When it comes to vacation, its hard to believe that not every day will be full of sunshine to match your sunny ‘I’m on vacation!’ attitude. The reality is we can’t control the weather and sometimes those rainy days will weasel into your perfect trip. However, the rain doesn’t have to ruin your adventure.
My top 7 travel tips to prevent the rainy day blues:
1. Be Flexible
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – John Lennon
The easiest way for a rainy day to ruin your plans is by having too many plans. Instead of a locked solid itinerary, give yourself some wiggle room. Scale back your must dos to fit into 50-70% of the overall trip, then have some days planned that are open to spontenaety. This way, if bad weather pops into the forcast, you can use one of your open days to nip the rainy day blues in the bud by relaxing at a spa or hitting up a cool museum or two.
2. Don’t Make Reservations Too Far In Advance
Okay, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you know you want to go to that amazing restaurant that requires a reservation months in advance. So go ahead and make those important reservations, but for other activities like walking tours or boat tours, hold off. You are most likely planning your trip months in advance so take that time to keep an eye online on the activities you want to do or give the place a call. See how quickly they become sold out and what days are more or less popular. Since many tourist activities run rain or shine, knowing how far in advance you need to reserve gives you more time to consult your favorite forecasting app.
3. Plan Rainy Day Activities
Bad weather will inevitably find it’s way into your trip, so plan for it. Have a list of must dos or possilbe dos that are conducive to not-so-sunny weather. Museums, theater, music, food, breweries, spas; most of these activities are indoors and all make for a full day of fun and exploration.
Even better is when you can find a bunch of indoor things to do all in one place. If you are ever visiting Nashville, one of my favorite spots is Marathon Village, located in the old Marathon Motor Works Factory. There you can find two distilleries, plenty of shopping, one of the best candy stores in the city, a great coffee house and tons of history of the building throughout the halls and corridors.
4. Bring Rain Gear
Worse than being rained out is being rained out in the wrong clothes. Squishy sneakers and wet pants will thwart any attempt to salvage the day and leave you uncomfortable and frustrated. So be prepared! Even if there is no rain in the forecast when you are packing your bags, bring your umbrella and an outfit that will keep you warm and dry.
Worried about rain boots taking up space in your suitcase? A little investment in some packable rain gear will save you precious luggage room and save your trip from the unexpected downpour. I’d recommend a lightweight packable rain jacket, available from any good outdoor sporting goods store, and rollable wellies. I love that both Hunter and CitySlips make rain boots that roll up and come with a bag for easy travel packing. For the gents, you can also get rubber overshoes that keep your shoes dry and your outfit looking classy, like these from Totes.
5. Know Your Transportation Options
Always research public transportation in a new a city, even if you don’t plan to use it. I like to do a lot of walking on my trips, because its a great way to become immersed in a new place. But if I get caught in an unexpected storm, I like to know my other options for transportation. Taxis and Ubers are good for a quick trip back to the hotel for your rain gear, but a full day of exploring by cab can be a major dent in your travel budget. Buses, trains, and streetcars are an excellent resource if you are in a pinch to find dry travel and will save your coinage for souveniers.
Many cities also offer free buses or trollies in bigger tourist areas. So a lot of the must dos on your itenerary are likely just a hop, skip and a jump away from one of the stops. And not just great for your wallet, these free public transportation options are typically only used by other tourists, making them great places to meet travel buddies. There is nothing like bad weather to create comraderie among strangers.
Some cities with more extreme climates also have covered pedestrian walkways. So if you are visiting places like Dallas, Chicago, or Montreal, be sure to have a map of their system. These alternate routes offer a whole new level of exploration with food courts and shopping in addition to keeping you dry.
6. Have A Back Up Plan
Sometimes bad weather comes without warning. You triple checked the forecast and its all sunny skies and warm breezes. Then you walk out of lunch and a thunderstorm is coming down around you. Knowing your surroundings is key for an event like this. So having a back up plan in your pocket each day of something you can do indoors nearby will keep you from getting stuck. And luckily these freak rainstorms tend to pass quickly; so instead of hiding under the nearest awning for half an hour, you’ll be sampling artisinal cheeses, shopping for vintage scarves or tasting some local brews before heading off to your next adventure.
7. Embrace The Rain
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard in a movie or a book or another travel blog that Paris is even more beautiful in the rain.
“This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain’s very important. That’s when Paris smells its sweetest. It’s the damp chestnut trees.” – Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina
“Paris is more beautiful in the rain.” – Gill, Midnight in Paris
But Paris isn’t the only city by which rain should be embraced and long debunked is the myth that you’ll catch a cold in the wet weather, so get your rollable wellies on and splash around. Jump in the puddles and spin like you are 12 years old. A colorful umbrella also makes for fun photos so take your camera along and wander in the rain. Weather doesn’t have to be good or bad, its just weather. Embrace it!