Getting a sunburn instead of a tan is one of the most common mistakes Florida tourists make. Nothing, including bug bites and allergies, causes more unexpected pain and annoyance on a vacation.
A bad sunburn on the first day can ruin your whole trip, and have you returning home after your vacation with peeling skin. But avoiding sunburn can be simple if you know what to pack, what to do and what not to do.
What to Pack
The most important thing you can buy to avoid sunburn is sunscreen. Pick a good quality brand of SPF 30 or more, preferably labeled as “broad spectrum”. If you plan to use it in water, like at the beach, pool or water park, you should get water resistant or “sport” sunscreen.
There are even versions tailored to kids, with character themes and novelty scents. And of course, some brands sell sunscreen for cosmetic use that’s lightweight and easier on sensitive skin.
Other items you may consider packing for your trip are clothes with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). Many brands now carry hats, long-sleeve shirts, swimsuits and other apparel with this built-in feature.
What to Do
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, be sure to schedule your activities with the Florida heat in mind. You may want to spend your time outdoors early (before 10am) or late (after 6pm) in the day. Or alternate your outings, so that beach days are separated by recovery days indoors.
Prepare for each day or outing by bringing bottled water, sunscreen, hats or other light, breathable clothing. Keep an eye on how much time you spend in the sun, and watch for signs of exhaustion among your family. If the kids are acting loopy or fussy, it might be time to call it a day.
When you’re at the beach or pool, sunscreen is vital. The sun’s reflection on the surface of the water or sand means that you’re even more prone than usual, so make sure to apply sunscreen between swims and every two hours. It’s not fun to get out, dry off, lotion up, and wait for it to dry each time – but it’s well worth the trouble to avoid sunburn.
What Not to Do
Direct sun on unprotected skin can lead to a painful sunburn, but so can a cloudy sky. Be mindful of the daily weather and specifically the heat index. Some days in Florida can be dangerously hot. Here are some specific things to avoid:
- Lines at theme parks and attractions with no shade
- Parks or paths with no shade from trees
- Seating and standing in direct sunlight for shows or events
- Boat tours with no shaded deck or seating areas
- Drinking excessive alcohol or sugary drinks
- Using tan accelerator if you don’t already have a base tan
Having the best time on your Florida vacation means avoiding sunburn. Knowing what to pack, what to do, and what not to do can help. Like with most trips to new and exciting places, staying safe and healthy all comes down to preparation.
If you’ve managed to enjoy your trip without getting a sunburn, let others know about these tips so we can all have a healthier and safer Florida vacation.
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