Wednesday, June 27, 2012

9 Tips to Help You Beat the Heat During Summer Travel Season

A dip in your vacation rental pool will keep you
cool and refreshed.

Record high temperatures are scorching much of the United States and wildfires are burning in parts of the west. But summer vacation plans roll on for most of us inspite of the heat. There are some steps you can take to minimize the impact of high temperatures (short of rebooking your itinerary to Alaska, of course).

1. Go Light and Wear White. Leave the heavy denim jeans at home, even your favorite pair. Instead, pack a pair of light khakis and a white short sleeve shirt, or other light, summery and breathable clothing. Wear sandals, go without socks, and get casual. And get a really cool Panama hat.

2. Remember the Sunscreen. This almost goes without saying, but it can be easily forgotten when packing since most of us don't use it everyday.

3. Limit Your Time on the Concrete. Try to spend as much time as possible in parks (preferably ones with water) and not standing around on concrete outside (at amusement parks, for example). If you're in an urban area, try to stay in air-conditioned museums or shopping centers as much as possible.

4. Ask About the Air. The air conditioning, that is. Now, if you're traveling to a vacation rental in the United States, air conditioning is likely a standard feature. If you're traveling elsewhere, you might want to double check that your vacation rental has air conditioning.

Stay cool like Johnny Depp
5. Start Early, Go Late, Take a Nap. Plan on getting everyone going as close to daybreak as possible. There'll be sites to see, and attractions are always less crowded in the morning before 11 am or so. You might even catch some early-bird discounts. Then, head back to your vacation rental for a bit of lunch and a siesta. In Spain, Italy and other siesta countries, that means downtime from about noon to 4 pm.

6. Stay Indoors. If a siesta isn't your style, then plan most of your indoor activities for the afternoon. Take in museums, libraries, malls, movies and more during the hottest part of the day. The ice-cold air conditioning of a 2-hour movie will recharge your batteries and get you ready to take the heat.

7. Plan Your Routes. Don't expect to walk a mile at 2 o'clock in the afternoon with three kids under the age of 7 and a spouse in tow and not get any complaints. Try to organize your day to minimize walk times during the heat.

8. Plan Light, Cool Meals. A heat wave isn't the time to toss a roast into the oven. Your menu should include lots of cool, refreshing salads, fruit and fresh vegetables. Pick meats that cook quickly, or are great rare, such as filet mignon or ahi tuna. Fish on the grill is fantastic and is ready in just minutes. Have plenty of cool drinks on hand, such as iced tea and lemonade.

9. Block the Sun. Get a reflective windshield protector for your car (even if you're driving a rental). It will help cut down on the heat and keep you from burning your hands on the steering wheel. Consider one for the back as well. If you know you’re going to be in the sun at it’s peak in the afternoon, carry an umbrella so you have your own shade with you, close at hand.