Summer is supposed to herald joy and happiness. Summer is the time that’s supposed to be for vacationing, for lounging on the beach, for enjoying some time off, and relaxing. If we ask most people their favorite season, they’ll say summer – and the reasons are pretty obvious.
But not for me. And not for many others like me.
See, I’m Scottish. So while vacations sound all nice and needed, when I actually take them with my loved ones, I usually end up somewhere that’s way too hot for me, gasping for air. I’m very much a creature of the cold. I despise the heat.
In my life, I’ve had to frantically research ways to stay cool when it gets too hot because I’ll dehydrate and burn quickly. Lying on a beach in the burning sun would be no more enjoyable for me than me lying in ice in below-freezing weather. It’s the same thing. A bearable but uncomfortable temperature extreme.
So let me share some of those hacks now, since I still have to employ them on a regular basis. I mean, my partner lives in the southern US and I’m there three-four times a year. We can only imagine that I need to find ways to cope…
This one might sound strange at first glance. Most readers are probably going to be wondering what’s wrong with me — surely, in extreme temperatures, it’s better to reach for an iced coffee, no? Or just a cool drink in general? Not so! Well, as long as the heat outside is dry.
A hot coffee can make one sweat, and that amount of sweat coming from such a small amount of heat will actually release some of the heat in one's body. Well, as long as the sweat can evaporate. #Science!
Of course, if the heat outside isn't dry, then it's best to stick with the iced drinks. This won't work if sweat can't evaporate mmkay.
I know it’s way more convenient and quicker to use a hair dryer so we can go outside and feel like we look socially acceptable, but a hair dryer is only going to add more heat. Even on a cooling temperature, if it’s humid, our hair will still be frizzier. So for the sake of our hair’s health, ditch the hair dryer and relax as that mane air dries.
It means less work in the heat for us anyway.
Besides, no one on vacation is going to care if people walk around outside with wet hair. Everyone's pretty much doing the same thing.
This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by how much people forget it. If there’s an opportunity for you to be in the shade, take it! It’s cooler and you won’t burn!
Even better – if you’re hanging around the same spots on your vacation, memorize where the shade is at different times during the day. That way you always have an idea of where to go when the heat is getting a little too much for you.
In this case — throwing shade is a good thing.
This has become almost second nature to me – I cling to the shade wherever I go, wherever I can!
If you didn’t know these existed, you do now. However, mini electric fans were all the rage back during the days of family vacations to Spain and Cyprus. Cheap and battery-powered, you can put these in your pocket and whip them out whenever things are getting a little unbearable. They’re not too strong, but they are worth it. They're portable, and provide just enough of a cooling breeze to keep you going cray-cray.
But hey, if you don't have electric ones. You can grab these old school handheld ones.
You can pick these up in tourist gift shops in most hot places or order one online before you go. Probably best to make sure you have the batteries too since most don't come with them.
You thought deodorant was just for your armpits? Think again!
If you’re one of those people who gets a sweaty hairline, whether at the front of your head of back of your neck, you can definitely add some deodorant there to keep the sweat away and keep your hair from beginning to look matted and frizzy.
You don’t need to stop at the hairline either.
Deodorant can be added in most non-sensitive places—your feet, for example—to keep you feeling much fresher. It's old news that deodorant should only be on your armpits. People can use it everywhere they need to, because it's totally worth it!
When on vacation, it’s pretty easy to be so busy that you don’t get a chance to eat for a while and then end up eating one huge meal to fill you up because, well, you haven't eaten all day. You're hungry!
But I'm here to say this isn't the best idea.
Your metabolism has to work much, much harder to process a large meal, which means you’re going to be on less energy. You’re actually much better off eating lots of small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism at an even rate.
This is actually a good tip even in daily life, though it's one I don't tend to follow because I like my food too much at dinner... #Sorry.
If you’re having trouble sleeping because of the heat, you might want to move to a lower floor. Obviously this isn’t possible if staying in a hotel, but maybe if you’re in an Airbnb or a friend’s home, you can move to a lower floor.
The reason for this is simple: heat rises.
Plus, you’re probably going to be much, much cooler if you’re lower to the ground.
Otherwise, flop out of bed and sleep on the floor. (Just kidding!) But seriously – try to stay low! It's the same advice that we would get in a fire. Only in a hot country, it just tends to feel like you're on fire... or is that just me?
Another one that seems obvious and yet, people don’t seem to do it.
Don’t just hydrate while traveling – if you know you’re going to a hot place, drink plenty of water beforehand, both to hydrate your body and to get yourself in the habit. And then once you’re there, do even more of the same! Even if you don’t feel thirsty, it’s better to keep your liquid intake up since your body can dehydrate faster than you’d ever realize in heat.
If for some reason water isn't available and you only have soda on you, well, it's better than nothing. But water is the best thing for this, even if it doesn't taste the best.
This one is more for the beauty people among us, but putting make-up on can be a nightmare on vacation. When your skin is dry from the heat, it can crack, and even once it’s on, chances are it’s going to be sweating off our face.
All that product is even just not good for us in heat.
If you’re one of those people, like me, who isn’t confident enough to go without make-up, there are treatments to make it look like you have product on for a few weeks. Maybe consider one of those to save some hassle!
This is perfect for me as the hotter it gets, the lazier I get, though I do feel self-conscious going out without make-up on. Thanks, society.
When choosing your vacation clothes, think about the material more than anyone else. Something might look comfortable, but you might find that the material is restrictive when you actually wear it. This is why you want to go for cotton. It’s airy, breezy, will keep you feeling cool – or as cool as you can! And the same goes for underwear. Always try to get cotton. You’ll sweat less too, and it’s just all round ideal for being surrounded by heat.
Is there anything worse than feeling swaddled in awful material when it comes to being too hot? I feel like there isn't.
Humidity is all too common with heat, and that means a nightmare for those of us with long hair. Humidity can do things to the hair that you never thought possible, and ruin the condition too. Companies market anti-humidity and heat protection sprays which can definitely help, but the best at-home remedy is an avocado and olive oil mask.
Seriously. Give this a try.
You’ll find that your hair is much sleeker and not quite as fazed by the humidity as it would have been otherwise.
I mean, sure, some hair masks might have this effect too, but they're probably gonna cost a lot more and might not be as easily available at the grocery store.
This is genius.
Okay, note: maybe don’t put your sheets in the freezer for TOO long. You might find they’re a bit harder than you wanted them to be. But if you put your sheets and pillow cases in there for twenty or thirty minutes and then put them on right before you jump into bed?
Bliss. The hack you never knew you needed.
It’ll cool you down from the day and make falling asleep that much easier. Just try it!
I actually can't wait to do this next time there's a heatwave here. I live in Scotland, so we're one of those places without air conditioning. Yuck.
What’s better than a can or bottle straight out of the fridge on a cold day?
One that came out of the freezer with a wet paper towel wrapped around it.
Not only does this make the beverage colder, it keeps it colder for longer as long as you keep the towel wrapped around it as you drink. Sure, it’ll get hot eventually if you’re sitting out in the sun, but nothing will make it last as long as this. Try it next time you’re having a drink in the heat! Unless it's dry heat, in which you should definitely go for that hot coffee above, but sometimes the feeling of a cold drink is just so much better than doing what science tells you...
One awful thing that comes associated with heat to make me hate it is the bugs. Which kind of bugs you get depend on your country, of course, but in most places if you leave the window open for too long, they’ll come swarming in. And you don’t want to close the window and burn to death.
Putting cloves in a lime is exactly what’s needed – a bug repellent that both works and actually smells good. Who’d have thought this even existed?!
I will definitely be doing this, because the amount of spiders that come flocking through my windows... not to mention the wasps and bees. I love all animals, but not those.
Need something to cool you down instantly? Put a sponge in the freezer. It’s better than a damp cloth or paper towel from the fridge because not only will it cool you down, it’ll absorb your sweat too without making you feel sticky and awful as you desperately attempt to get cool.
This is one I actually discovered recently and I love it.
I was always one for the damp cloth but it never felt too good because while it was cooling me down, there was always liquid dripping down my face. Sometimes in the heat you need to feel good and look good, and this is the perfect solution.
Another one that sounds kinda obvious to me and yet not a lot of people seem to be. Sure, you’ve checked the weather for where you’re going to be, but have you checked it at various times of day? Plan outdoor activities when it’s coolest if possible, and try to be indoors at those peak times when you’ll be roasting alive outside. Also check if the place you’re staying has air conditioning – some places don’t, like a lot of places in the UK!
As well as this, you might want to check what stores are available near you to make sure you can walk out and get what you need to stay cool – or check if you need to bring stuff with you.
When trying to cool down, it’s important to note that your neck regulates your core temperature. So if you’re going to place something cool on you in an attempt to bring your body temperature down, it’s always better to focus on your neck. That’s why it feels so good to put a cold paper towel there, or that freezer sponge I told you about –
it’s going to make you feel so much better.
Even if you don’t have either of those things, something cool is better than nothing. People often make the mistake of placing things on their forehead, which is nowhere near as helpful. Trust me. Try this!
This is a homemade air conditioning hack that I haven’t tried yet but am very interested to – people seem to swear by it, and it makes total sense!
When the window is open to bring in as much of a breeze as possible, hang a wet sheet over. Not only will it keep out the sun if the sun is still out, it’ll intensify the breeze to give basically the same effect as air conditioning would. A handy hack if staying somewhere with no AC!
And at least you know the place you'll be staying will probably have sheets and a window. An extra sheet is easy to pack if they only have one!
In the planning stages of your vacation, work out if camping is an option.
It’s not an option for everyone and everywhere, and that’s fine. But in hot weather, you’re likely to be cooler outsidethan you are inside if the place you’re staying doesn’t have a lot of resources to cool down.
That’s why even people at home will sometimes go outside when the inside becomes unbearable.
You could even do this at home, really. Plan some fun camping nights for those hot days! It isn't going to make a huge difference if the temperature truly is horribly hot, but it might make a bit of one if you just need to be cooler on some nights.
If you have the money and would rather have someone make the hacks for you, there’s a ton of technology based around cooling down and it’s widely available in countries where it gets really hot. If the freezer sheets and pillow case doesn’t seem like a good idea to you (though trust me, it is), or you lie awake longer than it takes for them to heat up again, you can buy actual technology that stays cool. Some is even available on sites like Amazon.
These are actually tempting because you know they work, but probably best to check the reviews first and see how people are using them and how long they last.
If you’re going away somewhere hot and aren’t used to it, you might not be aware that the heat can change the consistency of your moisturiser, or your shampoo. You might not also be aware that it’s sometimes kind of unpleasant to put mildly warm slop on your skin when you’re already sweating three seconds after coming out of the shower.
Easy hack – put them in the fridge! Keeps them in good condition but also feels SO nice to put them on.
So next time you go away somewhere hot, ask if they have a fridge. Not to store your food or cans, oh no – but to store beauty products. You'll thank me.