What to Pack When There’s No Air-Conditioning on Your Vacation

See recent posts by Megan Wood

Ahh, air-conditioning. With it, you can get a good night's sleep and an overall feeling of comfort. Without it, sleeping may be miserable and even low-energy tasks, like reading the newspaper, can leave you covered in sweat. If you're planning on vacationing somewhere without air-conditioning -- whether it's at a budget hostel, a friend's beach house, or a lakefront cabin -- you're going to need to pack smart to beat the heat. We rounded up nine items, from eye masks to pillows to footwear, that will keep you cool without AC. And yes, they're all available on Amazon Prime. 

1. Portable Fan

A portable fan can be a lifesaver on sweltering days. The OPOLAR handheld fan folds down, making it convenient for travel, and its unique power bank feature lasts up to 20 hours on the lowest speed of a whopping 2400 RPMs. The handgrip is easy to hold, but there’s also a small metal clip, if you prefer to hang the fan next to the bed (or hammock). 

2. Gel Eye Mask

Pop this gel eye mask in the freezer (a mini-fridge or cooler of ice will work in a pinch) for an hour, and get quick cooling relief from the internal gel beads. The FORMAX CARE product comes in a pack of two, so you can keep one on your face and one in the freezer. As a bonus, the cold also temporarily reduces puffy eyes — a common side effect of long flights and limited sleep. 

3. Breathable Sneakers

If you want to work out, but the idea of tying up heavy, non-breathable sneakers is a deterrent, check out these running shoes by Vivobarefoot Stealth. Available in men’s and women’s styles, these shoes sport a super-thin 2.5-millimeter sole designed for hard surfaces. The EVA cage is made with thin mesh, which means your feet can breathe and won’t get sweaty. These are a must-have for resort gyms that lack air-conditioning.

4. Peppermint Oil

If you’re both overheated and stressed out from a lack of air-conditioning, Saje Peppermint Halo essential oil blend is the remedy you need. It’s blended with 100-percent natural essential oils, like peppermint to soothe, lavender to calm the mind, and rosemary to relieve stress. The roll-on applicator is spill-proof and ideal for travel. Apply as needed to pulse points, like the wrist and neck, for instant relaxation and cooling. 

5. Lightweight Pajamas

Nighttime is the least bearable part of the day to go without air-conditioning, so it’s important to pack lightweight pajamas to stay cool and dry. The Latuza short-sleeve pajama set is a favorite, thanks to moisture-wicking fabric, a comfortable elastic waist, and a choice of 12 colors. Wearers report that the bamboo fabric is almost instantly cooling. Men should check out these Luvrobes cotton knit pajama shorts, which are made of 95-percent cotton. 

6. Gel Memory Foam Pillow

Another powerful tool for sleeping well without air-conditioning is a gel memory foam pillow. A cooling gel layer — tucked underneath a washable bamboo pillowcase — provides relief from the heat throughout the night. It’s also allergy-resistant and the memory foam keeps its shape, even with constant use. Note that this pillow is heavier than a typical down pillow. 

7. Cooling Neck Scarf

Neck scarves are having a major fashion moment, so it’s good news that you can buy one with cooling capabilities. This N-rit cooling scarf is filled with tiny crystals that hold water longer than just cotton alone, keeping your neck cool and body temperature down. It’s reusable up to 30 times by reactivating it with water, plus it comes in 12 colors. 

8. Insulated Water Bottle

Staying hydrated with cold drinks is one of the smartest and easiest ways to stay cool. If you’re interested in keeping drinks icy cold for 24 hours, look no further than the Hydro Flask. It features double-walled, vacuum-insulated TempShield technology, which maintains the temperature of your beverage. Heavy duty materials like stainless steel mean the bottle will last for years. Plus, it comes in several colors and sizes. 

9. A Hammock

For nights when it’s just too hot to sleep indoors, consider stringing up a hammock outside to take advantage of the breeze. It’s hard to beat the ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest hammock for price, durability, easy transportation, and setup. This hammock is made from stretchy nylon that’s triply reinforced at the seams. Plus, strong wire gate carabiners make it safe for up to 400 pounds of weight. It comes in 26 festive colors and can be balled up to the size of a softball when not in use. Even better, it weighs about a pound, making it easy to tote around. Note that hanging straps are sold separately. 

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