Don’t Let the Blistering Heat Ruin Your Family Holiday!
If your kids are anything like my daughter, heat is not their friend. It doesn’t take much for her to start feeling suffocated and for her skin to get that prickly itchy sensation. Whenever we holiday in South East Asia or anywhere with extreme heat, I have to be really prepared for what we can or can’t do. Although we do get days in Australia that go over the 40 degree Celsius mark, that’s an easy fix by just staying indoors in air-conditioning but when you’re on holidays, locking yourself up in the hotel room can’t be the only remedy. So I’d like to share some tips and general advice on how you can help your kids combat the heat so everyone can have a good vacation:
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #1
Acclimatise. If you know the heat is going to be a problem, it’s a good idea to take it easy for the first day or two. Take the time to get use to the weather before you embark on more active adventures or hectic schedules.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #2
Dress Appropriately. The aim of the game is to try and keep your core temperature at a regulated level. Dress for the heat in lightweight, light-coloured (don’t wear black as it absorbs the heat), loose-fitting clothes. Loose-fitting garments allow air to circulate against the skin whilst selecting cotton is a smart option as it ‘breathes’ and absorbs perspiration, helping to cool your body.
Depending on the type of heat, opting for clothes which don’t give you protection against the sun may not be the smartest idea. The general rule would be to wear clothing such as long pants and long sleeved shirt which will cover your skin if in a desert type climate as it’s primarily dry and the sun is merciless. If holidaying in hot and humid conditions such as the beaches of Thailand and Goa, you should wear clothes that will let your body cool off.
As the sun is also brutal, I recommend wearing visors and sunglasses. We lose most of our heat from the top of our heads so wearing a hat means you’re keeping all the heat in. So I put a visor on my daughter to give her the shade for her face and it works a treat.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #3
Keep Hydrated. Dehydration is the most common heat related issue. Keep the fluids up constantly throughout the day. Feeling thirsty could mean you are already dehydrated so ensure everyone is well equipped with water. Cool to cold water definitely helps!
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #4
Airport. It’s important to plan your airport run. There is nothing worse than flying into your destination after a long flight only to be confronted by an excruciating heat. The kids would just have a meltdown…..literally! Before leaving the airport, I make sure everyone changes into appropriate clothing, buy cold bottled water in the airport so we are well equipped and I plan the most comfortable mode of transportation possible. If the destination has an excellent train system from the airport, we would usually grab that as apart from them being fairly comfortable, they’re actually quicker than being stuck in potential traffic on the roads. Otherwise, I bite the bullet and pay for a cab to save ourselves a bit of sanity.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #5
Time it Right. The hottest time of the day is when the sun is above us and is usually in the early to mid-afternoon. When we’re in Bali for example, we find that the hottest time of the day is around 2pm to 4pm every day and can get quite unbearable. And that is exactly the time we choose to stay indoors, sit by the pool or a stay in for a quick nap. But what we do is get up early and hit the ground running. If possible, we will try to get some of our activities out of the way when it’s cooler with the added advantage of less crowds and traffic. This is particularly great if you’re embarking on outdoor activities like walks, treks, biking etc. Later in the afternoon into early evening, we are normally quite rejuvenated and we head back out to attractions that are closed later in the day.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #6
Plan Your Day. When putting the itinerary together, we tend to cluster the things we want to do or see by location. This allows us less time being exposed to the heat as we flit from one destination to another. Well with an 8 year old in tow, that’s our general practise anyway as a way to reduce exhaustion but would seem more prevalent a practise when it’s extra hot!
Always make sure you have a plan for breaks from your day’s activities or at least know where you can go to get some respite from the heat. Shopping malls make great saviours whilst understanding the terrain on outdoor activities is important. Know where you may be able to take much needed breaks to cool down the body’s temperature.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #7
Transport. It’s important to plan how you’re going to get around during your holiday. We tend to avoid buses as it’s simply not an option to stand waiting in the heat. If you’re getting on a taxi, it would be prudent to call for one to avoid waiting times. Uber is our saving grace!
Trains or monorails are only good if they are air-conditioned but in saying that, we avoid the LRT in Kuala Lumpur as the stations are all built at minimum 2-3 storeys high and no the air-conditioning makes the wait area completely unbearable! Hiring a car or a driver is perhaps the most comfortable way to get around. Understandably it’s not the most cost effective method but certainly to be taken advantage of if possible.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #8
When and What to Eat. I find that in hot weather, our appetite diminishes as it simply takes more energy to digest large portions of food. It is better to eat smaller portions but more frequently throughout the day.
Whilst on holiday, it is part of the culinary journey to enjoy street food, especially if you’re in Asia. Food sitting out in the heat for long periods of time is a recipe for food poisoning. If you must indulge however, opt for piping hot food that is preferably cooked in front of you. Avoid lukewarm food at all costs as anything that sits between 5 degrees and 60 degrees Celsius, the organisms actually multiply rapidly!
You might also like to dine on some spicy food. I know that is probably the last thing you want to be doing but spicy food actually increases circulation and causes perspiration. This in turn helps to cool the body down.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #9
Avoid Cold Showers. Whilst it seems like common sense to have a cold shower on a regular basis, it is actually not advisable. When you’re overheating you need to actually cool down your core temperature, not just the external parts of the body. What that does is trick your mind in thinking you’re cool enough but all it’s doing is shocking your skin and causing your body to overproduce heat later.
HOW TO COMBAT THE HEAT TIP #10
Preventative Creams. Invest in an excellent hypoallergenic sunscreen for exposed parts of the skin. A reminder to constantly re-apply throughout the day. We are all great at applying when we’re by the pool or at the beach but tend to forget when we’re just walking around in a built up area. Adding sun burn to the discomfort of extreme heat is just a terrible predicament to be in.
Also, ensure your skin is well moisturised. My daughter is a little fish and can spend an entire day in the pool but the chlorine tends to dry out her skin and adding the prickly heat, she is always scratching. Same goes for too much exposure to the salty seas and how it can make the skin feel.
Hot, humid weather also tends to attract its fair share of mosquitoes so please invest in appropriate repellents plus anti-sting creams if you do get bitten.
Sometimes you just have to let the heat win and adjust your itinerary to suit the family. The consequences are just not worth how miserable everyone is going to feel. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your holiday; you may just have to shorten some activities or perhaps lower your expectations regarding its outcome. But if you have some of my tips in place, it will certainly help you along the way!
Do you have any other tips help combat a heatwave to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
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