If you’re planning a family summer holiday no doubt one of the main questions you’ll have is how to keep kids cool in a hot country. We’ve travelled with our little adventurers to a number of countries which really heat up in the summer, including our holiday in Albania with kids, travelling through Germany and our most recent trip to Seville with kids. So we’ve definitely picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.
The best hacks to keep kids cool in a hot country
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Invest in portable fans
- Make your own ice water bottle
- Find the shade
- Carry a cold flannel
- Make use of air con stops
- Buy a beach tent
- Use a buggy shade
- End the day with a cool bath or shower
- When the going gets tough, stop for ice cream!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Obviously ensuring your children are well hydrated is the most important tip for how to keep kids cool in a hot country. But sometimes this is easier said than done. Some children will guzzle water, but for others it’s more of a challenge. Neither of my little adventurers drink much at home, so we’re always really conscious of it when we’re travelling.
One of the things that we’ve found helps is ensuring that the water is ice cold, because let’s face it, there really is nothing worse than drinking sun-warmed water right?
Instead of buying plastic bottles on your trip, invest in a reusable bottle which will keep the water inside cold. I love my S’well insulated bottle, which really does keep water cool all day. If you’re in a country where the drinking water is safe, cool some tap water in the fridge the night before. Or if it isn’t, decant it from larger water bottles you can buy from the supermarket.
If your child really hates drinking water, opt for things like fresh juices instead (although remember the sugar content). The NHS also recommends eating lots of fruit and vegetables to keep fluid levels topped up.
Something random that we discovered is that our little ones love sucking on ice cubes! So when you order drinks at lunch or dinner, ask for a glass of ice as well. It does the double job of keeping them hydrated and entertained until your food arrives.
Invest in portable fans
Buying portable fans was definitely one of the best decisions we made when thinking about how we could keep our children cool in hot countries. We use these foldable ones from John Lewis. They’re a bit bigger than some handheld fans, but they’re really effective.
I also like that the handle can be bent so they can be stood on a flat surface. This means at mealtimes or bedtime they still provide a breeze, without needing to be held.
Make your own ice water bottle
If you’re staying in a self-catering place, my top tip is to freeze water bottles overnight. The next day wrap them in something like a thin muslin or scarf and your little one can carry it to stay cool. (We found this to be really effective when tucked into the side of the pram.)
Then as the day progresses the water will melt and you’ll have a cool drink for later.
Just remember that water expands in the freezer, so don’t fill your bottle too full!
Find the shade
We usually try and head indoors for the hottest part of the day. Something we changed since we started travelling with our children is having lunch as our main meal of the day. So heading to a restaurant for a break is a good way to get out of the sun.
It’s also a good time to check out a museum or wander around a shopping centre, which will usually have air con. Alternatively, seek out a shady park and have a picnic under the trees.
Carry a cold flannel
One of the quickest ways to keep kids cool in a hot country is to apply something cold to their pressure points. Store a damp flannel in the fridge overnight and pop it into a plastic bag the next morning. Then apply it to foreheads, the back of necks and wrists when your little one is hot. You can resoak it in your iced water as the day progresses.
Make use of air con stops
If you’re exploring a city, factoring in air con stops can reduce the potential of (quite literal) meltdowns. If you’re walking through shopping areas, pop into shops for a quick cool down and don’t forget public transport.
Something we found really helpful when staying in the San Gil neighbourhood of Seville was using the tram to get from A to B. Yes, we could have walked the distance, but getting on an air-conditioned tram meant that it cooled us all down. Plus my little adventurers thought it was the most fun thing ever. So double win!
Buy a beach tent
If you’re planning a family beach holiday, a pop up tent is a great way to keep kids cool on the sand and has saved us on many a trip. We have one similar to this, which can be folded up and packed in your suitcase. It’s perfect for when our little adventurers need a break from the sun and we used ours loads during our beach holiday in Ksamil, Albania. It’s also useful if your little one still naps, as you don’t need to worry about them falling asleep in the sun.
For our beach trips we also use this mini beach pool which can be filled with seawater. It’s perfect for a little paddle, especially for babies and toddlers.
Use a buggy shade
When we took our five month old to Bulgaria, one of the most useful ways we found to keep her cool when out and about was a buggy shade. We used a parasol like this, but there are so many different options available.
One thing to remember if your baby naps is to be careful what you cover the pram with. While it may be tempting to use something like a towel or a scarf to keep the light out, this can actually end up increasing the temperature inside the buggy a lot. Instead opt for something like the Koo-di Real Sunshady which has been designed to allow an airflow through the pram.
End the day with a cool bath or shower
After a long day of exploring, ending the day with a cool bath or shower will help to ensure that your children are able to get a better night’s sleep in a hot country.
We also find that it helps to calm our little adventurers down after a busy day and gets them into their usual bedtime routine.
When the going gets tough, stop for ice cream!
This was a lesson we learnt on our first day in Albania, which turned out to be a lot hotter than expected. We were spending 24 hours in Berat and had started our day at the castle, but everyone was getting hot and frazzled. I was seriously questioning the wisdom of our plans, when we decided to stop and regroup over an ice cream.
Suddenly my grumpy little adventurer was like a different child, bounding about exploring and having the best time. Sometimes we have to remember to read our children and take breaks when they need them, even if its not something we’d planned. And never under-estimate the power of ice cream!