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Cruise Vacations:

Sun Safety Tips for a Vacation Day in the Sun

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

I absolutely love taking a sunny excursion when I travel and that's why I want you to know my sun safety tips for a vacation day in the sun. Whether your day in the sun involves having fun on the beach at CocoCay in the Bahamas, climbing the tallest Mayan Temple in the Mexican Yucatan at Coba or kayaking through a rain forest like I've done with my sister in Kauai, the sun can be brutal. I am generally very religious about sun safety and you should be too. This is especially important to me after I once neglected to apply sufficient sun block to my legs when I was kayaking and I got a severe sunburn as a result. A bad sunburn can absolutely ruin your vacation so make sure you follow these five easy tips before a day in the sun on your vacation.

1. Don’t forget a wide brimmed hat. One of my top sun safety tips for cruise vacations and also one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun is to cover up and shield your skin from UV rays. It is essential to wear a Wide Brimmed Sun Hat that will protect the exposed areas of your scalp (where your part is) and also shield your face. You may also want to carry an additional cotton, long sleeved cover-up to protect your arms and back.

2. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses. Did you know that sun safety tips include your eyes as well as the skin since sun exposure damages the eyes, too? Many people don’t realize that wearing sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. Just one day in the sun can result in a burned cornea (the outermost, clear membrane layer of the eye) so the best way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. When I went to Europe last year, I was on my way to the airport when I realized that I forgot to pack my sunglasses (a special magnetic clip-on for my prescription glasses).

Wish I'd known about Cocoons® XL - Aviator Sunglasses at the time as these Wrap-around Cocoons have ultra-lightweight, flexible Soft Touch™ frames that fit comfortably over your prescription eyeglasses. The high-tech, optically correct polarized Polaré® lenses offer you total protection from UVA and UVB rays and glare. And if you're wearing sunglasses, make sure you get some for your kids too.

3. Don’t forget plenty of bottled water. Your body needs plenty of water to prevent dehydration on hot summer days and drinking water is an important part of staying healthy, especially when it's hot outside. So drink up and don't wait until you're thirsty. As a matter of fact, drinking water before you feel thirsty helps keep the water level in your body from dropping too low when it's hot or you're sweating a lot due to the heat. If you forget and suddenly feel thirsty, start drinking then.

[Photo: Stingray City, Grand Cayman.]

4. Don’t forget protective sun block of SPF30 or higher. Even if you are not fair skinned like I am, you need to apply a sun block before you go out for a day in the sun and carry it with you. You should apply sunscreen about 30 to 60 minutes before you go outside so that a good layer of protection can form on your skin. Don't forget about your hands, tops of your ears, tops of feet, shoulders, and your neck (front and back). The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that you reapply sunscreen every two or three hours when you’re in the sun. I know I didn’t reapply my sunscreen when I was on the Panama Canal on a very hot day and I managed to get a small burn on my neck as a result so it’s very important to reapply. Finally, if you’re swimming, make sure you use a waterproof sunscreen and since water reflects and intensifies the sun's rays, you need to apply sun protection that lasts.

If you want to look tan, there are so many alternatives to actually tanning these days. A lot of movie stars and celebs like Jennifer Aniston want that "healthy glow" of the a suntan without the unhealthy skin damage and they turn to spray tans or tanning products. St. Tropez has a self tanner that's been recommended to me that has a very natural look on the skin and Magellan's has convenient TanTowels® that are easy to pack for your trip and TSA friendly. The TanTowel® is a towelette that contains an odorless, colorless tanning solution that won't streak, stain or wash off and it dries in seconds, lasts for up to seven days, and is safe for even the most sensitive skin.

If you do get sunburned, apply pure aloe vera gel (available in most pharmacies or taken directly from within the leaves of the plant) to any of your sunburned areas. I pack this in my suitcase when I vacation in sunny locations. It is an excellent treatment for relieving sunburn pain and helping your skin heal quicker.

Also, take a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and spray on over-the-counter "after-sun" pain relievers. Finally, make sure you apply topical moisturizing cream to rehydrate the skin and help reduce swelling.

For the most severely burned areas, apply a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone cream. (Do not use petroleum-based products and avoid first-aid products that contain benzocaine.)

5. Don’t forget bug repellent with DEET. If mosquitoes like you the way they me, then you do not want to forget your bug repellent. You should use a bug repellent that contains DEET. Make sure you apply your sunscreen first, followed by repellent containing DEET following the instructions for proper application of each product. UltraThon™ Repellent and Ultrathon with Sponge Applicator made by 3M, is a highly effective repellent developed for the U.S. Military has a unique, high-tech formula to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other biting insects for up to twelve hours with just 33% DEET. The controlled release polymer suspension also helps block absorption of the repellent through your skin and is water-and perspiration-resistant.

If you'd like convenient towelettes, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and deer flies won't put the bite on you when you travel with Body Guard Insect Repellent Towelettes. You apply it to your exposed skin (it's even safe for face, neck and ears) to keep bugs away for up to six hours at a time. Each towelette contains 12.3% DEET.

To protect yourself from both sun exposure and insect bites, you can also wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. You can also apply insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin to your clothing, rather than directly to your skin.

Now, if you don't like the idea of applying DEET, there are some natural alternatives like Bite Blocker®, a patented, all-natural herbal spray. This is a popular non-DEET repellent and has been rated the #1 alternative to DEET in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 2002), for long-term repelling of mosquitoes and black flies. Waterproof and non-toxic, it will not irritate skin so it's safe for use on infants and children, and those sensitive to DEET products.

If you want a great two-for-one product for safety in the sun, then here's and indispensable travel item, Sawyer Premium Sun Block and Insect Repellent. Not only does it offer up to eight hours of protection from UVA/UVB rays (SPF 30) AND mosquito bites, but it's waterproof, sweat-proof and completely DEET-free. It's so gentle that it can even be used on infants.

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Facts You Should Know About Sun Exposure
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how dangerous the sun is and when for so many people, being on vacation is an opportunity to get a tan. I’ve lived in Southern California for almost twenty years and I have never found the need to have a tan and my dermatologist praises my efforts to protect my skin. What you may sometimes forget is that your skin is the largest organ of your body and you need to protect it. So here are some quick facts you should know about the sun.

The sun radiates light to the earth, and part of that light consists of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. When these rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage. It’s important to note that what so many people think is a healthy “glow” is really just skin damage. You need to protect yourself from exposure to UVA and UVB, the rays that cause skin damage.

Sunlight contains three types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. · UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma.. · UVB rays cause sunburns, cataracts (clouding of the eye lens), and immune system damage and also contribute to skin cancer. · UVC rays are the most dangerous. These rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don't reach the earth.

Don’t Forget to Double-Check Medications.
If you’re taking medications that increase your skin's sensitivity to UV rays you can burn easily and you can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications so apply sunscreen liberally, cover up with long sleeve cotton clothing and carry an umbrella.

So follow these simple guidelines and your day in the sun, on vacation or on a cruise, will be a lot of fun!

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more