Everyone’s favorite season has officially arrived and it’s time to break out the shorts and swimsuits! This is the busiest time of year for eager vacation-goes and with good reason; the summertime presents endless opportunities for outdoor activities and the warmer weather makes exploring any destination on foot an absolute pleasure. Whether you’re spending your holiday on the water at a balmy beach or touring historical sites farther inland, get the most of your time outside with these summer travel tips!
Staying Cool in the Summer
For me, the sunny days of June, July, and August bring back countless memories of being a kid; ecstatic over the rising temperatures and longer days. Of all the fond recollections, though, I always seem to always forget one overbearing fact about the summer: it can get HOT!
Unless you’re living in (or visiting) Antarctica, chances are each year will bring at least a few days when staying cool in the summer seems simply impossible. This is especially difficult while traveling, when a majority of the day is spent on the go and access to air conditioning is limited. Luckily, there are a few neat tricks you can employ most anytime, anywhere, for keeping cool in the summer so you can stay comfortable and enjoy your vacation.
Here are 7 summer travel tips on ways to stay cool in the summer:
Ways to Beat the Heat: On the Go
Ok, ok… I know this one seems painfully obvious but, if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get distracted while exploring a new destination, seeing incredible sites and touring spectacular places, and boring stuff like hydration quickly falls to the wayside. On top of being healthy and keeping you from having a heat stroke, though, drinking enough water is a critical factor in keeping cool, staying comfortable, and ultimately enjoying your time to the fullest.
One of the greatest obstacles to this no-brainer summer travel tip is the high price that can be charged for some basic H20 in areas popular with tourists. Even when feeling a bit parched, I see a €4 price tag on a bottle of water and instantly convince myself that I’ll just wait until I find a cheaper option. Which leads us to our first not-so-obvious summer travel tip…
Bring an empty water bottle with you
Empty water bottles are lightweight and easy to carry around. Bring one with you to the airport and you can refill it at a fountain after passing through security. After you arrive, bring one with you while walking around town and you can ask a waiter to fill it up when grabbing a bite to eat or, in a pinch, fill it up with tap water (do NOT, however, use a decorative fountain to replenish your drinking water supply!). This will save you the exorbitant costs you might have to pay for bottled drinks in crowded tourist areas.
Disposable plastic bottles will work when there are no other options, but reusable water bottles are a good investment that will help you keep yourself hydrated throughout your entire trip while reducing waste! Having a good travel canteen will help keep your water cold, too, but you can do more to keep your hydration nice and frosty for even longer.
Freeze water at your hotel to take with you
In addition to having a clean refillable container it’s a good idea to bring along a supply of water from your home base, too. Freezing the water beforehand will help keep it cold and refreshing for as long as possible. The rate of the melting ice can also serve as a good reminder as to how much water you should be drinking; if your frozen water bottle has long-since melted and you haven’t been taking regular sips, it’s probably a good idea to catch up on hydration.
It’s no secret that good old H2O is one of your best allies in combating the sweltering summertime heat, and keeping enough on hand can be useful for more than just hydration.
Be resourceful and use your water wisely:
- Hold a cold water bottle between the insides of your wrists. There are several major arteries close to your skin here and keeping this spot cool will help keep your overall body temperature down.
- Splash some water on your head or on the back of your neck to promote the release of body heat. Wetting your head helps to stay cool in summer for the same reasons wearing a hat helps to stay warm in winter!
- Throw a lemon or lime wedge into your water bottle to give it a refreshing kick. If you are able, freeze the fruit wedges before you use them and they’ll help keep the water cool, too.
Eat spicy foods, chew minty gum
Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But the fact of the matter is that capsaicin, the active component that gives spicy food its kick, induces sweating without actually raising your body temperature. Minty gum has a more obvious purpose in producing a cooling feeling that any weary wayfarer will appreciate on a hot day, without having to consume calories. The extra sweat and titillating effects will make breezes feel more refreshing, water taste colder, and have you feeling less like taking refuge in the car all day with the A/C blasting.
Too Hot to Sleep: How to Keep Cool at Night
Opt for cotton sheets
Whether you’re staying at a fancy hotel or a family member’s guestroom, falling asleep while traveling can be a challenge when it’s hot out, especially since air conditioning is a less popular amenity among accommodations in Europe. But that doesn’t mean you have to toss and turn in misery, trying to fall asleep to dreams of comfortable home sweet home! Request cotton sheets or bring your own along with you; cotton has superior breathability and will increase ventilation on hot nights. There are even specialized travel bed sheets that keep you cool so you can bring overnight contentment along with you while still packing light!
Take a cool shower and drink 8oz of water before bed
If it hasn’t already been made painfully obvious, water is one of your best friends when it comes to beating the heat in almost any situation, even when falling asleep. To get nice and comfy before going to bed take a cool (NOT hot) shower or, when you’re in more dire need of cooling, take a cool bath. Washing the oils and dirt of a long day of traveling off will leave you feeling refreshed and the cool water will help bring your body temperature down to make falling asleep easier. Following along with the theme of staying hydrated, drink some water right before going to sleep but limit the amount you drink so that you don’t find yourself waking up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break!
Make your own cheap air conditioning alternatives
This may sound complicated, but it really isn’t! While it may not be the same as a bona-fide A/C unit, simply bringing a small travel fan can make a world of a difference when trying to fall asleep in the heat. To take cooling your accommodations a step further, place an open bowl of salted ice directly in front of your fan to circulate some wonderfully cool air throughout a room. Hanging a wet towel in front of an open window also makes for a cheap air conditioning alternative as it cools down the air flowing in. Use this in combination with your portable fan and you’ll be ready to sleep soundly on even the hottest summer months!
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Share Your Own Summer Travel Tips
Have a summer travel tip for staying cool that you didn’t see listed here? Don’t leave us hanging; share your knowledge in the comments box below and help fellow travelers in their pursuit of summertime bliss. We’d love to hear from you!