The promise of warmth and sunshine is part of what makes traveling so enticing. Whether it’s South America, Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Australia or any of the thousands of tropical islands dotted across this planet, when it comes to travel, many of us tend to follow the sun.
The climate that lures you near the equator, however, can also be cause for misery (or at the very least, some very unflattering holiday photos). If you’re planning a trip somewhere hot, taking the necessary precautions will ensure you continue to look and feel good throughout your travels. Here are a few tips:
Protect your skin from the sun
SPF is your friend when traveling to hot countries. If possible, pack sunscreen in your checked-in luggage. You can have an anti-UV lip balm in your carry-on. This way, you’ll have the skin care products you need in case you can’t find them in a local pharmacy. However, if you’re backpacking and only have carry-on luggage (subject to a limit on the amount of liquid/gels they can contain), search for brands you trust in local shops at your destination. Be aware that skin whitening serum is popular in certain countries, such as the UAE, so read all labels carefully to ensure you get the type of skin care product you want.
Whilst the old ‘8 glasses of water a day’ rule has been proven to be nothing more than a longstanding myth, it’s still essential that you stay properly hydrated during your travels. Consider bringing a reusable plastic water bottle with you on your trip and refilling it with clean drinking water regularly. In countries where it’s not advisable to drink local water, always have some bottled water on hand or take water purification tablets with you. Water doesn’t only quench your thirst, but it helps your skin look fresh, young, and adequately hydrated.
Remember that less is more
There’s a time and a place for a full face of makeup. Traveling through a sweltering city center or hiking to a famous lookout point under the midday sun are not such moments. Lighter makeup – and less of it – is the best approach for warm, sunny days. Consider going foundation-free and just using a touch of eyeliner, waterproof mascara, and tinted lip balm. It’s only natural for your body to sweat in hot conditions and it’s easy for standard foundations to feel cakey as soon as they encounter moisture. Avoid this by skipping it altogether or using a summer-friendly formula designed for hot weather.
Wear light, airy fabrics
When you’re traveling in the heat, think beyond shorts, sleeveless tops and dresses. It’s not just the cut of your garments that matters, but the fabrics they’re made out of too. Choose clothing made out of natural, airy fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon. Avoid fabrics made of synthetic fibers like polyester and, obviously, stay away from the less breathable wool and silk. In certain countries, it’s not advisable for women to show too much skin. In these situations where you’re forced to wear trousers and cover your shoulders, the choice of fabric makes all the difference.
In order to have a good time traveling, it helps if you’re able to feel and look your best. When hot weather threatens to turn your holiday into a sweaty, unbearable mess, consider these tips – and remember: sipping iced beverages in shaded sidewalk cafes can be as much of a cultural experience as touring non-air-conditioned museums and monuments. For the best tips on how to beat the heat abroad, turn to the locals and follow their lead.
About the author: Sarah Polwarth is a lifestyle and travel writer based in New York state. She is currently planning a trip around Australia and New Zealand next year.