Hot off the press🔥: A sweltering heat wave has swept through Europe in the last few days, with extreme temperatures leading to wildfires and even airport runway damage. The UK was the most shocking recipient of the extreme temps, setting new records for the typically overcast and rainy region, peaking at 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit on July 19. Luckily, temperatures in the UK, Ireland and Northern France are starting to dip, but some spots like Spain and Portugal are unseasonably warm

September, October and the beginning of November  are looking to be the new European summer: Less tourists, still warm and cheaper prices.

With 2 good months of travel left in the summer season, here’s what you need to know about staying cool during your time away: 

If you’re visiting the UK🇬🇧, check out London’s Cool Spaces map–it highlights both indoor and outdoor areas that offer respite, plus 4,000 free water refill spots to keep your thirst quenched. Don’t book the top floor in hotels. It will be about 10 degrees warmer.  AC was installed to the tube trains in 2010, the system falls short, and visitors will only find cooling systems on 192 trains, or 40% of the tube network. 

If you’re visiting Italy 🇮🇹, don’t expect the freezer-style AC that we’re used to in America. The country recently launched an initiative called Operation Thermostat, which restricts temperature settings to be no lower than 80 degrees, so even air-conditioned spaces will be warmer than what we’re accustomed to. Think of ways to work with the ungodly heat–popular outdoor attractions like the Colosseum should be visited very early in the morning or early evening. Rome’s plethora of historic churches offer a natural respite from the heat, with underground spots like the Vatican Grottoes or Domus Aurea serving as smart spots to visit. 

If you’re visiting Spain🇪🇸 , you’re likely concerned about the fires, but you needn’t be. They’re at a far distance from major cities. Choose coastal regions like Basque Country or Catalonia for milder temperatures. Come August, afternoon temperatures in these areas decrease to a point where sweaters are often needed, thus giving way to the common expression: “There is not a heat wave in Spain, but summer, as usual.” 

It’s never a good sign when a major airline, in this case KLM, sends out an email that reads: “Due to a major disruption of the baggage system at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol we are facing an unmanageable situation which is beyond our control.”

If you’ve so much as turned on the news this week, you’ve likely heard about how luggage is going missing faster than the Euro is plunging.  

This Thursday, KLM passengers transferring at the major Dutch airport were left massively confused after baggage systems malfunctioned, with eager travelers simply unable to check their bags on flights connecting through the airport. 

Let this be a sobering reminder once again to travel with carry-on only this travel season–those who didn’t heed our advice on this and arrived with bags to check found themselves Schip out of luck! These frustrated passengers were given the chance to rebook their flight for free, or request a travel voucher. 

But before we start feeling smug about how the chaos of luggage mishandling is just a European problem, a US flier tracked his lost luggage back to London Heathrow–the advice of American Airlines? Go pick it up yourself–even though the flier was 4,000 miles away in North Carolina. . 

If BYOB (bringing your own bag) simply isn’t an option right now, here are some tricks to ensure you aren’t left dealing with the emotional baggage of, well, no baggage. 

  1. Keep a detailed list of what you’re packing on your phone so that you know the approximate value of what you’re taking with you. Take pictures so you have proof. 
  2. If your bag doesn’t show up at the destination, don’t leave the airport. Go straight to the luggage counter with pictures of your actual bag, which should be on your phone: the brand, dimensions, any other identifying features. 
  3. Demand compensation. For domestic flights, the amount for missing luggage is about $3800, though airlines can pay more. International flights come in at a lower number, closer to $1780 per missing bag. 
  4. If your bag is just delayed, airlines have to compensate passengers for “reasonable, verifiable” expenses that they may incur while their bags are held up. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹

For the travel geeks among us, some articles worth reading 🤓: 

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