5 Summer Travel Tips That May Surprise You

1. Careful not to catch a cold: most of us are very careful about colds in winter but tend to forget about the dangers of catching a cold in summer. Don't let your guard down just because it's warmer out! The public places many travelers visit are favorite places for germs to hide, regardless of the season. So be sure to pack the handy travel-size hand sanitizer or wipes. Nothing's worse than not being able to go out and enjoy the outdoors activities during your summer holiday because you're stuck indoors with a cold.

2. We all know to wear sunscreen but do you know how to choose the right one?

Factors to consider: a 30 SPF will protect against 97% of UV rays; 50 SPF or above will cover 99%. When choosing which to purchase, remember that a higher SPF may not deserve a higher price tag! Also, the difference between sunblock and sunscreen can get quite confusing -- most lotions are actually a combination of both. Sunscreen provides slightly more complete protection against both UVA and UVB rays, but can sometimes be more irritating to sensitive skin depending on its primary ingredients. If your skin tends to need extra care, purchasing all-natural or organic products will almost always be your best bet.

3. Hydration. Stay hydrated. Duh. But how much/many fluids do you need to avoid dehydration? While the standard number for years has been eight-ten 12 ounce glasses of water, new medical research indicates that it's more accurate to put a healthy estimate at 90 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men [Source]. Even though it seems obvious, it's incredibly important to remember that the hotter and dryer the area, the more water you will easily sweat out without realizing it (evaporation may keep your clothes dry -- but can keep you from being aware of how hot you really are)!

If you are drinking alcohol, the standard balance is one glass of water per beer or mixed drink. However, keep in mind that if you are drinking outside in the hot sun, particularly if you are on the water, it's a great idea to double that.

It's also important to be aware of the signs of dehydration. First indicators include a heightened pulse, dark urine, a headache and fatigue. If you begin experiencing confusion, a lack of sweat, low blood pressure or fever seek immediate medical attention -- dehydration can be deadly!

4. Plan your activities in the morning. The longer the sun sits in the sky, the hotter your day will get; be sure to plan your vacation activities around this obvious but easily forgettable fact, especially if you're traveling with children. The hot summer sun can lead to unhappy campers, so getting the fun in early is key to keeping everything running smoothly on your sunny trip.

5. Eat spicy foods. This is perhaps our most surprising bit of advice, but the reasoning is actually quite simple. Spicy foods make us sweat: the body's function designed specifically for cooling us down. This is why spicy foods are a staple in some of the hottest locations on the planet -- they both prepare and condition the body for rising temperatures!