When planning a trip, you’re undoubtedly going to want to go somewhere new and exciting. Traveling through the desert is a fun and entirely unique adventure.

As you and your traveling companions decide where to take your next adventure, you may choose somewhere with a hot and arid climate. There is much to see through the several deserts on Earth, but it’s essential that you are prepared to make such a trek. Follow these tips for traveling through the desert, and you’re sure to stay safe while embarking on this journey.

Pack Sun Protection

At home, sunshine is typically our friend. It offers our daily dose of vitamin D and that sun-kissed glow. However, in the desert, it can quickly become treacherous. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt made of breathable fabric, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. You’d be surprised at the benefits of a bucket hat, a neck gaiter, and the proper skin coverings under the sun’s harsh rays. Be sure to still reapply your sunscreen every hour or so.

Pack Layers

A common misconception about the desert is that it’s always hot. In fact, the desert can be quite cold at times. Thirty-degree swings are common in this climate. Be sure to pack layers to ensure you’re ready for a complete change in weather. Luckily, some of the clothing you use to repel direct sunlight can also serve as a base layer in cooler weather. Bring a beanie, gloves, and a rain layer with you to ensure you’re prepared for any weather.

Follow the Guide or Trail

Stay on the trails. Much of the ecosystem off the trail needs to remain untouched. The desert is full of artifacts, ancient dwellings, and many other fragile things. You don’t want to damage any of these items by trekking off the trail. Treat the area outside of the trails as you would coral in the ocean and know that a single misstep could cause irreversible damage to nature and its history.

In addition, you may encounter many types of wildlife that you are unfamiliar with. Once you’re not on a cleared path, it could be easy to make an unsavory acquaintance. Staying on the trails reduces the likelihood that such an encounter may happen. You also want to ensure you’re not going to get lost or find yourself separated from your group. Taking the aforementioned becomes all the more important if you get lost.

Stay Hydrated and Seek Shade

The desert is very dry in addition to being very hot. Even if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, you’re still losing a lot of water through sweat and exertion. Hydrating and seeking shade whenever possible is essential. You’ll need to replenish your salt intake as well. Hyponatremia (salt deficiency) can cause you to become further dehydrated. Consider bringing saline for your eyes and nose to add moisture back into your sinuses.

These are a few basic tips for traveling through the desert. Be sure to research the area in which your group is looking to travel. The great thing about having others around you is that you can help each other remain safe during your adventure. Monitoring yourself as well as your travel companions will allow you all to have the best trip possible.