As Europe swelters under unprecedented summer heatwaves, more travellers than ever are packing suitcases and heading for their summer holidays. But how do you stay safe when the mercury pops the cork?
Here in Australia, we’re ok with a 40?+ day. We know how to deal with it. And when we can’t cope any more, we just head to the nearest shopping centre or cinema and hole up in the air conditioning for a while.
Even better, we find a bottle shop and duck into the walk-in chiller section!
But Europe isn’t built for temperatures like that.
In fact, we were there a couple of summers ago and the government was sending emergency texts out to everybody with health advice because of a heatwave.
This heatwave warning was triggered by—get this—more than three days of temps over 25?.
More recently, we were in Hungary when unexpectedly warm weather hit in the middle of October.
Our hotel room was boiling and the ancient air con unit only pumped out hot air. Reception explained the system had been turned on to ‘winter mode’ and couldn’t be changed!
With this in mind, here are five things to pack to make your European heatwave holiday more comfortable.
1. Stay cool with a Chilly Towel
These things are amazing. I don’t know how they work, but all you need to do is saturate your Chilly Towel, wring it out until it no longer drips then lay it on your chest. It cools down your core and helps prevent over-heating.
You’d think the cloth would insulate you and make you warmer, but it somehow does the opposite.
The tech behind the Chilly Towel was initially created for menopausal ‘hot flashes’, but it works so well in hot weather.
2. Make sure you’re drinks are cool
So many times we get to our hotel or AirBnB to find a freezer section in the bar fridge but no ice tray.
Packing a small ice tray means you’ll always have ice cubes to pop in your drink to cool you down, even if it’s a glass of water by your bedside.
This is such an easy fix and great travel hack from our mates Clare and Dave.
3. Keep the air moving
In Europe, air con is a luxury not a staple. And if there is an air conditioner in the room—as we found in Budapest—it probably won’t work!
Packing a travel fan or two means you’ll at least have some air flow during the boiling nights.
Even better, a lady we met in Thailand once went to the shops and bought a cheap tabletop fan for her room. The room had air con, but she preferred to have a window open.
If you’re in one place for your whole holiday, this is a great idea.
4. Stay hydrated
It might sound obvious, but staying hydrated is so important. And I don’t just mean drinking plenty of water. That’s only part of the battle.
You lose so much salt and minerals as well as fluids on hot days, packing some rehydration salts will keep you safe. They’re light and small, and you just need one dose at the end of the day to avoid dehydration.
5. Remember your training
More recently, Slip, Slop and Slap has been joined by Seek and Slide, as in seek for shade and slide on some sunglasses.
All good advice.