-haul flight (14 hours) it took ages for me to shake off the jet-lag. But my daughter didn’t seem to have any trouble at all!

  4. October 23, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    My daughter never really suffered from jet lag due to her hyper activity. She barely falls asleep this side of midnight and is always full of beans, me on the other hand feels absolutely exhausted for a day x

  5. October 23, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    The dark room is key I think no matter if there’s a time change or not! One thing that helped our kiddo when we went east was to break up his nap into a morning and afternoon one instead of his one normal mid day nap. It seemed to get him through the day much better.

    We’re headed 3 hours west to Hawaii next month though, and I’m a little worried about how he will do going the other direction.

    • October 23, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      3 hours I’m sure will be fine. And Hawaii will gave plenty if sun

  6. October 23, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Ah, you’re right – wouldn’t it be lovely to curl up in a business class bed? Great tips, though.

  7. October 24, 2017 / 12:52 am

    I had no idea that going East makes you more prone to jetlag! I agree that adjusting to daylight and making yourself comfortable would help!

  8. October 24, 2017 / 8:15 am

    I was really worried about jet lag with the kids when we went to the States but they adjusted really well. It helped having a night flight on the way back as they slept all the way though

  9. October 24, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Some great tips here. I have not been on an aeroplane in years, I have forgotten what jet lag was 🙂

  10. October 24, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    These are great tips, we have not travelled anywhere that causes Jetlag with our children yet but we will be soon so this is useful x

  11. October 24, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    I didn’t know that day light helped beat jetlag, I assumed the only answer was sleep! great post!

  12. October 25, 2017 / 6:36 am

    Oh jet lag is terrible! But these are great tips which I’m sure going to try out – kids or no kids! Ha.

  13. October 25, 2017 / 8:55 am

    I have to say I am putting off flying with the kids for a little while because of the jet lag (as well as a few other reasons!) but these are some excellent tips to consider

  14. October 25, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree more a out the bed time routine. Even thought we only travelled within Europe with the baby, having her usual bed time routine helped tremendously. Great post xx

  15. October 25, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    It took me almost a month to readjust when I got back from the states. It must be difficult to keep kids in a routine travelling like that.

  16. October 26, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Jetlag is horrible! And it’s even worse when your kids are suffering and it affects the holiday. Great tips here – thank you.

  17. October 26, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Jet lag always get me! Great tips, you are right when you have kids it all goes out of the window!

  18. October 26, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    That’s interesting – I’ve always found my jet lag worse going west, but that may be because it’s usually at the end of a holiday when we get the overnight flights. Good tips – especially the daylight one – I think that makes such a difference!

  19. October 26, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    We are backpacking around SE Asia next year and the jet lag / time difference is something that is worrying us. These are some really great tips. Thank you.

  20. October 28, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    I do find getting into the new time zone as soon as you get on the plane helps get the body ready for the change, lots of other great tips here too

  21. October 29, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    I sometimes find a night flight helps, and getting into the new time zone quickly is also a great tip. Jet lag can put so many people off from travelling distances with kids. Great tips Leona 🙂

  22. October 29, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Great tips – and as someone who suffers badly with it, I agree with sunshine! It does help!

  23. November 1, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    I’ve never really nailed dealing with jetlag – I start with good intentions of following your tips but then give up and go to sleep. I will have to try harder! #wanderlustkids

  24. November 9, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Kids are way ahead of us when it comes to jetlag. Mine have never been bothered – they sleep a bit more, here and there, until they get back on it. Me, on the other hand. Oh my days. And I follow all these tips I swear!!


  25. November 20, 2017 / 11:27 am

    We’ve only travelled East coming back from the States and to be fair our son has dealt with it quite well. He has tended to sleep a bit on the plane coming back and then has a long sleep in the morning when we arrive back, and within a day or two is back to normal. That said we haven’t actually flow EAST twowards the Middle or Far East so I’m not sure if he’d deal with it the same. But these are a great set of tips! #wanderlustkids

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