15 Hacks to Help You Survive Hot Weather While Traveling

Everyone wants sunshine and blue skies when they go traveling. However, sometimes the heat can be unbearable. Here are 15 tips to help you deal with extreme heat on the road.

Summer is around the corner, which means millions of people will soon be jetting off on vacation to take advantage of the weather. However, while we all yearn for warmth, sunshine, and blue skies, you can definitely have too much of a good thing!

Just ask anyone who’s stood in line at the Colosseum in Rome in July. Sometimes, the days end up being too hot to enjoy. The heat and humidity sap your energy, make exploring miserable, and leave you desperate for cooler climes. So, what can you do about it?

Read on to discover 15 steps you can take to handle the heat while traveling.

1. Take Afternoons Off

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There’s a reason places like Spain schedule siestas in the afternoon: It’s generally too hot to do anything else. If you’re overseas in extreme temperatures, try to follow their example.

While you don’t have to take a nap, avoid making plans in the hottest hours of the day. Instead, stay indoors where there’s air conditioning or go somewhere with plenty of shade and access to fluids.

2. Start Exploring Early

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Last summer, my girlfriend and I went to Rhodes, Greece in July. The heat was insane – easily over 100°F every day. The only way to explore in relative comfort and without overheating was to wake up early and get going before the sun rose too high in the sky.

Try to bookend your day with activities. When the weather’s that hot, mornings and evenings will be the most pleasant time to explore.

3. Make Sure There’s Air-Con

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Whether you’re renting a car or booking accommodation, always double-check there’s air-conditioning. We tend to assume everywhere has it nowadays, but you’d be surprised! For example, places in Italy are notorious for not having AC.

Likewise, while I’ve definitely been known to try to save money by booking accommodation without AC, I don’t recommend it. When the weather’s extremely hot, that flow of cool air is a lifesaver – especially at night.

4. Take an Insulated Water Bottle

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I always travel with a 1L double-walled stainless steel water bottle. It’s big, bulky, and annoying to carry, but it helps me stay hydrated throughout the day. Moreover, because it’s insulated, the water stays cool. It’s amazing how much difference that makes when you’re overheated.

You can usually buy cold water when you’re out and about. Yet I always find it more convenient to have my own reusable bottle. You always have a way to quench your thirst and don’t have to go out of your way to get a drink.

5. Chill Water Bottles Overnight

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Have a fridge in your accommodation? Put bottles of water in it every evening so they chill overnight. You can then take them with you when you go exploring or transfer the cold water into your own bottle in the morning.

Better yet, put them in the freezer. The ice block will slowly melt inside the bottle, giving you a steady supply of cold water to sip on throughout the day.

6. Cold Food and Drinks Are Your Friends

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A few years ago, I was driving a campervan through a remote part of Australia. It was summer, the temperature was close to 120°F, and my AC had broken. I vividly remember rolling the window down and feeling air hit my face that was warmer than it was inside the van. It was literally cooler to have the windows shut.

Anyway, I eventually got to a small town where a shop was selling ice lollies. I’ll never forget how good it felt to a) hold the ice-cold wrapper against my neck and forehead and b) feel the cold sugary ice slip down my throat, cooling my core temperature as it went.

The lesson? If ever there was a time to gorge on ice cream, this is it. Likewise, consider swapping hot teas and coffees for iced versions. Take every opportunity to cool down with what you eat and drink.

7. Plan with the Heat in Mind

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Starting early is one way to plan an itinerary around the heat. You could also avoid public transport at peak times. Being squeezed like sardines on a bus or the metro is never fun, but it’s hellish in hot weather. Likewise, in what order will you explore the day’s attractions?

It makes sense to visit historical ruins or do outdoorsy things in the mornings. If a siesta doesn’t appeal, consider going to air-conditioned galleries and museums during the heat of the day. Ultimately, the goal is to structure your days so that you can stay out of the heat.

8. Pack Breathable Clothes

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The clothes you have on in hot weather make a huge difference. You’ll probably want to wear as little as possible, which is one more reason to plan pool and beach days.

When exploring, try to sport natural fibers, like cotton and linen. They’re nice and breathable compared to things like polyester, so you should sweat less and enjoy greater airflow. As an aside, for similar reasons, you could also ask your hotel/accommodation for cotton sheets.

9. Pack Loose-Fitting Clothes

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Skintight clothes aren’t your friend when it’s scorching hot and/or humid. Pack lightweight, baggier garments instead. The gaps between your body and the fabric will facilitate airflow, helping you stay cooler.

Interestingly, the color of your clothes is said to matter less. Logic suggests lighter colors would be best because they’d reflect the sun’s heat. That’s true. But our bodies also emit heat, so you can end up reflecting that heat back at yourself. Research suggests that as long as the clothes are loose-fitting, the color makes less difference to how warm you feel.

10. Sit in Sensible Places in Transit

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There’s almost always a sunny side of the bus, car, or train when you’re traveling. Try to steal a seat in the shady part. And what about ventilation? In an ideal world, there’ll be air conditioning on board. But if there’s not, you’ll want to go somewhere near a window.

Likewise, if you have the luxury of time and the bus or train pulls up looking jam-packed, consider waiting for the next one to come along.

11. Remember Sun Protection

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If there’s one thing worse than oppressive heat and humidity, it’s being sunburnt in oppressive heat and humidity. There’s literally no let-up. Your skin radiates warmth non-stop.

So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen (minimum Factor 30) and a sunhat. Sunglasses will obviously also be useful. And seek out shade! Getting a break from the sun can be blissful when it’s boiling outside.

12. Pay Attention to the Weather Forecast

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Checking the local weather forecast regularly should stop you from getting caught out on your trip. You’ll know if it’s going to be especially hot and sunny, so can pack your day bag and plan accordingly. You might even decide to delay a certain activity for another time.

Likewise, intense heat and humidity can often precede a storm. If it’s going to pour with rain, you’ll want to know about it.   

13. Take Lukewarm Showers

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Cold showers before bed have always been my go-to when it’s hot. However, I just found out that lukewarm showers (or baths) would be better.

Apparently, a cold shower doesn’t lower your body’s core temperature, and actually causes your skin’s pores to close, which makes it harder to sweat (and thus cool down). Ultimately, in hot weather, you can end up feeling warmer after you step out of a cold shower. A lukewarm shower is said to be more effective at cooling you down.

14. Shut Your Curtains

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Are you heading out for the day? Before you leave, remember to shut the blinds or curtains in your hotel room (or wherever you’re staying). This will prevent sunlight from pouring in, keeping the place cooler. You’ll return to a much nicer temperature than if you’d left them open.

15. Pack Cooling Aids

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While lugging around lots of stuff is unideal when it’s hot, there are several cooling devices available that might be useful to take along.

Face mists, handheld/portable fans, and cooling towels are a few options to consider. There are even clothes with built-in air conditioning/fan systems. While they’re not perfect solutions, these types of products can take the edge off the heat, making life slightly more comfortable.



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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including MSN.com and news sites across the US.