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How to Escape the Heat: Summer Travel with Altitude

By Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate

This summer is anticipated to be a hot one! Overseas hotels are not always air conditioned; however they are often described as  ‘climate controlled’. The latter is not always our expectation of continual cool air flow. So this year, why not plan a trip to a place where it is naturally cool?

If you are OK with altitude, choose high places. Altitude plays as much a part in temperature as does location; remember that when you look for an escape from the heat.  (The “altitude rule,” also called the lapse rate, says that if there’s no precipitation and you’re not in a cloud, the temperature decreases by about 5.4°F for every 1,000 feet in elevation.) That’s why Mexico City at 7,000 feet, averages 83-degrees F. during the summer months, vs. Puerto Vallarta, at sea level, which averages 95-degrees F. during the same time.

Once you locate a destination that is known to be cool, you will probably be shocked by the prices. Seasonal tourist areas set their prices higher during their peak seasons, as their peak tourist months are limited, as is their inventory.

You’ll find that this “summer sticker shock” concept also applies to Scandinavian cruises to the far North and Scotland, most mountain resorts, (think Switzerland and our Rockies), as well as to cooler beach areas like the state of Maine or the UK’s Cornwall region.

So what is the solution?

Start with altitude: did you know that colonial Mexico is cool — even cold — in Summer? Places like Mexico City, San Miguel, Ixtapan, Copper Canyon are between 6,000-10,000 feet above sea level. Yet Summer rates there are the same or less than winter rates. This is because Americans associate Mexican travel with beach destinations, not so much with high altitude UNESCO World Heritage towns.

A second solution is a land-based trip to Scandinavia. Hotel prices in Norway, Denmark and Sweden do not change as much, because many of the destinations are year round business centers. Which means airfares remain similar month to month — except for lows in deep winter.

Now is the time to look into Summer travel. While you are at it, check your hotels for air conditioning vs. climate controlled. Trip Advisor (tripadvisor.com) is a good source, but looking at the actual hotel site is better. If you find the site’s not in English, look for a flag in one corner (it might be a British flag). Clicking it will take you to the English website.

For more information:
Phyllis Stoller Group Travel

Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate is founder of The Women’s Travel Group, a tour operator which specializes in smart vacations for smart women, was recently honored as one of the 14 most influential women in Group Travel by Group Travel Magazine. The Women’s Travel Group works with travel agents and is a strategic partner of Sky Vacations.

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