Staying Cool on Holiday: a Definitive Guide

The dog days of summer may have passed here, but most hot holiday destinations – including those in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Asia – remain sizzling throughout the fall. Too many travelers make the mistake of assuming that everything will be cool (both figuratively and literally) during the shoulder season vacation, only to find that it’s as hot as ever. Don’t make the same mistake.

Most people go on vacation to relax, but there’s nothing less relaxing, nothing more uncomfortable, than burning, sweating and dehydrating. In order to make the most out of your hard-earned vacation, be proactive about keeping cool. It doesn’t take a lot of effort – just a few handy hints and a little extra planning.

Stay Hydrated

Margaritas and/or beers on the beach are staples of the lounge-around vacation, but the liquor in them can quickly dehydrate you. No one’s saying you have to give up the waterside drinks, but just be sure to also drink water. If you’re packing light, simply pack a collapsible water bottle, and then fill it up with potable water before you head outdoors.

Wear Breathable Clothing

The type of clothes you wear has a profound effect on your overall comfort in the heat. Typical materials like cotton and polyester tend to trap in moisture and heat, exacerbating your rising body heat and sweat. On the other hand, a material like merino wool, which has long been an open secret in the travel community, can keep you cool and dry. You see, merino wool t-shirts breathe better than those other materials because the material wicks moisture from the body and releases it as vapor into the air.

Cool Your Body’s “Quick Cooling Spots”

Ever wondered why, when you dip your feet in cold water, or when you lay a cold cloth on your forehead, your entire body cools off? It’s because those areas, in addition to a few others, are what is known as your body’s “quick cooling spots”. Put simply, they are the areas on your body where blood vessels are closest to the surface, and therefore cooling them can quickly cool off your circulating blood. That’s science for you!

Avoid Overeating

To avoid overheating, avoid overeating. It’s easier said than done on holiday, when the abundance of tasty, often cheap food is everywhere, but showing some restraint come meal time can have a great effect on how your body manages heat. The more food the body has to process, the more energy it must expand and the more it heats up.

Find Shade

This is an obvious tip, but it bears mentioning. It’s all well and good to get a tan, but if you are feeling at all dizzy or overheated, head for shade right away. In fact, to avoid ever overheating in the first place, it may be good to spend most of your time in the shade. Consider indoor activities for the hottest portion of the day, which is generally the mid-afternoon – a movie, a stroll through the local shopping center a visit to the museum or just a couple drinks at a pub.

Don’t waste a vacation sunburnt and sweating in agony. Follow a few simple rules, pack smartly and – when in doubt – move out of the sun.

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