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Wednesday 1 March 2017

5 best practices for Summer Travel

Summer travel tips – How to travel better in summer.

Here are some best practices to follow while travelling during the hot summer season.

With summer in India right around the corner with some long weekends, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go travelling. However, things can get pretty hot and nasty during this hot season. So, here are some useful tips and best practices to follow for travelling in hot and humid summer season.

These tips will be useful whether you're travelling for a break from your monotonous life, travelling on duty, or if you're one of those with a compulsive travelling addiction.

1. Choose the right destination and book ahead, check weather forecasts

This one’s obvious. Better look for and book destinations that will be cooler during summer, in the months March to May. The cool hill stations will be a good choice during these months.

For example, cooler destinations like Shimla can be a better choice than hotter places like Pondicherry. If you’re careful and okay with it, you can go to the hotter places too, as you’ll get the off season benefits. We’ve been to hot places during peak summer, like Goa during April-May. But we’re accustomed to hot and humid conditions and we don’t mind sweating profusely. Only thing is to avoid going out a lot directly under the blazing sunlight on a two wheeler or by walk.

Check the weather forecasts and temperatures of your desired destination during the time you plan to visit them. Check for any predictions of heatwaves, thunderstorms, or any other extreme weather conditions for the areas you desire to visit.

Check how the summer weather can be for the place or destination you want to visit in summer, and weather portals for its temperatures and conditions throughout the year.

Avoid a hike or a trek as the soaring temperatures can extremely dehydrate you as well as cause serious skin burns.

Avoid venturing out during heatwaves, and avoid visiting places where severe heatwaves are predicted. Oh, and while you book an accommodation, better go for an A.C room.

2. Take less luggage or baggage

This is a best practice for any season. Take as less luggage as possible. The lesser, the better. But in case you’re a backpacker, it can be tiresome under the hot and humid summer conditions. Try taking as less clothes as possible, wash and dry them overnight, or use a laundry service if your accommodation provides a good one. (Also see : 5 Travel essentials to take while going on a tour - How to travel light by taking the bare essentials.)

3. Wear the right clothes & gear, and cover your head

Don’t wear heavy or thick clothes. Instead, wear lightweight genuine cotton, linen or khadi garments. Avoid polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Use loose garments and avoid wearing tight ones.

Shoes will boil your feet, so better stick to chappals (slippers) or other footwear that lets your legs breathe.

Don’t forget to wear a cap. You wouldn’t want a nasty sunstroke, would you? A white cap or hat is the best choice as it reflects most of the sunlight, and a black cap is the worst as it absorbs most of it.

The same goes for colours of your clothes as well. Lighter the colour, the better you’ll be under the blazing sun. If you feel it's required, you can also keep a good pair of sunglasses as well, as they'll protect your eyes from intense light as well as dust particles.

4. Keep yourself in the shadows and beat the heat

Keep yourself in the shadows as much as possible, reducing your exposure to the harsh summer sun. Try taking short breaks under the cool shades of trees, buildings or even your vehicle whenever possible. It is better to travel in an air-conditioned (A.C.) vehicle.

However, it can get pretty hot inside the four wheelers or buses if they’re parked under the scorching sun. Avoid sitting in your car under the hot sun and try parking it under a shade if possible. Open the door and windows of your car or four wheeler and let the hot air in it dissipate out when you get back inside your parked vehicle.

Avoid going out a lot directly under the hot sun, like on a two wheeler or walking, during 10:30-11:00 AM to 4:00-4:30 PM approximately.

5. Stay hydrated. Take enough water

Wherever you go, don’t forget to pack adequate water and oral rehydrating salts (ORS) or drink. You can also drink lemonades, fresh fruit juices, buttermilk (lassi) and tender coconut water. You’ll need them as you can easily get dehydrated in the hot season. Take care that you don't drink lemonades or fruit juices made with dirty water or from unclean roadside stalls, as the chances of infections from unhygienic conditions and contaminated water is more in such places.

Better accommodate bigger water bottle in your backpack. In remote areas you may not find good drinking water, so pack beforehand. In case you’re using a cab or a self driven four wheeler, you can easily keep the extra water bottles in it. Also, never expose plastic water bottles to direct sunlight, and keep them inside the bag, rather than outside on the bottle holders.

Avoid drinking alcohol, tea, coffee, and carbonated soft drinks, for they dehydrate your body.

Drink water as much as required and never ignore your thirst. Since you’ll sweat a lot in this hot season, your body will lose electrolytes along with the sweat. Better mix the ORS powder into your drinking water so that it replenishes the necessary electrolytes. Take your doctor’s advice on this as to how much of ORS you need under such hot conditions.

If available in your destination, drink tender coconut water whenever possible. It is a pure and nutritious beverage and a natural source of electrolytes and other essential nutrients.

We hope these simple tips help make your summer excursions better. Did we miss anything?

Have suggestions of your own to add? Leave your thoughts below!

Finally, if you simply can’t tolerate the heat, it’s better not to venture much during the hot season. You can always choose to travel during the time you’re comfortable with. After all, we all travel for a break, and not to get tired... Unless you're travelling on duty or you're a travel addict!

Happy travelling :)

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