Travelers in Europe face record heat; UK transit officials urge caution
First came long lines at airports, then challenges with luggage. Now travelers in Europe must contend with another factor: Mother Nature. Temperatures could reach triple digits this coming week in parts of Europe, adding an extra layer of hassle to an already complicated summer travel picture.
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U.K. leaders met Saturday to discuss the record heat forecast for the early part of this week, with government meteorologists predicting temperatures could reach as high as 104°F in London. The country's Met Office (the UK's version of the National Weather Service) has issued its first-ever “Red Warning” ahead of the impending extreme heat, which has hit other parts of Europe in recent days.
Accuweather calls this Europe’s worst heat wave in well over 200 years, and it's had a profound effect across Europe. Southern France has faced wildfires, with more than 3,000 firefighters now working to put out the flames, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet Friday.
The fires are prompting evacuations in parts of France, including in Bordeaux, a popular region for tourism.
Related: Why flying out of hot, high airports is tough
Meanwhile, London transit officials worked this weekend to inspect air conditioning units on the Tube and rail lines and prepare for tracks that could be at risk of bending and buckling under the extreme temperatures.
Transport for London (TfL), which operates the UK capital city’s Tube and rail lines urged people to stay home during the early part of the week.
“Customers should only use London’s transport network for essential journeys,” TfL Chief Operating Officer Andy Lord said in a statement Saturday.
The warnings come at a time when more U.S. travelers are visiting Europe than at any point in recent years, with COVID-19 restrictions significantly loosened both in the U.S. and overseas.
If you or a loved one is expected to be in Europe this coming week, it's a good idea to start planning ahead. For travelers in London, that could mean considering sightseeing options that don't involve a trek too far across the city, given the recommendations to avoid too much travel on public transportation.
While U.S. travelers are accustomed to air conditioning domestically, they won’t necessarily find it everywhere abroad. While many of the large hotel chains in London have air conditioning, many other places do not. That could mean not being able to cool down an Airbnb or rental property the same way you could at your home in the midst of a heat wave.
Travelers on a trip within Europe may want to pick indoor tourist activities on Monday and Tuesday. Those who expect to be outdoors on the hottest days may want to plan accordingly, with extra water and light clothing.
The same can be said for those expecting to fly on the hottest days. In Amsterdam, where temperatures are forecast to reach the upper 90s early this coming week, passengers have had to wait in security lines outdoors when air traffic volume has surged this summer, so you should be prepared for that possibility.
Related: Tips if you're headed to Europe this summer
This summer in Europe has already been challenging for many travelers who have had to contend with travel disruptions and crowds. Now record heat is forcing yet another layer of potential discomfort on visitors.