I remember my trip to Barcelona: it was fun, but the burning sun was exhausting. Hang inside with the airco on, but that’s not a solution if you want to go out and see/experience stuff. That’s why I’ve done some digging and found out some tips on how to survive the heat whilst travelling.
1. What to wear
You could wear a guayabera* (or a Safari shirt) or moisture wicking shirts. These types of clothing are made to keep the wearer feel cool. It keeps moisture away from the body. So go all the way and wear you sports clothing (these are most often made of moisture wicking materials). Or wear at least wide clothing that doesn’t stick to you sweaty back or legs. Darker colors absorb sunrays and therefore warmer, so avoid black wear too.
Do not wear shoes or hats indoors as your body heat leaves your body through the soles of your feet and the top of your head. Outside wear hats against the sun. And wear flipflops: as your feet sweat the flipflops allow the sweat to evaporate.
*The guayabera is a men’s shirt that is popular in Cuba, Mexico, Central America and Africa. It is also known as a ‘wedding shirt’. It is considered office and loose formal wear, but has become more fashionable for young people to wear to less formal occasions.
2. What to eat/drink
Stay away from large meals, these contain lots of protein and force your body to heat up from the inside. Solution: break up eating to smaller and more frequent meals. Try to bring parts of melon, cucumber and grapes. Cooled in the fridge will add to the cooling sensation when you eat them.
Also eat spicy foods. Ever wondered why people in India and other tropical countries eat their food spicy? Because the spice makes you sweat. And when you do your body cools down.
Obviously drink lots of water and stay away from soda. Soda will dehydrate you more. The same counts for alcohol. Add mint to water you bring along. It creates an extra cooling sensation too.
3. I need to cool down now!
Run some cold water or put ice cubes on your wrist, face and temples. Bring a water filled spray bottle (cooled in the fridge before setting of exploring) and spray yourself when you need it. Fanning doesn’t do much. On the contrary, it requires energy making you feel hotter.
Find a public building or a place to refresh, a café or a museum for instance. Most of the time these buildings are air conditioned and you have time to cool off before setting of once more.
4. Cooling down back ‘home’
Stay downstairs, because heat rises. Block out the sun: close all curtains and blinds. It keeps from heating your home. An alternative is to hang wet sheets in front of an open window. If the wind blows through it creates a cooling effect. Keep the lights of as much as possible. And don’t use washing machines, dryers or dishwashers. These emit heat.
Take a bath. Not a hot foaming one. You need to cool off. Not too cool either, that’s dangerous. Just make sure it feels nice to lie down in. You could refill the bath after a while if the water has heated up from the warmth leaving your body.
Put a bowl of ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts, the surrounding air is cooled and if the fan is placed right, it blows right towards you.
5.Too hot to sleep
You need your sleep. So a few hours before going to bed put a bottle of water, or a sock filled with rice, in the freezer. Get it when going to bed and put it between your sheets. This will keep you cooler.
It might also help to cool your wrists, face and temples (while brushing your teeth), ankles and the back of the knees (with the sock or water bottle) before going to sleep.