Ten Tips to Survive a Hotel or Hostel with No Air Conditioning

LAST UPDATED: 4/21/23 – Survive Hotel or Hostel without Air conditioning

You’ve had a long day sight-seeing, and now you just want to get back to your room and get some sleep.  Yet, you know you won’t be able to because it was as hot as the surface of the sun today and your room feels like a greenhouse.

How to Survive a Hotel or Hostel with No Air Conditioning

We’ve all probably been there.  Trying to get some sleep in a hot room while traveling can be miserable.  When we were in Tanzania, we went almost the entire trip without air conditioning. And believe me, it was well beyond hot.

We all agree that hot, sticky nights are lousy, but finding some relief isn’t beyond hope.  You don’t need to surrender to the heat and accept another sleepless night.  We have compiled a list of ten ways in which you can survive a night in a hotel or hostel with no air conditioning.  Hopefully one or more of these suggestions will help you out the next time you need it.

Drink a Lot of Water

One of the most important things you can do to stay cool when sleeping in a hotel or hostel with no air conditioning is to stay hydrated. If you don’t stay hydrated, then your core body temperature will rise. And if your core temperature rises, you will feel hot at night. This means you should watch how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol consumption dehydrates your body.

Keep Shades Shut During the Day

If you have ever gotten into a car after it has been sitting in the sun all day, then you probably understand why it is important to shut the shades to your room shut during the day. If you let sun shine into your room all day, it is going to be very difficult to get it cooled down at night when you are ready to go to bed. Keeping the shades shut during the day will keep your room much cooler.

Take a Cold Shower Before Bed

If you can lower your core body temperature before bed, it will keep you much cooler at night. One of the best ways to lower your core body temperature is to take a cold shower. The water doesn’t have to be freezing cold. Even a shower in luke warm water should cool your core body temperature down enough to make a difference.

Wear Breathable Clothing to Bed

Cool Dry Clothes

This probably goes without saying, but wearing breathable clothing to bed can do wonders in keeping you cool at night when staying at a hotel or hostel with no air conditioning. Sleeping naked is even better, if you are comfortable with that, but sleeping in breathable clothing is the next best thing. Plus, breathable clothing is light weight, so it keeps your baggage weight down as well.

Avoid Getting Sunburn During the Day

How to Survive a Hotel or Hostel with No Air Conditioning - Avoid Sunburn

Not only does sunburn hurt a great deal, but it can dehydrate you and make you feel warm at night. The last thing you want to do if you are trying to avoid being overheated at night is get a bad sunburn during the day. So if you are anticipating a lot of exposure to the sun on your trip, it would be wise to make sure you pack enough sun screen.

Turn off All Electronics

Most people don’t realize this, but even the smallest electronic devices give off heat. Turning off any electronic devices that you won’t need on at night, such as laptop computers and tablets, will keep your room cooler. That doesn’t mean you have to turn off every device, such as your phones, but the more you turn off the more heat you aren’t creating.

Use a Fan

How to Survive a Hotel or Hostel with No Air Conditioning - Use a Fan

If you travel with a fan, such as the one we highlighted on our list of the Top 10 Travel Accessories of 2018, it can do wonders to cool down your room. To maximize the effectiveness, you can put the fan in an open window to create a cross-breeze in your room.

Just open the window and position the fan in the window pointing out.  Pushing air out of the room will force air into the room and create a cross breeze.  The more circulation you can create in the room, the cooler the room will feel.

Use Wet Wash Cloths On Your Cooling Spots

How to Survive a Hotel or Hostel with No Air Conditioning - Cooling Spots

If you are sleeping in a hotel or hostel with no air conditioning, the quickest way to cool your body down is to cool down your blood. It makes sense then, that the easiest way to cool down your blood is to apply something cool to the areas of your body where the blood is closest to your skin.

These areas, often referred to as pulse points because you can feel your pulse, are your body’s cooling spots. By applying a cold, wet cloth to these points, you can quickly cool down your blood and make yourself feel cooler.

Invest in a Cooling Towel

Cooling Towel

A cool, wet washcloth can feel good and cool you down, but just like the other side of the pillow, that relief only lasts for a short time. Before you know it, the washcloth gets warm and the relief ends. That’s where the magic of the cooling towel comes in.

Cooling towels are made of a special material and once wet, don’t absorb the heat from your body. So, the towel, and you, stay cool for much longer. Used on your body’s cooling spots, a cooling towel can be much more effective than a standard washcloth.

Refrigerate Your Sheets

This suggestion is a little more unorthodox, and requires a bit more work and a refrigerator, but it can be very effective. Maybe categorize this one under “I don’t care what it takes, I need some relief”. If your room has a refrigerator, you can take the sheets off your bed during the day and put them in the refrigerator. Then, before you go to bed, you can put the sheets back on your bed and climb in. The cool sheets should lower your core body temperature and give you enough relief to get to sleep.

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  1. All your ideas are helpful. Sleeping in a room with no air conditioning and poor ventilation is tough. Thanks for this article!

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