Tag Archives: travel

Travel ‘Jet Lag’ – best ways to handle it.

Traveling long distances comes with some excitement and new experiences. But there is something else that you have to deal with. While sun is shining bright your body still thinks that at home where it’s middle of night or early morning. Experienced travelers use the term ‘jet lag’ for this feeling. Mostly people feel exhausted in first days after arriving at far-away destinations.

In times when people where traveling more by car, train or even a horse, going to far away places took at least few days or even weeks. Human bodies had time to adapt to new conditions. Now we use air carriers a lot from getting place to place. It takes around 4 hours to go across the Europe; 7-8 hours from central Europe to US east cost or around 15 hours to far East countries. We cross different time zones without paying much attention to it.

Our bodies normally live in a 24-hour rhythm. While we sleep, the heart and breathing rates slow, the blood pressure drops, muscles relax and the mental and psychomotoric efficiency declines significantly. A rapid change to another location in another time zone disturbs phases in the human daily rhythm. Mainly we feel it as an interruption of usual cycles of sleeping and being awake.

Tiredness and slowed reactions combined with memory and concentration problems are the most frequent results. People can also suffer from headaches and a sense of nausea due to the interruption of their normal sleeping time. Therefore don’t plan a lot of physical activities in first two days after arrival.

Jet lag is more marked after an Eastbound flight than a Westbound one. The reason for this is that the human “inner clock” tends towards a rhythm of more than 24 hours. So if you fly from East to West (such as from Germany to the USA), the day is longer – which tends to suit the biological rhythm. Though is is kind of hard to stay awake for more than 20 hours. The human body adjusts to the new time zone about 20 percent faster than after an Eastbound flight (such as from France to Thailand), because flying East means ‘loosing’ several hours.

But from my personal experience I would say that going from Northern Europe to USA cases me more effects that coming back to Europe. Mostly it happens that in first day I would wake up at 4am and the add 30min every next day. So all the 7am clases at the seminars are ‘mine’ (which I wouldn’t do at home). But after a week in States I’m fine 🙂 Few times I’ve had headaches next morning after arrival.

More of travel cased fatigue you will feel if there are no direct flights and you need to take an additional segment before trans-continental flight. Therefore check the times, how long stop-overs are how much time you have. In European Airports 40min – 1hour is  good connection with no rush if you stay in transit area.

When planning a trip, pay attention to departure – arrival times. After several trips overseas now I prefer to pick the flights with arrival times at US destinations around 7pm. Well, since I live in a city with no direct overseas flights, I need to take an additional segment to Scandinavia or Germany in the morning. Total travel time is around 9 hours with some short stop-over. Few days before the trip I go to bed later than usual to get closer to new daily rhythm. No sleep during the flight (two meals, some moving around & in-flight movies help a lot to stay awake) but can go to sleep short after arrival.

When traveling from USA to Europe my suggestion would be to pick evening departures for transcontinental flights because your ‘inner clock’ will make you sleep during the flight and you’ll arrive at new destination in the morning. It’s easy to stay awake while daylight & if you move around more or less then there is no problem to ‘survive’ till evening. For this reason I never had any problems with sleep after eastbound flights. Of course airplane is not the best place for sleeping but it’s still better than stay up for 20 hours and arrive at European destination at 3am.

Hot Travel Destinations in 2011

Have you been wondering how one or other place suddenly become ‘hot destination’? I was but never got more or less reasonable answer. What comes to the nature – there are so many nice & beautiful places in the world. Almost every big city in Europe has some  great architecture and historical sites…

What are the reasons besides the regular travel destinations like New York, Paris or Rome suddenly Prague or Stockholm became popular? It is kind of funny but many people discovered Prague after ‘Mission Impossible’ with Tom Cruise was released or seeing ‘Lords of the Rings’ made many people wonder about New Zealand. The power of images is great and often films are the ones that makes us want to pack and head out to world.

But if  we look at the most popular destinations during last few years, Las Vegas, Cancun and Hawaii remained constants on the ten most popular domestic and international destination. Whether planning for Spring Break or looking ahead to finding the perfect location for your summer vacation, think of Las Vegas as a popular destination filled with great hotel and nightclub experience; Cancun – a place with pristine beaches and varied entertainment; Hawaii has been great vacation destination already but with Aulani Disney Resort opening in August 29 will make it magical destination for all ages.

Last year Stockholm got a lot of attention because of royal wedding. But  this year much more visitors will head to London at the end of April. Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. In Britain it will be 4 days of public holidays and big celebrations. Guess how many people from around the world already have booked the tickets to London?

Another hot destination of year 2011 is going to be Australia. Why Australia?  Because Oprah did announce, “We’re going to Australia!” on seasons premiere in September, 2010. Since then this destination has been on the radar of media and travelers for sure. With all the media attention and a $5 million marketing campaign launched by Tourism Australia more and more people will think about going ‘down under’.

P.S. Travelers – get ready for Russia in 2014! Russia is working hard to make winter Olympic Games in Sochi event of the year.

Travel destination – Norway

You know I’ve been in Norway before. At first visited Oslo and  Gjovic few years ago. Then went to Bergen last summer. Norway is the place where after a first visit to it, people wanna return for more. Same has happened to me 🙂

Even more – I have entered the contest NORWAY.YOUR WAY to be part of 10-days journey to explore Norway  all the way from Oslo up to North Cape. There will be 5 winners selected from different countries. Here is my entry video.  Leave your vote on VisitNorway page to support me to be part of this Adventure.

There are few more days to go for this competition. A lot of people are looking forward to hunting for Northern Lights & dog sledging.

Wonderful nature and majestic mountain views are things that make people to fall in love with this country. No wonder National Geographic has put Norway as one of the top travel destinations for 2011.

Busiest Times for Traveling

According the Orbitz, one of the biggest online travel company, there are 5 weeks in a year with a lot of traveling going on:

  1. Christmas Week  (Dec. 19 –  25)
  2. First Week of August (Aug. 1 –  7)
  3. Forth Week of June, (June 20 – 26)
  4. Third Week of June, (June 13 – 19)
  5. Third Week of March, (Mar. 14 – 20)

Interesting, while Thanksgiving Week (Nov. 21 – 27) did not make the top 5 list at Orbitz.com bookings, November 24 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving) was the single-busiest travel day of the year. Here comes the advice you can read in any travel planning resource – try to book you travel any other day but this…

What comes to other  busy travel days to watch out are Friday before Labor Day, September 3 and Friday before Fourth of July, July 2.

Busiest travel weeks and individual days were determined by total air bookings (domestic and international) made on Orbitz.com from Jan 1 till Dec 31, 2010.  Though Orbitz.com is big US travel booking resource, the tendencies this are similar everywhere – time around public holidays & school holidays and breaks are busy travel time.

There is no big surprise that honour of busiest air travel week goes to Christmas Week – many people are going home to visit family &relatives or using time between Christmas and New Year as a short vacation. But there is one more reason that increases the number of travelers. Many hotels & ski resorts have lower rates in November – mid December and now people who been using ‘low season’ offers are returning home as well.

In conclusion I’d say like that – if above mentioned weeks are the only option for you to travel, make all the bookings good time in advance. If  you are more flexible in travel times, book your trip any other time to get better price and travel less crowded airports.

5 (or more) Movies that Inspire to Travel.

It doesnt matter when or where I saw this movies, after final accords for different reasons there was some kind of inspiration to see the place. I cant say that I like every movie mentioned here, but never the less, I had a thought – That place looks amazing. I wish to go there someday.

Eat Pray Love                        location Italy, India, Bali

Story from ones women’s point you view. I mean every know & them we can associate ourself with Julie. Its kind of nice story how to get over obstacles in our way. But most of all this movie makes  people think about going to Rome & try Italian pizza , visit India or Bali. Movie is kind of long but it’s fun – sit back, marvel at the scienary & the food to walk out of the theatre and book trip to Bali or Italy. …or go to nearest pizza place.

Love Actually                         location London, Portugal

Romantic comedy right for Christmas time. Story line follows the lives of 8 couples in dealing with love in their love life. A little naive but nice, entertaining & heart warming. It starts & ends at Heathrow Airport. But in between l was wondering about London & enjoying landscapes of Portugal. 

Mamma Mia!                           location Greece

LOL – it’s not the greatest movie I’ve seen, but ABBA’s songs with amazing coastal panoramas and small Greek towns made me think about Greece as nice place to visit. Of course all the songs and dances makes impression theatrical but Greece still stars as an alluring and euphoric haven.

Sex and the City                    location New York, Paris, Abu Dhabi

Whatever is the attitude to this TV serial and following movies, this story  shows many places & sides of New York people from around the world wouldn’t know about. Many people like it and find inspirational for exploring Manhattan. Therefore  no surprise that for NY visitors there is ‘Sex and the City’ sightseeing tour. Besides adventures of Carrie and her friends gives short tour to Paris and Abu Dhabi as well.

Sound of Music                      location Austria

Though it is more like children’s movie  – it’s classic. This movie gave me an idea  – this is what Austria is like. Based on true story, it shows beautiful location around Salzburg. Enjoy picturesque Salzburg, with timeless Baroque architecture and the Alps.

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Of course there are many more movies that inspire people to visit some place, but is it that they really get you moving?  Many would say, I had to mention The Beach, Amelia, A Good Year or Under the Tuscan Sun. OK – I am. But somehow these movies didn’t make me long for the particular travel destination. What comet to The Beach – somehow it was too pretentious and unbelievable. But last two mentioned seems pretty similar nice movies.

Lost in Translationone more  movie that relates to traveling but somehow I didn’t like it. I kind of didn’t understand it (or didn’t feel like to go into confused minds of Bob &Charlotte). For me it was movie about sum up of the jet lag and culture displacement. But I have to admit – I did  like modern Tokio cityscape.

And last I would mention here is  Map for the Saturday but it’s more like documentary of one trip for me. This movie is great for people just wondering about different travel destinations. The only thing is that pure backpacking for a year (or whole life) is not exactly everybodies dream.

3 things to make any trip comfortable.

Time is precious and we wish that our travel experience would be the best from beginning to the minute we return home. This is my live and this is your live. Choose places and people around you that make your dreams come true and life easier.

By saying ‘make a trip more comfortable’ I didn’t mean spend more. I would say pay for things that are reasonable but avoid necessary spendings.

Here are 3 ideas to make travel more comfortable:

1. When booking a trip check flight arrival / departure times. On what time you will need to get up to make it to the 5:45am flight? And if arriving at you travel destination around midnight – how you’ll get to the hotel 20 – 40 miles  away? One thing is that these departure/arrival times often come with additional expenses for taxi.

In Europe most Airports have good public transport connection during the day but at night the only option could be a taxi (unless someone is meeting you).  Though if traveling in company of 3-4 people expenses for taxi are reasonable.

In US situation is a bit different because people are more used to renting a car at the Airport. Not bad option if you know the place but arriving first time in new destination can be confusing. Is it comfortable to start a trip by driving around the Airport area  and looking for right exit in direction you need?

If traveling for a short getaway I prefer to take a flights with 8 – 12am arrival at my travel destination  and pick the latest departure for going back home.  

2. Book a hotel with the gym/sauna/swimming pool. For active travelers this is great option to keep up with fitness activities. I’m the one of these folks therefore I prefer hotels that has one of these facilities. Because in the evening it’s so nice to go to the sauna after long walks or go to the yoga or pilates class next morning.

If hotel prices are similar I would pick the one with access to local fitness club near the hotel. This option provides larger selection of workout machines and often provides fitness classes as well.

3.  When looking for accomodation, start with the hotels providing complimentary breakfast and free wireless Internet at first. Because small costs like $3 for Internet hour, $10 up to $20 per breakfast will significantly increase total price for accomodation.

This makes easy start for the day  – wake up, take a shower and go to the breakfast. But free Internet access in the room is more useful in the evening, when after the long day to check e-mails or latest news from home. But both these things together make travel comfortable.

Seasonal accomodation in Europe.

It’s wintertime here in Europe. As you know its cold and we have a lot of snow for a few months. Creative and business minded people are using this.

For people who are looking for extreme experience there are several winter accommodations – hotels or igloo’s build from snow.  Rooms are created by ice artists. Each year the places are a little bit different because these hotels are seasonal 🙂

Room temperature in ice hotel is 0 to – 6 C ( 32 – 21 F). Imagine – you  sleep on reindeer skins in special sleeping bags. In the morning there is hot lingonberry juice  served. For more fun you can try ride with the snow-mobile or dog sled.

There are several ice hotels are located in Scandinavia. Most famous are original ICEHOTEL is located in small village Jukkasjarvi, Sweden and SnowVillage in Lainio, Finland. Both these places are around 200 km above the Arctic Circle. The new entry in this category is Kirkenes SnowHotel in Norway.

Check out before they are melted!

P.S. If you are not for so extreme adventures but wanna feel, how it is to be there – visit ICEBAR in Stockholm, London, Copenhagen, Tokio or Oslo.