Tips for traveling in a hot country… Or: My mistakes this week

I lived in Australia for most of my life, and managed to cope with hot (40+C) summers quite well. Now that I’ve been in England for almost four years, I seem to have accustomed to the much cooler pseudo-summers when people are sweltering as soon as the mercury rises above twenty degrees Celsius.

This week I’m enjoying clear blue skies and sunshine whilst traveling in Portugal and Spain. In Portugal we stayed by the coast where daytime temperatures were high twenties, but inland Spain is about ten degrees hotter than that. HOT!

So, its one week in and we’ve had some adventures already, more on that at a later date. For now I want to share some tips for traveling that I’ve thought of so far.

Tip #1: Apply sunscreen.
As a tourist, you are out and about looking at things, often being outside for many more hours than you would be at home, so be sure to get some sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it to all of your exposed skin, including your ears and feet.
I should know better, having grown up with slip, slop, slap, but on the first day I didn’t apply sunscreen and got burnt shoulders. My sunscreen wasn’t with my other toiletries so I didn’t have it at the forefront of my mind. We bought some SPF50 on our second morning, then I found the one I brought with me that evening, so no excuses for the rest of the trip.

Tip #2: Hydrate on bottled water.
Human bodies have a fantastic inbuilt cooling system called sweat. When you are hot, your body releases sweat and you cool down as the moisture on your skin evaporates. Of course this moisture needs to be replaced in your body or you are at risk of dehydration and heat stroke.
I found it is a good idea to drink bottled water. Even though in many places around the world the tap water is potable, anything that decreases your chances of getting an upset stomach is a good thing. Being ill at home is no fun, being ill away from your creature comforts is just horrible, let’s leave it at that.

Tip #3: Use your regular deodorant.
As I mentioned above, when it is hot you sweat. For most people when they sweat enough they also smell.
After years of trial and error I have found a deodorant that works for me, and doesn’t have its own overpowering smell. Unfortunately this particular one doesn’t come in a travel size (at least I haven’t found it yet) so I brought a travel sized deodorant spray of another brand thinking that I was cleverly saving space in my bag. As I am getting hot and sweaty during the day I am using more deodorant than I usually would. Plus I don’t think this travel sized brand is as effective as the one I would normally use so I’m also spraying fairly liberally, meaning I’m going to run out and will have to purchase more anyway. I have a small perfume with me too, don’t worry I won’t smell too bad.

Tip #4: Bring any special requirements with you.
OK, so this tip is not specific to traveling during summer, it is for traveling generally.
For example, I wear hard contact lenses, which need an intensive soak once each week to remove the build-up of proteins from tears. But I simply forgot to bring the little protein remover tablets with me. I was pretty lucky to be able to find a source and purchase these tablets within a few hours of realising this mistake but it wasn’t an easy transaction in a different language and culture. It was particularly confusing since these tablets were not available in a pharmacy where I would ordinarily buy them, but could only be found in an eye-care store.

So there you have it, four quick and simple travel tips that I learned the hard way, but will hopefully remember for next time.

Adios for now.

3 thoughts on “Tips for traveling in a hot country… Or: My mistakes this week

  1. While in the Netherlands and cycling, I applied sunscreen every morning as soon as I was ready to dress. But didn’t think about the slashes in my shoes. Result: sunburn stripes on my feet!
    I am never fully convinced by deodorants. First you have to avoid the ones with parabens, and the ones that smell like flyspray, then wonder if they are working. I use them like amulets, but a quick wash always seems better.

  2. Pingback: From a Distance | Rainbow Bakery

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