How to Beat the Texas Heat
We’re pretty hot in Texas. And so is the weather. And while places like Austin don’t get as hot as you may think, living in Texas for an extended period throughout the summer can be a bit of a shock if you’re not ready for it.
To a newcomer or anyone who traditionally spends their summers in more temperate environments, rumors of the excessive heat may be a source of concern, but there really are some simple things you can do to make sure your stay is, if not cool then at least comfortable.
1. Take Advantage of the Changing Temperature
The areas in and around Austin are classified as a humid subtropical climate. This means that, yes, the summers are hot and the winters mild, but things really start to cool off at night. You can take advantage of this fact and keep your room nice, fresh, and cool.
At night, when the temperature begins to lower, open up the windows and maybe even use a window fan to bring in some of that cool, night air. (Remember, this is something you can actually do in an extended stay apartment, whereas most hotels have permanently closed windows.) Then, as things heat up in the afternoon, make sure you keep the windows shut and shades drawn so you can keep the heat out and the cool air in.
2. Dress for the occasion
This doesn’t mean your first and last resort should be a pair of shorts and a tank top – especially if you’re traveling on business. It does, however, mean that you should pack a wardrobe that is full of loose and light clothing that allows more airflow and won’t trap heat and moisture. Some simple cotton blends in light colors can feel nice and comfortable whether you’re inside or out moving around the city.
3. Time your activities
If at all possible, avoid the peak heat of the day for your outdoor activities. If you are required to be outside for work or play, try to do it as early as possible or schedule it for later in the evenings. During the hottest parts of the day, you really want to be out of the sun.
4. Mind your vehicle
No matter where you live, you’ve probably experienced what it’s like to get in a car that’s been sitting in the sun for any length of time. You need to keep this in mind throughout a Texas summer.
Studies have shown that the temperature in your car can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In another 10 minutes, it will hit 30 degrees. After an hour, the interior of your car can easily reach temperatures 40 degrees higher than the outside air. That means on a 70-degree day, your car could reach 110 degrees. 100-degree-or-more days are definitely possible around here, so you could be pushing more than 140 degrees in your car.
What does this mean? Given enough time, you could very likely bake cookies in your car. On a more serious note, never ever leave pets or children in the car, even if you’re “just going to be a few minutes.”
Even if you’re not running around outdoors or spending your days in the hot sun, you really need to focus on getting enough water. Hydration is a critical part of staying cool and healthy. You don’t need to monitor your fluid loss throughout the day or anything as drastic as that, but you should always keep some water on hand at all times. This way, whether you’re exploring the city on foot or stuck in traffic somewhere, you’ll be able to stay nice and hydrated.
While Austin and its surrounding environs aren’t necessarily as hot as its often portrayed, it is important to respect the threat that head and humidity pose if you’re not ready for it. Give yourself time to acclimatize to heat before you do anything serious, follow these guides, and enjoy the beautiful Texas summer.