Tips to Fight Fatigue When Driving or Flying

Traveling can make you feel free, relax and happy by taking off your mind from routine chores and unavoidable responsibility, no matter if it is for work purpose or vacations. However, long flights or road trips can also make you really exhausted, especially if you are flying or driving the vehicle. This can end up in drowsy driving and travel fatigue. If you can relate to these situations and looking for ways to overcome it, then this post is created for you. 

Here, we will reveal some useful and effective tips to prevent fatigue and exhaustion on long trips, be it via car or craft. But before that, it is important to talk about the common fatigue issues faced by the drivers in detail.

Hazards of Drowsy Driving

As the name suggests, driving in a sleepy state is termed as drowsy driving, and the problem is as big as distracted or intoxicated driving. This happens, when the driver is too tired to even open his/her eyes, mainly after a hectic day or due to sleep derivation. Studies show that staying awake for over 20 hours are equivalent to 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, that is the lawful limit for drunk driving. 

Be Aware! It Can Be A Symptom of Travel Fatigue

Despite the fact that travel fatigue doesn’t cause as much stress as jet lag; but it can drain your energy and make you feel like burnout. This temporary exhaustion could be caused as a result of any mode of traveling, like trains, planes, road and boat trips. 

How is Travel Fatigue Different From Jet Lag?


Travel fatigue and jet lag are usually used as interchangeable terms. However, there is a significant difference between both. We have composed a table to give you a side-by-side comparison.

Type of transport

Effect of Time Zone

Time of Traveling 

Circadian rhythm syndrome 

Duration of the problem 

Health issues

Travel Fatigue 

It can be caused by any type of transport, like cars, bus, train, etc.

It can occur even while traveling in the same city, sharing the same time zone. 

No specific time frame causes the issue.

It doesn’t involve Circadian rhythm disruption. 

Usually lasts for a day. It mostly goes away after a good night sleep.

Result in headaches, restless legs, stiff or sore muscles, fatigue 

Jet Lag

It is related to aircraft.

Also named as time zone change syndrome, jet log happens when you travel a different country.

Disruption of sleep cycle is usually the main cause of a Jet lag, and nighttime traveling can trigger it.

Jet lags can result in circadian rhythm disorder, in which a person experience physical, mental and behavioral changes. 

It can stay for days until your internal clock is adjusted to the location. 

Insomnia, migraines, exhaustion and irritability are common issues. 

Travel Fatigue on Road Vehicles


Travel Fatigue is mainly experienced on the road trips because the road vehicles, like a bus or car, decelerates and accelerates frequently due to natural traffic flow. In addition, they need to take various turns, resulting in continuous body movement from one side to the other and ending up in bodily stress.

And that is the reason you feel stiff and sore after a long drive, weather you are driving or just a passenger. 

In this situation, the condition of the vehicle, comfort level of seats and the quality of roads play an important role to determine your driving experience. 

Travel Fatigue on Air Plains

Now you might argue that airplanes don’t change directions and speeds frequently, then why does the flights cause travel fatigue? Well, this thing is far from reality as there are several factors in airplane rides that can make you sick and tired. For example:

  • Altitude – in the plain, your body needs to adjust to altitudes, which are not natural for a human body. Although the cabin pressure is quite helpful when it comes to adjusting altitude changes, but the inside environment is not normal for humans, so it may react to the change. 
  • Dehydration – most of the airlines regulate the internal air pressure of the craft by changing air composition in order to maintain the temperature as per requirement. Moreover, it makes the cabin air 15% drier than the normal one. That is the reason your skin dries up and you feel dehydrated on the flights. As a result, you may feel drained and sore because of muscle exhaustion. 
  • Impaired circulation – sitting at one place for a long period of time can impair your circulation and cause fatigue or other unfavorable effects. 

How Can You Prevent Fatigue On a Long Trip?

Whether the travel fatigue is caused by road trips or an aircraft, no matter you are driving the vehicle or just sitting on the passenger seat; these tips will work for everyone. The key is to understand your individual body needs and do what’s best for you to fight fatigue and exhaustion. 

Have a look at these effective traveling tips to prevent fatigue:

1. Listen To Your Body Needs 

First things first, every body reacts differently to certain situations; same goes for travel fatigue. Listen to your body, eat well, pack some healthy snacks with you like nuts and fruits, stay hydrated by taking a lot of fluids on the go, avoid sedative medications and alcohol. 

If you are flying, ensure that the internal clock of your body is adjusted by sleeping as per the time zone of your destination. Besides, shorts naps for 15 to 20 minutes will also work fine.

2. Divert Your Attention For Good


Traveling can be a fun experience, if you really want to make it one. Fortunately, you can meet new people, make friends and grow your network while heading to your destination. Even if you are feeling sick or exhausted, the best way to pass time and make good use of it is through socializing. 

Don’t have a good company around? Call or text a friend, family member or anyone that makes you happy. Besides, you can watch some fun videos, cooking shows, movies, listen to music or anything else you like. All this will keep your mind busy to even think about being tired or sick. 

3. Keep Moving

No matter you are traveling through the car, train or plane; staying idol for too long can drain your energy levels really quickly. Therefore, you need to stretch to get smooth blood flow and required energy boost. 

While driving, search for a rest area where you can move your arms and legs to stretch the muscles. Besides, if you are traveling on a plane, bus or train; use the aisle to walk up and down for a few times. In case of extreme distress, massage your calves or pressure points and release your feet to improve blood circulation. 

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes 

A comfortable outfit can only add good to the experience of long-distance travel, regardless of the type of transport. Don’t burden yourself by wearing multiple layers of clothing or fitted clothes that are stick to the body. In both cases, your skin can suffocate and cause physical distress.

Always go for the most comfort dress you have in your wardrobe. Also, don’t neglect your footwear either. Choose a breathable pair that is easy to slip on or remove to stretch your feet on board.

5. Rest For A While Before The Venture 

Catching flights or trains early in the morning and going through all the process before leaving for the destination is surely draining. However, it is always a wise idea to pack your luggage an evening before the traveling day to prevent the hassle. This way, you will be able to rest for a while. Even if you don’t wish to sleep, watch movie, listen to music or just stay in the bed while scrolling through the social media. The important thing is to relax your mind and muscles to get through the hard part – travel fatigue. 

Don’t feel guilty about your me-time knowing that your body needs to rest.

6. Plan In Advance 

It is possible to decrease the chances of travel fatigue by planning ahead: book the hotel room in advance, research about the nearby eateries to save your time, look for the shops or places you would want to visit, etc. 

In case you are traveling for vacations, you must know beforehand where exactly would you go, your accommodation, food, popular places for tourism, best shops to buy gifts and more. Imagine you being tired after a long flight or drive and the next big milestones is to look around for a hotel and go through the booking procedure. Even the thought is so exhausting. No?

7. Take Your Water Bottle Along

As mentioned earlier, staying hydrated is essential during the flights. However, it is equally important to hydrate yourself while traveling through other means of transportation. This helps in retaining the energy level and keeping you fresh. So, don’t forget to carry a water bottle along and take a sip throughout the day to function well. This tip works great for those who are either going on a walking tour or need to spend time under the sun, like on picnics, etc.

8. Don’t Be In A Rush 

To save the time, drivers usually drive too fast to reach at the desired destination. However, it can cause you a lot of harm mentally and physically as well. Fast driving can not only result in accidents, but you won’t be able to get the must-needed breaks for stretching either. 

9. Avoid Late Night Traveling

Late night traveling can make you super exhausted because no matter how much you sleep in the daytime; there is no comparison of taking rest at night. Your mind become less alert as it is accustomed to sleeping at that hour. Especially a better sleep before traveling to a different time zone is essential for your wellbeing. 

10. Partner With a Travel Buddy


If you are off to a really long journey, make sure to travel with a passenger that knows how to drive. This will reduce the chances of fatigue and accidents because someone is there to switch the positions while you can rest or sleep for a bit. Moreover, you can start any interesting conversation with your partner and take driving turns every few hours.

11. Turn On The Radio

Driving alone? Is your travel partner boring? Tune into an engaging radio program to get through it. Moreover, it keeps your mind alert and active as compare to listening to music or audiobooks. Certainly a great idea for combating drowsiness. 

12. Get a Caffeinated Beverage

Looking for a quick fix to prevent travel exhaustion? Get yourself a cup of coffee, tea, energy drink or soda from any nearby gas station. 


Remember that it takes at least 30 minutes for caffeine to reach the bloodstream, and it may not help you much if you are a regular caffeine consumer.

13. Avoid Taking Alcohol And Sedative Medications

It is an undeniable fact that alcohol can impair your judgment and make you sleepy while driving. Therefore, its consumption is legally prohibited. In addition to this, make sure to stay away from over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can cause drowsiness, including cough syrup, muscle relaxations and more.

Final Words

Planning to travel anytime soon? No matter you are using a car, train or aircraft; your comfort matters the most. Especially if you get anxious or feel exhausted while driving the car or flying in the plane, then you need to calm your nerves and listen to your body. 

To get you out of travel fatigue and drowsy driving, we have shared a few useful tips to prevent exhaustion on the go. Make sure to follow the guideline to figure out what works for you the best. Wishing you a safe and fun trip!