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5 Ways Travelers Can Beat the Summer Heat

This past weekend here in San Francisco, I was sitting outside with some friends, all of us wearing long pants and sweaters, but enjoying the crisp July weather, and discussing how our poor friends and family in the rest of the country were melting in this summer’s monster heat wave. It made me feel lucky to live in a city with “natural” air conditioning—when it gets too warm outside, the warm air interacts with the cool ocean currents to create the cooling fog that’s made this city so famous.

But many travelers aren’t so lucky as to find their hearts in San Francisco, and most likely will be dealing with heat for at least the next month, so here are some tips to stay cool during your summer vacation:

1. Visit Museums: Here’s a little secret: where you can find a good museum, you can usually find really good air conditioning. After all, with so many famous items on display, no one wants the paint to melt or the artifacts to get weathered. So keep your cool and duck indoors to take in the latest exhibit or gallery.
2. Eat Ice Cream: Vacations are a great time to stray from your diet, so go for the cold stuff in the name of keeping your core temperature down, be it chocolate, vanilla, or your favorite gelato, which you can usually find on most busy downtown corners during the hottest dog days.
3. Take a Siesta: There’s a reason why “nap time” is scheduled for the hottest hours of the day. It keeps you out of the blazing sun when it’s at its brightest. Plus, you’ll have more energy for going out later on once the sun sets and the air starts to cool.
4. Relax: Slow down and don’t rush your way through the sweltering heat. The hot weather gives you an excuse to relax by the hotel pool or cross a few extra things off your itinerary. When you jam too much into your vacation day, you don’t remember it all anyway, so let your trip be about quality and not quantity.
5. Carry Water: If you feel thirsty, it means you’re already dehydrated, so stay ahead of the curve by carrying your own travel water bottle around wherever you go. It’s good for the environment, will save you from having to spend a lot of money on bottled water, and you can fill your own bottle up at any public water fountain for free.

Stay cool, and enjoy your summer travels!

Fountain photo courtesy of IgoUgo member Idler


My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.


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