While I was happy that my flight was a direct one, I was less than enthused that it arrived at Gatwick at 4am. The last thing I wanted was to step off the plane looking & feeling more like a zombie than a human being.
So here are some things I did to make sure that my first day in London did not involve me wandering around the city like a zombie, half mad in search of caffeine and/or soft places to sleep.
- Sleep on the plane. My flight arrived at 12am my time, which is normally when I’d be going to bed. By getting a bit of sleep on the plane, I found I was less tired when I arrived and less jet-lagged.
- Book your hotel for the night you arrive and let the hotel know that you expect an early morning arrival. If you book for Sept 15th and get to the hotel at 5am on Sept 16th, you should be able to go straight to your room and sleep.
[If you don’t have the money or the foresight (like me) keep on reading.]
- Kill some time. At 4am there won’t be too much open in the city, but if you stick around the airport you can arrive in the city at a later hour, when coffee shops are sure to be open.
- Leave your bags at the hotel. If your check in time is noon or later, ask the hotel conceriege if you can leave your bags with them. That way you can wander around the city unencumbered and kill time until check-in.
- Find caffeine. Have a tea or something lightly caffeinated. You need enough to keep you awake for a few more hours, but not enough to make you crash an hour from now.
- Distract yourself. I went to the British Museum and wandered around for a few hours. Not only was admission free (so I didn’t worry about not being awake enough to take things in), but I managed to keep myself awake until check-in time.
- Take a nap. When you finally check into your hotel, catch a few zzzs. Just don’t make it a long nap or you’ll mess up your sleeping patterns. I slept about an hour to 90 minutes – just enough to make sure that I wouldn’t sleep through my show that evening.
- Go to bed just a little bit earlier than you normally would. Don’t go too early and don’t stay up too late.
Any other tips out there?