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April Showers: What To Do When Weather Threatens Your Trip

We’ve all been there: you’re finally on that long-awaited vacation, ready to relax or hit the town (or ideally, a bit of both). It doesn’t matter whether it’s a trip you’ve been planning for years or a spontaneous let’s-get-out-of-town weekend road trip, you cross your fingers and hope that the weather cooperates. But, like life in general, weather can be unpredictable. Sunshine can turn to rain clouds in a matter of minutes, and despite your best-made plans, you could find yourself huddled in a hotel room, or hunkered down at a rest stop, wondering how to make the most of your time when the universe seems to be telling you to turn around and go home.

Never fear; with some planning and a positive attitude, you’ll be able to take a little nasty weather in stride.

Raincoats, umbrellas and rain ponchos, oh my!

There’s a saying that often comes to mind when I’m packing for my travels: “There’s no bad weather, just wrong clothing.” When we’re at home and the weather’s bad, we don’t barricade ourselves inside. There’s still work and school to get to, grocery shopping to do, friends to meet up with. So we grab an umbrella and go on our way. While rain can be annoying for sightseeing and picture taking, it’s a fact of life. Look on the bright side, those tourist attractions will probably be less crowded because people not as prepared (or as adaptable) as you, will stay inside. With the proper clothing, a little rain or cold or snow shouldn’t stop you from doing anything. So invest in a good rain jacket and a waterproof bag, and head out anywhere.

Take cover

If the weather is more “torrential downpour” than “light showers,” even a great raincoat/umbrella option may not save you. In those cases, it helps to be flexible with your itinerary. Maybe you switch up your plans and make it a museum day, or explore a local indoor shopping mall or market. You could even café hop, and make your own tour (best coffee in the city, for example) or give yourself permission to take a spa day. You could even use the day to stay in bed and rest your feet. Sometimes it can be fun to watch some local news programs or, if you’re abroad, to watch shows in the native language. Traveling is all about soaking up the culture, and TV is a part of that.

Consider a bus tour

They might not be for everyone, but bus tours (whether the hop on/hop off kind or the day-trip variety) can be a good way to see some sights when the weather isn’t cooperating. It’s sightseeing from the safety (and relative dryness) of a covered vehicle.

My best advice is to be prepared and be flexible. I’m a big believer in making the best of a situation. On my last trip to New York City, it rained almost every day. We’re talking monsoon-level weather. But I bought an umbrella and went on my way, secure in the knowledge that there were a bunch of clean towels in my hotel room (for the inevitable drying-off when I returned). I had to forgo walking through the city as much as I would’ve liked, but I still went where I wanted, and saw what I wanted. I had a great time, and came back with some great (weather-related) stories. So learn to love your raincoat. Because what’s the alternative, staying inside and missing everything? No thanks.

How do you cope with bad weather when you’re traveling?

Let’s keep the conversation going. Follow me @StephSpitler

Featured image via Shutterstock

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