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Eric Stoen has taken his kids to 58 countries and all 7 continents, and has experienced a wide range of weather, including extreme heat in many destinations. We asked him for his tips for traveling when it’s too hot out for kids to want to do much of anything. 

Our vacation windows are defined by the school calendar. We can primarily travel in the summer, and we have shorter breaks in December, February and April. Unfortunately the world’s weather doesn’t always cooperate with our schedule.

We love Europe in the summer, but the continent seems to experience a heat wave every time we visit. We frequently travel through the Middle East during the summer as well, which is never pleasant from a temperature perspective. And this summer we’re in Southeast Asia for three weeks. I don’t think it will be under 95 any day of our trip. And it’s humid! As much as we would like to avoid hot days, we simply can’t. So how do we, and how can you, make the best of it?

Tips for hot days - Jumping off our gulet near Bodrum, Turkey

Jumping off our gulet near Bodrum, Turkey

Maximize Mornings

Do as much as you can when it’s still cool out. I love walking around at sunrise anyway, and sometimes my kids join me, but we’ll also head to the beach before breakfast to play, or go out for a bike ride, before the sun gets too high in the sky. And of course this has the added benefit of experiencing a destination with fewer people around.

Tips for hot days - Playing chess at the Four Seasons in Dubai early in the morning when it's still relatively cool

Playing chess at the Four Seasons Resort Dubai early in the morning when it’s still relatively cool

Visit Museums

Are there any indoor destinations on your itinerary? Save them for the hottest time of the day. This includes art museums, children’s museums, planetariums, historic buildings (e.g. Florence’s Orsanmichele) and anywhere else out of the sun, as long as there’s not a long outdoor line to get in in the first place!

Tips for hot days - The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a great destination during extreme heat (i.e. the entire summer)

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a great destination during extreme heat (i.e. the entire summer)

Hit the Water on Hot Days

Or head to the water to cool off a little. Kayaking and paddle boarding don’t offer much relief from the heat, but whitewater rafting, tubing, water skiing, swimming and diving do.

Tips for hot days - Tubing at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman helped us to cool off

Tubing at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman helped us to cool off

Hot days - This pool, at Vietnam's Almanity Hoi An Wellness Resort, felt bizarrely good on 100-degree days!

This pool, at Vietnam’s Almanity Hoi An Wellness Resort, felt great on 100-degree days!

Take Cooking Classes

We take cooking classes everywhere we go, most recently in Istanbul and Hanoi. If we’re able to, it works well to do them either at 10am leading up to lunch, or starting at 3 or 4pm for dinner. Or there are always non-meal classes, like bread-making or macaron-making, that can be scheduled for any hour. Stay inside and learn new skills!

Tips for hot days - At our cooking class in Istanbul - much cooler than outside

At our cooking class in Istanbul, much cooler than outside

Have Lots of Water and Ice Cream

Make sure you’re drinking enough (we’ve ended up in hospitals in Hawaii and France with dehydrated kids on hot days), but also cool down with frequent ice cream stops. In Europe there are always people getting gelato in the morning. Do the same! It’s vacation after all. Then get more in the mid-afternoon.

Tips for hot days - Morning gelato in Florence!

Morning gelato in Florence. Why not?

Find Shady Parks and Fountains

If you’re in a mid-size city and there just aren’t museums or water sports to occupy your time, look for parks with shade and playgrounds, and search out fountains. A lot of parks, like Millennium Park in Chicago, have areas with fountains for kids to play in (bring a towel and a change of clothes). And in larger cities, customs are relaxed. Ordinarily people don’t wade into the fountains around Paris’ Louvre museum, but when the temperature approaches 100, it’s a different story.

Tips for hot days - Getting water in a perfectly shady park in the middle of Cortona, Italy

Getting water in a perfectly shady park in the middle of Cortona, Italy

Embrace Downtime

Most importantly, reduce your vacation expectations and build downtime into your schedule. If you’re pushing your kids to do too much when it’s hot outside, no one is going to have a good vacation. Slow down. Relax in your air-conditioned hotel room for a couple hours after lunch. Recharge. Adults can push through and deal with the heat, but kids can’t.

Tips for hot days - Relaxing in Tuscany

Relaxing in Tuscany

Do you have other ways to occupy your kids on hot days? Please comment below!

Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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