Despite the soaring temperatures, travelling in India in summer is a popular and fun option. Before monsoon season kicks in, summer temperatures in northern India linger at around 40 degrees during the day. It might sound a scary number but (if you do things right) it’s easy to keep your cool and have a great time travelling. Here are our top tips for handling the heat.
You’ve heard it before but that’s because it’s true: drink plenty of water. Indian tap water isn’t safe to drink but the majority of hostels and hotels have free, cool, filtered water available. Travel with a reusable bottle, that way you can reduce plastic waste by filling it up each day before leaving your hostel. If you are walking around a city and find yourself without water, there will be a shop nearby you can buy some. If you are heading somewhere more rural on a day trip, make sure you pack multiple bottles.
How much water you should drink depends on what you are doing, where you are and how hot it is. If you’re walking around in the daytime heat, make sure you have a bottle in hand and keep on drinking as you go. If you don’t want to carry a big bottle then you can add electrolyte tablets to a smaller bottle of water and drink it slower. If you find yourself unwell with sickness or diarrhoea then taking electrolyte tablets are a good way to ensure you stay hydrated.
The main thing to remember is pacing. Don’t leave a big bottle in your bag for hours and then down the whole thing! In the high temperatures you might not feel particularly thirsty all the time, but your body will need hydrating.
Clothes for India in summer
The ideal summer clothes are ones that are breathable but still protect your skin from the sun. That could be sportswear or thin shirts and dresses. For women, covering up areas of your body may also be necessary in temples and on holy sites – read our blog for more info on that.
Often, the desire to wear shorts and a t-shirt when it’s hot and you’re travelling is just too hard to resist. That’s fine, just remember to wear lots of sun-screen. We recommend factor 50 and remember to keep putting it on throughout the day!
Plan your day
Don’t stay outside too long and focus your days on the morning and evening as much as possible. Have a think – some sights might be better that way anyway. Seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise and camping out under the stars in Jaisalmer are two of the most popular activities on our India group tour – whether it’s spring, summer or autumn.
Although it’s much better to avoid the heat of the day, that doesn’t mean any time the sun’s out is a write off. If you’re visiting an Indian market, the best way to experience it can often be to wander around in the late afternoon. That’s fine, just make sure you keep drinking water and are protected from the sun.
Shower before bed
Taking a cool shower on a hot summer day can feel heavenly. If you want a word of advice on when to take them, having one before bed can be the most effective. The hostels we stay in all have air conditioning so you can take a shower, get a good night’s sleep and then wake up feeling fresh.