If you live in a cold country or you’re currently in the depths of winter, nothing is more appealing than the thought of being in a warm place. Just a couple of days under the sun, please! I mean, it’s not a bad reason to travel. Yet an overly keen attitude towards the heat of a foreign land can cause us to forget the consequences. Of course, this is the sun we are talking about. It can get quite hot…

If you are traveling at the height of the summer in a foreign country or you have picked a particularly hot destination to warm up your blood, then you need to take care. You are not immune just because you’re in another country, so take the same precautions you would at home, if not more so.

As basic as it sounds, there’s plenty you can do to avoid a nasty burn. For instance, wear a high SPF-factor of sunscreen if you plan on bathing, and remember that you will need to dry off and then reapply if you have been swimming. More than protecting yourself, just avoid the risk in the first place by not spending all day in the sun. And avoid the midday heat by taking breaks and sitting in the shade.

You also have to monitor yourself whenever you are in a climate that is out of your comfort zone as a heat stroke and sickness can come on quickly, both of which can be extremely severe. Additionally, stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water. A “normal” amount is 2.2 liters, but there are lots of variables, and one of them is how hot and humid the weather is. In a hot climate that you are unaccustomed to, you should be drinking a lot more.

The other obvious precaution to take is just to sit in the shade. It sounds counterintuitive, but it really works! You won’t burn if you are in the shade. Just look at the locals. They are used to the sun, which is why they don’t hang around in it all day looking to “absorb its rays”. In extremely hot countries, you may find that taking “siestas” is common during the day, and activity commences in the morning and in the evenings. Various cultures around the world are often highly influenced by the climate, so if you take some hints from the locals, you will learn quickly how to handle the heat.

Taking such basic precautions and limiting your sunbathing time will also stop you from having to do anything more extreme like bathe in an ice-cold bucket of water like Usain Bolt.

It’s not just direct sunlight that can cause issues when you’re traveling in a hot place. Sometimes it just doesn’t cool down very much, even at night, and this can be very frustrating. To stay relaxed and get a good night’s sleep, use thin cotton sheets and take a cold shower before bed to reduce your body temperature. And check if the hotel has AC before you book a reservation or make your own AC with a bedside travel fan.

I understand that many people travel in the sun, so you don’t want to spend your whole vacation avoiding it. With a few precautions, however, you can enjoy it without any negative consequences. And all without having to jump in any ice-cold bathes of water!