As co-Founder of Vacayo, my kids know their way around an airport. Since they got their first shots at 2 months, we’ve been taking off to Cali multiple times a year and, I must admit, jetlag’s been a challenge. Here are a few tips to make that transition to the left coast—and back—a bit smoother.
1. Start the transition a few days before you leave, ditto for your return
Three days before any trip with a significant time-change, I start shifting your kids’ bedtime. Try half an hour, or even 15 minutes later each day, so they don’t notice the effects. If it’s one day before your Cali trip, aim to have them going to bed around 9pm if their norm is 7pm. This will prevent serious sleeping/scheduling issues when you arrive!
2. Be Prepared for Snack Attacks
Whenever we travel west, my kids are suddenly starving all the time. They want to have dinner at 3pm, which makes sense because that’s exactly when they’d be eating NY time. To deal with this, I Amazon Prime-Now snacks to our house the moment we land (or sometimes even before, I’ve become a crazy planner:)
3. Keep the day of arrival as open as possible
When you are switching time zones with little ones, you don’t know what the day will hold. I’d recommend planning as little as possible for that first day, when you’ll be figuring out meal times, interrupted naps, and possibly some extra fussiness from your child, whose internal clock is out of whack.
But don’t worry, jet lag is only temporary and I’ve found that—if you plan ahead and improvise ass needed—kids are quite adaptable.
***SIDENOTE: If you are only planning to stay only a few days in California, consider not transitioning them at all to the new time zone. It means you may have some extremely early-risers, but you’ll also face less fussiness. We did this over a 5-day Italy trip, and it worked out because the kids were totally down for 9pm dinners—something that would never happen back home 🙂