Hot Hot Travel: How to Beat the Heat

Posted on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Palm Trees Malaysia (How to Beat the Heat)

There are some people who are fanatic about warm weather. They chase summer, heading to anywhere with abundant sunshine and heat. Plop them somewhere that’s above 80 and humid and they’ll be happy as a clam.

I love warm weather, but I am not one of these people.

Rosinka in the Sun (How to Beat the Heat)

I tend to end up in these places anyway–probably because of my enduring obsession with summer dresses. But too much heat, too much humidity, and I melt. There’s a sweet spot of warmth for me. Once I’m beyond it, functioning normally takes a bit of effort.

It can be done. Here’s some lesson I’ve learned on my sweatiest travels.

Material matters.

Katrinka Summer Dress (How to Beat the Heat)

I traveled in the Middle East (mostly Israel) during the summer after I graduated from college. I knew it would be hot, so I packed my favorite summer dresses.

Yet I sweltered anyway. Why?

Hillary in Sevilla (How to Beat the Heat)

Well, because the fabric of clothes makes a big difference. This was the summer I learned emphatically that cotton or linen clothes are excellent in heat… and synthetics, like polyester, are awful. Your cute summer dress might seem cool, but if it’s 100% polyester, it functions like a greenhouse for your body. I’ve made it an effort in the years since to minimize my summer synthetics and embrace the magic of 100% cotton.

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

Carrie in the Sun (How to Beat the Heat)

My skin is very fair and I never tan– ever. I burn, which eventually fades. Just a little sun and I will probably get red; a pinkish nose seems to be my most constant summer accessory. Since I love being outside in warm weather, I’ve embraced the practical power of sunscreen. There’s nothing uncool about slathering it on. Plus, it’s healthier to protect your skin! And don’t forget to reapply: I thought I was covered during the day I spent wandering through Melaka, Malaysia, but I found out in the reddest, most painful way that I definitely had not put on enough.

Hydrate!

Watermelon (How to Beat the Heat)

You’ll sweat, you’ve got to replace that. In a lot of hot countries, there’s a tradition of drinking WARM things, like tea, to cool off. Alternately, when I was in Israel, I would freeze a giant water bottle; it was so hot out that the ice would melt slowly as I walked and I could drink cold water all day.

Take the time to cool off.

Kelly and Ice Cream (How to Beat the Heat)

The hottest place I’ve ever been was a beach on the Sinai in July. It was so hot that even the air felt claustrophobic; it was around 90° at NIGHT. The only thing that made this bearable (besides the stunning views and copious guava juice) was swimming in the turquoise Red Sea constantly. In the water, the Sinai was heaven.

parvaneh in the sinai (How to Beat the Heat)

I had a similar solution at the Guca Trumpet Festival in Serbia, which was exhaustingly steamy by day. The festival had a pool, and the admission fee was a smart purchase– cooling off in the water immediately improved my mood and made the rest of the day (and night) much more fun. If there are no bodies of water, I recommend seeking out any air conditioning, sitting in front of a fan with wet hair, taking a cold shower– anything that can temporarily lower your body temperature.

Stanislav in Rzav River Serbia (How to Beat the Heat)

The hottest, sweatiest places can be enjoyed even if you aren’t a heat fiend.

That’s why I will keep traveling to warm places– how can I resist?

10 Comments

  1. pollyheath
    May 20, 2014

    Great tips for surviving some godawful hot weather! And now I want a new dress.

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 28, 2014

      Thanks Polly! It’s sweaty here, but I think it’s hotter where you are, so I’m glad you find the tips useful! (And I always want a new dress– it’s an addiction.)

      Reply
  2. Quyen Nguyen (@LiveItinerantly)
    May 21, 2014

    I couldn’t agree more! Sunscreen, cotton clothing, and water does wonders. I’m going to China in the summer and I’m not looking forward to the weather!
    http://liveitinerantly.com/

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 28, 2014

      Stay positive, it will be hot but I’m sure it will be fantastic!

      Reply
  3. Stef
    May 21, 2014

    Oh I totally know what you’re talking about. Being in Darwin, Australia right after the wet season was really hard or Córdoba, Argentina in January as well. Next week, I’ll be heading to Morocco for a two day trip and it will be hot. I already bought some fabric trousers as short trousers are probably not the best choice in an Islamic country. Well, I will definitely bring heaps of sunscreen and will always drink water. Thanks for sharing your advice!

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 28, 2014

      You’re welcome! Hot countries that are also conservative are doubly tricky– I hope you’re comfortable in Morocco. Lots of water!

      Reply
  4. Kerry
    May 22, 2014

    probably because of my enduring obsession with summer dresses

    Oh man, hello there me. You’re so right about the cotton – never again the synthetic times.

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 28, 2014

      I should have written the whole post about summer dresses. Maybe a future post! Cotton dresses 4eva, as far as I’m concerned.

      Reply
  5. hauteholistic
    May 24, 2014

    Why , Hello there… Great piece. I live in the Middle East – Dubai in-fact – and have often wondered why (& indeed, how) people can drink piping hot beverages in the midst of some sweltering summer temperatures. I recently got chatting with a local woman who shed some light on the matter for me. Apparently, by drinking hot liquids the body has to work furiously to cool the liquid down before it can be absorbed into your system. This then causes your core body temperature to drop which in turn makes you feel cooler. It makes some sense if you think about it…. Food (or rather, a cup of tea) for thought though…

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 28, 2014

      I’ve heard that too! Fascinating, right? I don’t mind drinking hot tea in the summer, but sometimes nothing will suffice like a tall cold glass of water.Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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