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How bad will it really be? Getting nervous about heat on BOE tour

We are signed up for the Best of Europe in 14 days tour at the end of the summer to celebrate a major milestone in the family, thus the timing. I have never been to Europe and the BOE in 14 days just seems like such a great introduction. But now that it is getting closer I am starting to worry about the heat. We start the tour in Italy, which to my understanding practically shuts down in the month of August due to the heat. I have also read that hotels cannot cool their rooms to less than 78 degrees. I have trouble sleeping when it's too hot, and I'm wondering if the first few days of the trip will be miserable. Does anyone else have experience with Italy in August, and can you tell me if my cold feet fears are founded or unfounded?

Posted by
15536 posts

Above post by eddie.....reported as spam. Do not open the link.

It will be hot. As to how well the hotels cool the room, depends on the hotel. I personally don't travel to southern Europe during the summer due to the heat. '

One thing I have started to travel with is a small, bedside USB fan. it won't cool down the room but will help to cool you down to sleep. Aim it at your head, or just above your head, and it helps. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Handheld-Portable-Foldable-Rechargeable-Traveling/dp/B08Z7Z71P5/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ZAQEXMNP3RZI&keywords=%E2%80%8EB08Z7Z71P5&qid=1657883874&sprefix=b08z7z71p5%2Caps%2C823&sr=8-1

The one I travel with has just the fan part and not the handle but it is no longer available. They weigh very little and are fairly quiet.

Prior to the pandemic, I would spent much of May in Italy. Although already very warm, hotels in some areas were not allowed to turn on their air conditioning because it was too early in the season. The fan helped me to get sleep.

Posted by
11350 posts

We usually go to Italy in October sometimes September. Hopefully your hotels will be air conditioned and I never heard of the 78 degree rule. I don’t recall any hotel rooms with a/c being that warm. Bring handwash laundry soap( I buy concentrated laundry soap sold for camping) light weight, loose fitting clothing. I bring bow up hangars to speed drying, work well. Sunscreen is much more expensive in Europe so bring some along.

Posted by
2976 posts

We buy a fan and it makes a huge difference. Laying in bed sweating with no air moving over you isn't fun. I also need cool temperatures to sleep. Another trick is to take cold showers, especially before sleeping. Get your core temperature down.

And sure, before travelling crank your room temperature up to 80F at night without a fan or any air movement, and see how that acclimates you for sleeping. Good luck!

Posted by
15536 posts

I believe the 78 degree rule is only for government run offices and buildings.

Posted by
228 posts

I took the BOE 14 Day in June of 2019 and it was wonderful. As you said, a great introduction and nearly every day there was a bucket list type of “wow” moment. As for the weather, though, we were there during a major heat wave. In 2019, the tour ended in Rome. All of our hotels in Italy had a/c. But it wasn’t the refrigerator type of a/c that we expect in the US. You could adjust the a/c settings, but it was never chilly. That was true throughout Europe, even in stores and restaurants that were air conditioned. You may have to adjust your expectations on a/c. That being said, it was still a relief given how hot it was outside. Our rooms in Switzerland (Lauterbrunnen Valley) and Munich didn’t have a/c (I think it normally wouldn’t be necessary in the L Valley, but it was HOT because of the heat wave). I found it difficult to sleep under the heavy duvets that are common in Europe. There was not a separate sheet like we would usually have in the U.S. One tour member mentioned that she brought a lightweight “hostel sheet”. This would have solved my problem with the duvets (I have trouble sleeping without some type of cover). In both cases we made the best of the situation by opening windows and using the fan that was provided. It did cool down in both of those places at night. Note that the tour may not always use the same hotels, so your experience may vary. As for dealing with the sun while touring, I was glad I had my sun hat in Rome for places like the Colosseum and the Forum. I personally found the temperature in Venice to be the most oppressive, probably bc of the humidity. After touring all morning with the group, we returned to our room after lunch to cool off and relax. Then we ventured back out after 5 pm when the cruise ship crowd had left. It was easier to enjoy that way, and the Doge’s Palace happened to be open late that day, so we didn’t miss out on any of our “must sees”. Carry your water bottle and drink often. Refill it whenever you see a public fountain (we saw them often all over Europe). It is a fantastic tour, but you probably should expect some heat in Italy during August.

Posted by
734 posts

I personally am unable to bring enough sunscreen with me. I discovered that I could purchase something even better in Europe. Avene had an active ingredient that's still not available in the US and it was perfect for me. I believe it's named METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL on the label but also has a more common name. I found a 50 SPF with "dry touch" that didn't drip into my eyes, didn't cake up and one application was often enough. It never felt greasy and in fact I couldn't even tell it was on my skin. It's so good that I've since imported it several times to the US. It's unknown if and when it will ever be allowed here. Sometimes it's better to explore what's available when you travel. This was a miraculous find for me as I've never been content with any sunscreen product before. My neck has never once changed color since I started using it. I don't care what it costs!

Posted by
380 posts

Here’s a simple tip to be cooler when falling asleep. Wet a hand towel, wring it out and place on your chest. RS talked about wetting a whole sheet to cool down during his early 1970’s travel. Just don’t get mattresses wet. I have been known to strip the duvet sheet off and use it. The duvet is neatly folded and placed somewhere to keep it clean. Happy travels!

Posted by
27348 posts

There are a couple of products you might take a look at to see whether you think one of them would be of enough benefit to justify taking along.

The simplest is a cooling towel. You wet it, swing it around a bit and it gets nicely chilly. You can then use it to wipe your face, arms, etc. You'll probably need to re-wet it during the day.

The other option is a Cool Tie. There are competing products with different names. Each is a long, narrow length of fabric, folded lengthwise and stitched. There are water-absorbing beads in the middle of the tie. You tie the ends around your neck. Once you get the tie wet (initially soaking it for 15-20 minutes), the beads swell and the middle section of the tie looks like a sausage. The tie remains wet all day and cools your neck well. It definitely makes a difference on a hot day. However, this means wearing something bulky around your neck, and I'm sure some foks would find that objectionable.

You can find these products online through Amazon and other vendors.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks so much for all of these great ideas and feedback, keep it coming! Our primary fear is sleeping-- I will do fine walking around during the day in the heat as long as I have water and smart clothing, which I will. I was wondering about how humid it would be also since that does make the heat much more unbearable, especially at night. But, at least A/C (even if set high) would dehumidify the air.

Posted by
381 posts

Great suggestion to take the duvet out of the cover and then use that cover as a sheet. I simply don't understand why those duvets seem to be "everywhere" with no top sheet in sight. They are much too warm for me!

Posted by
920 posts

I email the hotel and ask for a fan in my room. Perhaps not all hotels have them, but I've never run into that problem. You might have to remind them when you arrive.
I also take the duvet out of the cover and ask housekeeping not to put it back in for the duration of my stay.
Even though I shower in the morning, on a hot day, I also take a quick two-minute rinse off shower before bed--as Mike said, it cools the core and makes a huge difference.
I have to check out the fan to pack!

Posted by
6788 posts

Agree with Frank II's suggested mini-fan. I have one (almost exactly as pictured) and bring it along on trips if I think there's a risk of high temps and no AC (though I do not visit southern Europe in the summer). My biggest concern with it is avoiding crushing it while it's packed and I'm moving on. Fortunately, good, small, inexpensive, lightweight but hard cases are easily available and mine fits perfectly. It can make a critical difference.

Posted by
15536 posts
Posted by
1224 posts

I buy my sunscreen in Europe as it is much better quality than what we can get here in the states. You don't want to get burned on vacation.

Most AC might not get the room cold, but it will be cooler, hopefully enough to sleep and it will definitely feel better than the heat outside. I second the recommendation for a cold shower helping. On vacation we tend to take showers at night and the cold showers always feel great after a hot sweaty day.

Have a great time!

Posted by
241 posts

Our first trip to Europe started mid August. We were in Italy the last week. We were very lucky to have temperatures 70-85. Our hotel in Rome had AC that you could purchase for extra. My husband and I were fine but our kids needed the AC. The duvets with heavy “filling” are difficult. My son removed the insert and used the outer layer. My husband packs a lightweight flannel sheet (cut down to a twin size) now to use in place of the duvets.

Posted by
381 posts

An extra charge for AC??? That's a new one on me! So they disable something so that you can't use the AC and then activate it once you've paid?

Posted by
8586 posts

@goanywhere, I've seen it. I've also seen where heat required you to put in coins, and hot water for the bath. Not recently, mind you. But those things cost, when you're traveling on the low end.

Posted by
127 posts

I will second Frank's recommendation for the necklace fan! (And it sits nicely on a flat surface also.) I have the one that he linked to, and I bring it on every trip. I actually am such a 'fan', that I have gifted it over and over to friends. Since it charges via usb, there is not the weight of batteries. I especially love having it in the hotel room, even when there is a/c. Often I need a little cool down while applying makeup, or packing up, and it really does the trick.

Posted by
3240 posts

I think you have to keep in mind that when it is 90 degrees+ outside, 78 degrees feels quite cool. Many good suggestions above, but a little travel fan sounds perfect. I think we all need to get used to warmer AC in this age of global warming. It’s the reasonable thing to do. That being said, I hate summer’s heat, especially if humid. However, even I have gotten used to not having AC under 78 degrees…I say as a former red head.

I had a friend who would dampen his underwear and put them in the refrigerator…which likely won’t work in your European tour rooms. The best suggestion is to begin getting used to sleeping at 78 degrees while you are home. It is not that warm…(I can’t believe I said that.)

Have a great trip!

Posted by
241 posts

The add on air conditioner in Rome was in 2006. There was a unit in the room and you paid extra for a remote to turn it on. It was a small old hotel. Location was great though. My parents experienced having hotels in Italy with limited hours for hot water—I think while the hotel was doing laundry. That was before 2006.

Posted by
795 posts

Ask for a room that does not get the morning or afternoon sun. Look at the orientation of the building. Keep all drapes closed during the day.
There are hotels that limit the bottom end of the thermostat so you cannot go lower. There are hotels that want you to turn off the AC when you leave. There are hotels that come in and turn it off when you leave. These are not hotels I would ever return to. It’s a dealbreaker. Some rooms have very little ventilation per window numbers and placement.
Stayed in Malta once and had an inside room with a twelve inch square opening out to an air shaft. No AC.
Stayed in the Extramadura region of Spain in July. Brutal heat. No one out and about in the day in small towns. I guess that is doing the local thing. We were not either. No AC, so our room refuge was less than ideal. But, we had to stay in there as it was our only place.
You cannot even imagine the heat affect on you if you live in an AC world in your US city.
Best thing is that if you are on a RS tour you get to go on an AC bus.

<<<<< According to NWS data, heat has been the leading cause of death among weather-related fatalities over the past 30 years.>>>>

Posted by
97 posts

We took the 14 day BOE in May. Rome will be hot and it's where you start your tour. The first full day is visiting the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon. It's a long day of walking and standing in which you will be outside in the sun with minimal breaks. Take a hat and whatever you need to keep cool outside including long-sleeved SPF shirts.