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How bad is jetlag after flying to Hawaii from the east coast?

How bad is jetlag after flying to Hawaii from the east coast?

Jan 26th, 2006, 12:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
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How bad is jetlag after flying to Hawaii from the east coast?

We will be arriving on the Big Island after flying all day from the east coast-LA-Honolulu-Kona. We plan to stay near Kona for a night or two before heading to Hilo and the Volcano Natl. Park. We have 3 nights total on the BI and our top priority is seeing VNP. Afterward we head to Maui for 6 days (plenty of beach time there).

So, will we be functional the day after we arrive? Should we plan one full day and two nights near Kona and two days/one night near VNP...or the opposite? We fly out of Hilo to Maui on the evening of our third full day.

Thanks for your advice!

Lina is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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What happens to us is we wake up about 4:00 am (9 or 10 am, depending on Daylight Saving Time, at home). It seems to work best for us just to get up, get dressed, and go out somewhere for breakfast. Then you can walk on the beach until other things open. It will mean an early night that evening, and then we seem to be okay. It's flying east to Europe that does me in.
carolyn is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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I suspect its a matter of your personal clock, however, I have more problems after flying east than I do flying west. Hawaiian time is minus 6 hours from the east coast so there will probably be some effect. Going back home after becoming acclimated to Hawaiian time may wipe you out more.
dwooddon is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Jet lag will be considerable, but it can be used to your advantage. The first morning you might be exhausted from the prior day's travel, but your second morning you'll be wide awake at 5AM Perfect for heading to VNP, especially if you're driving from Kona. It's a long ride, and if you can get there before the tourist throngs arrive midday/early afternoon it's a nicer experience.

As for accomodations, it depends what you'd like to see in VNP. An overnight stay near the park would be preferable if the goal is to see nighttime lava flows, but isn't necessary for a day tour.
fdecarlo is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Thanks to everyone.

I figured that our drive from Kona to Hilo/VNP would involve a lot of stops to see botanical gardens, waterfalls, etc. If we arrive near evening, we could see the lava flows at night and spend the entire next day hiking in VNP. Does this sound like a good plan?

I realize this is a stupid question, but what time will it get dark in February?
Lina is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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I don't remember it being a problem going east to west (perhaps being the first day of vacation had me wired).

Let me second what dwooddon said - west to east was a killer for me on both of my trips. Both times, the flight left HNL late, nearly impossible to sleep in coach, and did I mention the crying babies?

With that said, I'd do it again in a heart beat...

Mike Honeycutt
mahoneycutt is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 11:29 PM
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What time does it get dark around February? Sunset will generally be around 6:30 Hawaii time. It should be good and dark around 7pm.
garuda is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Same here. I never had problems with jet lag from flying east to west. I think it was more the thrill and excitement that kept us up and going, and we slept easily at night, exhausted from the activities. But coming home... boy, that was rough. I would have jet lag for over 1 week. Several years ago, we went with our baby boy (14 months then), and he had jet lag for, I swear, 2 months! He just kept waking up in the middle of the night crying and won't sleep. That was rough.
MaxineR is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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To avoid jetlag, drink a lot of water on the flight.
enjoylife is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 06:24 AM
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I've made the trip a number of times from the east coast. You will have some jet lag the first day but as others have said the east to west adjustment is much easier than what you will likely experience on your return trip.

We never plan to do anything on our first day in Hawaii. Wake-up time is usually around 3 or 4 in the morning depending what time we actually arrived and settled in on our arrival day. We're always tired, but not exhausted. Usually we go for a short walk on the beach, a nice breakfast and, if needed we take a late morning nap. We go for a swim or another walk in the afternoon, have an early dinner and by the next day we're more or less adjusted to Hawaii time.

In February there is a 5 hour difference from the east coast.

In terms of reducing jet lag -- I agree with the person who advised drinking water on the flights and will add a suggestion of doing light stretching exercises every hour or so. Do a web search on "in flight exercise" to get some ideas. Keeps you slightly more refreshed and gives you something to do.
connecticut_lady is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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I think Hawaii itself cures jetlag!

Seriously we've flown around a lot from the East coast to the West coast and Hawaii and never had a problem...you just get up early and make the most of your day. Some people complain about the lack of night life but for us we're always in bed by 9pm for the first week in Hawaii!!

We fly to the UK regularly and completely write off the first day or two...especially if we've taken the red eye. Flying east-west really kills me.

I'd recommend just spending one night at VNP as your stay on island is so short but you'd certainly be fit enough to just spend one night in Kona and head to VNP if you so choose.

Your plan sounds good to me and if you start with 2 nights in Kona you'd get to see the beautiful sunset...at least once.
highflyer is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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We had no jet-lag whatsoever while in Hawaii after the long flight from South Florida. It was coming home that did us in! I think because you tend to be so excited about your vacation, you're all psyched up about all the fun you're gonna have....jet-lag is just not part of the equation. However, be prepared for serious jet-lag upon your return home. Between the let down of your vacation being over, and the realization that you gotta go back to work....well let's just say it's a real kill-joy. It took us over a week to feel normal again. Aloha!
Lenore is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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My body clock works exactly the opposite of everyone else's it seems. I think it may have to do with how sound a sleeper you are. I am not. At all! In HI, my husband snored blissfully away and I was wide awake and ready to go at 3 AM. I ended up going into the bathroom to read to keep from disturbing him.

On the other hand, I have a very easy time flying west to east. We do have to set the alarm clock to get up in Europe the first few days, but we are fine even that first day. We normally have a flight that gets us into Paris or London first thing in the morning, middle of the night to us, but we are out immediately and stay out for the day, just go to bed earlier that night. As someone else mentioned, part of that may be the excitement of being back in a city you love, or ready to explore a new one for the first time.
Malesherbes is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Agree with the previous posts that going to Hawaii from the east coast you hardly notice anything other than the fact you wake up early each morning. That fades away a little each day as you adjust. For me that's actually a big benefit as I tend to like to sleep in and hate wasting that time while I'm on vacation. We usually leave PA around 6AM which puts us in Hawaii shortly after noon. We are always able to get settled and then go out for dinner on that first night. We usually reserve the following day for beach time to recover a bit rather than doing anything that requires much activity. The tough part is coming back. You're really messed up for the first week.
dfarr is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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You'll have good company, most all the visitors/tourists are up wandering around early in the morning!

Agreeing with most above, east/west is easy... it's west/east that kills me!
suze is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Like many of the others here, I'm fine flying east-west. Sure, I may wake up at 4am so this is what I do.

Usually I arrive sometime in the afternoon on day 1. Get checked in, go directly to the beach, relax with my toes in the sand, grab a drink and some dinner, relax some more and early to bed. Then the following am I'll usually wake up around 4am, this is when I do my unpacking since it's still dark out and too early for breakfast or anything else. Then I'll venture out when the sun starts to come up and enjoy those precious moments in Hawaii! Seriously, early morning in Hawaii is my favorite thing...best time to take a walk/job, everything seems so fresh & tropical. It's not too hot out and not too many families with kids are up and moving. ;-) I usually have a lot of energy for activity the first day.

Sigh... just over a month to go!

acaigirl is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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I'm with Malesherbes. I have more difficulty flying east to west. In NY I awake at 5, so when on west coast time I too am up in the bathroom, with a pillow in the tub, reading at 2 a.m so as not to disturb the spouse. It takes me several days to get used to sleeping in. Everybody's different!
antoinette is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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I have to disagree about going to bed early on arrival day.Me and my SWMBO forced ourselves to stay up until about 10pm.I've always found the trick with time changes is to get your body geared into local time.I've only been to Asia once,but I find going from Atlanta to Europe to be hard.You don't get much sleep,even in business class,then arrived at 7-8AM local time.Your're tired,and often have to wait until early or mid afternoon before you can check into your hotel.I've never taken one of those(DL) 10p or later flights to Europe,is that any better?
Randyforgt is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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It's been years since I've gone to Hawaii. It was 1982. The flight was Buffalo to SF to Honolulu. Anyhow, the one thing I remember is that I walked around in such a daze when I got there....for days. I felt like I had a head cold without the cold. I have pictures of me with my eyes like slits. It lasted for a good 5-6 days before I sort of snapped out of it. The jetlag really took it's toll on me.

There was no internet then so I didn't really have anyone to give me the advice that you've received here! I would definitely consider some of it.

Have fun!
BuffaloGirl is online now  
Jan 30th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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Thank you, everyone, for your replies. If anyone else has an opinion on whether to spend 2 nights in Kona/1 at VNP or 1 in Kona/2 at VNP, please let me know!
Lina is offline  

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