The summer is finally here, but so are the heatwaves. Visiting new destinations with temperatures over 40ºC (104º Fahrenheit) is not ideal, but it is what many travelers will have to face in the following days.
Another heatwave is expected in the United States and cities like Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Dallas will see the hottest temperatures this year.
Also in Europe, popular summer destinations like Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France have been experiencing extremely hot temperatures. Portugal recently warned citizens and visitors about “persistent hot weather” and predict upcoming heat waves soon.
Travelers must take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion —or other heat-related illnesses— and here are some great tips and strategies to get the most out of your vacations during hot weather:
1. Check Ahead For Local Conditions
Understanding the weather conditions of your destinations is the best way to prepare, plan a better experience, and pack the proper clothes. It’s not only about checking the phone for temperatures, it’s also about thinking of the kind of humidity or dryness you’ll be exposed to.
Also, learning more about your accommodation is crucial: Will you have air conditioning? —many hotels in Europe don’t. Is there a pool? Is it near the beach?
2. Prepare Before Your Trip
When we travel we usually want to explore and see as much as possible. If you want to walk and hike and visit as many places as you can, you should prepare, especially if it will be really hot.
For those planning hiking or biking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC) recommends “to adjust before you travel by exercising 1 hour per day in the heat.”
3. Sounds Obvious, But Stay Hydrated
Sometimes the excitement of discovering a wonderful new place makes people forget to drink water. During hot weather, it is extremely important to drink non-alcoholic fluids and drink every 15-30 minutes even if you are not thirsty. Always carry a bottle of water with you!
4. Dress Accordingly
Clothes have an important role when traveling, especially with high temperatures. Always wear loose and light-colored clothing, and avoid dark and heavy fabric. If possible, wear a hat, a cap, or a bandana to cover your head. Sunglasses with UV protection will help a lot too.
5. Protect Your Skin
Never underestimate the sun, getting sunburned —especially at the beginning of your trip— can ruin your vacation. Wear good quality sunscreen every time you are outdoors, preferably with SPF over 30. Sun exposure can make the body lose water and applying sunscreen every now and then is also a way to avoid dehydration.
6. Visit Museums During Hottest Hours
This is a great way to stay cool and have a great experience at your destination. Plan your visits to important museums —where there’s usually air conditioning— during the hottest time of the day. Also shopping centers, libraries or galleries are a good alternative.
7. Eat Light
Eating heavy meals during heat waves is not a good idea. Our body’s digestion process generates heat and food that takes a long time to digest will make you feel worse. Opt for hydrating foods like salads and fruits.
8. Avoid Physically Demanding Activities
On very hot days during your trip, avoid hikes or physically demanding activities. Perhaps rearrange your plans and prefer a relaxing pool or beach day during these days or take as many precautions as possible.
9. Bring Snacks
The best snacks for hot weather are water-rich fruits like watermelon and oranges and high in potassium like bananas or grapes. Salty snacks to recover electrolytes lost are also a great choice: salted nuts, popcorn, cheese, and trail mixes.
10. Practice Slow Travel
Have you heard about slow travel? Perhaps this is the perfect summer to learn more about this travel experience. It’s all about taking the time to explore, observe people, and talk to locals —you can learn so much more about your destination than just snapping photos of the famous landmarks in a rush.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com