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Climate and Weather

Before setting off on your travels, it’s wise to prepare for what the elements might throw at you. More often than not, a change of scenery also involves a change of climate. By following these simple tips, you can make sure your trip is a triumph, come rain or shine.

Check the weather

It may seem obvious, but checking the forecast for your destination means you’ll only pack what you need – be it waterproofs and wellies, or sunscreen and shades.

Many countries experience hazardous weather conditions that you should be mindful of. Always check to see whether any weather warnings are in place for your destination, particularly during hurricane, typhoon and monsoon seasons. Also, make sure you have a backup plan should things take a turn for the worse.

Hot climates

Ample sunshine is a welcome change for most of us, but it’s important not to underestimate the power of the sun when travelling to hotter climates.

Wear loose fitting, light-weight clothing in order to keep a current of air between your skin and the fabric. Natural, light coloured fabrics, such as white cotton are best for keeping you cool, although new research shows that dark, thicker materials provide better protection against harmful UV rays. A sun hat will also keep your head cool and stop your scalp from burning.

If you’re out in bright sun, it’s very tempting to pick up a cheap pair of sunnies, but these are often just darkened lenses with no UV protection and can actually do more damage to your eyes than if you weren’t wearing sunglasses at all. Try to buy a good pair before you travel, and check for the ‘CE’ mark, which means that the product has met the European regulatory standard for UV protection.

Staying hydrated is essential, so it’s best to carry a bottle of drinking water with you at all times.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen to avoid sunburn, and after-sun moisturiser to keep your skin from drying out, which is especially a problem in dry heat. To learn more about keeping healthy in hot weather, visit our page on protecting from the sun.

Sometimes you’ll also require vaccinations before travelling to warmer climes. For more information, visit our vaccination advice page.

Cold climates

Whether you’re ice fishing in Lapland, or out for a winter’s stroll, the key to enjoying cold weather is staying warm.

Think carefully about the kinds of clothes you want to take when travelling to a cold country. Remember that multiple layers of clothing will do a better job at insulating you than just a single coat, and bear in mind that fabrics like cotton are ill-suited for wet and wintry weather. It’s always a good idea to pack rainproof and windproof clothes to fend off the harsher conditions: a waterproof coat with a detachable inner fleece is a practical and flexible option.

Extremities tend to lose heat faster than other areas of the body – this is particularly true of young and elderly adventurers. Pairing a waterproof outer glove with an insular inner glove will not only prevent cold water or snow from freezing your fingers, but also creates a warm current of air against the skin.

Although most of us associate sunburn with summer, the strength of UV rays actually isn’t dependent on temperature. Sun block and sun glasses or goggles are especially important in wintery conditions, when up to 80% of UV light can be reflected by snow, causing damage to both eyes and skin.

Footwear

Walking is a mainstay for most trips and holidays, so packing the right footwear can help save you from pesky blisters, aches and sores. Boots will help keep your feet warm and dry in cold and snowy conditions, whereas light shoes or sandals will let your feet breathe in warmer weather. It’s also worth packing a few extra pairs of socks if you plan on hiking. After all, you can never have too many socks.

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The content of these pages are for general information only, They do not constitute advice and must not be acted or relied on as being so.