If you are planning a summer trip to Vail, Colorado here is ten essential items for your suitcase:
- Water Bottle - Stay hydrated. To help prevent altitude sickness it is important to stay hydrated. Start drinking water at least 24 hours before you depart for the mountains. Also remember that the mountains have much lower humidity than Kansas. Stay hydrated throughout your trip. Plan on drinking twice the amount of water than usual. Also, try to avoid beverages with alcohol and caffeine the first day as these tend to deplete water from your body.
- Ibuprofen - Feel good. If you do start to get a headache it may be a good idea to take some Ibuprofen. A headache is one of the first symptoms of altitude sickness.
- Energy Snacks - Fuel your body. Traveling can be hard enough. Going to elevations over 8,000 feet can be challenging for your body. Bring high quality granola bars and dried fruit. Try to eat complex carbs and potassium rich fruits and vegetables too.
- Sunscreen - Protect your skin. The sun is strong even when you do not feel hot. With much lower humidity than Kansas you probably will not feel hot and all those beautiful blue skies mean there is less cloud coverage to protect you. Lather up and reapply throughout the day.
- Hat - Protect your face. A wide-brimmed hat will keep more sun off your face. A baseball cap is good to have too.
- Clothing Layers - Stay comfortable. Temperatures in the mountains can drop quickly. Mornings and evenings are cool even in the summer. Thin quick dry layers rather than cotton are smart for day time. If you have ones that are UPF rated, bring them. Thin long sleeves are recommended for sun protection too.
- Sunglasses - Protect your eyes. Needless to say you will not take off your sunglasses during the day. Even if it is cloudy the top of the mountain can be very windy and you will be happy to have glasses on.
- Backpack - Lug your stuff. All of the above should fit in a lightweight day pack that you are comfortable carrying around all day.
- Phone/Camera with Charger/Batteries - Take photos. You will want to take a lot of photos. I recommend a phone sport arm-band or waterproof neck pouch for easy access. The last thing you will want to do is to dig through your backpack every time you want to take a picture.
- Athletic and/or Hiking Shoes and Socks - Protect your toes. Summer time in Kansas means you don't take your flip-flops off. You must have good closed-toe strap-free shoes for many outdoor activities. Tennis shoes, lightweight hiking shoes, or other outdoor shoes are a must!
ENJOY YOUR TRIP to my happy place in the mountains! Read our activity guide here.