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How to survive long flights, layovers and time zone changes

Travelling can really take its toll on your body – late nights, long flights and different time zones.

I recently had back to back trips with an epic set of flights to travel from Rwanda to Tonga. Travelling over 17,400 kms across six countries, five time zones in 52 hours on six flights – Kigali (Rwanda) – Lusaka (Zambia) – Johannesburg (South Africa) – Perth – Brisbane (Australia) – Nadi (Fiji) – Nuku’Alofa (Tonga) – I was one space cadet by the time I reached Tonga.

It was hard yakka trips too. Trekking gorillas in Rwanda and swimming with humpback whales in Tonga. It was physical work as well as emotionally draining (with excitement and awe).

There are certain things you can do to survive such an epic journey however, so these are my tips.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

Water is your best friend. Period. Don’t be a wanker and buy bottled water though. Invest in a good water bottle and carry it everywhere. ICONspeak do fun bottles with icons to help you when travelling in countries where English is not spoken. If you are travelling to countries where the water isn’t advised for drinking, then pick up some water purifying tablets. They will do the trick. Just remember to have an empty water bottle when you go through security at the airport – drinking a full bottle of water madly before clearing the checks will only lead to extra toilet trips at the most inappropriate times.

Pop some pills

No, not the naughty ones (tut tut) but some health supplements. Ever since I contracted two strains of malaria in February 2017 on my visit to Uganda, I have really struggled to stay healthy, especially when travelling. You really can’t afford to be sick or run down when you should be enjoying your holiday. I grabbed a bottle of SUP Travel Immunity tablets before my recent trips and can highly recommend them. I can’t believe that I didn’t get sick, not even slightly! Even when drinking the water in Rwanda from the hotel which was suggested against. The tablets help with healthy immunity before and during travel, reduced risk of mild traveller’s diarrhoea, was a natural digestive resilience and offered relief of cold and flu symptoms. Between foreign food, mild traveller’s diarrhoea and that pesky sick passenger you’re stuck next to on the plane, your immune system needs to be on its toes when you travel. These were the best investment ever.

Get horizontal

Rest when you can. Even if it isn’t actual sleep, put your body horizontal and let it recharge. Many airports these days have lounges you can access at a charge if you are not a rated frequent flyer member or flying business class. Lounge Buddy is great for seeing where there are pay as you go lounges and if you book beforehand, you even get a discount.


This one can be a bit difficult but once you start chatting to other travellers you will find that time passes quickly. Chatting to other travellers along the way, you may pick up some tips. Better still, you might make some long-lasting friends. Try the app called btrfly, which ‘offers air travellers the opportunity to connect in real life with like-minded people’.

Duty free shop like a rich person

This is a personal favourite of mine to pass time. I browse the duty free shops like I am rich and pick out all the things I would buy – not before trying on all the makeup, perfume and playing with all the electrical gadget of course.