Skip to Content

How to deal with jet lag as a family

Jet lag can be a real downer, resulting in tantrums, sleepless nights and exhaustion – and that’s just Mum and Dad! With these jet lag tips, you’ll have your head back in the game before you know it.

In flight entertainment jet lag tips Alison Godfrey
Aim for smiles all round on your next plane trip. Credit: Alison Godfrey

Game Plan

Organise your flights carefully and choose seats wisely. Some families prefer to fly overnight and sleep onboard, whereas others opt to land at night and go straight to bed. Some families want plenty of legroom and aisle access, while others would rather curl up near a window somewhere with an easy walk to the toilet.

READ MORE: The best stopover destinations with children

Limber Up

Make sure the whole family is well rested before your departure. You might like to adjust bedtime by an hour or two in the lead-up to make a head start on switching time zones. Talking to your kids about time difference is a simple way to help them understand and manage their own jet lag.

Airport family Alison Godfrey
Conquering the airport, a beanie at a time. Credit: Alison Godfrey

Drinks Break

This is one of our fav jet lag tips. Before, during and after your flight, everyone should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Mums and Dads should avoid alcohol and be careful when it comes to coffee. Everyone should steer clear of sleeping pills.

Call Half Time

Make the most of stopovers. Consider breaking up your trip by adding a day or two between home and your destination to overcome jet lag in increments. Even a stopover of a couple of hours can be put to good use. At Singapore’s Changi Airport, for example, there are games rooms, flower gardens, complimentary movies and even free bus tours for longer layovers.

Mums and Dads will be grateful for in-flight entertainment - anything to keep occupied.  Alison Godfrey
In-flight entertainment may just be your saving grace! Credit: Alison Godfrey

Touch Down

When you arrive, make sure you eat at local meal times and stay awake until a reasonable hour. Have short daytime naps if necessary, but nothing more. Plan a couple of recuperation days into your itinerary after landing to give everyone time to adjust before seeing the sights.

Junior Squad

Babies are a whole different ball game. Given they already sleep irregular hours, in many ways bubs can be easier to manage. Mum should be prepared for her milk to be out of whack when it comes to feeding time.

Into the Home Stretch

Sadly, the process is no easier on the way back. The same jet lag tips still apply though, and by this stage, you’ll be playing like a pro.

Check out our video of kids reviewing the Qantas Lounge at Sydney Airport:


The science behind the side effects – managing jet lag

How to survive long car trips

* Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links provided, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work we put into!