Most visitors don't expect a heatwave in the UK and have no idea about how to keep cool in Britain because cold snaps during the summer months can be just as common. But every summer sees hot weather days increase and temperatures breaking higher records in the UK. With airconditioning and ice cold beer still uncommon, a UK heatwave can be a lot more unpleasant than one in the tropics. These good ideas about how to keep cool in a UK heatwave should help you chill out.
Sun blocks are essential for outdoor touring almost year round, these days. But perhaps you didn't think you needed insect repellent in the UK. Well, the fact is, window screens are just about unheard of in Britain. And beside's mosquitoes (which though uncommon are not unheard of) there are plenty of other nasty biting and stinging insects that can fly in through open windows. I like Sawyer Premium Sun Block and Insect Repellent, from Magellan because it combines both a non-greasy, spray-on sunblock and a DEET-free insect repellant in one product. So less to stuff in your luggage or backpack. It gives up to 8 hours of UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection, and is gentle enough for infants.
Pack a Proper Hat
Unless you want to wear a target on your head that says, "I'm a tourist", leave the baseball caps and floppy straw numbers at home and pack a proper straw hat or panama. Lots of British mean wear classic panama hats to outdoor events, without the slightest touch of irony, in the summer. And for women, who wear hats much more commonly in Britain than elsewhere, a smart but simple straw hat is always appropriate on a sunny day. Luckily, there are some smashing packable hats around. I like these:
Optimize Your Fan with Ice
Airconditioning is uncommon in rooms and expensive to run in cars. But you can always get hold of a bag or a bowl of ice. Here are some creative ways to use it:
- In your room: Set a bowl of ice cubes directly in breeze generated by a room fan or ventilation system. As the ice turns to ice water, the fan's breeze circulates refreshingly cool moisture. If you can't get any ice, even a shallow dish of cold water will do.
- In your car: Fill liter-sized plastic drinks bottles with tap water and ask your hotel to freeze them for your overnight; Most will oblige. On their own, the frozen bottles provide a cooling respite for a traveling pet. Aim a fan over them and you have instant car aircon. Try the G-Tech Solar Auto Fan in your parked car.
Forget the linen-look alikes, wearing real linen or linen-silk blends to beat the heat was pioneered by the British during their days of empire and a small wardrobe of linen - shirts, jackets, dresses - still features in the traveling and summer wardrobe of many a Brit. It's the coolest natural fiber around - breathable, stylish, cool and summery. Sure it wrinkles, but that's what gives it its sophisticated dash. And if rumpled linen isn't your thing, there are even some wrinkle resistant linens around. Compare prices on these stylish linens:
Be Kind to the Environment While You Stay Hydrated
Disposable plastic water bottles are among the scourges of the environment. All the energy it takes to make and then get rid of all that that plastic debris. All over Britain, tap water is safe, palatable and usually cold. You can spare the environment - and your travel kitty - by buying an inexpensive insulated flask or bottle and filling it up as you go. Nowadays there are quite a few lightweight water bottles you can clip to a belt or backpack. Have a look at these to buy direct: