In an ideal world we would only travel to destinations during the shoulder seasons, when the weather is perfect and the crowds have thinned. Unfortunately we’re restricted to school breaks, which means that not only do we need to venture places when they’re crowded, we also see a lot of heat waves.
My kids hate hot days – like really hate hot days. If you’re trekking across the Sahara with the family there may not be a way to avoid the heat. But in most normal summer travel situations you can – or at least there are things you can do to salvage the days and still have a good trip.
I wrote up all of my tips for entertaining kids on hot days over on Travelocity’s website. I’ll include the first couple below. The entire blog post is here. And one thing that I didn’t mention in the Travelocity piece is that the right tour guide can help with the heat too. A guide will know the best times to visit sites to avoid the heat and crowds. He/she will know where to take a break from the heat. And the guide may have some tricks, learned from taking previous families around on similarly hot days. An example: a few years ago we visited Ephesus, Turkey for a day off a Disney cruise ship. Everyone headed to the ruins of Ephesus of course, and given that there’s only one day in port, the timing is what it is. Unfortunately for us it was hot, and there’s not much shade there. Our amazing guide saw that our kids were miserable, sped up the walk through Ephesus, and zipped us to an air-conditioned carpet store. It was a highlight of the entire summer – the kids running around and playing while carpet after carpet was unrolled (we were the only people there). We learned different weaving techniques as well. And then we went next door to a shaded courtyard for an amazing lunch. And of course that’s another reason never to book a group excursion through your cruise ship. If we were on a bus to Ephesus with 50 others, we wouldn’t have had any flexibility. With our own guide though, at roughly the same price, we could do anything we wanted.
My other tips:
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I always try to walk around at sunrise. It’s a great way to see a destination without anyone else around, and it’s never hot. And then as soon as the kids wake up, there’s no reason not to mix up the schedule and hit the beach or park before breakfast – or at least before the day gets too hot. Do as much as you can early, and then have downtime during the peak heat.
Museums are virtually always air-conditioned, so they’re perfect destinations for hot days – as long as there’s lot a long line in the hot sun to get in! In the same category as museums are children’s museums, planetariums, historic buildings (e.g. Florence’s Orsanmichele) and anywhere else not in the sun. But don’t drag your kids around an uninteresting museum (to them) for four hours just because it’s hot out. Book a kid-friendly museum tour. Create a scavenger hunt from postcards in the gift shop. Do something to make it fun.
Again, the entire post is over on Travelocity’s Inspire Hub. Click here! And please let me know, here or on the Travelocity post, if you have additional tips for entertaining your kids on hot summer travel days.