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Do You Like to Hit The Ground Running or Hit The Ground Sleeping?

Do You Like to Hit The Ground Running or Hit The Ground Sleeping?

Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,561
Do You Like to Hit The Ground Running or Hit The Ground Sleeping?

Hey, it's Friday, so I thought I'd throw this question out there.

I was thinking about this question because next year the flight we would take from Los Angeles to Prague (one stop in London) does not arrive in Prague until 5:40 p.m. By the time we get luggage, and go to the hotel, it will be 8 o'clock. To me, I have wasted a day of vacation.

On the other hand, if I travel from San Diego to Prague (two stops - Boston, London - plus our friends who travel with us are from S.D.) , we arrive in Prague a little before 11 a.m., wgich gives us most of the first day to explore and get our bearings. Of course, I do worry that weather conditions in Boston could screw everything up, so that's a bit of a gamble.

I used to like arriving later in the day, because of jet lag, but on our last trip to Paris, I liked the fact we had a full day once we got over there, and since we're in Europe we always seem to get a second wind after the long flight.

I was just wondering: Do you like to hit the ground running or hit the ground sleeping? Would you rather arrive in Europe in the morning, afternoon or evening?

maitaitom is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I would rather arrive at 5:40 because that means no overnight flight (which I hate) and I can ease into my vacation with a nice dinner and stroll before a good night's sleep. I also prefer non-stop flights wherever possbile so your LA option is more appealing as there is only one stop. Whenever I arrive overseas in the morning I usually spend the day feeling cranky and tired and in need of a shower (which I usally can't have until much later) so no need to get in early for me!
kireland is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Going from the west coast, this works best to me:
One nonstop flight to a European gateway of approximately 9-10 hours, leaving as late as possible in the evening. This way I get a full day's work in, and don't have to spend the day traveling. I will arrive around 1-4 PM, and so I don't have to endure as long a day as if I arrive at 7 AM.

That said, because I have gotten some great deals with more roundabout itineraries, I have done 7 AM arrivals. These are tough, because they mean I've connected through Newark, and I had to start on the west coast at a very early time (meaning I didn't get a full night's sleep to start with).
WillTravel is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:22 AM
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I like the overnight flight that gets you there before noon, mainly because I feel like I didn't waste a vacation day traveling. I use that first day as you say, getting my bearings, buying the museum passes and such and wandering around bleary-eyed.

I've never arrived that late in the day though, so if you're bothered by jetlag, it may be nice to get to the hotel and allow yourself to sleep! Sometimes it's almost a curse getting somewhere at 6 or 7 a.m. What a LONG day until I let myself go to sleep after 8 p.m.! I think 11 a.m. would be perfect, actually. Just don't blame us in Boston if we hold you back! ;-)
amyb is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:30 AM
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In the past my preference has been to have a nice nap as soon as I can register at my hotel because I have trouble sleeping on a flight. Coming from the inland northwest, I've often been enroute for 18 or 20 hours and have not been at my sparkling best when I've dragged my poor tired self off the plane.

However, nowadays I usually travel with my sister, who wants to hit the ground running. After I spent much of our first day in Paris on a bateau boat with my head cranked to one side, snoring and gracefully drooling onto my shoulder, I now take whatever measures I can to ensure that I get some sleep on the plane.

We usually take it easy the first day and go to bed early that night.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Hit the ground, well maybe not running but at a halfways decent pace at our age. We leave from SFO and prefer overnights. We are able to sleep on the plane, not waste a day's vacation and after transfer to our hotel try to do some sightseeing. One plane change is about all we can manage since we're no longer 21.

Early on in our European travels we did lay down, fell asleep and woke up about 7 pm, but it felt like 2-3 in the morning. We had dinner in the hotel and then went to bed. We were ruined for a good full day and perhaps a little longer. Needless to say, we never did that again.

Works for us, but I'm certainly not advising our system for everyone.
Giovanna is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:39 AM
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I place the highest value on my time overseas. For that reason, I prefer to leave home so as to arrive as early as possible to Europe, which usually works out to 10-11AM.

I adjust my sleep patterns before leaving, going to bed earlier and rising earlier. Once agai, scarifice here, so as to optimize my time there.

I also don't sleep when I arrive. My body is saying beddy-bye but my watch says no. If I give in, I'm not getting my body to adjust. So I go out , walk , have dinner, and bed by 10-11PM. Next day, I'm close to being "normal"

I can usually "sleep" on the plane. I don't have wine or caffeine or snacking very few hours..just put on music (no movies) and go into semi-sleep mode. Someday I'll try a sleeping pill.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Well, I am in the reverse situation coming from Europe going to the US and am going in 3 weeks to visit my family and HATE the FF flights I was given. Yes, I know they are free tix but the times are so odd for me. I usually take the earliest flight out of GVA so that I am in Boston by 15h00 at the latest and leave Boston and land in GVA by 08:00 so I can either go to work or have a good day with my husband.

This time, however, my flight is leaving CDG at 19:35 arriving in Boston at 21:00 and by the time I get through Passport control and get my baggage it will be 10:00 if not later. So much for my fried clam dinner. And then coming home I land in CDG at noon and by the time I get home to Geneva it will be nearly 18:00. A waste of a day.
beaupeep is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:39 AM
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I like to have the day IF I can into my hotel, shower, and change clothes. That makes a world of difference for me!

I usually spend my 1st day walking outside (if weather permits). The worst '1st days' were ones that I planned bus sightseeing tours, the Edinburgh observatory (snoozing through). My best were walking through the Tuileries and around and my ultimate favorites was the time I played golf! Nothing like some sunlight to adjust your body....
surfmom is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:42 AM
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In my experience LA-LHR is rarely delayed whereas LA flights to east coast cities often are. I fly nonstop to a European gateway whenever possible.
LAwoman is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:49 AM
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I can do either. If I choose a morning arrival, I do a morning departure. If I choose an evening arrival, I do an evening departure. That way I have the same amount of time at my destination.

I usually pick the most convenient one for getting to and from my originating airport. For example, I don't want to pick a flight that requires me to drive through rush hour traffic to get to the airport.

In addition, I prefer not to have the last flight of the night either way in case I miss the connection - I'd rather lose a few hours at my destination than get stuck at O'Hare overnight for 14 hours waiting for the next available flight.
toedtoes is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:52 AM
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I wish more airlines would offer evening arrivals to Europe. We only did it once - on our honeymoon. It was great. We made our way to hotel in London, ate dinner, and went to bed. NO JET LAG! We felt great the whole trip.

When we arrive in the morning, we push through the day, but it takes both of us a lot longer to get over the jet lag.
ebflo is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:52 AM
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The older I get, the more hitting the ground running is not an option. I find I'm in a fog and feel like crap that first day. Our trip organizer, the evil Amy, usually plans these little forced marches on the day of arrival but I can't take it anymore!
SharonG is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:21 PM
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I used to fly from LA, and always arrived in the morning. Now that I'm on the East Coast, I dn't really encounter many options to arrive at 4-6 pm in Europe. It would have to be a long layover somewhere and I won't do that, regardless of the savings, as I value my time too much.

I don't think the wasting a day of vacation time is an issue unless you are really talking about there being a long layover in the middle (which is the way I feel, I'm wasting that time, I can't afford to do that as I don't get much vacation time). However, if it isn't the layover, then you aren't wasting any vacation time upon arrival any more than you are from the departure point. It's the same time. IN other words, if the reason you can arrive earlier in one scenario is because you have to take a flight in the morning from home rather than from evening, you are then wasting that day.

I would do about anything to avoid connections through London nowadays, so I wouldn't take either one of your options unless I was forced to at gunpoint. I've flown to Prague a couple times in the last few years and use Air France so I can go through Paris instead of London. They have good connections to Prague and pretty cheap flights. I know some people hate connecting through Paris, though, so there you go -- I hate London. I have an Air France FF account, anyway, though, so that's another reason, and I hate BA which is the usual London-Prague flight.
Christina is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:12 AM
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My FF is American, so I guess I'm stuck with London (unless we decide to pay for the flight on another carrier...I'll check out Air France).

I find that if I fly into the city where I stay the first night, I can arrive earlier in the day and not feel too bad.

However, if we fly, and then have to drive to get to the next point, I get wiped out earlier. I'll never forget almost falling asleep in my goulash soup in Beilstein on the Mosel after driving from the Frankfurt airport.

maitaitom is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:23 AM
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SharonG, are you my husband posting under a pseudonym?

I like to hit the ground running, but being from the East Coast, I also don't have many options except to fly overnight, arriving early. I do try to arrive as late as possible when I can. Arriving at 8:30 vs. 6:00 am doesn't sound all that different, but it really is.

Like Michel Paris, I start to adjust my sleeping schedule during the week before departure. I also take a sleeping pill, adjust my watch, don't eat except at "normal" times in my new time zone.

This September, I hope to spend my first sleepy day in Paris at the Rodin Museum. I'll arrive on a Thursday and if my traveling companions throw in the towel after that, I'll be headed to the department stores for their late opening night!
Amy40 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:43 AM
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"Do You Like to Hit The Ground Running or Hit The Ground Sleeping?"

Ummm, I'd rather not hit the ground, if at all possible, especially not with my head.

Personally, I fidget during long flights and hate long airport waits, so whichever one will yield the least airplane + airport time would be my choice. Probably the London stopover would be the one.

Another stop, another chance for Mr. Murphy to cause something to go wrong.

"falling asleep in my goulash soup" - done that once. When they say, "inhaling the soup" they probably didn't mean to be taken literally.
easytraveler is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:18 AM
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As an older person and with no time worries I have two basic chouces from the the west coast to Heathrow. A noonish flight that arrives early in the morning or an early evening flight that arrives between 10:30 and 12:30. I much prefer the 10:30/12:30 arrival as by the time I get through immigration and customs and train into London I then can manage to board a train, say to York, by 2:00 or 3:00 arriving York 2 hours later allowing time to check into my B&B, have a nice dinner and generally to bed by 8:00. I will be pooped as I have been up for a long time and I find that I sleep until 6:00 or 7:00 the next morning and then I am ready for the real begining of my travel.
rogerdodger is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:45 AM
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I'm used to hitting the ground running. I usually take evening flights, which means that flying from the East coast, I get to Europe in the morning. Anyway, I like arriving when it's still light out so I can see the city.

I did have a chance to take an early morning flight 7:50am, arriving at 9pm in Paris, but turned it down. Like some Fodorites, I feel it's a waste of my time.

As for your situation, in London, would your layover be in Heathrow or Gatwick? That would make a whole world of difference in terms of carry-ons into your next flight.
mcnyc is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:06 PM
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My answer is arrive and the morning but still hit the ground sleeping. I get horrible jet lag and this works out best for me. Just to know I will sacrifice the first couples days, and plan for that, napping, eating, getting into the swing of the new time zone and out of jet lag.
suze is offline  

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