10 tips for keeping cool & cooling down

Keeping cool isn't always easy when travelling and you are away from the comforts of your own home.

As seasoned travellers we have been to some challenging places around the world where we’ve learnt some basic tips for keeping cool and cooling down when travelling as a family.

We have also found a few travel accessories that can be used to make your life more comfortable in hot weather…


Our 10 tips for keeping cool when travelling ...

Keep hydrated - It is so important!

Our most important tip is to drink enough water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. The NHS recommends drinking 6-8 cups of fluid a day and that this should be increased when it is hot. Your body is made up of around 60% water (and that’s even higher if you think of your vital organs only). You also need water to sweat. Your body’s natural way of cooling your skin through evaporation. 

Try to avoid caffeinated drinks (including cola, iced teas, coffees and energy drinks) as caffeine is a diuretic and will make you go to the toilet more. This dehydrates you further. Alcohol also dehydrates you in this way.

We always take a tube of Phizz hydration tablets with us when we travel. Not only are they a useful way of replacing lost electrolytes, they contain vitamins and glucose too to help give you a boost.

Drinks like lemonade & coconut water are refreshing, but it is often best just to stick to good old water (and that can be cheaper too). If you’re not to sure about the quality of your water, you can use a filter water bottle such as this Brita Water Filter Bottle. Don’t use with the Phizz tablets though!

Use thermal cups and insulated bottles to keep your drinks cold for longer. We have found that the Bodum Stainless Steel Vacuum Mug keeps drinks cold for a long time as it is so well insulated. You can also use this instead of getting disposable cups from cafes to help reduce waste.

If we have access to a fridge whilst we’re away, we take our cool bag rucksack with us. This means we can keep extra drinks & fruit with us whilst we are out and abou

Use portable fans for cooling down

If you can find a fan where you’re staying (or if you have the space to take on with you), position the fan near windows to create a cross breeze and to aid air circulation. It can help to place a bowl of ice in front of a fan in a smaller room to create a nice cooling down effect.

There are a variety of portable fans on the market. We like to use this portable neck fan for individual cooling (it is much more energy efficient than running a large electric fan. If it is really hot, we also like to use this cooling misting spray fan. You can fill it with ice cold water which is very refreshing.

Read our reviews of O2Cool’s misting fan and rechargeable portable neck fan. We always keep these with us in our campervan when it’s hot.


Cooling clothing & footwear

Craghoppers Nosilife ShirtWear light and breathable fabrics that allow air to flow and keep you cool. Try to avoid wearing dark colours as these absorb heat more. It may seem counter intuitive, but keeping covered up, rather than exposing your body to the sun, can help you keep cool.

There are many clothing brands that specialise in cooling clothing that performs better in the sun. These can even have high SPF sun protection rating such as this excellent travel shirt from Craghoppers.

Use a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off your head and neck.

Sandals, shandals and flip flops can allow you feet to keep cool. Our favourites footwear in hot weather are Oofos flip flops as they are extremely supportive so you can walk distances in them. 

Having the correct underwear is important when it is hot and you are travelling. Rohan make some excellent underwear including these boxers (that are also quick to wash and dry too). 


Use shade to keep you cool

Canopies, parasols and awnings can be used to create shade outside if you don’t have natural shade from trees and building. This sunshade is very portable as it is a fabric sail. You just need enough cord to tie it to something.  Alternatively you can make your own shade like we did with a colourful print that we picked up in Mexico. You just need your own fabric, four sturdy safety pins and four bungee balls.

If walking about, try and walk in the shade rather than direct sunlight.

If you can find a couple of suitable shady trees, a lightweight travel hammock is a great investment. 


Take a cooling shower

A cool shower can be very refreshing and help lower your body temperature and provide relief from heat. If you can’t shower, you could try making a towel or flannel damp with cool water and then placing this onto your neck or forehead.

If you are camping and don’t have access to a shower block, you could take a travel shower with you.


Stay indoors during peak heat hours

Avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day. Depending on where you are, this is typically between 10 am and 4 pm. It can still be very hot outside of these times though.

Plan outdoor activities for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.

Try cooling bedding

Change your regular duvet and blankets for lightweight, breathable materials. If you are travelling to places where you may not have access to suitable bedding, take your own lightweight sleeping liner with you.

We like to use Craghopper NosiLife liners as they keep you cool by wicking moisture from you during sleep. These liners also include a treatment that helps prevent you getting bitten from biting insects such as mosquitoes, which are more prevalent when it is hot.


Eat light and healthy meals

Avoid dense, greasy foods that are high in calories as these can make you feel lethargic and will increase your body heat as it tries to burn of the calories. Instead switch to lighter, hydrating foods including salads, fruits, and chilled soups.

A lot of your body’s energy is used maintaining your body temperature at 37’C. If the weather is warmer, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to keep warm, so you need less calories.

Keep your living space cool

Whether you are in a hotel, apartment, tent or campervan, close curtains and blinds to block out direct sunlight. This prevents unwanted thermal gain by the sun heating up your home.

It is best to vent a building space during cooler hours in the morning and night and then try and contain the cool air during the day. If you have air conditioning where you are staying, set it to a comfortable temperature and keep doors and windows closed.

If you are camping, try and pitch in a shady area. Once your tent or campervan gets hot it can be difficult to cool it down. Use natural ventilation by opening windows and using fans to create air flow.

If you have a campervan and you are worried about the security of leaving doors and windows open, purchase a Brandrup Air-safe to lock your rear door open a few centimeters. 

In your campervan or car it is wise to purchase a windscreen sun shade for when your car is parked and you can’t run the A/C. Dashboards and car seats heat up very quickly. If you are camping overnight, we like a full thermal windscreen and door shade.


Use water for cooling down

Take advantage of swimming pools, lakes, rivers and the sea to cool off. Soaking your feet in a basin of cool water can provide temporary relief from the heat when camping.

If you are feeling playful, have a water fight. Not only does this cool you down, it takes your mind of the heat. We keep a few Super Soaker water pistols in our campervan for when it gets hot.

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