Annual Survival Guide for July 4th
Happy Birthday America! (and Happy Monday to everyone else!) Before you head off to your plans for July 4th, whether it’s lighting a grill, camping or lighting some pretty exploding powder kegs, let us help you stay safe, beat the heat and the crowds, and get more pleasure. Let’s start.
This year, July 4th falls on a Monday, so you only have 24 hours to relax and / or make the most of your vacation before it returns to work routines. With a time crisis like this, we may understand how hopeless it might seem, but fear not: Lifehacker is here! Here are some tips to help you dive into the holiday atmosphere.
This post was originally published in 2012 but was updated in 2016.
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Get rid of the heat and stay comfortable
I don’t know where you are, but it’s hot here in the US, so if you plan to leave the air conditioner try to keep cool, drink plenty of fluids, and keep your body temperature low. The last thing you want to do on your weekend is to suffer from heat exhaustion and go to work on Thursday. Here’s your basic checklist to keep from passing out while queuing at the grill or waiting for the big finish at the fireworks:
- Stay Hydrated : Seriously. To drink a lot of water. Take a water bottle with you and keep it full. The effects of dehydration can creep up on you, so try to prevent them . Check with the local authorities if they have chilling or hydration stations near the fireworks, and if you’re heading out into the backyard, grab a bottle like Klean Kanteen or a foldable travel backpack like Platypus , fill it up, and then leave. Don’t like water? It’s not hard to learn to love this , but if you need to, grab soda , iced tea, or something else that is water-based.
- Wear sunscreen : Sunscreen can be a tricky topic, so this infographic will help you . Bottom line? It won’t kill you , despite the big headlines. Apply everywhere, reapply often, and make sure you buy a good one . Put it on before your insect spray . Oh, and stay in the shadows if you can.
- Stay away from mistakes : it’s a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean mistakes are meant to knock you off. Our top-down guide to preventing insect bites, bites, and other annoyances continues to be the definitive tome for those looking to get rid of itching or stings in the summer. Try these most popular insect sprays . Not in insect spray? No problem, we have some tips to help you get rid of the problem before it starts and make your own repellents.
- Beware of Others : One of the best things you can do in this hot weather is keep an eye on the people around you. Elders, neighbors – keep them in mind and check if you don’t hear from them or see them regularly, just to make sure they are okay. Don’t forget your pets too – you can make an ice slime to make them enjoy the outdoors , too , but remember, they have fewer ways to dissipate heat than you do. If you think it’s hot outside, they definitely do. If you get a little hot, be aware of the rapid cooling points of your body . Apply some ice or some cold water and you will chill instantly.
Here are some other ways to beat the heat:
Master the display of fireworks
In my old hometown of Washington, D.C., thousands of people will descend the National Mall to watch the fireworks display over the Washington Monument, and people will pile up shoulder to shoulder in the mall, sitting in camp chairs and stretching out on blankets to watch the action. show. Chances are it’s the same in your area – parks and parking lots covered with blankets and people wanting a better view. But this does not mean that you should be uncomfortable! You can still have a good time.
- Chapter early: Obviously, the first way to beat crowds is to head out long before anyone else will. Take a day trip and head to a local park armed with picnic baskets of food, comfy camping chairs, blankets, and an array of iced drinks in the fridge. Get ready before noon and beat everyone.
- Choose the Right Location : Depending on where you are, there may be several fireworks located quite close to each other. Check with your local news agency, they usually collect and host all of the nearby displays on their websites and see which ones are nearby. Then transfer this information to Google Maps and check the location before heading out. This way, you can see where the parking is, how big the parking lots or parks are, and even if there is a place nearby, it is better to watch the show without interacting with the crowd.
- Make your own fireworks . Before doing anything else, make sure fireworks are legal in your state . Then read the instructions. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with multiple backyard fireworks as long as it is done safely and legally . If that limits you to sparklers, so be it, but a few rocket bottles and a few sparklers in your backyard or nearby open field can save you time and hassle if you use them safely . Bonus: you can bring your own food and there is no competition for a good place.
- Stay Home : It might not be as fun as being outside and hearing the rumble and seeing the bright lights, but given the heat, the crowds, and the hustle and bustle, you might as well just stay home and watch the play on TV. We wouldn’t blame you.
But if you do go outside, don’t forget to take your photo! Taking good pictures of fireworks isn’t that hard, even if you only have a phone on the back. Here’s how:
Master your grill and cook delicious meals
Fireworks and outdoor activities are great, but if 4th of July is a great excuse for you to fire up the grill and treat all your friends and family to delicious grilled meats and vegetables, we are here (seriously, we’ll come.) Hope it’s not the first time you’ve lit your grill this summer, but even so, this is how you – and your guests – can walk away satiated and happy.
- Prepare your grill : Make sure your charcoal is spread out for optimal heating , or that you cook a fresh batch yourself if that is how you ride. If you have a gas grill, you can run out and grab some lava stones to get the most meat-burning power from your burners. Using a public grill? We have tips for you too . If you’re very serious about backyard feasting, you can even make your own fire pit or tandoor stove , but we only have day four, so stay over the weekend. Once your grill is set up, make sure you know where to place your food for optimal cooking.
- Gather your tools : you don’t want to hit the grill without a weapon, do you? Grab your favorite tongs, serving platters, and other grilling goodies and head outside. If you’re looking for some upgrades, Grill Clips keep your vegetables close together on the grill, and Stake can replace all your other tools . Oh, and don’t forget your muffin uniform ! Are you out? you can take this grill with you . If you are doing this indoors with a grill pan, be sure to open the windows and grease the grill pan . Anyway, brew a coffee; cleaning is a snap .
- Prepare your food : Before you just toss a grocery item – you know, the one you’ve chosen so carefully – on the fire, be sure to add some flavor! A little salt and pepper go a long way (and even more), and if you’re ready to move on to marinades , be our guest. We showed you the chemistry of marinades , now it’s time to put them to good use. Grilling sausages or pancakes? Try grilling them rather than throwing them in right away, and if you’re making burgers, make your own and do your guests a favor . We’ve got some tips to help you make the perfect grilled burger . Heck, we can even help you grill fish in no time, or make incredibly cheesy garlic potatoes .
- Grill like a pro : ready to start cooking? Our guide to becoming a grill master takes you through the excellence of barbecuing from start to finish, whether you’re using gas or charcoal. We also have tips to help you avoid common grilling mistakes . We promise that you will not be disappointed if you follow our directions.
Need some more grilling tips to make your 4th of July dinner a memorable one? Try these on for size:
Hopefully you are now ready for a fantastic fourth result. Whatever you do, stay safe, have a good time and we will catch up on the 5th!