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August is the height of the tourist season and the time when everyone wants to get away to the sun and enjoy the long, hot summer days. But this is also the hottest time of the year, and travelling during the summer can be taxing and even exhausting, especially for those from cooler climes who aren’t accustomed to very hot weather. Children and older persons are also especially sensitive to the heat and might find it difficult to acclimatise when travelling in a hot climate.

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The infinity pool, Peacock Island, Berry Islands, Caribbean, Bahamas

While on holiday, you tend to be constantly on the go… trying to get in as many sights as possible, spending a lot of time outdoors in the direct sunshine, and sometimes doing a lot more than you’re used to. If you’re not careful, it’s very easy to fall victim to heat exhaustion and even suffer from heatstroke, which is a serious health condition which requires immediate medical attention.

Here are a few tips to beat the heat while travelling:

1. Do most sight-seeing in the mornings. It’s a good idea to get an early start to the day before the heat has set in. Get up with the sun and head out to see the sights as early in the morning as possible. By noon, when the sun is at its highest point and the heat is really settling in, take a long and lazy lunch on a shady restaurant terrace or in an air-conditioned dining room.

2. Take a siesta. Since you had an early start, you deserve to spend the hottest hours of the day at rest. It’s not surprising why taking a siesta is so common in hot countries: the heat can make you lethargic and anyway it’s best to avoid strenuous activities when it’s hot out. For those who can’t sit still, spend the afternoon by the pool (but don’t forgot the sunscreen – see #6). Head out again in the early evening when it’s cooler.

Fancy a siesta in Baan Wanora, Koh Samui, Thailand?

Fancy a siesta in Baan Wanora, Koh Samui, Thailand?

3. Drink lots. Needless to say, it’s important to stay sufficiently hydrated in a hot climate. Always carry water with you. If you like drinking your water cold, freeze a bottle of water overnight and take it with you the next morning. It will melt quickly but will stay chilled for a longer time. Avoid caffeine or alcohol which are dehydrating. Water is the best drink to keep hydrated.

4. Stay covered. People who live in the hottest countries tend to cover up in the sun and not wear as little as possible. If you have to spend a lot of time in direct sun or if temperatures are over 30 degrees, make sure you keep your head covered and wear light, loose, and light-coloured clothes made of natural, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Avoid dark clothing which absorbs heat and solar radiation, and choose white instead which reflects heat. Loose clothes allow air to circulate and are a lot more comfortable than form-fitting ones which trap sweat.

5. Eat foods with high water content. Watermelon. Gazpacho. Cucumber salad. Choose fruits and vegetables with high water content. Not only are they refreshing to eat, they’ll also keep you hydrated. Try to avoid heavy foods at midday as they can raise metabolism and body temperature.

Photo courtesy of newbeauty.com

Photo courtesy of newbeauty.com

6. Re-apply sunscreen regularly. Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen regularly, according to the instructions on the package. Look out for expiry dates: last summer’s cream may have expired in the meantime. Make sure to reapply sunscreen after a swim.

7. Know the symptoms of heatstroke. When the body is too dehydrated to produce enough sweat to cool itself down, heatstroke can set in. This is a serious condition which need immediate medical attention. Be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke: headache, dizziness, disorientation, extreme fatigue, hot and flushed skin, rapid heart beat, and even vomiting and loss of consciousness. Young children and older people are especially prone to heatstroke.

Post by Isabel Putinja.