Record-breaking heat waves in Europe this summer are catching many travelers off guard and unprepared. Just recently, temperatures reaching 109 °F (43 °C) in Paris caused tourists to cool off in the city’s many water features, including the Trocadero fountains at the base of the Eiffel Tower.
With temperatures regularly exceeding expectations in Europe, it’s important to find ways to stay cool and safe. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are serious medical conditions that can be deadly, especially for those over the age of 60. Travel insurance can help if you need to seek medical attention. Still, the best way to enjoy your trip abroad is to stay healthy and safe.
On that note, here are some tips on how to stay cool while visiting Europe this summer:
- Stay Hydrated — Make sure to drink plenty of water! Any outside temperature above 95 °F (35 °C) instantly causes the human body to sweat, making you dehydrate more quickly. Make sure to drink water with every meal and whenever you feel thirsty. Consider buying a reusable water bottle as a souvenir. Not only will this commemorate your trip, but also help you stay hydrated as you travel.
- Plan Your Day — Try to plan indoor, non-strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day, usually between noon and 3 pm. If you are on holiday, visiting museums, having a leisurely lunch, watching a movie or theater performance, or taking an afternoon nap in your hotel room can be great ways to spend the afternoon. Try to visit outdoor attractions in the cool of the morning or after temperatures begin to drop in the evening.
- Dress Appropriately — Pack clothing for your trip that will help you stay cool. Light colored clothes made of cotton and linen are non-insulating and help your body regulate heat. If you find yourself in the midst of an unexpected heatwave without the proper attire, take the time to shop for some cooler clothes. Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you are comfortable and not overheated.
- Keep Your Spaces Cool — Many European hotels do not provide air conditioning. If this is the case where you are staying, keep your windows closed during the day to keep the hot air out. Open your windows when you return to your room at night to let in the cool breeze. You can also ask the hotel staff if they have area fans available. Placing a fan in your window at night can help move refreshing air through your room and keep you cool while you sleep.
- Find Fun Ways to Cool Off — During unusually hot periods, some cities will allow wading in water features or provide water bottles to pedestrians. You can also soak handkerchiefs in cool water and tie them loosely around your neck to keep the back of your neck cool and out of the sun.
Europe is full of wonderful things to do and see, but you cannot enjoy them if you are sick from the heat. The most important thing to remember is to stay safe. If you start to feel out of breath or dizzy, take a break from the sun to cool off and drink some water.
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