Being super sweaty while traveling is miserable, embarrassing, and uncomfortable. I know firsthand! Here’s a list of 50 ways to stop excessive sweating while traveling.
Last year, from the sweaty depths of Pakistan in summer (note: bad idea), I expounded a bit on my ways of combatting excessive heat while traveling.
Fast-forward one year to this summer, and the struggle is real once more. This time, it’s the heat and the humidity. Monsoon season is sweeping through India, summer temperatures are soaring, and I, for one, am dying.
“Sweating buckets” is a literal phrase when describing the way my body handles humidity. Though half of my body is Filipino, primed and ready for muggy tropical heat, the other half is large English bloke (thanks Dad), ready to turn on the internal faucets the second the sun shines.
It’s incredibly humiliating to look like a drowned rat every time I step out into the sun, and my sweaty tendencies have been getting me down in past weeks. So, I did what I do every time I’m having a (literal) meltdown: head to the interwebs for support!
The Girls Love Travel Facebook group is a massive community of women from all over the world, and the perfect place to travel to with any kind of travel-related questions, concerns, and woes. True to form, when I asked them how to deal with excessive sweating while traveling, I ended up with far, far more answers than I expected. From bananas to baby powder, some of them are quite intriguing.
In the chance that this will one day help out another sweaty soul, here’s a list of 50 ways to deal with excessive sweating while traveling, based on recommendations from the women of Girls Love Travel.
50 ways to stop excessive sweating while traveling
If you’re impatient:
Choosing the right clothes
- Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothes. Think maxi skirts, loose shirts, and shorts where possible.
- Choose cotton or silk clothing where possible.
- Wear compression shorts to help prevent chub rub (translation: chafing of thighs).
- Go commando, if that’s cool with you. Who needs underwear, anyway?
- Same goes for the bra—only wear it if you have to, otherwise it’ll just suck up the sweat.
- Take a thin scarf, wet it, wring it out so it’s a bit damp, then wrap it around your neck or hair.
- Pack light colored clothes. White will reflect sunlight and keep you cool, while black only absorbs the sun/heat.
- Don’t. Wear. Gray. If there’s any color that looks like absolute shit with sweat stains, it’s gray!
- On that note, choose the most wildly patterned clothes possible. Patterns hide sweat stains the best!
- Pack a wide-brimmed hat. You know, like those travel girl hats you see all over Instagram, or those somewhat nerdy safari hats your weird uncle likes to wear to the beach.
- Try Frogg Toggs cooling towels. You wet them at the start of each day, put your towel wherever needs cooling the most, and voila—coolness for hours! Don’t ask me how it works, clearly it’s some sort of magic juju.
Pick the right products
Note: I’m no doctor, as you might have guessed, and I haven’t tried all of these. Some of these suggestions are prescription-only in some countries. Don’t be dumb, and do ask your doctor before putting weird things into/onto/around your body. (Unless you just can’t help yourself.)
- Baby powder can be used all over your body to absorb the sweat and keep you dry.
- Doctors can prescribe Propantheline Bromide tablets, which stop your skin from sweating.
- Prickly heat powder cools your skin down, plus it helps to prevent heat rash. Win win!
- Try antiperspirant sticks like Certain Dri. You apply them the night before you go out for maximum effect.
- If sticks are ick and spray is more your thing, Odaban makes antiperspirant sprays.
- If super strength antiperspirants sound like a bit much, try using men’s deodorants—they’re much stronger than women’s deodorant when it comes to antiperspirants.
- Some girls recommended dripping peppermint essential oil down your spine to cool down (and on your clothes for the aroma). Stay fresh and smell nice!
- Baking soda can be patted all over your body to help absorb sweat.
- Alum blocks are more commonly used to treat razor burn, but they also help to close up your pores, preventing excessive sweating.
- 3B Face Saver antiperspirant gel can be used on your face to keep the glistening at bay.
- Gold Bond is a kind of powder spray that you can put pretty much anywhere (don’t take that the wrong way) to keep dry. Excellent for those plagued by chub rub chafing!
- Sweat block antiperspirant wipes are clinical strength, and will help keep the sweat away for days. Days!
Safety note: Talcum powder is often recommended as a way of preventing excessive sweating, but sometimes it contains asbestos… which cause cancer. Beware. Some studies also point to the possibility that talcum powder used near women’s genitals can cause ovarian cancer.
Act cool, stay cool
- Try soaking your hands and feet in a bucket of cold water for quick relief.
- Hold an ice cube on your wrists (over a vein) to feel a sweeeet cooling sensation.
- Wash your face off regularly. Keeping the sweat levels low and your pores clean will relieve you from the sticky, icky feeling.
- Before bathing or showering, rub your pits and other sweaty areas with lemon or baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, then jump under the water.
- Freeze your underwear. Feels good man.
- Stop using beauty lotions, moisturizers, etc. They’ll just clog your pores and make your life worse.
- Same goes for makeup. Why are you even wearing makeup in sweaty places?! It serves no purpose! (Aside from making you look like a melty monster from the deep lagoon.)
Eating and drinking the sweat away
- I shouldn’t have to say this, but drink lots of water. ALL THE WATER.
- Get some electrolytes in your body. You can find them in sports drinks and juices. Tea with a bit of sugar can also work wonders.
- Put ORS (oral rehydration salts) in your water. They’re also a great way of getting electrolytes + all the other goodness your body needs into your fluids.
- If you’re an all-natural kind of person, try adding iodized salt and lemon juice to your water.
- Make sage tea (or even better, iced sage tea!). Sage is known to help reduce sweating.
- It breaks my heart to say so, but avoid caffeine. Sorry, coffee fiends. I feel ya.
- Freeze half of a bottle of water each night, then fill up the empty space before heading out for the day. (It’ll also keep your bottle from exploding in the freezer.)
- Eat a banana each morning to keep you cool throughout the day.
- Load up on room temperature water most of all. Though not as sweetly satisfying as icy cool drinks, it’s best for helping your body regulate internal temperatures.
- Eat ice cream! Do I really need to explain why?
Going out like a champ
- Avoid the middle of the day! Get your sightseeing done in the early morning and late evening. Or just become nocturnal, that’s cool, too.
- Don’t overdo yourself. Heat is rough on the body, especially if you’re not used to it. You can’t do as much as you would do in more “normal” temperatures.
- Try to avoid going from one extreme to the other quickly, ex. moving from ice-cold air conditioning to the furnace outdoors.
- Travel slowly. Rushing to get from sight to sight = straining your body. It’s okay to saunter and chill in cafes, too!
- Carry an umbrella, or stay in the shade. If you’re worried about looking silly, know that using parasols for shade is quite common in many countries.
- Work your fan game. A stylish hand fan looks bo$$y, is easy to pack, and is an easy way to cool down.
- If a fan isn’t your style, carry a handkerchief. You’ll look classy instead of soggy and pathetic while wiping yourself off.
- If a handkerchief is too much class effort to keep clean, carry tissues or wet wipes with you at all times.
- Spray fans aren’t just for kids, you know. No shame in carrying one around!
- Even tackier but oh-so-satisfying: a fan necklace. Hang this baby around your neck, and you’ll be blasted with air as you wander around. You’ll look like a weirdo, but not as strange as you would if you were doused with sweat.
What are your favorite ways to stop the sweat while on the road?
Looking for more travel tips and inspo? Here’s how my partner and I traveled the world for 1 year for less than $10,000 per person.
Yay transparency! There are affiliate links in this post. I earn a bit of change if you buy stuff using my links, at no extra cost to you. Think of it as a way of saying thanks for the tips 🙂