Warm Climate Travel: how to plan and prepare
Traveling to warm (or hot!) weather climates—places like Africa, South America, Australia, and even parts of the U.S. where temperatures climb on a regular basis—is a thrilling opportunity.
Although it can be daunting traveling to these locales where heat (and oftentimes humidity) can make sightseeing, or even getting through the day, challenging, proper preparation before and during your trip, can help prevent the climate from negatively impacting your enjoyment of these wonderful and warm destinations
Plan ahead and pack well
Ensure you have the appropriate wardrobe for the climate(s) you will encounter. Wearing the bare minimum is not the best solution—as you’ll need clothing that provides coverage and protection from the sun.
Warmer climates, or truly hot ones, require loose, lightweight and breathable clothing. There are many options available that both breathe and provide SPF protection—choose cotton or special wicking fabrics in light colors that protect your skin.
Companies like Magellan's, Tilley, and REI offer specialized clothing for warm climates for travelers of all ages.
Also, consider investing in a high-quality sun hat with a wide brim—preferably one designed for travel, so it can be packed easily into a suitcase or carry-on. Alternatively, a small travel umbrella can be useful as well, providing shade where there is none.
Eat lightly and sensibly—small meals are best—and avoid alcohol, especially during the day. Bring snacks with you when touring so you’ll always have something to eat if needed.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you feel thirsty, you have waited too long. Drink water consistently throughout the day (water is preferable over sugary juices, soft drinks, coffee or tea). If traveling on a group or escorted tour, local guides or tour directors will typically provide bottled water, or be able to help travelers purchase water when necessary.
Apply sunscreen early and often. Even if you live in a sunny climate, sun strength in many areas of the world is completely different and much stronger. Don’t let a bad sunburn ruin your trip.
If possible, plan your activities during the cooler parts of the day. Pace yourself, and know when your body needs to rest. Sometimes an hour or two of downtime to recover and rehydrate can make the rest of the day much better. (There is a reason the siesta is so popular in hot countries!)
Finally, understand the warning signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms may include heavy sweating, rapid pulse, fatigue, cramps, dizziness, nausea or headache. Left untreated they may progress to heatstroke, which can be severe. More information is available at the CDC website.
With a little planning and careful attention, an adventure to a warm or hot climate can be a memorable and exciting experience. Have a safe and wonderful journey!