Travel

How do you handle early AM arrivals in Europe?

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  • May 5th, 2018 1:58 pm
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Mar 6, 2010
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Brampton

How do you handle early AM arrivals in Europe?

Most YYZ flights arrive early in Europe. Mostly between 6 and 9 AM. Even after the delays involved in claiming luggage and clearing immigration etc., one often ends up at hotel before noon and obviously rooms are not ready yet. This coupled with lack of sleep causes almost the day to be wasted. Unfortunately dirt cheap hotels don't exist in Europe so there are hardly any choices to freshen up or even relax a bit or catch a nap.
One option is to drop off the luggage at hotel and take off to sightseeing. But is there any other trick you know of that can make things easier. For example taking showers at airports or similar places?
Can you please share some tips?
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May 10, 2005
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I traveled to Europe for work for almost 15 years. Always on overnight flight. I always stayed up as long as I could and went to bed that night (sometimes early...8 or 9PM). The got up the next day regular. It normally took a few days to settle in.
As for hotel not being ready, most let you store your luggage until check in. If on vacation, I would pre plan something to do for the day....nothing sitting for long periods :)
The biggest problem was always coming back For me, going West was tough.
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Like @Pete_Coach, I've done this many times, for work and for pleasure. There's a mental as well as a physical component.

There have probably been many times you have had a crappy night's sleep(?), e.g. partying or pulling an all-nighter as a student, feeding babies or tending unwell small children, accompanying a friend to the emergency room in the evening and not getting home until 4am, etc. You somehow pulled yourself together and got through the next day, and this is really no different.

As @PointsHubby writes, get yourself on local time ASAP. Change your watch and try to get on the sleep and meal cycle of the destination no later than the beginning of the flight, ideally before. If your flight leaves at 7pm and lands in Europe at 8am local time (2am N.Am time), have lunch on the day of departure as your main meal, and then a small "midnight snack" at the airport. Really feel that you're leaving at 1am having stayed up late.

At destination, don't let yourself think "it's 2am, I want to finish my night's sleep". No, it's 8am, you've gotten up earlier than you'd like, and you have things to do and places to be. If you're tired, go to bed early (local time, of course). Above all, resolutely stop thinking "whoa, it's actually 6 hours earlier". And make sure you do have things to do and sights you're thrilled to see. Choose to be excited rather than tired.

To help your body get over the hump, maximize morning rituals. Have an espresso and breakfast at the airport, or on the main square as soon as you get to town. Brush your teeth. Have a shower. There are often paid showers at the airport if you don't have frequent flyer access to an arrivals lounge. If you are in an upscale hotel, they may not have your room ready, but they'll probably let you shower in the fitness centre/pool area.

Some people take sleeping pills to sleep better on the plane, or melatonin to shift their body clock. I've never liked the idea of the first (and am generally lucky enough to fly premium class where sleeping is easier), and I'm skeptical the 2nd does much, but try it out and see if it helps you.
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Apr 26, 2004
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I don't really get jet lag so I'm lucky in that regard. I actually like that flights to Europe tend to leave Toronto at night and arrive in the morning. I sleep on the plane (sometimes I pop a melatonin) and I hit the ground running once I land.
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If it's really early, I book the hotel for the night I'm flying and tell them I'm checking in at 7am or whatever. I don't sleep well on planes so a few hours of rest is what I'm looking for shortly after I touch down from an overseas flight. I've done this in Asia and in Europe.
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Apr 4th, 2018 12:40 pm
The biggest problem was always coming back For me, going West was tough.
Hear, hear
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luking wrote:
Apr 4th, 2018 11:45 am
Most YYZ flights arrive early in Europe. Mostly between 6 and 9 AM. Even after the delays involved in claiming luggage and clearing immigration etc., one often ends up at hotel before noon and obviously rooms are not ready yet. This coupled with lack of sleep causes almost the day to be wasted. Unfortunately dirt cheap hotels don't exist in Europe so there are hardly any choices to freshen up or even relax a bit or catch a nap.
One option is to drop off the luggage at hotel and take off to sightseeing. But is there any other trick you know of that can make things easier. For example taking showers at airports or similar places?
Can you please share some tips?
For my upcoming vacation, My flight leaves YYZ at night 10:30PM and arrives @12PM noon next day. Hopefully I won't be a walking zombie. Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes
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13inches wrote:
Apr 4th, 2018 1:56 pm
If it's really early, I book the hotel for the night I'm flying and tell them I'm checking in at 7am or whatever. I don't sleep well on planes so a few hours of rest is what I'm looking for shortly after I touch down from an overseas flight. I've done this in Asia and in Europe.
This. An extra night shouldn't break the bank in a vacation. If so, reduce the length of the trip.
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Jun 12, 2017
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Go for a good coffee. Much better than the Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Have some nice breakfast with good food
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Jan 17, 2017
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Redbull and/or coffee. Any sleep on the plane will help. Otherwise try and power through the day and go to sleep as late as you can on the new time zone. I always do light sight seeing the first day, even though I can never sleep on the plane. Redbull power.
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lambertbob912 wrote:
Apr 4th, 2018 5:01 pm
Go for a good coffee. Much better than the Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Have some nice breakfast with good food
???

The French are known for bad coffee. It is over-roasted and the blends usually include a lot of cheap robusta beans. If you have memories of good coffee in Europe it is probably because you went when you were 20 and you hadn’t yet adapted to the taste of drip coffee .

And if you are drinking because of the caffeine content, be forewarned that espresso contains far less caffeine than drip coffee. It is impossible to find drip coffee on the continent (at best they will add hot water to an espresso). Even Starbucks in France doesn’t sell drip coffee.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... offee.html

Exception: Finland.

Toronto is a very small part of Canada
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Webhead wrote:
Apr 4th, 2018 3:26 pm
For my upcoming vacation, My flight leaves YYZ at night 10:30PM and arrives @12PM noon next day. Hopefully I won't be a walking zombie. Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes
We just did something similar - arrived a bit earlier. We slept a bit on the plane, were fine on arrival, got our rental car, drove for about 45 minutes and stopped for a good coffee then kept going. We were busy all day, went out for dinner, and went to sleep around 9:30/10 PM. Woke up the next morning at 7. Just keep busy, get outside if you can - the sunlight will help you adjust.
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I prefer to arrive early to have a full day. Sometimes the hotel will check you in early. Otherwise, leave your bag, go eat breakfast and coffee to re-energize and walk around.
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I find Toronto to Europe overnight to be one of the easier time change trips. The big problem for me is coming back, and I don't plan on any work for 2 or 3 days after returning. But at least I can make that transition in the comfort of my own house.

When leaving for Europe, I take a light dose of lorazepam (tranquilizer), not to put me to sleep but enough to get into a relaxed dozy state in spite of all the noises/annoyances around me. If I'm lucky I'll nod off for a couple of hours. My noise cancelling phones makes the trip a bit less tiring by cancelling out the drone of the engines.

We are going to visit Holland next month with a side trip to Belgium, and we are starting in Antwerp so that we can do the transfer from AMS to Antwerp on our "wasted" arrival day. I have timed our trip on the Thalys so that we will get to the hotel at check-in time. We should have time for a good nap and freshening up before a light supper and relaxing evening.

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