How to Stay Cool During a Heatwave While You’re Travelling

Exploring Pamukkale, Turkey in HOT Summer Weather
Exploring Pamukkale, Turkey in HOT Summer Weather

At the beginning of July, we spent a week in Turkey, and it was SO HOT. We stayed in the seaside city of Bodrum, but our tour to the Greek and Roman ruins of Ephesus and Pamukkale tour took us inland. The timing of our tour meant that we would be outside during the hottest part of the day, surrounded by heat-absorbing stone ruins, with very little shade. My weather app tracked it as 38 degrees, we were sweating non-stop. Our Turkish tour guide told us that 38 degrees was nothing compared to later in the summer when the region gets even hotter — up to 45 degrees!

Back home in Vancouver, if we go through a heatwave, we just go to work or stay inside and turn on a fan. Vancouver has so much greenery, it’s easy to duck into the shade, cool down at a restaurant, or just stay indoors. Besides, it usually cools down by the evening.

The hottest part of the day is between noon and 4pm.  BAs travellers (or vacationers), we don’t want to spend the “best” part of our day indoors.  Especially, if we’ve signed up for a tour, they usually consist of long days and visits to outdoor attractions during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Based on my recent experience of travelling in 38 degree weather, here are some of my tips for staying cool during a heatwave.

  • Wear light-coloured and lightweight clothing.  Dark colours absorb heat, so it’s best to wear light colours when possible.
  • Cover up.  Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Spray your face or body with water.  Avene’s Thermal Spring Water Spray, for example, is a versatile spray with minerals that help soothe the skin. In addition to cooling you down in the heat, it also works as an after-sun skincare product.  The 50ml version is TSA friendly for your carry-on luggage.
  • Stand in the shade whenever possible. We found shelter in the shade of a pomegranate tree, under thick Roman arches, or behind a wall.
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you.  I love my stainless steel, insulated S’well waterbottle from Indigo; I carry it everywhere with me because it keeps my water cool for hours. If you don’t have a S’well bottle (yet), you can also freeze a bottle of water and let the ice melt throughout the day.
  • Drink as many fluids as you can…even if you aren’t thirsty.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Eat ice cream or a slushy — anything cold that can cool you down.
  • Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you.
  • Go for a swim!

Enjoy your hot-weather travels this summer!


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  1. Here where I live on the Gulf Coast, a summer day average temperature is about 35 degrees Celsius, so I know where you’re coming from. We start to sweat within about 30 seconds of walking outside. Air conditioning or jumping into my pool are about the only ways to escape the heat.

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