I’m Dutch by birth and in the Netherlands, I never had to deal with temperatures higher than 25 degrees, only on extreme occasional hot days the temperature went up till 30-35 degrees C.
Humidity is not an issue in the Netherlands.
The only remembrance I have of extreme humidity was during my stay in Panama City when I was 18, feeling wet and sweaty all day. Only the slightest movement made water drip from my body.
The hottest temperature ever was in northern Africa when the thermometer went close to 40 degrees C.
In the Philippines, during winter the thermometer mostly stays around 30º C. In Mexico the temperature drops under 30ºC but the dry hot wind makes it feel more hot and the least of activity makes me sweat enormously. When it rains humidity jumps up and makes me create my own little puddles of water around me.
Some days it feels like I’ve been swimming with my clothes on.
I am always amazed how local people can wear sweatpants, jeans, hoodies and even winter coats that would easily do in a Dutch winter when temperatures get below zero.
When locals dress up like it is freezing, I still walk around in shorts and tees and enjoying the cool breeze where I can to make my life bearable for a few hours.
My life happens mostly under a fan when I’m indoors. Outdoors for me, it is a combination of drinking, swimming in my own liquid and wiping my face.
Here are my 10 tips to make life in a humid and warm climate bearable:
1.drink, drink, drink – drink lots and lots of (cooled, bottled) water! It helps avoiding headaches, nausea, and dizziness, once your body starts to dehydrate those symptoms may occur.
2. Wear loose fit light clothing – nothing worse than wet clothes sticking to your body, Allow the air to circulate it will make you feel cooler.
Go for light colors and natural fabrics like cotton and linen.
3. Make sure you take in enough salt – it may help to drink a Coke every now and then or eat something a little salty. When sweating you lose a lot of salt.
4. Don’t exercise around noon – stay put around noon, don’t go for a walk, a hike or shopping. Just look what locals do and join in, mostly it is some form of an afternoon nap, to sit out the hottest part of the day. Go for a swim or take a nap under a fan, stay out of the sun.
5. Wear a hat – a (sun or beach) hat soaks in a lot of water dripping from your head and prevents it from salting your eyes. But it also prevents the sun from being directly on your head what will make you extremely hot or might even cause a sunstroke. Create your own little circle of shade when using a hat.
6. Move slow – adjust to a slower pace. Walk slow, loosen your muscles and let go of any strain in your movements, do not rush, take life in a layback modus, you will get there anyway, why arrive all sweaty and hot-headed?
7. Avoid air-conditioned areas – if you need to adjust to a country like I need to, avoid turning up the AC all day. treat yourself with AC-moments but try to stay away from it from day 1. I only use the fan in my room and look for places to visit that have a breeze.
8. Take a little towel with you – wipe your face, and your neck I learned it from the Filipino’s they all walk around with some cotton washcloth and wipe their faces regularly, I bought some myself, they work perfectly.
9.Cold shower – Now that is a treat! After outside taking a cold shower. It is only a momentarily cool down but it is a cool down. Same thing when you are close to a beach: cooldown by stepping in the sea for a while, walk the surf, get your ankles wet, it will cool you down even when the water feels warm.
10. Keep cool with food – eat lots of fruits or salads and stay away from the kitchen stove as much as possible. Spoil yourself with ice-cream or freeze half a bottle of water and fill it further up with juice or water to have a really cool drink.
For me, I noticed that after the first two weeks I started sweating a lot less. I even turn the fan every so often. I still drink a lot and sleep with the fan on. But I’m coping a lot better than on arrival. And after living in a tropical climate for over 3 years I sometimes use a vest or a long sleeve sweater, when the wind gets chilly in the evenings it is more comfortable.
What I am trying to say is: Don’t fight it, you will adjust, just give it time
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.