30 Simple Hacks To Stay Cool While Travelling During A Heatwave


Iyesha Maria •  Aug 01, 2023

Sweltering temperatures are hitting most of Western Europe and record July temperatures have been reported in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Sure, being Southeast Asians we might be used to the heat. But, if you're travelling in Europe during this time is the year, you might realise that the heat is even worst as the buildings and infrastructure there are not equipped to adapt to warm weather. So, if you're travelling in Europe during the heatwave, we have some tips for you to stay cool for an amazing travel experience.

P.S. You could also use many of these hacks at home during the hotter days too!

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1. Know the weather

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Wherever your destination is, check the weather forecast to prepare yourself for your trip. This will make it easier for you to know what to pack for, and what you should expect during your travels. Being stuck in a hot and sticky destination with clothes suited for cooler weather can be a downer for your trip. There are plenty of online forecasting websites you could check online that are fairly accurate. 

#HHWT tip: Remember to check the weather for the entire route of your travel, not just the destination!

[P.S. Haven't decided where to go for your vacation? Here are12 Muslim-Friendly Cities In Europe You’ll Have To Visit (With Easy To Find Halal Food!)to check out! 

2. Check your accommodation

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If you’re travelling to a destination you know will be hot and sunny, check whether your accommodation will have air conditioning. Not every accommodation around the world has air conditioning. If you have this choice, go for this even if it means paying a little extra. Being able to have a good night’s sleep or a refreshing afternoon nap in cool temperature without tossing and turning in sweat can make a major difference in how you feel while travelling. Contact your hotels, motels, home-sharing owner, and check reviews online before you book!

[P.S. Heading to London for the summer? Check out these10 budget accommodations in London near halal food!]

3. Arrive early at the airport

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Unfortunately, not all airports are built to give us a full air-conditioned experience from the drop-off area all the way to the plane. Smaller airports may require travellers to walk in open-air on hot tarmac heated by jet engines from the main building up to the plane. And if you have to wait in the hot sun to get on the plane, it could totally ruin your mood for a joyous trip. Check airport maps, airport guides or reviews online and plan accordingly. If you know you will have to wait in the heat, maybe bring a water spritz or a portable fan that you could attach to your phone to ease the heat!

Prep your accommodation for the heat

4. Request for cotton sheets

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If it’s possible, request for cotton sheets (bedsheets and blankets) from your hotel, or bring one with you. There is no harm in asking ? Cotton is the best fabric to use during hotter climates since it's breathable and can help with ventilation on hot nights.

5. Sleep alone

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If you’re lucky enough to get an accommodation with an extra bed, it’s time to kick your partner out of bed and have the whole bed space to yourself. Sleeping with a partner in bed increases body heat and can lead to a sticky and uncomfortable sleep.

6. Unplug and turn off the lights

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Gadgets, light bulbs, and any electronics give out heat which can increase the temperature of your sleeping space. Charge your necessary gadgets in a different room, or away from where your sleep to keep your sleeping area cool. And if you happen to be in a country where the sun only sets late at night, take advantage of the natural light to keep the room cool. Not to mention that you’ll be saving energy and be more environmentally-friendly too

Dress for the heat

7. Know your heat

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Different types of heat may require different needs. For example, when you’re travelling through Europe or Australia where the heat is dry, you mainly have to protect yourself from the sun. But when travelling through Southeast Asia where the climate is hot and humid, you’ll also need clothes that’ll cool your body off too.

#HHWT tip: If you’re out exploring for the entire day, bring an extra top with you in case you sweat through your clothes. An extra top will save you from going back home to change due to unsightly stains.

[P.S. Is visiting a desert on your bucket list? Check outDubai in 6D5N: the perfect itinerary for your Emirati getaway!]

8. Wear loose clothes

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Wear light and loose-fitting cotton or linen garments that allow plenty of air circulation for the skin to cool off. Although it seems counter-intuitive, exposing outfits (even t-shirts) may not be the best option since they expose your skin to the sun’s heat. Avoid any tight-fitting clothes, even under clothes too, since they will make you sweat. Maxi dresses, palazzo pants and long flowy skirts are the way to go!

9. Wear light colours

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Light colours such as white and pastel shades reflect light, which means that you’ll feel cooler in lighter shades than darker colours which absorb heat.

10. Modest Wear

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Avoid layering since it’ll trap heat. Instead, opt for a long-sleeve maxi dress or a long sleeve shirt with a long flowy skirt instead. 

#HHWT tip: We know long-sleeved maxi dresses are not easy to find *sigh*. Another alternative would be to wear a loose sleeveless top and pair it with a light cotton cardigan.

11. Hijabs and under scarves

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Leave your thick scarves at home. Avoid fabrics such as pashminas and cashmere for lighter and breathable options such as cotton and polyester. And if your usual hijab style is tight, why not try a different style on vacation, with a looser do that isn’t too tight around your scalp to allow some air to cool off ☺️ Your under scarves should be 100% cotton too since it’s more breathable. One option you can consider is Uniqlo’s Airism Inner Hijab which is made with super light material and quick-dry fabric to keep you cool.

#HHWT tip: As an alternative to under scarves, you can opt for a headband that would keep your hair in place so your scalp isn’t too layered up, which may be a little uncomfortable.

[P.S. Not sure where to find lightweight and breezy hijabs? Check outTAKVA's Instant Hijab - necessary travel essential for every hijabi!]

12. Sunglasses and Hats

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Don’t underestimate the advantages of a chic pair of sunglasses and a classy wide-brimmed hat. The hat will shade you from the scorching heat, and a pair of polarized sunglasses is essential to protect your eyes from UV rays

13. Lather on the sunscreen!

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Sunscreen should be used every day, but even more so when travelling to a hot and sunny destination! Make sure that you have the appropriate SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause unwanted effects on the skin.

Plan your explorations

14. Cluster your activities

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Plan to visit attractions in similar areas at a time so you don’t have to spend time walking for long periods of time under the hot sun or squeeze in crowded trains and buses to move from one place to another.

#HHWT tip: Skip public transportation if you can to avoid squeezing into a bus or train spaces with the crowd (think of all the body heat!) or plan your day to avoid using transportation during peak hours.

[P.S. Is London on your bucket list? Here's aMuslim-friendly 7D6N London itinerary for under £30 a day!]

15. Start early

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The early mornings are much cooler which makes it easier to explore your destination without fussing about the heat. You can easily check online for attractions that are open early in the mornings such as parks, temples, ruins, and historical sites. Avoid these places during the hotter times of the day since you might be out in open areas and exposed to the intense heat. Save the air-conditioned attractions such as shopping malls, theatres and museums for your midday explorations to escape the blazing sun and enjoy your time relaxing without a sweat.

16. Take advantage of cooler nights

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Spend your nights exploring too! As the sun sets, the temperature drops leaving cooler weather to take advantage of for some awesome attractions. Check out amusement parks or markets which may be open till late night during warmer times of the year.

17. Take mid-day breaks

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If it gets too hot, don’t push yourself too much and take a nice midday break instead. Have a good lunch in an air-conditioned restaurant, take a swim in your hotel to beat the heat or simply have a refreshing nap ☺️

[P.S. Still looking for thatfashionable Muslimah swimwearfor your vacation? Here are8 places you can find them in KL!]

Water is your best friend

18. Stay hydrated

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Being dehydrated is the fastest way for the body to overheat during the hotter seasons. As simple as it is, drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated! If you prefer some flavour, freeze some fruit wedges to add to your bottle too!

#HHWT tip: Try and avoid caffeine as it promotes dehydration. Maybe opt for a refreshing juice or smoothie instead

19. Carry a bottle with you

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Pack a light empty water bottle with you in your carry-on (since you can’t bring in water through airport departure halls). Once you arrive at your destination, you can easily refill your bottle at drinkable water fountains.

#HHWT tip: Some restaurants may allow you to refill your water bottle before you leave the eatery.

20. Freeze it!

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If your accommodation has a fridge, freeze the water to keep it as cold as possible. Take it out just as you are about to head out to keep the water as cold as possible. If you have two bottles, you can swap them out to make sure that you always have a refreshing cold bottle of water every time you reach back to your accommodation.

#HHWT tip: On really hot days, hold a cold water bottle between the inside of your wrists since there are a few major arteries close to your skin there which can help lower your body temperature.

21. Use a face mist

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Having a face mist is a lifesaver during hot summer days! When your face feels super dry or sticky and oily, give yourself a spritz and you’ll instantly feel refreshed. If you don’t have a water spritz bottle of your own, you can easily find one in pharmacies or supermarkets.

22. Rehydrate till the very end

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Have a glass of water before bed to stay hydrated. If your accommodation is warm, you might end up sweating in bed throughout the night, and staying hydrated can avoid feeling dehydrated when waking up the next day.

23. Remember your electrolytes

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Bring a few packets of electrolytes with you during your travels too. Electrolytes are important to help with many processes in the body (such as maintaining a balanced pH level) and our body loses electrolytes from excessive sweating. It is essential to replenish the lost electrolytes to stay healthy.

Eat the right food

24. Fruits galore!

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25. Indulge in an ice cream

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Delicious cold ice cream on a hot day. You know it’ll feel good and you know you’ll love it. It’s just a bonus that it’ll help keep your body temperature low too!

And more tips to beat the heat!

26. Take cold showers

Remember to rinse off the sticky sweat with a refreshing cold shower. Besides feeling cool and clean, a cold shower helps lower the body temperature.

27. Ponytail up!

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If you have long free-flowing hair, maybe it’s best to keep the glorious mane for another time (maybe at night!). Long hair in hot weather is an invitation for perspiration and stickiness!

#HHWT tip: Keep a few hair ties on your wrist so you’ll never have to look for one when you need your hair up!

29. Wet wipes

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It’s good to simply have a pack of wet wipes with you while exploring your destination for the simple reason of wiping of sticky sweat!

30. Aloe Vera gels

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Having a small tube of aloe vera gel is convenient to ease sunburn (sometimes, we could miss a spot when applying sunscreen). 

31. Portable battery-powered fans

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If you expect to be waiting around under the blazing sun a lot, do yourself a favour and invest in a portable battery-powered fan. Some can be attached to your phone, some to a power bank, and some may use small batteries. Having a small fan around while waiting in the heat (while waiting for the bus, trains, or queueing up for an attraction) makes the heat a bit more tolerable during your travels!