Getting out in the mid summer heat is not everybody’s cup of tea. Especially if it requires more than 10 minutes in the car. Even with the air conditioning blasting out of the vents, The sun beating down on the roof and through the windows can create some fairly intense heat that even the best air conditioners have trouble cooling off. With that said, how then does one plan for a hot summer day trip?
It is really easier than you think. You simply need to make a few extra preparations and you will be rolling down the road having a great time and hopefully a most memorable experience at wherever your destination may be.
Tip One: Pick a destination that is sure to have some shade or inside time in an air conditioned building. I personally think visiting pools and swimming parks is a great idea. You can spend the hottest hours of the day cooling off in the water or shade of the umbrella table and then take in the attraction that may have been the main draw to a location. Yes, when you pick a place to visit, also check for pools open to the public. Even some hotels will open their pool to the public for a nominal fee.
Tip Two: Travel early and late. I recommend heading out early enough in order to arrive at your planned destination by 10 am, or 11 am at the latest. This will get you out of the car before the extreme heat of the day settles in. Most heat advisories get issued from near the noon hour to around 5pm.
For the return trip, travel late if at all possible. I like to hit the road around 7pm myself. In the summertime this gives you an hour to and hour and a half of driving in the daylight. The only real drawback is if you are headed west into the sunset. The sun of course can be blinding as it drops low on the horizon. A short break may be in order if you run into a stretch of road with a blinding sunset. US 58 and US 460 in south central Virginia both have this problem. I usually try to spend an hour or less driving after dark.
Tip Three: Pack a cooler. While the real plan may include eating all meals out at local eateries along the way, it is good to have some extra food on hand in the event of an unexpected break down that could leave you stranded for a few hours. Even more important than food is water and other non alcoholic drinks. The water will prevent dehydration and sodas and other drinks can provide some calories for energy. Both are a good idea to take along. I recommend at least two 16 oz water per person and at least one other non alcoholic drink per person. If the area you are traveling to is fairly remote, double the drinks. It is easier to have them and not need them rather than having unexpected troubles and finding yourself stranded with no provisions.
I always travel with a full water in the car in the summer months. I may only be going 20 minutes or less from home but I don’t want to be stranded without it. I like to keep it in a prefrozen soft side cooler to help keep the water cooler for a longer period of time.
Tip Four: Take sunglasses with you. The sun can be harmful to your eyes which should be reason enough to invest in a pair and always have them with you. Secondly, long periods of time squinting can cause headaches and can simply make having a full view of your surroundings difficult.
Tip Five: Know the signs and differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both are dangerous and a heat stroke can result in death. Hot, dry skin is usually related to heat exhaustion and cool clammy skin with no sweating is associated with a heat stroke. Even if you don’t have the symptoms, you may run across someone else that does. Both are true medical emergencies and treatment should not be delayed. Always call 911 when you or someone with you is experiencing any of these symptoms.
Tip Six: Eat smaller meals more frequently. The entire body performs better eating this way and that is good advice for any season. If you have a craving for chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc… chances are your body is telling you that it needs some salt to replenish salt lost through sweat. Pay attention to what you eat also and understand how certain foods can help cool the body during summer.
Tip Seven: Get plenty of rest prior your summer day trip. A rested body performs better and your focus on yourself and others will be much sharper.
Remember of course to follow the rules of the road while out day tripping. Your life is precious as are the ones belonging to any passengers in your car and any cars that you may be sharing the road with.
Destination Suggestion: Summer is a great time to take in the water adventure parks of Great Wolf Lodge. We have two within a few hours drive in Williamsburg, Va and one south of the state in Concord, NC. This park is loaded with fun for people of all ages.
Have a safe and fun day trip and I look forward to hearing your stories.