Is Egypt too hot in summer? Is Europe too cold in winter? Obviously the answer is personal to everyone depending on their health, country of origin and personal preferences for heat versus cold. Then to add to the mix have you found that when it’s hot you want to be cool and when it cold you want to be warm? So shouldn’t I just stop here?
Taking all the above into account I will write about having the most comfortable experience in the Egyptian sun.
June to Sept the daily temp can range from 35 – 48 celsius – if you want to find out more details, this is nice website to do your research on World Weather Online – the link is to the Luxor page and if you play around on the site you can find the historical weather too.
If you are worried about not being able to take the heat – especially if your only time to travel there is during the summer months there are a few wonderful products you can buy that are guaranteed to keep your body at a more comfortable temperature – just imagine being able to walk around in the sunshine without that wilting feeling 🙂
Top of my own personal cooling aids is the Mission Performance Cooling Hat which looks like a regular sports cap and is great on men and women (different colours) – there are several different designs. Especially if I am going to visit a temple and going to be out for a few hours this cap is great. I just soak it in water for a few mins, squeeze the excess water out and off I go. If it dries out it is simple to just wet again from my water bottle. I do find this helps me keep cool.
Next for me (I do use them) are the cooling wrist bands and the cooling bandana/towels – all your blood flows through your neck and wrists so using the wrist bands and neck towel really does cool you down and makes the heat much more bearable. I definitely would not be without them now even when traveling in the US in summer. I don’t recommend the simpler cooling neck ties – I have tried them and I find they feel a bit slimy and uncomfortable when wet.
If you want to go all out – and I consider this a real luxury in heat of 45 degrees celsius – there are body vests you can buy but they are expensive. I have not tried them myself but I had a male guest recently who had one and he said it was amazing. This would be especially good for older people traveling to Egypt during summer months.
HOW TO ENJOY THE HEAT IN EGYPT
- A well planned schedule – remember the weather is only outside. Every building is air-conditioned and most ancient sites you will visit are big, with roofs and walls of varying heights providing shade and rooms through which cooling air flows. A well-planned schedule for going outside is the best way to guarantee an enjoyable experience. During the summer months Egyptians stay indoors and sleep during the day as much as possible and the streets come alive with shoppers and people getting together for social life at night-time, expecially Cairo where some places such as Khan El Khalili are popular night spots for meeting up with friends for a coffee etc. For the tourist who needs to see the monuments this is not possible. But outside of the monuments there is much that the tourist can see and experience at night-time. It is possible to plan a schedule that allows for a nap during the heat of the day and a later night time adventure – a good way to get the most out of your time.
- Ladies, put some thought into leaving the handbag at home in favour of a nice, lightweight, carry-all bag with secure closure mechanism, which you take everywhere with you during the day. It should be big enough to hold your drinking water (small bottles easiest), money, camera, phone, sun-screen, sun-glasses when you take them off (be surprised how many lose them), Antinal, spritzer bottle, antiseptic hand gel, anti-histamine cream, insect- repellant.
- Ladies, during the day your make up is best left in hotel, lipstick etc. may be melted by the time you get indoors again.
- Use a water spritzer instead of a hand-held fan to cool your face. Using a fan to cool your face makes your brain believe you are cold therefore your body responds by turning up the heat – try it. Instead carry a little bottle with a spray top – an empty, well-washed out perfume bottle which you can keep refilling with water is the best idea. Giving your face a fine spray of water is refreshing and also beneficial to the skin in the dry heat. Try adding a drop of lavender oil to it….hmmmm, refreshing smell too!
- Wear a hat – even if you are trying to get a tan. It is the rapid, alternating heating and cooling of your skin as much as the rays of the sun that tan your face and wearing a hat will not hinder the tanning process significantly.
- Guys – this is your chance to wear that ‘Indiana Jones’ hat in it’s natural setting!
- Wear good sun-glasses – large ones that cover the entire eye and side of the eye are best. If you are buying new ones, smile when trying them on. Buy a pair whose rims are not touching the top of your cheeks when smiling because the rims will heat up and be uncomfortable. If you don’t want ‘panda eyes’ wear a hat also when wearing sun-glasses.
- Air-condition is wonderful – when used properly. Set it to no more than 15 degrees lower than the outside temperature because if set at a bigger difference value, when you go outside the heat will feel more stressful. So, if it is 40 degrees celsius outside – set you air-conditioner to 25 degrees celsius not 15!!!
- Cotton pyjamas/night-dress – cotton is better than synthetic to wear in bed also. Combining the proper air-con setting of 15 degrees lower than the outside temp. with the right nightwear gives the best chance of a good night’s sleep as well as acclimatising you to enjoy the daytime heat much better.
- Remember the back of your neck – such a vulnerable place to sunburn especially if in an air-conditioned bus or car with the sun shining in the window. Buying a light cotton scarf or two at the first market stall you pass is a suggestion. They are everywhere, lovely and so cheap if you practice your bargaining skills.
- Baby -Don’t forget if you have a baby to travel only in cars whose drivers carry fixed or removable window shades.
- Baby – Water with a little honey provides hydration as well as nourishment, baby is smart and will only drink what it wants, leave the bottle 🙂 . If you are planning both an Egyptian holiday as well as weaning Baby off the bottle, leave the weaning til after the holiday – keeping Baby properly hydrated (not over-hydrated which can happen) is important)
- Baby – obvious, forget the tan and keep it shaded.
- Umbrella – or good sun-shade not a bad idea.
- Sun-screen, this is far down my list because I presume everyone thinks of this – you don’t have to bring it, you can buy it everywhere in Egypt, in supermarkets, pharmacies, shops on the cruise ships, hotels etc.
- Clothing – cotton of course, and loose. Full article on what to wear in Egypt here.
- Toes – can easily get burned even while walking and putting sun-screen in open sandals may make them slippery. Being mindful of this, you might like to bring sneakers or light comfortable walking shoes for places like the Valley of the Kings which is probably the hottest place you will visit and being surefooted there as well as not getting sunburnt toes is important.
- Be frugal with the daytime drinking of alcohol – night-time is best. Also easy on the iced drinks while outside as it gives the tummy a temperature shock.
- ENJOY the dry heat – it’s good for your body and I believe that in some way our bodies store it up for those of us who live most of the year in colder climates.
So, don’t be put off by the heat in Egypt during the summer months. Consider staying at Mara House – contact me, talk to me about your concerns, ask me questions, and let’s plan your itinerary together so you have a wonderful, relaxed and enjoyable summer holiday in Egypt.
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