Summer Vacations: Beat the Heat when you Travel

Summer vacation is the longest break in many countries for a good reason. It is the time of the year when the skies are bright and blue, when flowers bloom in a multitude of brilliant colours. It is also the time in the northern hemisphere when the daylight hours are the longest, and there is more sun than rain. If you love the sand and the sea, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. The beauty and fine weather of summer makes it one of the best times to travel to any where.

Yet summer also means intensely hot temperatures, sometimes made worst by sudden heat waves, and an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and fatal heat strokes. With each year creating a new record tempera-ture-wise, we can only expect the summers to get hotter. Last summer, the British suffered a sweltering heat wave that saw the temperate go as high as 34 degrees Celsius. The year before, Kitzingen in Germany was blasted with a heatwave of 40.3 degrees Celsius. To think that many of us cite escaping the hot and humid Singapore weather as one of the reasons for our getaways!

Still, the heat should not stop us from enjoying resplendent blooms or pristine beach waters. Here are some tips to make the high temperatures more tolerable.

Pack light clothing is a given, but dressing for summer can be a conundrum. While tank tops and shorts seem like the obvious answer, you’ll be exposing a large part of your bare skin to scorching hot sun rays. And, if you don’t diligently apply sunblock, you’ll certainly wind up with bad sunburn. The trick is to bring a large scarf made of light, cooling material —cotton, silk and linen are good choices. You can wrap it around your neck, or drape over your shoulders and arms when the sun gets too scorching. But don’t get lazy with the sunblock. A breathable hat with shade, and sunglasses will help keep the heat off your head. Even guys can go for the newsboy caps or sun hats — it can help make a fashion statement too!

Mini electric fans are good to have for keeping you cool, but sometimes, manual fanning works better when you fan with gusto. Foldable nylon frisbees are not only capable of conjuring a decent amount of wind with light fanning motions, they are also incredibly convenient to carry around. If you can spare the extra space, cooling mists and wet wipes will improve your mood considerably in the sweltering sun.

The good thing about summer is that the sun stays up longer, which gives greater flexibility in planning activities. Hence you might want to plan the museum trip in mid-day, and head to the sunflower field nearer to the evening, which is said to be the best time for outdoor photography.

Consuming plenty of water is essential to keep you cool and hydrated. Make sure you bring a refillable water bottle with you. These days, many public attractions and outdoor spaces will have drinking fountains. If you must buy water, then it is an expense that you must not spare. Surely it is more worthwhile to spend on water, than on medical fees incurred from a heat stroke on top of a ruined trip.

Above all, listen to your body. Headaches, fatigue, thirst and dizziness are common initial signs of heat-related illnesses, and you should immediately stop, take shelter, rest and drink water.

– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine.
Picture from Pixabay

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