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Traveling During a Heat Wave: Tips and Precautions

Traveling During a Heat Wave: Tips and Precautions

It’s set to be another scorching summer, with extreme and prolonged heat waves forecast across many parts of the United States and Europe.

The stifling conditions could impact millions of travelers and wreak havoc on vacations at some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Multiple heat-related deaths among tourists have been reported in Greece and Saudi Arabia in June following extreme temperatures in the Middle East and Aegean regions. Even those who have booked trips in traditionally cooler places may not be spared from the summer heat because of the growing unpredictability of weather patterns.

Here are some tips on how to manage high temperatures when traveling in a heat zone.

If a heat wave has been forecast at your destination, check government websites before embarking on your trip to give yourself plenty of time to plan and adapt. In extreme temperatures, governments often issue heat advisories warning people to stay indoors during peak heat hours and provide resources to help residents and visitors stay cool. In the United States, the National Integrated Heat Health Information System has a website with information and tools to help prevent illness and death during excessive heat.

Tourist attractions also provide important updates about the conditions at the sights, including any scheduled closures, as a precaution against high temperatures. Some cities grappling with intensive heat, like Los Angeles, Miami, Athens and Melbourne, have assigned chief heat officers to prepare for the heat waves and lead emergency responses.

It may seem obvious, but staying outdoors for prolonged periods of time when the sun is at its peak can put many at risk of heat exhaustion. Even if the temperature does not read exceptionally high, excessive dry heat or humidity can make an environment feel hotter than it is.

Travel advisers are adapting itineraries, putting sightseeing in the cooler early morning and evening hours and prebooking tickets for their clients so they do not have to wait in long lines.

“We tend to do activities and tours in the morning, then stop for lunch, and in the mid- to late afternoon you either go back to the hotel to sit by the pool or go to the beach,” said Gary Portuesi, a co-managing partner at Authentic Explorations, a New York-based travel company that specializes in Europe.

Hiking in the middle of the day is also not advised. On June 5, Dr. Michael Mosley, a British medical…

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