“I love travelling to Europe, but I will never travel to areas near the Mediterranean in July or August,” said Jon Erdman, senior digital meteorologist at weather.com. “Not only do you risk landing your holiday in the middle of a sweltering heat wave, but then the locals are on holiday and crowding the beaches.”
For travellers who decide to stick it out and travel to Europe during a heatwave, here are some tips to help keep you safe.
Buy travel insurance
Even if you’re not planning to cancel your trip, travel insurance could save you money in an emergency. If you are travelling in extreme heat, a visit to the hospital could extend your stay, and rebooking a flight can cost passengers a fee. In some cases, this can cost hundreds of dollars, and insurance can help travellers avoid these fees.
Bring a reusable water bottle
Some European countries, such as Spain and France, have banned certain single-use plastics to reduce plastic waste. This may mean that it is not easy to find disposable plastic water bottles for sale. Travellers should make sure they pack a reusable water bottle and keep it filled throughout their trip to ensure they stay hydrated.
According to the Red Cross, the average person needs to drink three-quarters of a gallon of water every day. Make sure you drink before, during and after exercise in the summer heat, as well as throughout the day.
Don’t book excursions during the hottest part of the day
Italian authorities advise people to avoid direct sunlight between 11am and 6pm, which might be a good time to enjoy a slow, leisurely meal like the locals. Take your time at lunchtime in indoor places such as restaurants and museums, as you’ll want to avoid the heat outside.
Be sure to book tickets in advance for popular museums and indoor attractions, as they may be even more crowded than usual during a heatwave. It may be wise to get to these places early in the morning to avoid long queues during the heat of the day.
“While the use of air conditioning is gradually increasing in Europe, don’t assume that every restaurant and hotel will have air conditioning to the extent that it exists in the US,” Erdman explains. “Learn to tolerate an indoor air temperature of 78 degrees compared to, say, 70 degrees.”
Don’t forget sunscreen
The sun is strong, especially at midday. Be sure to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 60 or higher when outdoors, and reapplying every 2 hours if you swim or sweat.
Go sightseeing at night
As the sun sets and temperatures cool a little, travellers can sightsee more safely. Night time is a great time to see the scenery and you can even choose a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.
Be aware that some tourist attractions may be closed due to the heatSome popular attractions have had to close during the heatwave to ensure the safety of tourists. The Greek authorities closed the Acropolis in Athens during the midday heat of the recent heatwave, and some tourists even fainted in the heat.